Author: James Anderson

Alcohol and Memory Loss: Connection, Research, and Treatment

how to regain memory after drinking

If you’re having difficulty concentrating, remembering recent events or keeping track of a conversation, you may be close to getting blackout drunk. If you’re in that situation, find someone you trust and find a safe ride home. Schuckit’s study and several others have found that people who black out from drinking risk a number of negative consequences. Just as physical activity keeps your body in shape, activities that engage your mind help keep your brain in shape. And those activities might help prevent some memory loss.

  1. It also might help to connect what you’re trying to remember to a favorite song or a familiar saying or idea.
  2. The person can continue to drink and socialize, order drinks at a bar, dance and so on.
  3. Some people can drink without end and still not experience memory blackouts.
  4. As a result, you often have no idea what you did when you were drunk.
  5. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated, but he has no memory of any of this.
  6. The next day, you probably woke up dehydrated with a headache and a hangover.

Binge drinking — consuming numerous drinks in a short period— is more likely to cause alcohol blackouts, amnesia and memory loss than slow, heavy drinking, according to numerous studies. During en bloc blackouts, what most people refer to as being blacked out, someone can’t remember anything after a specific period of time. The brain’s ability to create long-term memories is completely blocked. However, sensory and short-term memories continue to function. The person can continue to drink and socialize, order drinks at a bar, dance and so on. Additionally, those that experience memory blackouts commonly from excessive drinking are more likely to participate in behaviors that could lead to other consequences.

How Alcohol Is Linked to Memory Loss

Jeff is mortified to hear that he took a swing at a highway patrolman who pulled him over for weaving in and out of traffic at high speed. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated, but he has no memory of any of this. The last thing he remembers is laughing with his friends at the party—all of whom insist he became belligerent when they tried to take his car keys away. Get cost-effective, quality addiction care that truly works. They’re also more likely to engage in other risky behavior.

how to regain memory after drinking

Alcohol tends to affect short-term or prospective memory more often. Prospective memory is day-to-day brain function, specifically, remembering to complete daily activities. If you or a loved one frequently engage in binge drinking or have an addiction to alcohol, talk to your healthcare provider or call the SAMHSA National Helpline. Some of alcohol’s effects on memory are apparent — maybe you wake up after a night of drinking and have a bruise you don’t remember getting, or you don’t recall any of the night’s previous events. The easiest way to avoid blacking out is to limit how much you drink.

Short-Term and Long-Term Alcohol Memory Loss

So has restless sleep and sleep that gets disturbed often. Adults should sleep 7 to 9 hours a night on a regular basis. If snoring disrupts sleep, make an appointment to see your health care provider. Snoring could be a sign of a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. In the short-term effect, the alcohol slows down neuron function and nerve activity.

They may be able to help determine one’s medical needs or refer them to a suitable addiction treatment center. Additionally, one may consider visiting Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) treatment locator to find resources in their area. When drunk, the human brain fails to carry signals at a normal pace. This delay often results in impaired cognitive function and loss of coordinated movements. As a result, you often have no idea what you did when you were drunk.

So even though you may have spent years working to destroybrain cells, your brain can still heal, so long as it’s given the opportunityto do so. Some people may find that they can drink nonalcoholic wine or beer if they crave the taste of alcohol. Thiamine deficiency can cause dementia, which is progressive and permanent memory loss. The next day, you probably woke up dehydrated with a headache and a hangover. But you could probably remember everything you did, with a little effort and reminders.

It either leads to a blackout (complete loss of events) or gaps in memory. Memory is divided is into retrospective (long-term) and prospective or working (short-term) memory. Retrospective memory is remembering all events and episodes that have happened in our lifetime. To conduct their study, the researchers collected data from 68 people ages 28 to 70 with alcohol use disorder.

These effects are most noticeable when a person is intoxicated. A large-scale study that followed participants for 27 years found moderate alcohol consumption — defined as one to two drinks a few days a week — didn’t have an increased risk of dementia. Alcohol affects short-term memory by slowing down how nerves communicate with each other in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. You don’t have to drink heavily or quickly to have fun. If you’re unable to control how much you drink, avoid drinking altogether.

Eat a healthy diet

Even in cases where those in the study stayed within a healthy drinking limit, researchers found a significant increase in memory loss issues. The latter study found that women experienced the side effects after drinking only half as much as men. For most people, binge-drinking large amounts of alcohol causes them to black out. Studies seem to agree that heavy drinking alone doesn’t cause blackouts. Thus, the main cause of a blackout is a rapid rise in blood alcohol, which can be propelled by drinking on an empty stomach or while dehydrated.

If you’re committed to drinking heavily or for long periods of time, then pacing yourself throughout the day or night will prevent your blood alcohol from rising too quickly. Still, several studies link heavy alcohol use to learning and memory problems. It’s unclear whether blacking out causes serious long-term damage, but heavy alcohol use and risky behaviors while blacked out can have serious long-term health effects. People who are experiencing being blackout drunk often feel similar symptoms to being drunk. They feel carefree, are overly friendly or overly aggressive, have slurred speech and can’t walk straight.

When in an alcoholic blackout, a person can walk, talk, and interact with other people. But they don’t form memories of what they are doing or experiencing. It’s important to note that most researchers and healthcare providers have found that alcohol consumed in moderation — one to two drinks for men and one for women — doesn’t typically affect memory. The link between alcohol and memory loss is just one of many concerns that may arise from alcohol misuse.