# Alcohol and Memory Loss

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the liver function is least active from miday onwards, and picks up again in the evening. youll get drunker faster drinking at lunchtime, than you would at night

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Glider, thanks for the reply. It is scary to see someone with that kind of memory loss. We had a hell of a time "child-proofing" the house - dad would pick up a bottle of any kind of liquid and drink it if he weren't stopped. At one point, he managed to drink a weak detergent solution - when mom found out what he'd done she trucked him off to the ER. When I arrived, his surroundings looked like a demented version of the Lawrence Welk show. He was puking soap bubbles. He'd urp, then say, "Why am I puking bubbles?" "Because you drank soap, dad." Five minutes later, he'd vomit some more and ask the same question and get the same reply. Broken record syndrome.

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wowsers. That is my worst fear.

Ever seen that movie Momento?

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He was puking soap bubbles. He'd urp, then say, "Why am I puking bubbles?" "Because you drank soap, dad." Five minutes later, he'd vomit some more and ask the same question and get the same reply.

its all good clean fun )

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...if I hadn't been able to laugh about the weird things he did, I would have gone crackers.

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the liver function is least active from miday onwards, and picks up again in the evening. you`ll get drunker faster drinking at lunchtime, than you would at night

That explaines alot of mysteries ! Thanks man!!

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Hypnosis: It could work.

As a matter of fact I tried it once. A friend of mine is studying psychology, got also trained in the field of hypnosis.

One day there was a party at which I kind of lost the control over myself, due to the alc. You all made the experience, next morning I didn't remember anything, all was gone.

A friend of mine told me a few things I couldn't really believe, thought he was kiddn me or something. But all guys I met who were at the party, were acting a little bit akward in my presence.

So I asked the friend of mine, the psychologist to try his stuff with me, I had to know everything.

Well, one thing is for sure: Now I don't really know execatelly what I did, but I know if it's true what people say to me I did, I have a certain feeling I didn't have before.

Good luck to all guys in this freaky situation!!

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Alcohol is a supressive. It supresses neural function.

Actually, alcohol is classed as a depressant drug. That is, it slows down bodily functions. It does this by means of being an invasive chemical. The OH- radical that it carries, destroys living tissue on contact (why it is a good disinfectant). Also, as a potent solvent, it affects all the subtler effects of more complex neurochemicals and even combines or alters other drugs in the system (synergistic effect). It even disolves water, fats & oils, which is why it is a physical "drying agent" and how it passes through organic membranes so easily. And, looking at its physical properties, you can see that within a warm blooded body, at any given time, most of it is disolved in a gaseous state. Precisely why it affects the brain from the top down on a global basis (where the greatest concentrations coalesce). It is estimated that a "good" drunk, whatever that is, kills about 10,000 brain cells. Fortunately, most of our vital functions are controlled in the lower, more primitive parts.

On a plus side, since alcohol is water soluble, it is quickly metabolized and byproducts "flushed out" within 72 hrs. of ingestion. All the above are acute effects. On long term, possible neural toxin effects, you mention Korsakoffs but not Werneke's, and there are other forms of alcohol induced dementia and post acute withdrawal symptoms that may mimic other psychoses.

However, this entire thread is missing one crucial bit of information... The so-called "blackout" phenomenon has long been (1950) an early warning sign of alcoholism. Other social drinkers don't report it with any frequency, regardless of how much they drink. And, alcoholics have them essentially all the time, even with very little amounts of alcohol. Acute memory loss after drinking is a sign of alcoholism.

The theory is in part what you describe - faulty storage of long term memory. But the mechanism is not alcohol per se, but a store of a pseudo neurochemical that is produced by an anomalie in the alcoholic's metabolism which allows a breakdown product (acetaldehyde) to combine with free floating dopamine. This substance in turn, soluble in alcohol, which when re-introduced to the body floods the neural receptors (similar to cocaine). The immediate craving and, quickly, loss of memory retention are both effects of the same process. The effect of this anomolus chemical can actually overcome the depressant effects of alcohol, in higher concentrations, and thus the apparent "stimulant" effect when others would have passed out.

As well, this research (1985) has lead to a genetic pre-determinate of alcoholism in the Dopamine2 Receptor gene. Formerly, it has been known that 85% of all alcoholics have at least one alcoholic parent, and that alcoholism is 50/50 dominant in determining genetic predisposition as per Mendelev.

context sensitive learning
or the environmental associations or cues we make with the substance of our learning... seeking experience in many contexts (ie. practice) to re-enforce or broaden our "memory" or range of application of that learning - to our knowledge. And, there is a theory called State Induced Learning, which posits that amount of recall is dependant upon the similar internal state. This has been noted with chronic marijuana users. However, smoking a dube before Exams, was of no help either. Because there are so many variables.

