How Alcohol Can Lead To Long-Term Memory Loss
It’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?
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.
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.