Alcohol Induced Dementia

 In Blog

While we are aware of the effects of alcohol on the liver and kidneys, excessive alcohol consumption can have damaging effects on the brain as well. One of the conditions associated with alcohol abuse is alcohol induced dementia.

This is a condition that progresses slowly, which is why it is mostly seen in the elderly however it is possible for younger people to also develop the condition.

Some aspects of alcohol-induced dementia are permanent but if properly diagnosed some aspects may be reversed or stopped when alcohol consumption stops.

The condition also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, causes brain damage which is made worse by malnutrition which alcoholics often suffer from. As they consume excessive amounts of alcohol and neglect their health and nutrition, they destroy brain cells and spinal cord cells which means that the effects are felt in other parts of the body.

The damage this condition causes to the nerve cells causes severe problems with memory, intellect and cognition. People often lose their jobs and relationships due to these effects.

The effects of alcohol dementia result from the poisonous effect that alcohol has on nerve cells within the central nervous system.

Not to be confused with dementia disorders caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, recovery from alcohol-induced dementia is possible when consumption is stopped. It is actually a self-induced type of dementia which can be halted once alcohol consumption halts.

Some of the symptoms include confusion, frustration and problems with remembering past events. People suffering from this disorder may also have a tendency to repeat themselves, saying the same thing several times totally unknowingly.

Personality changes, communication problems, disorientation as well as an inability to solve everyday problems are the most common symptoms of alcohol dementia. Some of the other personality changes include paranoia, fear of being alone, mood swings, a lack of emotional response or anger.

Communication problems such as finding it difficult to speak coherently, inability to find words, inability to follow a conversation may also be symptoms.

The alcohol induced condition affects a person’s entire life and often destroys it, as person can change from an intelligent, well-spoken member of society to a person unable to participate in society.

Abstaining from alcohol use and eating a balanced diet are necessary to rebuild the body’s functioning level as well as taking vitamin B1 supplements to replenish the nerve cells in the brain.

Sadly many people who are alcoholics seldom consider the effects on the mind and body that alcohol can have, dementia being just one of them. It is often only associated with old age and people don’t think about the damage excessive alcohol has on their minds.

While research has shown moderate drinking can be good for the body, alcohol can be extremely detrimental which is why serving alcohol responsibly is such an important issue. In order to do this, bartenders, liquor store workers, sommeliers, waiters of licenced venues, all need to undergo Responsible Service of Alcohol training. This will not only ensure that they don’t serve alcohol to people who should be denied service but will also equip them with the skills to recognise these people.


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