Forgetting things may not be a memory problem

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Brain

Memory.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How well you remember may depend on how you learned.

Memory is important. There is nothing as frustrating as standing there trying to remember someone’s name and come up with a complete blank.

We all blame this on a bad memory. That may not be the problem at all.

How well you remember someone or something may all depend on the very first impression. How well did you grasp the facts the first time you saw or heard them?

We talked in a past post (Why you can’t forget the painful past) about how pain is burned into us and happy memories take time to sink in. But there is more than just your emotional state at work in how well you remember.

That forgetting things, it may not be about old age or the beginning of Alzheimer’s. An example may help explain this.

You attend a social function over the weekend and meet some new people. On your way in past a hoard of noisy people trying to find their dinner table you are introduced to a couple and you shake hands just before you are whisked away to your table. You think that their names are Jane and Tom. Later when you say something to your partner over dinner about meeting Jane and Tom, they say who? You mean Janet and Tim?

Not what were their names?  You are not real sure. Two weeks later you start work at a new company.  The boss, you suddenly recognize him, you met him at the dinner meeting, but what was his name?

The problem here is not that you forgot his name. It is not even that you did not try to remember all those people who you met that night for the first time.

The problem is not in the retrieval part of memory. You never really learned this person’s name in the first place and clearly, you can’t remember something you never knew. You have just learned an important lesson.

How well you remember depends on the first impression something makes on you and on your brain. Hear a name clearly, get a chance to repeat it a few times, maybe even write it down and you will probably remember it. But hear it once, over a lot of noise in a hurried situation and it may well never get stored away in your memory.

Much of what we call forgetting is really a failure to learn things in the first place.

Remember that chemicals in your bloodstream can affect recording, processing or retrieval of information. To remember something you need to be able to do all three functions. We have talked in the past about how chemicals in the bloodstream can alter the storage and retrieval of information.

If you need the same chemical in your bloodstream to remember as was there when you learned something this is called State Dependent Learning. We also talked about Marijuana and how it may interfere both with the storage and the retrieval of information. And of course, alcohol can cause blackouts, the total failure to record information even while you are talking and moving about. See “Do people really forget what happens when drinking.”

You now know that another major source of memory failure is not slowing down and learning things thoroughly enough in the first place.

A good memory is important in life and we could all use some help in improving our memory and our ability to make use of that thing we call our brain. Over the posts to come I will talk more about how to get the best use and mileage out of that thing we call our brain. Better and clear thinking is a skill that can be learned. It does not benefit from the use of self-prescribed street drugs to boost its functioning.

Oh yes, some memory problems can be organic health problems. If there is a chance of that or you are concerned that this forgetting may be excessive, if you worry about having or getting Alzheimer’s, please see a doctor.

But also in the future work on improving your memory by, slowing it down, letting it sink in, and you will find the things you fully learned you will remember better.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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How much does marijuana effect memory?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Cannabis

Marijuana and Memory.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Marijuana affects memory?

Morning Question #25.

On average marijuana users need twice as many repetitions to learn the material as non-smokers. But they usually don’t care enough to study twice as long.

See the posts on State Dependent Learning and How does marijuana affect memory.    

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What is Situational Memory?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Memories.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.

Situational memory.

Situational memory sometimes called “Environmental context-dependent memory” refers to an ability to remember information when in one situation that you are unable to remember in another.

This condition is a lot like state-dependent learning but involves location rather than drug level in the bloodstream as the cause of difficulty in retrieving previously learned information. The existence of situational memory raises the question “Does situational memory influence recovery for those who have been in residential treatment or the hospital?”

Do rehab classes while someone is incarcerated result in knowledge they can use after release?  A simple example of the problem:

During the course of the week, I use several different computers in offices at varying locations. Sitting down at a particular computer workstation “cues” the memory for the password that is needed at that site. From one office I emailed myself a password protected file that needed more work that night. Once home I found I was unable to remember the password.

