Ultimately, the serious memory problems caused by Korsakoff syndrome will lead to alcoholic dementia. The process takes time to develop, but it can be an incurable disease. The Wernicke’s encephalopathy appears because heavy drinkers lose thiamine from the body as a result of frequent and long binge drinking episodes. Most alcohol addicts do not replenish this vital substance (either through diet or supplements), and as a result, alcoholic dementia can appear. It is quite common for certain people to start abusing alcohol and some of the most predisposed persons are teenagers drinking, pregnant women, business professionals, and veterans.
Research suggests it’s possible to experience partial recovery of your brain’s white matter, which is accompanied by an improvement in cognitive and motor abilities. The first https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/alcoholism-treatment-program-and-options/ part of treatment for alcohol-related dementia aims to help you stop drinking alcohol. This can take several weeks, and you may need to do this under medical supervision.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This excessive consumption puts a person at risk of various brain diseases, including AD, stroke, and heart disease. Dementia caused by alcoholism can appear to people of all ages, and it usually starts as a result of abusing alcohol regularly for many years. Alcohol addicts develop the Wernicke’s encephalopathy first, and then this causes the Korsakoff syndrome.
You don’t have to go through this alone—seeking help from healthcare providers, as well as support groups, can help you as you learn how to manage your alcohol use and how to cope with the effects of alcoholic dementia. Sometimes, nutritional supplementation can help prevent the progression of this type of dementia. Additionally, stopping alcohol use is a key factor in preventing additional damage that causes worsening of alcoholic dementia. It can be dangerous to stop alcohol abruptly, and it’s safer to go through alcohol detoxification under medical supervision.
Overview of Alcohol-Related Dementia
Long-term, excessive alcohol use can cause permanent damage to the brain, which can lead to Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. A 2016 study found that heavy drinking, equating to eight or more drinks per week, and drinking liquor increased cognitive decline among people with AD. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption increases a person’s risk of AD by 300%. A 2020 study showed that moderate alcohol intake could lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This article discusses the link between moderate and excessive alcohol consumption and AD and the risks of other conditions. Coping with alcoholic dementia can be difficult for a person who is experiencing it, as well as for their loved ones.
- They’ll likely start by doing a physical exam and asking about your physical and psychological symptoms.
- This excessive consumption puts a person at risk of various brain diseases, including AD, stroke, and heart disease.
- In addition, included studies were restricted to systematic reviews that assessed the relationship between alcohol use and cognitive health, dementia, AD, vascular and other dementias, brain function, or memory.
- The first part of treatment for alcohol-related dementia aims to help you stop drinking alcohol.
If you’ve been drinking alcohol for a long time, you might experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including disorientation, agitation, and mood changes. But your care team can prescribe medications to help can alcoholism cause dementia with withdrawal symptoms. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities can also develop dementia as they age, and in these cases, recognizing their symptoms can be particularly difficult.
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Various neurodegenerative disorders and factors contribute to the development of dementia through a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functioning. Alcoholic dementia and the conditions it can cause often result in permanent brain damage. This means that people who experience these conditions will often not be able to reverse the damage caused despite quitting drinking.
- Planning ahead may also include deciding what happens if and when the disease becomes more severe.
- You may need to stop drinking while being treated in an inpatient program if you regularly consume excessive alcohol.
- When the researchers investigated the potential impact of APOE E4, they found no significant effect, which mirrors several previous studies.
- These changes may hinder the brain from functioning properly, causing cognitive decline.
- Regardless of type of alcohol consumed, the risk of dementia increased linearly, starting around 14 units/week (appendix figure S5).
- In addition, medical conditions such as tumors, vitamin deficiencies, medication side effects, or problems with the thyroid, kidney, or liver can also cause serious memory problems that resemble dementia.
- Alcohol can have a toxic effect on the brain, affecting normal function.
Because he is a member of a support group that stresses the importance of anonymity at the public level, he does not use his photograph or his real name on this website. ARD is a progressive illness, which means its symptoms often happen in stages and continue to get worse—especially if left untreated. Remarkably, at the same time, they can seem to be in total possession of their faculties, able to reason well, draw correct deductions, make witty remarks, or play games that require mental skills, such as chess or cards.
Eating well-balanced meals can also help manage any cravings to drink that you experience. Consider attending a support group for sobriety such has Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Going to meetings can hold you accountable for quitting drinking and improving your health. It isn’t easy to cope with alcohol-related dementia, but there are resources that can help.