Excessive Drinking May Harm Your Memory Despite You Quit


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WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2014 (HealthDay News)—Middle-aged adults with a history of alcohol abuse are more than twice as likely as others to develop severe memory problems later in life, according to a new study.The British researchers said their findings could help doctors identify those at risk for mem. Heavy alcohol use doesn’t only slow down the hippocampus, it can damage it. Alcohol can destroy nerve cells.

This affects a person’s memory in the short and long term. In addition, people who. When people who drink alcohol heavily stop drinking, some of the brain damage that long-time alcohol use can cause may reverse and some memory loss they may experience may stop.

Overview Scientists have established that the ” shrinkage ” that alcohol can cause in some regions of the brain that results in cognitive damage will begin to reverse when alcohol stays out of the body for lengthening periods of. Alcohol tends to affect short-term or prospective memory more often. Prospective memory is day-to-day brain function, specifically, remembering to complete daily activities. Anyone can forget things from time to time, however, people who consume heavy amounts of alcohol have a tendency to make more memory mistakes than those who do not drink at all or those who do not drink. Because alcohol can affect the memory, a person who drinks heavily is more likely to display risk behaviors.

Someone who suffers blackouts or even short-term memory loss because of alcohol is also at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, as well as getting into fights or aggressive confrontations. The dangers associated with memory problems in recovery include: * The individual may decide that these symptoms mean that recovery itself is not a satisfying option. They may use it as justification to relapse back to their addiction. * The individual may turn to other maladaptive behaviors as a means to escape their problems with fuzzy thinking.

By remaining abstinent, however, the recovering alcoholic will continue to recover brain function over a period of several months to 1 year (19)-with improvements in working memory, visuospatial functioning, and attention-accompanied by significant increases in brain volume, compared with treated alcoholics who have subsequently relapsed to drinking (18). While alcohol is high in calories, and wine, beer, and mixed drinks add sugar to one’s diet, Kumar says cutting it out may or may not help to lose weight. “Again, depends on what the baseline. After a week or two of summoning all of my willpower to drink “socially,” I’d still end up with worse alcohol withdrawal symptoms than I’d had before. Preventing Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) Once you reach the end of your particular alcohol withdrawal timeline, you will have finished detoxing.

You should congratulate yourself. Some studies suggest that the brain does not completely heal from MDMA use even after 18 months of being clean. Other studies show that the healing begins around two weeks after being clean, and scans will look similar to a control group at about 18 months, even though the neurons may act differently than before.

List of related literature:

This suggests that alcohol decreases memory capacity, which is the amount of information that can be learned (i.e., encoded), manipulated (i.e., held in working memory), and remembered (i.e., recalled).

“The Routledge International Handbook of Legal and Investigative Psychology” by Ray Bull, Iris Blandón-Gitlin
from The Routledge International Handbook of Legal and Investigative Psychology
by Ray Bull, Iris Blandón-Gitlin
Taylor & Francis, 2019

Intoxication with alcohol increases the risk of soft-tissue injuries, fractures, head injuries and other trauma, and shortlived episodes of memory loss (or ªblackouts«) are particularly associated with heavy drinking.

“The Handbook of Adult Clinical Psychology: An Evidence Based Practice Approach” by Alan Carr, Muireann McNulty
from The Handbook of Adult Clinical Psychology: An Evidence Based Practice Approach
by Alan Carr, Muireann McNulty
Taylor & Francis, 2016

Memory functions were reported to be particularly vulnerable and sensitive to chronic alcohol abuse.

“XXX International Congress of Psychology: Abstracts” by Michele Robert
from XXX International Congress of Psychology: Abstracts
by Michele Robert
Taylor & Francis, 2017

The progression of further memory loss may be stopped by eliminating alcohol, but once tissue damage has occurred, normal memory function does not return.

“Screaming to be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect... and Doctors Still Ignore” by D. Lee D. Vliet
from Screaming to be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect… and Doctors Still Ignore
by D. Lee D. Vliet
M. Evans, 2005

Although chronic heavy alcohol consumption damages the human brain and may cause memory loss and severe dementia, light to moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of dementia.

