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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: College Drinking and Permanent Impairment

 arrot - Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:44 am

Hello, I am a 19 year old male who is a freshman in college. I had never consumed alcohol prior to attending college, and during my first semester engaged in weekend binge drinking during most weekends. This often resulted in drinking to the point of vommitting once or twice a weekend, and of course, frequent memory blackouts concerning the night before. Since then, I have totally abstained from further alcohol consumption and intend to keep doing so. I am concerned with any permanent effects of such extreme drinking during such a period, even as brief as it was. Is it possible that there could be some sort of long lasting cognitive impariment, or that I have experienced reduced problem solving ability as a result? Thank you in advance.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:38 pm

User avatar You ask an excellent question. There is a point at which damage is done. Some studies have shown that low levels of alcohol (such as a glass of wine a night) may have beneficial effects but at some point the negative effects overcome the positive effects.

Alcohol is a depressant, even though people often seem "happy" when drinking. This effect comes from the depression of the functioning "restraint" centers in the brain allowing more "free" activity to occur.

It is difficult to say whether or not you have sustained any permanent damage. Unfortunately only time will tell. If you are functioning well now and do not notice any deficits you are most likely going to escape permanent damage.

You've made a wise choice to avoid binge drinking from here on out. And the public safety message: Any drinking before age 21 in the United States is too much.

Best wishes.


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