Psychologists can also diagnose and treat these “co-occurring” psychological conditions. Further, a psychologist may play an important role in coordinating the services a drinker in treatment receives from various health professionals. Alcohol misuse or alcohol use disorder is a pattern of drinking that can cause harm to a person’s health and social relationships. Drinking too much at one time or on any given day or having too many drinks over the course of a week increases the risk of harmful consequences, including injuries and health problems.

alcoholism and memory loss

Both short- and long-term memory is affected by alcoholic dementia. This means it’s challenging to learn new information and remember things already learned. People who drink daily do not necessarily have alcohol use disorder. And not all who misuse alcohol or have alcohol use disorder drink every day. But heavy drinking, even occasionally, can have harmful effects.

What are signs of alcohol misuse or alcohol use disorder?

They may regain much of their memory and thinking skills, and their ability to do things independently. Drinking too much at one time or on any given day, or having too many drinks over the course of a week, increases the risk of harmful consequences, including injuries and health problems. People who consistently misuse alcohol over time are also at greater risk of developing alcohol use disorder. Sometimes, families, friends, and health care workers may overlook the concerns about older people drinking. This can be the case because the side effects of drinking in older adults are mistaken for other conditions related to aging, for example, a problem with balance.

  • By Buddy T

    Buddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.

  • Alcohol can damage the brain in several different ways, but the most common are the following.
  • The person may not get the right treatment and support, which is why it is important to tell doctors about drinking too much alcohol.
  • Alcohol problems can happen to people from all walks of life at any age, and, each year, millions of people seek help for alcohol problems.

This means that over months and years they have a higher risk of malnutrition, including a lack of vitamins such as thiamine (vitamin B1). Regularly drinking too much alcohol damages blood vessels in a person’s brain and can lead to high blood pressure. Both increase their risk of having a stroke (when the brain does not get enough oxygen and is damaged). Other people with ARBD will have more serious problems with their memory and thinking. Alcohol-related ‘dementia’ or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome will cause them to struggle with day-to-day tasks.

What can happen if a person drinks too much alcohol on a regular basis?

Avoiding alcohol is the best way to treat these conditions and relieve symptoms. The earlier you stop intake, the more likely you are to recover. Alcohol can have significant negative effects on the central nervoussystem (CNS).

If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have alcohol use disorder. However, even a mild disorder can escalate and lead to serious Alcohol tolerance Wikipedia problems, so early treatment is important. It is caused by a person regularly drinking too much alcohol, or binge-drinking, over several years. People who get ARBD are generally aged between about 40 and 50.

The Link Between the Rise in Dementia and Substance Use

In addition to these considerations, older people also tend to take more medications than younger people. These medications can potentially interact with alcohol, which can worsen symptoms. A 2013 study found that an estimated 78 percent of individuals diagnosed with AUD experience changes to the brain.