“The Science of Drinking: How Alcohol Affects Your Body and Mind” by Amitava Dasgupta
from The Science of Drinking: How Alcohol Affects Your Body and Mind
by Amitava Dasgupta
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011

Studies examining recovery of neurocognitive functioning in abstinent individuals with a history of alcohol dependence have found that improvement or even complete recovery may occur in cognitive domains including verbal IQ, verbal fluency, visual shortand long-term memory, and episodic memory.

“Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders Across the Lifespan” by Stephanie M. Woo, Carolyn Keatinge
from Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders Across the Lifespan
by Stephanie M. Woo, Carolyn Keatinge
Wiley, 2016

However, a smaller amount of alcohol over a long period of time can increase memory loss from alcohol toxicity of the cerebral cortex.

“Medical-Surgical Nursing E-Book: Patient-Centered Collaborative Care” by Donna D. Ignatavicius, M. Linda Workman
from Medical-Surgical Nursing E-Book: Patient-Centered Collaborative Care
by Donna D. Ignatavicius, M. Linda Workman
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2015

This could be explained by alcohol’s pharmacological effects on stress and on memory.

“Principles of Addiction: Comprehensive Addictive Behaviors and Disorders, Volume 1” by Peter M. Miller
from Principles of Addiction: Comprehensive Addictive Behaviors and Disorders, Volume 1
by Peter M. Miller
Elsevier Science, 2013

Other studies have demonstrated that repairing the brain can require a year or two of sobriety, and some damage may be permanent.

“Love First: A Family's Guide to Intervention” by Jeff Jay, Debra Jay, George McGovern
from Love First: A Family’s Guide to Intervention
by Jeff Jay, Debra Jay, George McGovern
Hazelden Publishing, 2010

Brain damage from chronic alcohol abuse can eventually lead to memory and concentration problems, confusion, and apathy (Stavro, Pelletier, & Potvin, 2013).

“Lifespan Development: Lives in Context” by Tara L. Kuther
from Lifespan Development: Lives in Context
by Tara L. Kuther
SAGE Publications, 2018

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

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Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
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  • Thanks for the wine example. I hate it when people make excuses like “its good for my heart”. Why dont you talk to your liver for a second? I also hate how this dangerous drug which has killed more than meth and heroin is so socially acceptable. Its crazy…

  • As a 65 yesr old career addict I am so relieved to learn this.. I’ve been tapering suboxone sfter 20 years of opioids and now stepping down to.5 mg day, I am anxious to get past the fatigue and insomnia and depression of paws to heal my brain and be free again.
    Grateful for the encouragement!

  • Drugs have destroyed my brain n made me feel numb to normal human feeling n emotion, sometimes a might find something funny for a split second then like a light being switched off in my head a go straight back into darkness n feel even worse than a did b4 a laughed for a second. But i started way to young with weed, a was on heroin by 14 methadone n benzo’s for about 12 year am 35 now and only just finished with it a all afew months ago, even tho all physical pain gon my brain just feels scramble all time, worst thing is trying to connect with other ppl or even talk to them, so a just stay in house on myself allday

  • Ah shit now i see why alcohol is 21+ in america
    I live in Switzerland and when your 16 you go out and drink a lot of alcohol..
    Im 17 and i cant even count how many times i have thrown up because of alcohol..
    Thats pretty bad..

  • I’ve always been a regular drinker, sometimes consuming 3-4 drinks per week, and usually gin or tequila. After the holidays, I decided to do “dry January” and as I post this I’m on day 31 and feel awesome. Better sleep, more energy, more mental focus, loosing weight and much better workout performance at the gym. I’d recommend to anyone, you won’t be sorry!

