Memory and dependence – when addiction causes amnesia

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Behind many instances of memory loss lie addictions, whether to psychoactive substances, or to technology, or a food-related addiction. All forms of dependence, whether physical or emotional, have an effect on our mental state. Each addiction has its own effect, and some are lot nastier than others…

Addiction to psychoactive substances

As we said in our article about psychoactive substances, drug addiction has undesirable effects and is particularly harmful to the user’s intellectual state, not to mention his psychological state.

Excessive consumption of alcohol or any kind of drug can bring on the blackout effect. The next thing may be losing control and being totally unable to remember what may have happened during an evening of drinking too much. Drinking to forget, or taking drugs for the same reason? You may forget your problems during an evening out, but more importantly you forget what should have been a happy and festive occasion. When the brain starts to act by wiping out these memories, it’s high time to stop lying to yourself and drowning your self in substances that can only aggravate the fundamental problem, whether this is loneliness, lack of affection or a traumatic situation.

Addiction to technology

When smart phones make us stupid!

Is there anybody who never uses a smartphone, a Facebook account, a spellchecker or a diary app to remember important dates and phone numbers or to check the exact spelling of a word? However did we manage before the smartphone? Did we have less memory? Certainly not – on the contrary, it worked a lot harder for us!

Technology, which today is practically indispensable to us all, has simplified our daily routine in many ways. However while these objects simplify our lives, they all make our dozing brains dependent on them. We often automatically go looking on the Internet for information that we already have, because it’s easier to press a few keys than to search our own memory. We also tend to focus more on short documents, or even on the images linked with the words!

This addiction to technology makes us forget that we all have the ability to keep our memories up to scratch and efficient. Our brains become … idle?

However let’s not be too negative. Technology can make us dependent on its services, but it only affects us when we’re using it. Also, it means we don’t have to overload our intellectual capacity with information that is best stored in a smartphone, such as your shopping list, for example!

Dietary addictions

Lots of studies suggest that excessively strict diets can cause loss of memory. Primarily this is because when we follow a diet that is not checked by a specialist, the foods we give up may be those which would be most useful for intellectual function.

Also, artificial sweeteners are often used to help a diet, but as suggested by this article in atelier santé  sugar substitutes may be behind worrying symptoms such as major memory loss or even brain tumours.

Artificial sweeteners are present in many “lite” or “diet” products, in chewing gum, in fizzy drinks and also sometimes in places where you would never expect them, such as medicines, so we would advise you to take care in your choice of foods, and get help from a health professional if you really want to diet. Of course the ideal is to eat a healthy and balanced diet using food from known sources. If your budget will stretch to it, organic food is the best option for health, which is beyond price!

Your memory is under fire from all your everyday addictions, big and small. The best thing is to know your limits, and know how to stay within them so you aren’t drawn into a vicious circle of addiction. There’s a lot of truth in the saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. If you know how to look after yourself, you are also looking after your emotional state and not just your looks!


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