Alcohol Memory Loss
While drinking alcohol is a favorite social pastime for many, it is important to remember the many unhealthy side effects that can be caused by alcohol, including memory loss. Often the butt of many jokes after a night out partying with friends, alcohol memory loss is a very real and scary thing that can lead to long-term brain damage.
There are three common types of alcohol memory loss that health care professional warn about:
- Brownouts - This is the most common type of alcohol memory loss. After heavy drinking, an individual may not remember periods of time from when they were drinking. However, memories were still formed and the individual is normally able to recall them upon being reminded of the events that took place.
- Blackouts - Unlike brownouts, during blackouts caused by heavy drinking the brain is unable to form long-term memories. Complete spans of time are lost, and the individual will never be able to remember what took place, even when asked or reminded by their peers. Frequent blackouts can lead to brain cell and nerve damage, and can even lead to permanent human memory loss problems.
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome - This alcohol memory loss disorder is commonly seen in alcoholics and people who frequently drink heavily, and is actually a combination of two separate conditions:
- Wernicke's Disorder - Causes nerve damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems due to low levels of thiamin levels, which can be caused by excessive drinking.
- Korsakoff Syndrome - Condition in which memory and problem solving abilities are impaired due to heavy alcohol consumption over time. The most identifying symptom of the condition is the sufferer will fabricate detailed stories that they claim they have memory of, but never actually experienced.
Not being able to recall what you did or who you met the night before is a scary enough thought, but the long-term damaging effects of alcohol memory loss are even more frightening. If you choose to consume alcohol, it is important to do so in moderation and accordance with the law, not only for your health, but your safety as well.