  • I’m an addict and I can’t stand when people that don’t do nothing don’t understand us you think he was do but you really don’t you read that book you were on the internet

  • Interesting to see the mechanics behind the topic. As a child of addicted parents and environments, I often wonder what set me apart from the family traditions of smoking and drinking. I do have PTSD from childhood trauma and working toward recovery from that has taught me that it is a managed condition. It’s just a guess, but it seems so is addiction recovery. Also a guess, other brain injury/conditions probably are the same. Mind and body are only 2 health factor in a jangly mobile in motion.

  • Propaganda, people! Who the fuck wants their business hung out to dry for all to see? Besides, Whitney Houston would be nothing but an insignificant number were she you or me. Celebrities are truly an exception and not a rule for any of these OD’s or deaths, cases of using, etc. Because this happened to her does not mean it happens as a rule then to the rest of us! that goes for anything.

  • I don’t smoke, quit smoking pot 28 yrs ago, always hared tobacco. I drink in moderation, quit binge drinking 28 yrs ago. People who drink laugh more often. I don’t eat a lot of beef, I’m at a very good weight. Not going abstinent.

  • I ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ that there is a strong focus on the neurobiology of addiction and even more that you’re making it accessible to everyone through your YouTube videos. I do have a question though. When I hear/say the phrase “once an addict, always an addict I usually think about how quickly old neuropathways reactivate If a relapse occurs. I don’t think of it meaning the brain doesn’t heal but rather it remembers. Sorta like muscle memory. If the person relapses they typically find themselves doing the same old things very quickly. Are there any videos about that?

  • Very interesting!! In particular, the last part… about cocaine. I would love to know more about nicotine!! Often people wonder about that!!

  • I’ve been struggling forever back and forth
    I’m so warped
    This reality thing I’m not used to it
    I hate going to barbecues and other parties

  • Does that also include prescription drugs that were prescribed to you at a very young age because of ADD ADHD? Or would this only apply to illegal drugs in the sense that they destroy your brain? Or is that any drugs? Thank you for your time!

  • My pain is sharp and constant… My reflection is no connection to myself… I do not wish for a better world for anyone… I want to inflict my pain on to others… This realization has not brought me any closer to understanding myself… As i drink the devil’s piss i can hear him laughing as he spreads his wings…

  • Addiction causes the lower brain or “reptile” part of the brain to become hardwired to seek the drug in  the same way that a persons struggles to come to the surface of water when they are out of breath or to seek out food when hungry or to move your hand from a hot surface.  It has nothing to do with the thinking parts of the brain or most people could set it down.  I cannot speak for some addictions but as far as “the real thing” goes, in all seriousness, even after withdrawal it is literally like grieving for a lost loved one.

  • My hangovers in my 30’s are absolutely brutal….even having 2-4 beers i feel like dog shit the next day. And for what? A few hours of feeling numb….i’m done

  • I give props to this especially being brodcasted but would like to add more accurate info to the piece. That particular diagram is from a heavy cocaine abuser. Most drugs do not surge as much dopamine into the synapses with only heroin comparing and amphetamine then meth being the strongest of all.

    3 years is not even remotely close to cookie cutter average time to recover from “all drugs” this coming from a just quit fully 4 months ago meth user(used for about a year not daily). And mostly stoner keep ur chin up peeps. Time and effort will change everything and only one you can control so do the most with it and time will only help stabilize it

    : Just a good side note most drugs users even heroin/meth will recover notably in 6 months. The amount of recovery being dependent on dose/ frequency of said drug

  • I know everyone will say something to this, but praying with belief true belief in God will help you. try fasting once you recover fully. try a 21 one day Daniel fast and then move to a 3 day water fast and keep your prayers while doing this. a fast will reset your mind set and give you the strength to keep away from alcohol. But in all have faith in God and you will get there. its not easy I know but don’t despair.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vztmQQL7Hf8  

    Here is my new app which is scientifically proven to be the most effective psychological approach available worldwide to treat addictions and stress. 


