A recent study has shown that alcohol abuse affects memory, and that alcohol and memory impairment are linked. Current recommendations for alcohol use make it clear that a drink on occasion may not be harmful, and the right drink infrequently can even have a protective benefit. Anyone who has issues with alcohol abuse is at a higher risk for memory problems as they age though. Adults who are middle aged may raise their risk of memory impairment by as much as 50% or even more when they get older. According to the lead author for the study, University of Exeter Medical School in England researched Dr. Iain Lang, stated “We already know there is an association between dementia risk and levels of current alcohol consumption — that understanding is based on asking older people how much they drink and then observing whether they develop problems.”
Findings from this study on alcohol abuse and on alcohol and memory impairment show that even moderate drinking on a regular basis during the younger years can impact memory as you age. Dr. Lang went on to say that “What we did here is investigate the relatively unknown association between having a drinking problem at any point in life and experiencing problems with memory later in life.” The study does not show a proven cause and effect, but it does raise additional questions and shows the need for further research on alcohol abuse and alcohol and memory impairment. This type of substance abuse affects millions of Canadians and Americans every single year, and the medical costs involved with memory impairment in older individuals can be enormous.