Binge drinkers tend to forget the negative aspects of getting drunk and focus on the pleasant memories, which may help explain why they continue to drink despite instances where they get sick, black out, or have other problems.
The Independent reported that Theodora Duka, a researcher from Sussex University, said that studies show that alcohol affects memory selectively, and that many binge drinkers don’t remember the worst aspects of their drinking experiences.
“The effects of alcohol on mood are known contributors to its use and abuse. It is less known how its effects on memory and inhibitory control add to alcohol being and addictive drug,” said Duka. “Material acquired in an intoxicated state is less effectively retrieved in a sober state. Thus people who abuse alcohol forget the consequences of intoxication during periods of abstinence.”
Studies show that memory degrades significantly as alcohol builds up in the body. Experts say that relatively little is known about the impact of alcohol on memory, but believe that it could be one of the most important aspects of addiction.
“The effect of alcohol to weaken control processes intuitively appears to be the most important contributor to the development of alcohol addiction, since alcohol addiction is perceived to be an inability to control drinking,” Duka said. “Alcohol facilitates memories for emotional events experienced before intoxication — mostly positive — and impairs memories for emotional events experienced after intoxication — often negative — biasing memory to positive effects of alcohol, and support [for] further drinking.”
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