We see it all the time, on commercials, in magazine ads, on social media; a glass of wine, used to relax at the end of a long day; a nice, safe way to unwind and let your mind get rid of tension.
A glass of wine is a fine thing. Going out with your friends and partaking of some vino can be an excellent way to make a memory… but what happens when that glass becomes a bottle, when the alcohol content grows, when the times you go out outnumber those that you stay at home?
Alcohol consumption can have some serious side effects. When your speech, mobility, judgment, and reaction time become impaired, you’ve gone from just making a memory, to adversely affecting your mind itself, and Houston, you just may have a problem.
Rise In Binge Drinking And Memory Loss
According to the research, middle-aged men who drink more than two alcoholic drinks daily show declines in memory, attention, and reasoning six years earlier than normal. That much drinking is a good start on bingeing, described as at least two days in which the participant becomes intoxicated and is willing to give up usual activities in order to stay intoxicated. In 2005 it was recorded that about 20% of Americans age 12 and over were considered binge drinkers. In 2013, 24.6% of people 18 and over reported that they engaged in binge drinking over the past month. These statistics aren’t exactly going in a positive direction.
Unintended Consequences Of Excessive Drinking
Drinking to excess can affect your memory in other ways, too. When judgment is impaired, all sorts of bad decisions start to sound just fine. A British study from 2012, for example, found that one in five British women under the age of 30 will have unprotected sex while on holiday. The glamour of a different locale removes their inhibitions, and the addition of alcohol removes them a lot more. Blackouts, defined as “amnesia for the events of any part of a drinking episode without loss of consciousness,” often occur when one has had a few too many cocktails. In most parts of life, a partial loss of memory is considered a bad thing, but where alcohol is concerned it becomes the subject of jokes, movies, and “one time in college” stories. Blackouts, however, are no joking matter. Sexually transmitted diseases and rape are often a consequence, with women seeming to experience these more often than men.
But what if you’re not experiencing blackouts? You’re getting to work, doing your daily routine, and still drinking whenever you like. Is your memory really at risk? In a word, yes. Consuming more than two alcoholic beverages a day is considered heavy drinking, and it negatively affects retrospective memory. That’s the stuff you remember from your past, the learning, retention, and retrieval of things you’ve previously processed. Forgetting to send a card to someone, losing your keys, getting lost a lot more than usual; alcohol can be the cause of this sort of day-to-day memory loss.
A mind, as the old saying goes, is a terrible thing to waste. Instead of straining it trying to remember the consequences of last night’s binge or if you turned in that report at work, why not use it to make an informed decision instead?
Get Help For Your Addiction To Alcohol
If you are finding that the consequences of your drinking are becoming problematic, you may need treatment. Help is available through AlcoholTreatment.net in the form of professional support and evidence-based care to help you take your life back. Call and speak to someone in confidence today and discover a brighter future beginning now.