Ever wondered why alcoholics are so forgetful? Alcohol has many adverse effects on the body, and today we are going to look at the connection between memory loss and alcohol.
Where It All Began
Most people enjoy having a drink, from time to time. Many enjoy a good red wine with their favorite Italian cuisine or a few beers while watching the big game with friends. And, we have been consuming alcohol for a very long time.
The earliest records of human history show that we have been drinking alcohol since the dawn of civilization. And, probably even before that. There is evidence to show that most primates consume alcohol. Studies have shown that monkeys and apes, who are primarily fruit eaters, often seek out fermented versions of their favorite food source. There is some indication, because the fermented fruit has a distinct scent, it is easier to locate. And, it had the added benefit of making you feel good when you ate it!
Studies have shown that monkeys and apes, who are primarily fruit eaters, often seek out fermented versions of their favorite food source. There is some indication that, because the fermented fruit has a distinct scent, it is easier to locate. And, it has the added benefit of leaving the imbiber with some pleasant sensations.
Modern agriculture, along with advanced and controlled fermentation and distillation techniques, has allowed us to perfect the creation of our favorite beers, wines, and spirits.
I Can Quit Anytime I Want
As with anything in life, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. In the United States, alcohol has become the single most abused drug. Perhaps, because of the ease with which anyone over the age of 21 can acquire it. In many states, you can buy beer or wine at the grocery store or your corner gas station. The point here is that it is easy to get and hence easy to abuse.
With an increase in alcohol abuse, comes an increase in the prevalence of its detrimental health effects. Several health conditions are linked to alcohol abuse, but today we are going to focus specifically on the relationship between memory loss and alcohol.
There’s A Name For That
So much research has been done on this subject, that they even have a special name for the condition it causes; Alcohol Related Brain Impairment or ARBI for short. How alcohol affects our brain, and more specifically memory loss from alcohol, has been a major area of focus for medical science.
There is no doubt that alcohol consumption in any amount can impact our cognitive functioning. After all, it is a known central nervous system depressant. What the research has illuminated, is expressly how it affects us, and where in our brain the effects are most often noticed.
The Science Behind Memory Loss and Alcohol
The cells in our brains, called neurons, are responsible for transmitting information to our nerve and muscle cells. This transmission of information is what allows us to move, and react or feel. The part of our brain responsible for memory is the hippocampus. Drinking alcohol can have an impact on how well it records memories.
Declarative memory or the ability to remember WHAT happened, as opposed to procedural memory, which is recalling HOW to do something, is affected more often. Although our procedural memory can be impacted, it is typically not as severe. There is a ton of in-depth information available on the specific science behind it. If you want more details about memory loss and alcohol, check out this site.
A Practical Analogy
For those of us old enough to remember cassette tapes, this analogy will help. Think about when you wanted to make a “Mix Tape” for your girl or boyfriend. There were these little tabs along the top edge of the cassette tape, which if removed, would prevent recording onto that tape ever again. This was great if you wanted to save it for all eternity. But, what if you wanted to add a song, or re-use the tape? Well, then you had to stuff those little holes with paper, or cover them with scotch tape so you could record on it again. Accidentally ‘Recording over’ the memory becomes easier to do when you can’t remove the tabs to prevent it. So you could see how this might be problematic when it comes to locking memories in your brain. This is similar to what alcohol consumption does to our hippocampus.
Lest We Forget
So, as you can now see, memory loss and alcohol have a pretty concrete scientific explanation. So, next time you go to a party with your friends be careful how much you drink. Otherwise, you may have to ask them to remind you what you did the night before! As always, if you are going to consume alcoholic beverages, make sure you are of legal age to do so, do not drink and drive, and please enjoy responsibly! If you do get arrested, call RI DUI Lawyer Chad Bank today at 401-200-6633.