The following day, back at the original location I was able to quickly open the file without hesitation despite the lack of anything in the room that contained or reminded me of the password. Simply moving from desk to desk cued my memory for the password.

In a classic example of this phenomenon, researchers found that students who were taught deep-sea diving skills in a classroom on dry land were unable to remember the skill once in the water (Godden, D.R.; Baddeley, 1975). To improve recall the skills needed to be learned under realistic conditions. The effect of context on memory has been one criticism of separating recovering people from their real work environment for treatment.

Do skills learned in rehab or hospitals continue to be remembered after return home?

Current practice is to include ongoing aftercare or relapse-prevention classes after the recovering person returns to the community. Situational memories may also affect those who suffer from PTSD.

Veterans who return to the scene of their service are likely to be “flooded” with returning memories. Watching a motion picture that includes events similar to these memories can also revive painful memories. Treatment for anxiety based disorders which are triggered by re-exposure to places where a trauma occurred, especially obsessive-compulsive disorder, is likely to use an Exposure and Response Prevention method in which cues to the original memory are invoked while the person is supported in tolerating the distress this causes.

Situations, where we move from one location to another, can result in cases of situational memory or situational forgetting the “Doorway effect.” Being cognitive misers we humans tend to save memory space by only retrieving knowledge in a situation where it is likely to be needed. Solutions to situational forgetting include over practice and rehearsal of skills and creating secondary memory assistance in the form of written lists or reminders placed where we will see the needed information when needed.

Many people in recovery display the serenity prayer or the twelve steps as a reminder to use their recovery skills in all situations.

It is not just the external situation that affects memory, the internal situation makes a difference also. Depressed people remember mostly negative depressing events. Laughing, smiling and telling jokes, reduces the ability to access depressing memories. The neighborhood you are in when you are in your own head comes with a landscape full of memories. Since memory has situational components, avoiding the place in which you learned something can result in forgetting of the things learned there.

Recovering people are well advised to avoid old people, places, and things. Anything that cues urges to use or to engage in other behavior that interferes with recovery can be reduced by substituting new positive cues for the old negative ones.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How does Marijuana affect memory?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Marijuana’s effect on memory.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Does Marijuana use result in State Dependent Learning?

In a previous post, I wrote about the concept of State Dependent Learning (SDL), how things learned while you have a drug in your bloodstream may be better remembered when you have that same drug in your body. Readers have asked if Marijuana use results in SDL and what other effects does marijuana have on memory?

If Marijuana causes state Dependent Learning then we should advise people who learn things while smoking Weed to also smoke weed while or shortly before needing to use that information.

Will smoking marijuana just before a test help students who smoke while studying remember the facts better for the test?

Clearly, a great many things, mood states, drugs in the system, even the general health of the individual can affect memory. Unbiased information about the precise effects of Marijuana on memory and learning has been difficult to find.

There are a number of reasons for the contradictory reports of health benefits and harms of Marijuana we read in the media. I have been reading the research since my last post on SDL and here are some of the things that I have found.

Marijuana is more like a stew than a vegetable.

Marijuana contains over 600 chemicals including 60 to 70 Cannabinoids (another article listed 116). Two of the Cannabinoids have some research data but a lot of the other chemicals are poorly understood and have little research. All of the possible combinations of these 600 chemicals create unlimited possibilities for effects. That is not the only reason we know so very little about the effects of marijuana on memory.

How does it work?

For a long time, we knew that marijuana was doing something, we just could not find any receptors for the Cannabinoids in the nervous system so we did not know exactly what Marijuana was doing to the nervous system. Starting in the late 1980s and the early 1990’s receptors for Cannabinoids were found. But there are multiple kinds of receptors and they are located in some parts of the body and not others.

