How Alcohol Can Lead To Long-Term Memory Loss

AlcoholIt’s not uncommon to hear someone say they don’t remember the night before, after a night of heavy drinking. It’s so common that we laugh it off and move on with our lives, thinking we’ve only suffered  a few hours of cognitive impairment. But, does heavy drinking and blacking out eventually lead to long-term memory loss?

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Barely being able to speak or walk are obvious signs that alcohol affects the brain. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a person who drinks heavily over a long period of time may have brain deficits that persist well after they achieve sobriety.

“Large quantities of alcohol, especially when consumed quickly and on an empty stomach, can produce a blackout, or an interval of time for which the intoxicated person cannot recall key details of events, or even entire events,” according to NIAAA.

How alcohol affects your brain depends on a number of variables including, age, weight, gender, genetic background, medical history and level of education according to the NIAAA.

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Because of the way we metabolize alcohol, women tend to have lower alcohol tolerance than men and are more likely to experience a blackout. Women are also more likely to experience milder forms of alcohol–induced memory impairments than men, after consuming the same amount of alcohol, according to NIAA.