Drug abuse can have a devastating effect on a person’s personal life as well as their physical well-being. Repeated abuse of alcohol and other drugs can cause damage to essential functions in the body, especially in the brain. Addicts who have been abusing drugs for many years often experience memory loss and other problems with their cognitive functioning.
Hundreds of studies show a significant link between substance abuse and memory loss which as a result affects things like learning, language and comprehension. When a person experiences a blackout during alcohol or drug use, for example, it prevents the brain from completing the process of forming memories. Persistent drug use can cause not only issues with recalling recent events but also long term memory loss.
Drug use affects the hippocampus which is essentially the brain’s memory-storage system. Someone who becomes heavily dependent on drugs like alcohol will start to see long-lasting effects to their memory and brain function. They may begin to struggle with learning new things and have trouble recalling details such as birthdays and other important dates.
In some of the worst cases of addiction, people can develop serious brain damage leading conditions such as dementia. This typically occurs with excessive drinking over a long period of time and deals with issues of memory, learning and cognitive skills. Alcoholic dementia is a serious condition that is difficult and nearly impossible to reverse in some cases.
For people that are struggling with an addiction and are starting to experience some memory loss it is crucial to quit so that they can reverse some of the damage to their brain. Once sober, most addicts can start to see their cognitive function improve gradually over time. Getting treatment can help prevent further substance abuse from damaging memory and learning beyond repair.