Many of the nerve cells that make up our “brain” are not in the head. When you are hungry the nerve cells in your stomach tell your brain that the stomach wants food. The same thing happens with Cannabinoids. Many of the Cannabinoid receptors are located in places like the spleen and the tonsils. So marijuana might affect memory for pain in the throat differently than memory for the history test.

Worse yet as we study the various Cannabinoids they don’t all do the same things. The two most widely studied Cannabinoids delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) appear to do opposite things. THC seems to produce thinking distortions. The younger you start using THC the more likely you are to develop psychosis. CBD, however, has been proposed and tested as a treatment for psychosis.

One theory, on this contradiction, postulates that young marijuana plants have more CBD and less THC. As the plants mature they form more THC and the CBD is reduced. So if there is high THC, which is the Cannabinoid that gets you high, then it has low medicinal properties. Plants with lots of CBD and that might be more medicinal don’t get you high. But most medical marijuana users want the kind that gets them high. What the other Cannabinoids are doing we are not really sure.

It depends on who makes the stew and how long you cook it.

One other problem with the research on Marijuana is that the concentrations of all the chemicals change depending on how the Marijuana is grown and how it is processed or dried after harvest. Various studies on Marijuana may really be studies of all sort of different chemicals, not just the Cannabinoid.

Recent research has tackled this problem by using pure synthetic Cannabinoids so when testing THC or CBD that is the only chemical being tested.

There are different types of memory and memory operations.

Short-term memory is info that is held in memory for a minute or less. Drugs, emotions even attention can interfere with the ability to take in information. Ever read something in a book and a second later realize you don’t remember what you read? This is a failure to encode information into short-term memory.

Marijuana, particularly THC, has been implicated in the failure to encode the information.

Working memory is information being processed. Some information can be distorted while in processing by the drugs in the system. Alcohol especially can make the drunken person think things are happening that in fact did not happen.

I have not found studies that suggest that marijuana (THC) is altering information processing but it is altering some other memory events.

Long-term memory is information held in storage.

Inability to find, access and retrieve information is what State Dependent Learning is all about. With SDL it is easier to retrieve previously stored information when the drug that was present during storage is again present.

Marijuana use has not been shown to affect memories formed prior to the use of Marijuana. It is not likely to help reduce PTSD symptoms or unpleasant memories of the past for more than a short time period.

So far no studies I have found indicate that THC improves the ability to locate material that was previously stored.

Retrieval is the ability to find and pull up information.

If the information that you retrieve is inaccurate or incomplete this is a retrieval error.

THC appears to reduce the encoding of information so less gets into short-term memory and less is stored away.

THC is also reported to interfere with retrieval of information.

Smoking marijuana while studying results in learning less. Smoking marijuana just before taking the test interferes with remembering what was learned.

Marijuana use (THC) does not create State Dependent Learning and further use will not help recover memories of information learned while under the influence of marijuana.

There are plenty of people who smoke a lot of Marijuana and remember things just fine and there are people who do not smoke weed and have a poor memory, clearly smoking or not is not the whole answer.  But smoking weed has not been shown to improve memory or help retrieve previously learned information. It has been shown to interfere with encoding and decoding of information.

Under the influence of THC, you will learn and remember less than you would without the weed.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What is State Dependent Learning? Memory problems?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Is it State Dependent Learning or Forgetting?

State-dependent learning.
Picture courtesy of pixabay.

The way we feel emotionally and the things in our systems, drugs, medications and general health all influence what we remember and what we forget. State-Dependent Learning is about times we remember and times we forget – the very same facts.

Say you go to a party or a bar after work and you have a few drinks. During the course of the evening, you talk to a lot of people. Let’s say for this example you have a lot of fun, it was a great time.

You have a few drinks but you are sure, positive, you are not drunk.

Next morning you look in your pocket or purse and there are a couple of business cards, only you can’t remember who these people are. Are they potential clients? Were you supposed to do something for them? Or did they try to sell you something? You just can’t remember. So you stick those cards back where they were and go about your day.

