Alcohol Brain Damage
Know Your Limits
Going out and drinking is a big part of today's society. Many people spend their weekends seeing exactly who can drink the most and who will be the last one standing at the end of the night. Then when the inevitable hangover comes, you look back and wonder exactly what it was you got up to the night before.
Memory loss is considered to be funny and a sign of a great night out. However, the effects of alcohol to the brain can actually be quite severe and the memory loss that you are experiencing could in fact be no laughing matter.
Memory Loss Cause by Alcohol
The short term effects of alcohol brain damage include memory loss, slurred speech and a loss of control of the body. However, what you may not realise is that the long term effects of alcohol on the brain can cause permanent memory loss.
It tends to be the short term memory that suffers the most when you drink excessively. It is true what they say about alcohol destroying the brain cells and the memory is one of the things that suffers the most. Memory loss caused by excessive alcohol consumption is known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. It is a two-stage condition and both can cause permanent damage to the brain.
Alcohol is not necessarily directly to blame for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, but it is the main contributor to it. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol makes a person eat fairly unhealthily too. There is hardly anybody out there who drinks a lot and who eats a healthy diet. The two just do not go together. So the result of a poor diet and alcohol consumption causes a lack of Thiamine in the body. It is this lack of Thiamine that causes the problems that it does in the memory as well as the rest of the body.
If the levels of Thiamine are not increased then it is possible that the person will have permanent brain damage. It is easy to miss the symptoms of Wernicke's as it mainly occurs in people who drink far too much and so they are often assumed to just be drunk.
The second stage of the condition is Korsakoff's psychosis and it can cause problems to the sufferer for years to come. It only tends to develop if Wernicke's isn't treated and it can also cause Wernicke's to reoccur too if you continue to drink heavily. The main damage during this part of the syndrome is to the middle part of the brain. This in turn causes a dramatic change in your short term memory. That is the main change that occurs in this stage of the condition and it could be that other functions are unaffected.
As well as memory loss, the other effects that alcohol can have on the brain include the inability to take in new information. If you are told something it is likely that you will forget it almost straight away. You also may not even realise that you are having problems with your memory. Or you could potentially make up things that have happened where there are gaps in your memory.
Overall the effects of long term alcohol brain damage can be devastating for the memory and should be avoiced by seeking out alcoholism treatment. Even drinking alcohol excessively for a short period of time kills off your brain cells. Whilst the odd drink every now and again will not cause any lasting damage, it certainly has the ability to. You would have to drink heavy amounts of alcohol to develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, but generally it is better to be safe rather than sorry. So the next time you consider drinking far too much, think about the possible effects it could have on your health.
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