Dementia is an umbrella term for brain diseases that gradually affect your ability to think and remember things. People who consume alcohol for a long time can develop a form of this disease — alcoholic dementia. What is alcoholic dementia, and what should you know about it?
What is Alcoholic Dementia?
Alcoholic dementia, also referred to as alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD), is a brain disease that develops after a lifetime of drinking. Alcohol affects the brain cells, which is why when you drink, you have poor judgment, memory loss, and trouble making decisions.
Also, long-term drinking affects nutrition. Poor diet leads to vitamin deficiencies and, eventually, damage to the brain.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is just one form of ARBD and often associated with alcohol abuse. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is due to a vitamin B1 deficiency seen with long-term alcohol consumption.
What Causes Alcoholic Dementia?
It’s unclear what causes this condition, but it is likely the combination of poor nutrition and the effect of alcohol on brain cells. Different people experience the disease in different ways based on their overall health, nutrition, and the amount of alcohol they drink on average.
Alcohol is a toxin that will damage brain cells in a way the causes chemical changes and shrinkage. When you combine that with vitamin B1, or thiamine, deficiency, you can experience significant damage. It is also possible that traumatic brain injury is partially to blame. People who get drunk tend to fall. They get in car accidents, too, and fight with others, which can also cause damage to the brain.
Health concerns involved with drinking may play a role, as well, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. They put you at risk for stroke or heart disease but also damage the brain.
What are the Symptoms of Alcoholic Dementia?
The symptoms will vary from person to person, but they are similar to other forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease. Confusion is the most prominent symptom, along with memory problems. You may notice repetition in the stories they tell or the questions they ask. Other symptoms include:
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Back and forth eye movements
- Double vision
- Drooping eyelid
In some cases, there may also be alcohol withdrawal symptoms, like tremors.
How to Prevent Alcoholic Dementia?
The obvious answer is to get treatment if you have an alcohol addiction disorder. Memphis Recovery Centers is a nonprofit program that offers mainly residential treatment. We create individualized plans to meet your personal needs. Our specific features for adolescents offer long-term treatment, as well.
Memphis Recovery Centers is a step-down treatment model, meaning after residential care, you go to partial hospitalization. Once that is complete, you step down to intensive outpatient treatment and eventually graduate to six months of aftercare that helps you move back into society.
The staff at Memphis Recovery Centers understands the importance of family in the treatment process. We offer an active family program as part of the healing process.
Programs and services at Memphis Recovery Centers will include:
- Substance abuse treatment for alcohol and drug use
- Adult and youth programs
- Family therapy
- Residential care
- Outpatient services
- Art and music therapy
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Trauma therapy
Our alcohol rehab program can help you or someone you love to reduce the risk of developing ARBD. Our professionals create individualized plans that address your needs, so you have the best possible treatment program — one that puts you on the path to recovery.
If you or a family member have an alcohol addiction disorder or are concerned about drinking, give us a call today at 866.304.8254. We are here to answer any questions you have about addiction.