Lastly, on general terms. Alcoholism only occurs in about 10% of the population. That is why it is not considered an addictive drug. Yet people insist upon extrapolating their individual drinking experience to all persons, as if it were universal. Would we do the same for someone with an allergy to peanut oil?

Consider the most common reasons for sudden memory loss... Shock or Trauma. Essential repression as a defensive mechanism. Because of its toxic nature, alcohol can cause shock to the body. And, because of how it affects the senses and/or our loss of inhibition or judgement, alcohol makes people more vulnerable to trauma.

However, given a causative effect the "memory" can be adduced and, since the whole memory itself was repressed it can emerge sometime later, when that mechanism is weakened and/or the unconcious memory itself becomes intensified in relation to current experience or "triggers". No such historical process (ie. psychic cause/effect) is apparent in alcoholic blackouts.

But, there remains the desire to see one's self within a "normal" context and to interpret such experience that way by minimizing its significance. After all, 90% of the population aren't alcoholic. I don't want to be one!

The fact remains: memory blackouts under the influence of alcohol is an early sign of the disease and should seek professional help to verify, rather than being shrugged off as some kind of "normal". If it were blood in our urine, we would seek help immediately. This symptom is just as reliable!

"Have you ever had a complete loss of memory, as a result of drinking?" - John Hopkins University, 20 Questions (1960), were 3 or more is positive diagnosis.

Thanks again. It deserves another look.

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Am curious how one would distinguish, if possible, between retrograde amnesia and failure to encode memories to start with

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Failure to encode new memories is anterograde amnesia. This is characterised by being able remember your youth, and all events prior to the injury/illness that resulted in the condition, but an inability to recall events ocurring a few minutes ago.

Retrograde amnesia is characterised by an inability to recall your past, or memories that existed prior to the illenss/injury that resulted in the condition, but a normal ability to form new memories.

Thus, people with retrograde amnesia won't remember events from years ago, but will remember you if you leave the room and re-enter 15 minutes later. By contrast, people with anterograde amnesia will remember events from years ago, but will not remember you if you leave the room and re-enter 15 minutes later.

Alzheimer's is characterised by the anterograde form of amnesia.

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Thanks for the distinctions, but am trying to figure the past makes me ask

I have rather poor memory, especially for personal events though factual recall can be unreliable or not available on demand. Most striking example for me is can't come up with more than a dozen memories that took place on school grounds for the first 5 1/2 years, and am being very liberal in what I consider a memory.

Certainly was aware enough to get through my school days, but have reasons to think they may not have formed terribly well to start with, a hazard perhaps of living in the present, and I do not remember remembering them, but also took a good knock to the head (jumped off a train and smacked it on the pavement) so head injury is a possibility too

Not meaning to go into my particular situation though of course so I can think on it is why am asking, I can understand if you have a starting point how one could distinguish, but was wondering if there was some way to distinguish after the fact if the memories are due to some sort of amnesia or just never quite formed to start with

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Not really. You are talking about distinguishing between not remembering something you learned, and not remembering something you never learned. The former is amnesia, the latter isn't.

How you, as the individual concerned could tell the difference, there is no way. For example, how, if you can't remember, how do you know you that you ever knew what it is you are trying to remember in the first place?

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I realize the need for some sort of outside reference, and was not asking how the individual himself could tell (though if I could remember either remembering or forgetting might help)

Did not think it likely, but still thought to ask if there were other means or tests however.

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Glider said:

"You are talking about distinguishing between not remembering something you learned, and not remembering something you never learned. The former is amnesia, the latter isn't."

I finally figured out what didn't make sense here

I thought the full answer basically addressed the question of the need for some outside standard, which I had already known but was asking if there was one, and took it as a negative

Personally think (actually know, though do not know the details) a pure distinction between failure to learn/forgetting not the only choices, and had hoped an answer might get into more of that

But what am coming back here for is because finally figured out what had confused me in the above. Is "learning" as such applied to episodic memory? Not to get bogged down in semantics, and I think I can see a case for it, but am also not sure how you mean it

Not sure this will clarify. I know I had friends who went to the same schools and can recall instances of talking to them off school grounds, but (with very rare exception, two or three at most) not on school grounds or any image of their being on school grounds (not surprising given the limited number of on school grounds memories I have)

That is more what am referring to, and not sure I would use the term "I learned" I talked to friends at school for that sort of thing, but could easily be missing something

May be minor here, but added to my confusion, and having identified why thought to mention. And hoping clarification might follow

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The term 'learning' does imply some deliberate intent and so, in many cases is not an appropriate term. 'Encoding' is a better one, the non-volitional formation of memories resulting simply from perceiving. Episodic, or 'flashbulb' memories are not formed deliberately (i.e. learned, per se), but are formed unconsciously due to perceiving events under specific/heightened emotional states. It is thought that in these cases, the emotional state acts as a signal that the currant events are important and the intensity aids encoding.

