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The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Memory and Concentration

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Alcohol abuse is often associated with memory loss in terms of blackouts due to periods of binge drinking. However, did you know that there are both short and long term effects on memory and concentration associated with alcohol abuse? This can affect people of all age groups, whether they’re university students or retired.

Alcohol Abuse and Your Memory

A 1971 study discovered that alcohol abuse can give you trouble remembering what a person said and even make it difficult to form memories for words on a list. This is pertinent to students who may need to memorize words or facts for tests. The inability to commit such items to memory means that you are unable to recall them when needed. The more severe the degree of alcohol abuse, the more pronounced the memory problems.

The impact of memory impairment could lead to difficulties at school or at work, where recalling the details of procedures or events could affect your ability to perform your duties. Furthermore, alcohol abuse can make it tough to convert short term memory into long term memory, so even if you think you’ve retained some information, it may not stick around for the long term.

Alcohol can interfere with activity in the hippocampus, a part of the brain largely responsible for memory formation. Research suggests that this is why alcohol abuse can trigger memory problems, making it difficult to form new memories.

Alcohol Abuse and Concentration

People who frequently experience blackouts after sessions of heavy drinking may find that they struggle to concentrate. Alcohol abuse can lead to disorganized thoughts and confusion, making it hard to focus on something like studying or learning a new skill. Further problems include a preoccupation with when and where you can get your next drink, which could distract you from the task at hand.

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It’s not just a struggle to sit down and concentrate on what’s in front of you, but alcohol abuse can make it hard to concentrate on what your priorities are. Ongoing, chronic alcohol abuse can make your memory and concentration progressively worse. Attending class or work with a hangover makes it difficult to pay attention and absorb information, and this can damage your long-term goals of success.

What’s the Solution?

You might recognize yourself in some of these descriptions. If you do, know that help is available that can help you turn things around. Treatment can help you enter a life of recovery, which puts you back on track for achieving your goals.

If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, substance addiction or any other type of addiction, please call us today.  Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.  A substance abuse treatment program is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.


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