Actually, to be polite, that should really be, No thanks.
Growing up in this day and age, there are so many crazy and amazing things out there to try and it’s a sure bet that most of you will have suffered from the odd hangover, or been tempted to de-stress using medication, marijuana or herbal substances. It’s really hard to say ‘No, thanks’ but if you are really serious about regrowing and rejuvenating your memory, then ‘No’ it must be.
Your brain is a living, sensitive collection of cells that rely on oxygen and glucose in the blood supply that is pumped to them by a strong, healthy heart. The brain takes 20% of the body’s oxygen supply. Every action we take to improve our heart, brain and blood supply will give our brain and memory a boost. Conversely, damaging life factors will also damage memory
Alcohol has been with us for centuries, and I enjoy a glass of red wine myself on occasions. I’ve heard people boast of alcohol helping them to relax, to sleep and to reduce anxiety. In medical fact, alcohol does quite the opposite. And the effects on memory are nothing short of alarming. Research demonstrated that people who regularly drank more than two glasses of alcohol a day showed decreased performance in memory tests of visual and spatial perception, short-term memory tasks, non-verbal abstract learning, fine motor tasks, abstract and conceptual thinking ability and may even develop more serious psychotic disorders. Dietary deficiencies also arise and the brain becomes deprived of the glucose it vitally needs.
I am always highly amused when smoking marijuana becomes a talk back topic on radio. Invariably, regular marijuana smokers ring in to extol its benefits. Trouble is, they demonstrate by their conversation how hard it is for them to maintain clarity of thought or precision of expression. Marijuana is the enemy of memory, particularly if it has been taken in the early teens or for a prolonged period of years. Dendrites are damaged and the neurotransmitters in the brain are adversely affected by the chemical THC (tetrahydrocannibinol). Short-term memory is clouded, feelings of depression descend and motivation wanes. I know, in extreme cases, marijuana is sometimes used as a medicine, but with long-term use, the brain and memory will inevitably suffer damage.
Some medications cause memory-depressing side effects. I know your doctor will sometimes prescribe specific drugs for you – and of course, you need to get better – but you need to know that some of them can cause memory problems. The drugs that are known to have memory-depressing side effects include anithistamines, antipsychotics, barbiturates, beta-blockers, digitalis, glaucoma eye drops, incontinence medications, painkillers and sleeping pills. If the prescription time is short, your memory will recover once the medication is out of your system; however, seriously discuss prolonged use with your doctor. If you have experienced a sudden memory loss, think back to see if any of the foregoing list might be the cause.
Anything I might say about the harmful effects of smoking on your memory, has already been said many times. If you can, quit. Smoking will restrict the blood flow and the vital source of oxygen you need in the brain will be minimized. For your brain to be healthy, alert and youthful, it needs all the oxygen it can get.
This all sounds a pretty dismal picture, doesn’t it? But life is full of healthy foods, drinks and enjoyment that you can say a loud ‘YES’ to – surround yourself with these for the sake of your brain.
Phd, MA, MNZAC, MNZPsS
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