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The term 'learning' does imply some deliberate intent and so, in many cases is not an appropriate term. 'Encoding' is a better one, the non-volitional formation of memories resulting simply from perceiving. Episodic, or 'flashbulb' memories are not formed deliberately (i.e. learned, per se), but are formed unconsciously due to perceiving events under specific/heightened emotional states. It is thought that in these cases, the emotional state acts as a signal that the currant events are important and the intensity aids encoding.

Learning or encoding is not necessarily always conscious, it can also be implicit.

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Yes. That would be covered by "...the non-volitional formation of memories resulting simply from perceiving." bit.

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I found this discussion via Google while searching for an answer to something that's has been bothering me for some time...

Last year I suddenly remembered an incident where I was raped while I was intoxicated 5 years prior, I had passed out due to excessive alcohol consumption and was raped but didn't remember it at all until five years later. I'm coming to terms with it, but I cant help wondering if that was a suppressed memory caused by the alcohol or was it due to myself blocking it out due to the nature of the incident. It doesn't sound like a typical alcohol induced blackout situation as far as I can tell, could it have been both perhaps?

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It could easily have been both, yes. The blurring of perception due to the alcohol, plus the traumatic nature of the event, could both have contributed to a kind of learning suppression/memory repression effect. As you have recalled the incident, it is clear that encoding (to some degree) took place.

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hey everyone....

i had a head injury a couple of years ago, memory loss blah blah...my neurologist asked me whether I drank alcohol, and I said no, because I didn't. I'm curious what the effect of it would be if I did though? Net reserach doesn't seem to cover things...

any one able to help?

k

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The only really cool thing I find about drinking is the fact that I fall asleep much quicker. I have a hard time falling asleep normally, its a function of my mind being mad hypersensitive. When i get really drunk i generally pass out quickly, and its usually on a good note. If I pass out in the wrong place, one of my good friends usually picks me up and puts me on a couch and tilts my head towards the ground.

But anyway to the point at hand, I myself also wonder why I cannot remember certain events, or more commonly, the clarity of such events. Perhaps the brain toxicity of Alcohol should be re-defined.

Any thoughts??

~Steve

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Hi everyone,

Sorry to dig up an old thread, but I didn't think it was worth starting a new one on the same topic.

Basically my first post is a plee for help from anyone out there who may be able to help me. I am a science student at the University of Western Australia and I am doing research into the effects of alcohol and memory and memory impairments. The problem arises from the fact that before we can actually start our research we have to do a review of current empirical research. I have got a fairly wide topic although I am hoping to centre in on blackouts and prospective memory impairments.

Now what that actual problem is: I am having a great deal of difficulty finding people's experiments and research into the area, i have no difficulty finding other peoples reviews or news articles and the like but there is next to nothing on studies that take you throught the methodology, results discussion etc. The only places that I have been able to find relevent literature from are journal sites that have ridiculous fees to access the articles that I can't afford nor are prepared to pay!

So my plee: if anyone has done research into this topic, knows someone who has, or knows of any web based material that is free to access please please please pm me or make a post. You would have my eternal gratitute

Hope that wasn't too bad for a first post

edit: I am going offline now as it is past midnight my time, but i plan to visit these forums quite frequently now that i have found them, seems to be many interesting topics up for discussion

edit again: I have been reading abstracts of and reviews of some articles on alcoholic rats and the damage to the hippocampus if anyone knows where to gain access to the full text of this as well..

wow i am asking a lot aren't i - sorry!

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well thanks to anyone who read my post i managed to get free access to a whole heap of sites, so now i have over 25 articles which was the miniumum

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I've been reading what you guys say and you seem to know quite a bit about why the brain does what it does. That does make sense I dont remember things cuz I simply am not thinking about them enough(storing them). I am 19 years old and have blacked out well over 30 times. Of course I regret it every time. I normally get a bottle and share it with one friend. so I have about 10 shots and im drunk and laughing and I am the life of the party. . . I mean everyone is laughing and having fun. Then 6 hours later I wake up... and only have a sense of sadness and oh shit. It will normally start with me cussing out whoever im with, trying to hit any of my friends, saying the sickest things That I HAVE Seriously NEVER thought of sober. and just making everyone think im a pyscho. I will call up someone i havent seen in 2 years and cuss him out and say thought-out things. then the next minute people say i will cry and cry. my question: Since I never think of just about ANY of the things i say blacked out sober, why do they all come out blacked out?? (the thing i can think of is i just purposley think up evil things and say them... which anyone can do that.. but it has to be more.) thanks for any replies.

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