September 18, 2009

Can Alcohol Consumption Cause Memory Loss?

Posted in Category : Natural Cures

Most people are aware of the drawbacks when it comes to excessive alcohol consumption. However, very few have an in depth knowledge of what consequences it may have in the future. When alcohol is consumed, the body will immediately begin to break it down to products that can have an impact on the overall functioning of the brain. One of the first actions the broken down alcohol performs is to impair the calcium channels, which are essential for the brain to communicate with other cells throughout the body. When alcohol is present in the body, there is a lower amount of oxygen going to the brain as well.

Research has also shown that heavy alcohol consumption damages the retrospective memory and heavily impairs otherwise normal actions like learning, retention and retrieval of information from within the brain. Alcohol in the system will also negatively impact the ability to think clearly and rationally. Depending on how much an individual drinks, how much liquor they can handle and how long they have continued the habit, the degrees of damage can vary. Some alcoholics cannot remember anything of the duration during which they were inebriated until somebody poses a question or prompts them with clues. Once they hear the clues, fuzzy images of the goings on start to automatically retrieve themselves from within the person’s memory. This is commonly known as brownout memory loss or fragmented memory loss. The second and more severe type of memory loss is called the blackout stage. In this stage of memory loss, an individual is completely unable to remember anything about the events that took place during the time he or she was inebriated. In this case the brain was unable to completely process the memory before it lost consciousness. In such a case any amount of prompting would not be able to help the individual recall any of the events.

The next stage is more severe and could lead to a permanent damage in the brain and its overall functioning, than in the previous two stages. This stage is known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and leads to impaired problem solving skills, memory and learning abilities as much as it damages nerves in the central and peripheral nervous systems. It can also cause people to fabricate extremely detailed stories about experiences they haven’t had. Excessive alcohol abuse is a very serious addiction that, apart from medical reasons, can affect a person’s life very badly from a social perspective.