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Alcohol can take a heavy toll on memory

08-31-17 Category: Alcohol, Alcohol Rehab, Memory

Alcohol can take a heavy toll on memory

It was a pleasant Friday evening and Andy was having a gala time in the friendly neighborhood bar, catching up with old buddies. He had already consumed way too many martinis with a couple more shots to go. Grooving to the latest tracks played by the live band with a glass in his hand felt like a terrific way to unwind after a backbreaking week at work. In no time, he became less coordinated. His reflexes weren’t as sharp as usual, and he was losing track of the people around him. Soon, his speech started slurring but the conversation seemed to flow with ease. Suddenly the girl sitting across his table in the bar was looking more like Karlie Kloss than Kate Wats. Without any inhibitions and oblivious about everything, Andy stumbled towards her. That was the beauty and danger of alcohol which had taken over his mind. He was no longer the shy, reserved accountant that everybody knew at work. Alcohol had transformed him into someone else altogether.

More rounds of martini made him as garrulous as a babbling brook and in no time he landed on the dance floor indulging in buffoonery. His colleagues were astounded at his recently discovered extrovert personality. Several curious onlookers even asked him if he was high on some party drug, refusing to believe that it was the effect of the extra martini. Unable to maintain his dignity, he was oscillating between exuberant to irate to heavy-hearted. Ultimately, he slouched in a chair and started revealing his darkest secrets to everyone.

The truth was, alcohol had deactivated the inhibitory neurons of Andy’s brain which caused a simulative reaction in certain areas of his brain leading to an overall feeling of being high, light-hearted and camaraderie in him.

Alcohol has been the most preferred recreational drug since time immemorial. Research shows that during the weekends, happy hours or the holiday season, many Americans indulge in binge drinking, leading to memory losses or blackouts. Above all, most of them do not even remember getting drunk or creating a nuisance when inebriated. Unfortunately, millions are still unaware that prolonged drinking can result in long-lasting damage to the brain resulting in memory slips, which are caused due to a decrease in blood flow to the areas responsible for memory consolidation.

Impact of alcohol on memory

Studies show that drinking heavily causes the brain tissue to erode triggering several types of memory loss in affected individuals. Although long-term memories could remain undamaged, the brain’s capacity to generate new memories is adversely impacted.

Three kinds of memory loss can be considered as warning signs for brain damage in people who abuse alcohol, namely:

  • Blackouts: Amnesia caused by excessive alcohol consumption such as binge drinking is called a blackout. These are generally observed in heavy drinkers, who have experienced the misery of waking up the next day, unable to recollect any memory of the previous night. As opposed to a brownout, the memories erased by a blackout can never be retrieved because huge quantities of alcohol are known to obstruct the memory-creation process in the brain. Continuous alcohol blackouts could pave the way for cerebral and nervous damage culminating in memory problems. Additionally, uncontrolled social drinking on an empty stomach is another major cause of a blackout.
  • Brownouts: A brownout may usually result in incomplete and inconsistent memory loss, especially about what happened during a particular drinking session. However, such a memory loss is generally temporary in nature and could be restored with the help of effective reminders from other individuals who were present when a particular event occurred.
  • Alcohol dementia: Alcohol dementia is the end result of severe alcoholism where the symptoms are closely related to the type of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the commonly observable symptoms are difficulty in speaking, inability to remember, poor judgment faculties and problems in carrying out daily activities.

If treated at an early stage, the adverse consequences of memory loss arising out of alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be prevented. Although obliterated memories cannot be restored, the capacity to create new ones can be saved. Professional treatment in a rehabilitation center can help people addicted to alcohol break free from its clutches and regain control of their lives.

Dealing with alcohol addiction

Many people drink alcohol in a bid to self-medicate and escape from their problems. In no time they end up developing an addiction before they even realize it. Moreover, the long-lasting impact of alcohol further aggravates their mental health disorder, plunging them deeper into the abyss of desolation. The need of the hour is continuous care from trained physicians and customized treatment programs for alcoholism to help individuals break free from its stronghold.

If you or your loved one is battling alcoholism, it is imperative to take the necessary medical help before matters get out of control. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representatives to know about the most effective recovery programs at our top rated alcohol abuse treatment centers spread across the U.S.

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