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Drinking and memory problems

answered 08:45 AM EST, Mon August 08, 2011
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My husband has been a heavy drinker for his whole life but has always been good at his job. He is in sales and there is a lot of wineing and dining and socializing with clients and unlike most people he is actually expected to go and get drunk at work, if that is what the client wants (not that my husband has much of a problem with this)
I do not think he is an alcoholic but he is very dug into his set ways and he does drink every day. He is always good to me and he is always very responsible though so his drinking has never really been a major issue in our marriage.

Lately though, I have noticed he is having lapses in his memory. He forgets people names, which he never used to do and he seems to sometimes have difficulty keeping his train of thought while talking.

Could the drinking be causing his forgetfulness and if he stops drinking will his memory come back to normal?

Jennifer Hamilton Says...

Jennifer Hamilton J. Hamilton
LCSW, CADC

The alcohol could definitely be causing the memory problems.  If he drinks enough to have a memory blackout, those memories do not get stored at all.  Those are short term memories.  If he is forgetting something that he has known for a long time, that is long-term memory and if that is the case, it may be an indication that he has entered a very scary phase of alcohol use where he is experiencing permanent brain damage.  If he is not an alcoholic, he should be able to set a limit of two alcoholic beverages and stop every time he drinks.  If he cannot do this, he may be an alcoholic.  If you want to tell me which type of memory loss he is experiencing, I can give you more information. 

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Page last updated Aug 08, 2011

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