Alcoholic Dementia Symptoms
What comes as a surprise to many is that heavy drinking for an extended period of time can also result in Alcoholic dementia Symptoms.
Alcoholic Dementia Symptoms occur after a drinker has been drinking heavily for at least 20 years or longer. Also called Korsakoff’s syndrome, this disease most often occurs because of the misuse of drinking alcohol. Yet, it can be induced by other diseases such AIDS, chronic infections, poor nutrition and certain other conditions. These behaviors cause a lack of Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and cause Korsakoff Syndrome.
Constant drinking of alcoholic beverages rid the body of thiamine (vitamin B1). This deficiency causes damage to the medial thalamus and possibly to the mammillary bodies of the hypothalamus as well as generalized cerebral atrophy.
What this means is that the person who becomes deficient in Thiamine over a long period of years will have retrograde amnesia, severe memory loss.
A Few of the Early Symptoms of Korsakoff’s syndrome:
Just as with other forms of dementia, when the memory is lacking and, in an attempt to “fit in,” the person with memory loss will make up stories to fill the gaps and compensate for his failing memory. This is known as “Confabulation.”
Because the person is able to conceal his memory loss and works well in a social environment, people with Alcoholic Dementia Symptoms rarely get an early diagnosis. Instead they progress from mild to moderate stages of their disease without getting a diagnosis or beginning any sort of medical regimen to improve their circumstances.
While a feature of Alzheimer’s Disease is the loss of the ability to learn new things or retain new information, for the person with Alcoholic Dementia Symptoms these issues are especially severe.
The best thing to do is to stop drinking. But that isn’t always easy for the long-term alcoholic. If they are a daily drinker, they should not attempt to stop drinking on their own but seek medical attention. There can be severe side affects to withdrawing from alcohol abruptly.
If the person with Alcoholic Dementia Symptoms stops drinking the dementia will NOT get worse–unless there is also another underlying dementia such as Alzheimer’s or Vascular dementia.
If the person can remain without alcohol for a year, you may see some improvement in overall functioning. But it is unlikely that they will return to a prior level of functioning.
Are you coping with this issue? What do you think?
Have you seen signs of Dementia in someone you love?
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