Memory problems possibly related to alcohol abuse and stress


Q: From all the research I did, I concluded that I probably had a TIA a few years ago (like 6). I was wondering if maybe you could help confirm it. Basically I went to bed, and then the next morning I woke up and I didn't realize things were different but I couldn't even cook eggs. I thought there was something wrong with the pan. But thing is, I had been cooking eggs almost ever day for many years simultaneously, and I made some awesome-tasting eggs. That is why I thought it was a problem with the pan. But later I started to realize that I had severe memory loss. I couldn't remember basic things, and then I started to realize that I had a severe speech slurring problem. I have always been really smart, and one quirky thing about me was that I always spoke with such articulation that it sounded odd. But that was gone, and I could hardly form sentences. Additionally, I found myself unable to remember simple common words which I used to use all the time. It was like there were holes or gaps in my mind. Slowly I started to grasp the extent of my ailment. Even now, occasionally I'll slur words or have trouble remembering simple things like my best friend's name, or even simple, common three or four letter words. Note that I had a college reading level in elementary school, and have always been highly literate. So, this was exceptionally unusual, and only started happening after that one night. I had never before had a problem with my memory - in fact, I have what is called an "eidetic memory", also known as photographic. Anyways, I started taking Huperzine-A and Ginkgo Biloba and Vinpocetine and number of other herbal remedies, and that seemed to help. However, since I self-diagnosed myself, I was wondering if you could confirm that this was a TIA or maybe it was something else? I had not had any head trauma that night, so it couldn't be that. One more thing to note is that I was going through a severely stressful time caused by trying to, as an orphan, try to reconnect with my evil abusive adoption family, desperate for some human connection -- but it went terribly wrong. So that night I also drank tons of alcohol and got completely wasted (but I also drank tons and tons of water, conscious of the detrimental effects of alcohol on the body), and one more notable thing -- I used to take Melatonin (1mg) on occasion to help me sleep. That night, however, distraught and kind of out of my mind with alcohol, before going to sleep I took 20 1mg melatonin tablets. A couple years later I read that there are detrimental effects of alcohol and melatonin - but I had in the past taken up to 10 melatonin (without alcohol) at once without any detrimental effects. In fact, during clinical trials of melatonin, researchers gave subjects as much as 3,000mg of melatonin in a simple dose, regularly every night, with no detrimental effects. All these factors, I do not know how to sort everything out. Hope you can help.


A:    Young people who binge drink is at serious risk of brain damage in the present and memory loss later on in the adulthood. Some researchers consider that the young brain, is “a work in progress” and for this reason  is more susceptible to the neurotoxic effect of alcohol than the adult brain; also the alcohol impairs the activity of the memory and learning brain receptors. Experimentally it has been found that when large amounts of alcohol are consumed there is delay puberty in females and males. The alcohol, also may disrupt the  brain’s ability to learn life skills, problem solving, verbal and non-verbal retrieval, visuospatial skills and working memory. I also suggest that you stop taking so many herbal remedies that may be interacting to cause the symptoms that you have described, instead  try other techniques as meditation, yoga or Tai chi to manage stress.

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