You are positive you were not that drunk, this is no alcoholic blackout. But it is frustrating anyway to not be able to remember why you have those business cards.

Later that day some of the people from your office are off to lunch, lunch with a client and you need to be there. So during this lunch, you have a drink or two. Suddenly you have a thought about those business cards in your pocket. So you pull them out and – yes now you remember the whole conversation and why you saved those cards.

You have just experienced State Dependent Learning.

In State Dependent Learning it is as if your brain uses different filing cabinets for information depending on how your system is functioning. With alcohol in your bloodstream, the brain files the information away in a “file needed when drinking” and locks it away. To get the file cabinet open and find that information you need the right key, in this case, alcohol, in your system to reopen the locked file cabinet.

Alcohol is not the only drug or medication that results in State Dependent Learning and lost file keys are not the only problem that can happen when filing information or trying to retrieve it.

Memories can get lost or distorted when they are filed away. Sometimes, as with alcoholic blackouts, the info is misplaced before going into the file. In that case, the brain, on discovering the file is empty, makes something up. This is called Confabulation.

Problems can happen when the information is stored and some drugs affect storage. The info can also be hard to find if it is stored in the “high” cabinet and you look for it in the “feeling normal” file space.

The size and nature of the information also matter. Say you need to remember a long list of words. If the words are makes of cars, types of seafood and tools sold in a hardware store, telling you those categories at the time we read the list to you will help you remember them. If the list is long, has words from many categories, and we don’t tell you the categories, the words will be harder to remember.

The brain has filing systems for category lists and for jumbled lists. Different drugs can affect different kinds of information storage and memory so the research can drive you nuts trying to figure out which drugs result in State Dependent Learning all the time and which only cause State Dependent Learning part of the time.

Alcohol appears to result in State Dependent Learning and other memory problems a lot.

Students who use a lot of caffeine to stay awake all night and study for finals appear to have a similar problem. Things learned under the influence of stimulants are very dose-dependent. So if you take a little of the stimulant you may learn more, take too much and it may block memory retention at all.

Methamphetamine users not only don’t learn a lot but begin to lose previously learned material. This makes us wonder how much amphetamine is helpful and how much of an ADHD med you can take before it impairs memory.

So our student, who studies all night, using stimulants to stay awake, may find two problems facing them the next day. State-Dependent Learning may require them to have the same stimulant and amount of stimulant in their system as when they learned it. This will be more or less of a problem depending on the type of memory involved. Picking out the correct answer from a multiple choice list will not be so much affected. Remembering a list of things that are not on the paper may be harder. So will recognizing a correct answer if the instructor uses a different word to describe the same concept.

The student may also find that the things they could remember easily when wide awake on the stimulant, those answers can’t be found now that the brain is looking in the I am “so-o-o” tired file cabinets. Your physical condition and mood can also affect learning and memory as can the context.

Frankly – no drug appears to improve your memory over a long time and using drugs or alcohol runs the risk of getting the facts you need, lost in a wrong file cabinet and not available when you need them.

Other drugs and prescribed medications can also cause memory problems and or State Dependent Learning. Watch for more on this topic to come.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Do people really forget what happened when drinking? – Blackouts

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Liquor

Alcoholic beverages.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Memory, Blackouts, Alcohol, and Drugs.

Alcohol and other drugs can impair memory in a number of ways. Alcoholics frequently say they can’t remember what happened while drinking. People who have never had a blackout question if the drinker really can’t remember, or do they just not want to take responsibility for their actions. Both are possible. Alcohol is not the only reason someone might do something and then have no memory of the occurrence. Consider the following examples.

Let’s say that the people in one of the classes I taught all became very close and the group decides they would like to have a celebration after the last session. We decide on a pizza party. We get out the phone book and look up the number. We are all old school, imagine the days before cell phone Apps. I read off the number and one of the students runs downstairs to make the call. In this building, there is almost no cell phone reception.