     The Emotional Core Therapy App is now free in the App Store. Just search for “ ECT app” as it was launched today. The ECT App allows one to process nearly all situational stress one feels. This includes addictions, depression,anxiety,anger issues, couple and marital problems, sports psychology, etc. One can even monitor one’s emotional stress level from physical ailments such as cancer, back ailments, Covid-19, etc. The App has free links to my book, video,and journal articles which can also be used as teaching tools.


    ECT featured on the Dr Zeine show

  • Precisely!!! Tolerance to the substance, the numbness…

    Always needing more and more, but not to achieve higher levels, but just to get the same amount that used to, and do calm down the tension the anxiety the craving…

    All in just simple brain scan…

    That would explain why some of those Asian’s religious statues have those “high” faces… Hehehe


  • Thank you. I love your video. I am almost 68 yrs. old and have always believed there is NO negative to being a non-drinker. Other then one time on my 21st birthday in the military, I have abstained from alcohol of any type. I saw the dark side of it until my father split for good when I was 12. I’ve also lost friends killed by drunk drivers.

    As a teacher, and having worked with young people in different settings, I have always told them that anyone that tries to encourage you to do something that can harm you in any way, shape, or form, is NOT your friend. Real friends don’t do that. I can tell you about peer pressure, but that’s a different topic.

    Yes, I know it’s legal, so rock on if you so choose to, but you are in denial if you think drinking alcohol is actually a good thing or is healthy. Finally, I’ve never met a doctor who has recommended drinking alcohol to improve my health.

    Thanks again Dr. Robbins from someone who has been counterculture in this area my entire life. I apologize for the length of my post. I just love how you call a spade a spade. You don’t have to be gifted to understand where you are coming from.

  • Great video, this deserves the views it is getting. I have quit for six weeks now and it is life-changing, thank you for getting the word out!

  • Your Brain Is Like An Organism

    Your On Your Phone 24.7
    Everyday Your Brain adapts To This
    Like A Natural Resource Or Habitat.
    At This Point If You Don’t Have Your Phone And It’s Taken Away By A Teacher Just Like That Japanese Student Who Literally Killed His Teacher for His Phone Back You Might Do The Same If To Far Gone
    Or You Will Belly-Ace And Start Acting Melodramatic Possibly Disrespecting The Teacher Or Physical Like You Flip A Desk Over And You Are In Highschool 16 Or Older If You Are This Person Clearly You Are Not Making The American School System’s Reputation Any Better.

  • I can’t stop.. and I think I have damagd my brain by now. A schizophrenia, aggresive behavior begins when im really drunk. I hate myself for it.. so ashamed. I need therapy

  • this is very very vague. addiction doesn’t need a substance to happen; things such as  using your phone or playing a video game can cause addiction.

  • Don’t we all possess the “addiction gene” to some extent?  It used to be our survival method which has now been recognized at the “Brain reward pathway” and proper #dopamine #brain function can be achieved through the ability to experience reward benefits from normal activities  http://vniinc.com/productDetails.jsp?id=17909&dealerName=live 

  • I’ve been a heavy marijuana smoker for over 10 years, I don’t do hard drugs. I quit for a whole month then relapsed. I can overcome this addiction, wish me luck

  • Can you just get straight to the point and than give your opinion on what you’re talking about. You were talking a bit too much about you think in the start. That would confuse people and i think this is really good information.

  • My doctor gave me 30 gradual seizures 4mg of Xanax a day with to 30mg 2 times from 14 untill 20. Now I’m on gabs klonapin adderall kratom nicotine drinking and weed yay….. all I gotta say it’s better then when I was on Xanax

  • mem tell us plz how to recover some tips plzi was using mariuana to last 5 years plz help me to i want my brains all capabilities back

  • Hey thanks for this! I’ve decided to do a dry January maybe longer and it’s now week 3 and I am so exhausted!! It’s happened before when I’ve quit for a month or so. Clearly I’ve done a lot of damage to my body and brain �� maybe I should try and go longer

  • Alcohol was never fun…..i dont like it.
    I just was looking for some fun….never got it.
    Its a chemical…..not a drug.
    Liquid vs dry.
    Dry good….drug.
    Alcohol is a form of liquid sugar.
    One dealt or made the crap was known as a sorcerer……..Sucrose.
    Candyman….rock candy. A jagger.
    Sucrose and hypocalemia.

