Does Alcohol Cause Memory Loss?

does alcohol cause memory loss?

Does alcohol cause memory loss? Whether someone goes on a single drinking binge or has developed an addiction to alcohol, drinking can definitely cause memory loss. Memory loss can range from only being able to remember some details to a complete loss of memory during a bout of drinking. This can present a host of physical dangers to those who experience it. Additionally, it can be a clear sign that someone has an addiction and needs professional treatment.

Does Alcohol Cause Memory Loss?

The simple answer to “Does alcohol cause memory loss?” is yes, it can definitely do that. Someone who abuses alcohol, including those who develop an addiction to alcohol, can cause damage to their memory. Consuming copious amounts of alcohol over time can damage brain tissues related to creating and accessing memories. 

Someone experiencing a level of alcohol intoxication that can impact their memory also potentially puts themselves at physical risk. For example, the person may be more likely to do things like drive drunk or have unprotected sex. They also put themselves at a higher risk of becoming a victim of a crime. Sadly, if they do end up becoming victimized, the person may have the inability to remember the details of what happened.

Types of Memory Loss Related to Alcohol Abuse

When asking “Does alcohol cause memory loss?”, the full answer is it can happen in several ways. In fact, three types of memory loss can happen as a result of alcohol abuse. Each one signals at least temporary brain damage, if not permanent. 


The first kind of memory loss happens in the form of brownouts. Brownouts keep a person from remembering portions of the time they spent in a drinking session. They may remember some parts but not others. Often, memory loss proves temporary, allowing the individual to recall the missing portions of the events. This is often prompted by conversations with someone who was present and provides a reminder of what activities happened.


Another type of memory is blackouts, which cause a person not to be able to recall anything about what happened during their drinking session. Blackout memory losses do not resurface after time due to the amount of alcohol consumed. It impacts the ability to make memories and can leave a person completely unaware of what happened over a lengthy amount of time while inebriated. Someone who drinks enough to have repeated blackouts puts themselves in danger of developing brain and nerve damage. As a result, they may have difficulty with the memory process even when not drinking.

Alcohol Dementia:

The third type of memory loss is called alcohol dementia and is quite critical. The effects of chronic alcoholism can cause alcohol dementia to develop. The symptoms are similar to those experienced by people with Alzheimer’s disease. Not only does memory loss occur, but the person may also exercise impaired judgment and have cognitive difficulties. 

How Is Alcohol Addiction Treated?

Alcohol addiction can be treated in a way that helps address why a person began abusing alcohol in the first place. At our alcohol rehab in Tampa, our clients learn how to avoid triggers to relapse and how to live a sober life for good. Treatment for alcohol use disorder begins with going to detox. On average, this step takes five to ten days. It allows the person to release the toxins built up during their addiction and prepares them for the real work that comes from living sober.

After detox, some people transition into a residential program. Partial Hospitalization Programs and Intensive Outpatient Programs can also provide the focused care needed to help someone overcome alcohol addiction. When someone attends outpatient care, they go to sessions that take place during the day. This leaves each person free to still live in their homes. Conversely, they may choose to live in a sober living home until they feel stable enough to return home.

What Types of Therapy Help Treat Alcohol Addiction?

Getting off alcohol is much more than just a case of no longer drinking. Multiple types of therapy can come into play because they prove useful in helping people with substance use disorders. In fact, the more types of therapy modalities employed during treatment for alcohol addiction, the better. Each type offers a person the ability to learn about themselves and their addiction. From there, they can establish healthy new coping skills. Types of therapy commonly used to treat alcoholism include:

Get Help for Alcohol Addiction Today

If you find yourself wondering “Does alcohol cause memory loss?”, you may already suspect you have a problem. Tampa Bay Recovery Center understands how hard it can be to ask for help. We designed our outpatient programs to help people in several stages of overcoming alcohol addiction. Our staff of trained professionals addresses the side effects of alcoholism, including memory loss. We work with each person to help them improve their physical and mental health while enjoying a newly sober life.

For more information about our program, visit our admissions page now. We can answer your questions and help you begin a new life.