When they return I ask “Did you order soda?” They tell me they didn’t.  Well, we need something to drink with the pizza so go call and add some soda to the order. The students reply?

What was the number?

Why can’t they remember that number?

Now I just gave them the number why can’t they remember it?

Many things in life are held in short-term memory only as long as needed. Once the need for the information is gone the memory is discarded. You may remember what you ate for breakfast today but not many people could report what they had for breakfast all of the last 365 days. Even if they had the same thing every day they would not be able to tell me which day was better or worse.

Alcohol interrupts the transfer of information from current working memory to long-term memory. Since the memory could not be saved there is no memory remaining. Ever turn off a computer or close a file and then realize you hadn’t saved the work? Computers have programs to ask you if you want to save that, otherwise, we would lose a lot of work.

Cell phone designers had to include this factor in the design. They know that phone owners will want to call people back and that the human brain will not remember the number even if you just dialed it a minute ago. The phone holds the memory for you.

Blackouts are most likely to occur when the blood alcohol level rises rapidly. A few sips an hour, no blackout. Knock down the whole fifth in a couple of minutes and the rest of the night may be gone.

Blackouts are not the only reason alcohol and other drugs may alter memories.

State-dependent learning.

Consider this scenario. Someone goes to a cocktail party. During the night they talk with a lot of people, exchange some business cards and generally have a good productive time networking. Only they also drink too much.

Next morning they find the business cards in their pocket, only they can’t remember who these people were or what they talked about. They weren’t drunk enough to have a blackout but they did talk to a lot of people. Why can’t they remember these people?

Later in the day, they go to lunch, say they have drinks with lunch, nothing huge, just one or two drinks. They go for something in their pocket and there are those pesky cards. And suddenly they remember who these people were and what they talked about.

This is called state dependent learning.

Information is filed away in the brain but it is as if there are file cabinet drawers for memories that are only needed in certain situations. One file drawer is for things to remember while intoxicated. These memories are harder or impossible to find unless drunk.

Students who pull all-nighters to study for finals and use lots of chemicals to stay awake may have the same result. The brain puts those memories in a drawer labeled only needed when high on stimulants. Next day in class they forget everything they studied. The lack of sleep didn’t help either. Two weeks later over some espresso, they remember something they needed for the final.

This is also why some things just can’t be learned in a classroom. Swimming and diving are examples of this. All the classroom time in the world and suddenly when you are in the water everything changes. State-dependent learning can involve things other than alcohol or drugs. Internal states, like hunger and thirst and external states like places and activates can affect your ability to remember things.

In addition to blackouts and state-dependent learning, there are several other ways in which alcohol and drugs may be affecting memory.

Poor physical and mental health impairs memory.

When you are depressed or overtired, things may not stick in your memory. Over time there can be physical and chemical changes in the brain. Alcoholic’s brains shrink. Some drugs kill or damage nerve cells. Aging and normal memory loss may also be accelerated by substance abuse.

Memory also has a situational component. I use multiple computers at multiple locations. They each have different passwords. When at one office I will remember the password for that office and automatically enter it. Most of these passwords have to be changed every month. Last month I thought why not use the same password I just entered at the other office this morning? I could not remember it. The next day back at the first office I entered that new password without a thought and then realized, I remember passwords by the surroundings.

Doorway effect on memory.

The “doorway effect” also is likely to be more pronounced when you abuse substances. Doorway effect is the phenomenon of moving through a doorway, going from my home office to the kitchen for some water, and when I get to the kitchen I can’t remember why I am there. This confusion and the available food may explain that mysterious weight gain. This is a normal occurrence for people who do not do drugs but my experience working in substance abuse programs suggests that substance abusers are more likely to find their memories erased by moving from one place to another.

There are some thoughts on blackouts, state-dependent learning, situational memory and the doorway effect coupled with the effects of drugs and alcohol on memories.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.