If you are recovering from an injury, you may be wondering whether drinking alcohol could delay your recovery time. Well, the short answer is yes, it can. So, it’s best to avoid alcohol use until you have recovered.

But why can drinking alcohol delay your recovery from an injury? Let’s find out. 

Alcohol Can Increase Blood Coagulation and Swelling

Whether you have a minor or major injury, if you drink alcohol during recovery, it can delay both the coagulation of your blood and the healing of inflamed or swollen tissue. And the more you drink, the more your blood coagulation and swelling will continue to be problematic. In turn, you would have to wait longer to make a full recovery. On the other hand, if you drink little or, better yet, abstain from alcohol completely after an injury, you can speed up the recovery process. 

Drinking Alcohol Can Create a Build-up of Lactic Acid 

Drinking alcohol can cause a build-up of lactic acid, which isn’t good. When you have a build-up of lactic acid in your muscles, it can cause fatigue and cramps. That can delay the recovery process. By abstaining from alcohol during recovery, you can ensure lactic acid doesn’t build up too much. 

Alcohol Use Has a Diuretic Effect

When you drink alcohol, it has a diuretic effect. That means you will urinate more frequently. In turn, that means your body will lose more liquids and that will result in dehydration. It’s well known that drinking alcohol causes dehydration, but it is even more important that you don’t become dehydrated when recovering from an injury as it’s sure to slow down the recovery process. Dehydration can cause your muscles to lose strength and you could experience cramps. Dehydration can cause fatigue as well. Again, feeling fatigued will slow down your recovery time. 

Drinking Alcohol Can Prevent Muscle Recovery

Many clinical studies have shown that consuming alcohol reduces the level of human growth hormones, which your body secretes. In fact, the consumption of alcohol reduces the level of HGH secretion by a staggering 70 percent. That is bad news for your muscle growth. 

So, drinking alcohol can prevent muscle recovery, whether you have a muscle injury or another type of injury, which means you would be weaker for longer. In turn, your recovery after your injury would take longer. 

What to Do if Your Drinking Has Become Problematic

If you find it difficult to abstain from alcohol after your injury, despite knowing that the above factors will slow your recovery, it’s time to take a good look at yourself. You might not realize it, but if you’re feeling dependent on alcohol, you could be on the brink of or have an alcohol use disorder.  If you are displaying signs of alcohol addiction, you should seek professional help. 

You can get advice from your doctor about the treatment options that are available. You could visit a rehabilitation facility to engage in different types of individual and group therapies. Or you could access therapy sessions in other settings. Two of the most common therapies used are cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. But there are a variety of other therapies and treatment options available. 

A medical professional can advise you on the best course of action to take, and you should also seek support from your loved ones.

Summing Up

You now know it’s not best to drink alcohol after an injury, as it can slow down the recovery process. To recap, alcohol use can delay your recovery from an injury because:

  • Consuming alcohol can increase blood coagulation and swelling
  • Alcohol can create a buildup of lactic acid
  • Alcohol has a diuretic effect
  • Alcohol can prevent muscle recovery

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