Memory Loss from Alcohol


Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to partial or totally memory loss. The more alcohol you consume, the more complete this memory loss may be. After a night of heavy consumption, you may not be able to recollect conversations or situations that you engaged in. This sort of memory loss is a key sign of alcoholism. While binge drinking has a negative effect on your memory, moderate drinking may actually reduce your chance of dementia as you grow older.

What is Safe Drinking?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, men can consume two drinks a day and women can consume one drink daily without any adverse health effects. Drinking more than this may result in health problems. Consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in one sitting is considered binge drinking, which increases the likelihood of alcohol-related health issues.

Blackouts and Alcohol

Blackouts, according to, are a temporary loss of memory. This form of amnesia is a result of alcohol’s impairment of the central nervous system and effect on the brain. Frequent blackouts are considered a sign of alcoholism. They are dangerous because the drinker may not remember important things that happened during the drinking episode. Drinkers may be more likely to engage in dangerous sexual behavior while in an alcohol blackout.

Prevalence of Blackouts

A study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that blackouts are common among social drinkers, and particularly common among drinkers in college. This study found that 35 percent of adults reported experiencing a blackout, while 51 percent of college students admitted to experiencing alcohol-related amnesia.

Alcohol and Dementia

A study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that long-term alcohol use may decrease the chances of developing dementia at an advanced age. The study found that drinkers who consumed up to six alcoholic beverages per week were 54 percent less likely to suffer from dementia after the age of 65. On the other hand, the researchers found that drinking over 14 alcoholic beverages per week may increase the chance of dementia.

Get Help

Since blackouts are a sign of alcoholism, it is important to get help if you experience them regularly. Alcohol can have numerous negative effects on your health, relationships and professional life. Talk to a doctor or loved one if you think you have a problem with drinking. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous can provide a supportive environment for recovery.

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