Alcohol and short term memory loss are linked. People who are dependent on alcohol or tend to drink very heavily over a prolonged period of time will invariably suffer from short term memory loss. After a drinking episode, it is quite possible that the person may not remember what he did during the episode. This is primarily because the toxins in the alcohol tend to damage brain cells, and when a person keeps on drinking for a long period of time, it causes problems with short term memory.
It has been observed that problems with short term memory in alcoholics occur before the associated alcoholic blackouts. Basically, the blackouts are a sign that the damage to the brain is getting severe. As the person continues drinking alcohol, he/she will begin noticing gaps in their memory. For instance, the person may not remember how he/she got home or where he/she was drinking the previous night. When questioned, the person will draw a complete blank. It is important to note that the alcoholic is always aware of what he/she is doing. It is just that the person is unable to remember.
When a person drinks a lot of alcohol, the hippocampus, a part of the brain, is damaged. This area of the brain is responsible for converting short term memory to long term memory. As the hippocampus gets damaged, it affects development of new memories, which are primarily part of the short term memory. Furthermore, the person also cannot have explicit memories, which are memories that have to be recollected consciously. In such a case, the person will not be able to recall things that he/she wants to.
Short term memory is an important part of living and without it a person can be seriously handicapped in day-to-day activities. Such a person will face problems in all spheres of life -- be it at social or professional level. Short term memory loss due to alcoholism can be frustrating. However, the only way to resolve this loss and ensure that the loss is reversible is by quitting alcohol completely.If a person is suffering from short term memory problems due to alcohol, it is best to consult a doctor for further treatment and possible suggestions on how to restore short term memory. One thing is for sure that the person would have to go through alcohol withdrawal symptoms before the effects of giving up alcohol on the memory are seen.
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