  • There is an herbal suppliment called kratom that has helped a lot of people with chronic pain and opiate addiction. Not an opiate but it somehow blocks pain receptors in a similar manner without physical addiction. I don’t get high off it but it helps with energy and pain and is also used to ease opiate withdrawals. Still legal in most States and can be purchased on web and alot of smoke shack type stores. Definitely worth reseaching and trying.

  • That is the same as a person who has been born with animea low sugar in the blood with mean the person has to take in sugar to bring their levels up or they can go into confussion.. it can cause the person loose their energy.T o keep the person from being felt drain sugar would be given to that person. levels under 98 is not a good reading if it continue to drop the person can slip in to a some what comma possibility to die.

  • Your Brain Is Like An Ecosystem.
    Your BRAIN-cells are the Population

    If You Waste Your Time On Tik-Tok Or Other Class Clown Resources You Are Deliberately Killing Off Half The Species That Are Your Brain Cells They Live To Co-Respond And Cooperate Just Like The Nervous System Sends Signals To Your Brain A.K.A. Your Brain Cells.

  • I couldn’t get past the 2-minute mark before the heavy breathing and shit presentation got on my nerves. If you can’t walk without losing your breath, stop, spit out what you want to say and let’s get on with life. This was torture

  • There is no “Cure” for the disease of Addiction. It is a mental, physical and spiritual disease. When you stop using drugs or drinking alcohol you cannot start again. If you do it will be like you never stopped and it will get worst. The fatal progression of the addiction disease never stops. It is the only disease that tells you don’t have a disease. Total abstinence for the rest of your life is the only way to survive.

  • 1: medication addictions? How pharmacy the harmacy telling spreading lies & get rich by your insecure moods! Get awake or eat pills addictions get sickly!

  • Alcohol is a vile drug that will ruin your soul, your body, and your mind. And what sucks even more is that it is a progressive process. It really is the worst thing for you.

  • It would be great to see you follow this up with a Dopamine Fasting/Detox video… Particularly linking it to how it can change the brain of an addict ��❤

  • Man the holidays are so much better since I’ve been sober. Everything is better. My relationships with my loved ones are amazing. I’m in shape, my house is clean. I love the control you have. I have control over my behavior, how I feel in the mornings, the things I say and do. You can look any person in the eye and mean every word you say. The guilt and shame were big for me. No more of that. I hope you’re still sober my man. God bless ya brother.

  • All your degrees don’t make u understand addiction. He’s leaving out the most important reason you can’t stop… YOURE SEVERELY CHEMICALLY DEPRESSED WITH PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT EACH AND EVERY TIME U RUN OUT. Don’t even mention sugar or cigarettes. Those are nothing

  • Notice all the scum bag recovery comments on here from “the Malibu recovery “….Those places don’t give a “f” about you….You need to take out a second mortgage on your house if God forbid you or one of your kids have a drug problem….Shame on those POS places….Detox at home, if it’s alcohol then you need a rehab…Drugs do it at home and STAY OUT OF THOSE PLACES THAT COST MY COUSIN 22,000 DOLLARS…..Have your GF or BF give you a massage everyday and save thousands…,Those places are criminal….Like the place in Hawaii, where the owner was an ex addict now he is a greedy loser who fills his pockets with cash and leaves people broke and in debt….Scumbags….My rehab I’m going to open will be for anyone…There will be a no turn away anyone policy, regardless of their $$$…I’ll sleep well at night, and know I contributed to society….

