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If not stopped on time, alcoholism can lead to serious consequences. Excessive drinking can lead to ruined careers and friendships, sometimes without ever being able to recover them. What is worse is the effect alcohol has on the body. When drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, the mind and body have to suffer a lot, and if the behavior doesn’t stop, the addict may end up with certain conditions or syndromes that make it hard for them to function. For example, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol dementia. Let’s find out more about the matter.
What is Alcohol Dementia?
Alcohol dementia refers to a type of dementia or brain damage that is related to the excessive consumption of alcohol. This issue can cause memory problems, impaired judgment, lack of insight, difficulty making decisions, learning difficulties, and cognitive skill issues. In essence, the mental functions of the addict are affected, causing him or her to struggle with normal, daily tasks. All of this is the result of the brain damage caused by regular alcohol drinking.
Nutrition problems, paired with alcohol consumption, can also increase the likelihood of developing alcoholic dementia. One form of alcohol-related dementia is the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
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The Causes of Alcoholic Dementia
There are multiple reasons why excessive alcohol consumption may lead to alcohol dementia. It may be the effect alcohol has on brain cells, as well as the effect of the nutritional issues often accompanying alcohol addiction. Some believe that the disorder occurs due to the lack of thiamine or vitamin B1. The lack of proper nutrition also contributes to this, as vitamin deficiencies can affect key parts of the brain.
So, the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and other brain issues are not caused by the alcohol itself as much as the damage caused by a vitamin B1 deficiency. Many chronic alcoholics deal with thiamine deficiency. Nerve cells need thiamine in order to function properly. Thiamine is responsible for helping your brain cells get energy from sugar. When you don’t give your body thiamine, this can permanently damage the nerve cells, because they do not produce enough energy to be able to work properly.
The Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of alcohol dementia can be different from a person to another. However, there are certain symptoms that point to this serious issue:
- Memory problems
- Changes in personality
- Being unable to learn new things
- Tasks involving organizing, planning, social skills, or common-sense judgment are hard to deal with due to a lack of logical and clear thinking
- Spontaneity and initiative are decreased
- Balance problems
If someone is dealing with WKS, you may notice things like the individual telling the same thing over and over again or asking the same questions all the time. They don’t remember asking these questions or telling the stories, though, and end up repeating the same thing more than 10 times.
The Effects on The Body and Mind
Alcohol consumption can have serious effects on the brain and body of the addict. They may end up with hallucinations, restlessness, and agitation, anxiety and/or depression, paranoia, difficulty solving issues or finding words/communicating, memory loss, being unable to deal with complex tasks, confusion or disorientation, and inappropriate behavior.
Any person who drinks heavy amounts of alcohol for many years can develop alcohol dementia. Not everyone deals with this condition, but those who do will have their life changed for the worst.
The Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is the most common alcohol-related dementia type seen in alcoholics. It combines Korsakoff’s dementia and Wernicke’s encephalopathy. It is possible for an individual to develop only one of these conditions, but when they come together, they are the direct result of thiamine deficiency.
Although not being able to ingest the proper amount of vitamin B1 seems unusual, it is actually possible when someone consumes a lot of alcohol. This is due to the fact that alcohol doesn’t allow the body to process the vitamin properly.
When someone deals with Korsakoff’s dementia, they have multiple symptoms related to cognitive and memory difficulties. Wernicke’s encephalopathy brings a loss of coordination, eye movements that are not normal, confusion, and stumbling as a result of thiamine deficiency. It does not always accompany Korsakoff’s dementia, but when it does, it tends to occur before it.
Korsakoff’s dementia tends to last longer. This type of dementia usually brings symptoms like long-term memory gaps, difficulty filling in those gaps, and difficulty learning new information.
If the individual stops drinking, dementia may clear up too. However, in some situations, the issue may be permanent, particularly if they’ve abused alcohol for decades and if they are elders.
Treatment for Alcohol Dementia
It is possible to receive treatment as long as the addict seeks help early enough. If dementia is not dealt with, it can lead to damage to other organs and systems in the body. To get rid of the problem, the addict must go through a rehabilitation program and get rid of their addiction. Having professionals, counselors, and therapists around can help put an end to the addiction altogether with the cooperation of the addict.
The detox and treatment program will help get the person off the harmful substance. At the same time, therapy will help them understand their triggers so they can avoid them and find healthier coping mechanisms. This way, they will be able to stay sober.
Why Real Deal?
With Real Deal, you can get back on your feet after going through a rehab program and undergoing treatment for your addiction. At Real Deal, you will be part of a nice, supportive community where your mental health is the top priority. No matter what your past involved, you will be able to build a wonderful future if you choose Real Deal. Your recovery can be successful, and you will learn new skills and get ready to be introduced back into the real world as a new person.
Do you have an alcohol addiction problem and want to transition back to real life without it being too overwhelming? Choose Real Deal and start your journey right now!