Does Alcohol Addiction Cause Memory Loss?

Does Alcohol Addiction Cause Memory Loss?

An addiction to alcohol is something that should be taken very seriously, as it impacts not only the addict, but their loved one as well. Watching a loved one spiral downward into their addiction to alcohol can be very painful. You have tried to help your loved one in overcoming their alcohol addiction, but all attempts have failed. You watch as your loved one experiences horrific side effects of alcohol addiction, and feel helpless, wondering to persuade them to be admitted to an alcohol addiction treatment facility

There are many side effects to alcohol addiction, the most damaging one being memory loss. In fact, there are several different stages of memory loss associated with alcohol abuse.

The first stage of alcohol induced memory loss consists of a memory “brownout.” This is when excessive and prolonged drinking causes an individual to forget things temporarily. Events that had occurred during the initial drinking are forgotten until someone else gives a clue as to what had unfolded. The forgotten aspects of that night are then brought back into the drinker’s memory.

The second stage of alcohol induced memory loss consists of memory “blackouts.” These blackouts happen during a heavy drinking experience. The brain is unable to complete the processes necessary for making a memory, or memories. Individuals experiencing a blackout are unable to remember anything that may have happened during the blackout experience. Even if someone attempts to prompt a memory from the blackout experience, the drinker will be unable to recall it. That gap of time is forever lost.

The second stage of alcohol induced memory loss is the most damaging stage: alcohol dementia, or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is the combination of two disorders: Wernicke disorder (poor nutrition damages nerves in the central and peripheral nervous system), and Korsakoff syndrome (impairment of memory, problem solving, and learning abilities). Alcoholism is associated with this disorder.

Those whom suffer from Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome hardly show symptoms at first. When the onset of the syndrome begins, forming memories is nearly impossible. Conversations will become repetitious, and then forgotten.

Memory loss is a clear warning sign that an individual is drinking too excessively. Left untreated, the individual is at risk for developing alcoholism and brain damage.

Addiction detox treatment for alcohol addiction consists of a combination of medication and nutrition therapies. While under medical supervision, individuals are given nutrients to restore lost thiamin levels. Individuals are also given Alzheimer’s disease drugs to assist in improving memory impairment in those with Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.

Detoxing from excessive alcohol consumption is not easy. In fact, the withdrawal symptoms can be horrible. It is important for anyone looking to overcome alcohol addiction to seek help from medical staff trained in alcohol addiction. Between detox and learning proper coping techniques, individuals can end their dependence on alcohol and live a happy and healthy life.

If you, or someone you know in your family, relatives or friends, is suffering from alcohol addiction, please seek help. If you believe that your drinking has impaired your memory, seek help immediately.


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