  • The beginning statements about dopamine are totally false. Dopamine does not make u feel better. They have proved this again and again.. They actually teach this now at the state IDRC centers for DUI treatment in the state of New Jersey. Dopamine only carries a message to your brain receptors, simply stating “ hey this will make you feel really good.” It plays no actual role in the area of euphoria itself. Say to someone who has a drug problem. Walmart is giving away free ipods and this person sees the sign at the mall about walmart giving away the free ipods. He just happens to be at the mall that day where they have a walmart across the street. Now Dopamine and “that message being flashed to your brains ability to think before one acts” yeah that, dopamine aka message, overrides the system completely causing that message to go before all other messages and cause you not think how you normally would. Now someone who does drugs over a period of time learns that this message being flashed is the be all end all message. My point is that dopamine is just a message. Can you think, before and after. I bet it comes down to ones ability to rationalize.

  • Ok its not quite this simple.cause in addition substances like opiates and nocotine grow own receptors in brain so even if got dopamine required in abundance youd still suffer addiction/withdawl without the opiate or nicotine etc regardless of how much dopamine u had flowin thru brain…if was this simple then addiction would be easy as pie to cure all wed have to do is give a nonnarcitic med that jqcked up the hell outta dopamine production!! And poof! Addictiond be cured, so its oversimplifying and being misused, the important thing to take from this vids data is that addicts are not.just choosin or want to be on drug theres a bio physical literal very real shit goin down and actual physical brain need for it and it aint matter of just happy or depressed the lack of drug dont just make addict sad or depressed or lack of joy.if that was all addicts would all be clean lol but imqgine the most pain youve ever had bein in whole.body from head to.toe to back to u name it and then add worst miserable flu and food poisoning youve ever hqd sickness and pain severe severe sickness and pain not sadness or lack of joy is what addict in withdrawl experiences.there shouldnt be anything but compassion for addicts and this vid is showin u its much much more then just the user bein selfish stubbornand enjoying bein high, addicts dont use to get hi or for pleasure or cause feels good, they use so do not SUFFER IN PAIN AND HORRIFIC SICKNESS if u were in bed in pain sick pukin and spraying mud out ass worst vomit n diafreah your entire life and absolute agany for month without something youd not stop takin it either. So have compassi n not disdain for addicts it isnt a choice for.them to use anymore then its choice for.fags to want to suck dick. Its in their bio physical brain and they sickand in horrible.pain and illness for.very very very long time when do not have opiates or whatever addictex to

  • That’s odd. I was once an addict, but I quit and haven’t had any temptation to relapse. Just for the record, I’m nearly 2 years clean and counting.

  • Forgot to mention at the end of the video about the possibility of accelerated healing due to the sound therapy. My video covering that can be found at https://youtu.be/DmS8_zMZEhE I feel it helps me, its not like you actively notice these changes occurring everyday, but at the same time I kind of do. I feel better, I have become more motivated and active and look forward to doing things rather than simply sitting around daydreaming about drinking next.

  • This is so true! Once you are clean for awhile it is the memory that makes ppl go back! If we could erase those memories and how we felt in active addiction it would be so much easier to quit for good!

  • This is ridiculous, if you think about it the nerve impulses the synapses, and the Dopamine, in your brain don’t get bigger, so who cares if one opioid receptor gets triggered, there’s still millions more in your body. Please, please don’t pander into this crap about addiction. Sure there are people who are addicted in this world, but human morals are stronger than drugs, and if you don’t believe me, which you don’t have to, please follow the science and statistics, and don’t let your mind be prisoner, to the thought the a simple chemical substance is evil, thank you!

  • Mike you are a wonder. And at 113 days sober may I mention that I went through the memory thing? Had a sharp memory on booze (no, really, names and places, movie titles, book authors, etc.) and that dropped off fast in the first month of sobriety. BUT, it is now returning, and keeps improving by the week. Hang in there to anyone who is going through it! Your experience could be even better than mine.

  • What about non-chemical addictions, such as thinking about sex and watching pornography too often, being on the internet all the time, watching too much sports or even feeling a compulsion to listen to loud rock and roll music all the time?

  • Great info here, but the brain can change, it is always changing. New neurons have been shown to grow in adult mammals and humans. This is covered in much more detail on the Truth of Addiction website. You should check it out