Alcoholic Dementia: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

The effects of alcohol-related dementia may be reversible, depending on your circumstances. For instance, research suggests that a five-year history of drinking 35 alcoholic beverages a week for men and 28 for women presents a «sufficient» risk for the development of ARD. The broader category of alcohol-related dementia includes Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome as well as a type of dementia characterized by impaired planning, thinking, and judgment. People with this type of dementia may have very little ability to learn new things, while many of their other mental abilities are still highly functioning.

  • A doctor may consider other causes of the symptoms if the person does not show any signs of improvement.
  • Analysts suggest that dementia and the Alzheimer’s disease are expected to become one of the most significant burdens for the Greek health system in the years to come.
  • Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain.
  • They may also not be able to recall knowledge and events, such as where they lived previously or places where they have been on holiday.

Depending on your symptoms, you might also undergo a brain scan to rule out other concerns, like a stroke or tumor, or brain bleeding caused by physical trauma. You may also get a brain scan to rule out other potential conditions, like stroke, can alcoholism cause dementia tumor, or a brain bleed caused by physical trauma. If you think you may be experiencing alcohol-related dementia, talk with a healthcare professional. The symptoms of alcohol-related dementia and age-related dementia are fairly similar.

Five reasons why climate change may see more of us turn to alcohol and other drugs

For example, normal pressure hydrocephalus often resolves with treatment. This can increase the likelihood of using substances as a way to cope. Address other common but preventable risks factors for dementia, such as hearing loss, excessive alcohol intake and smoking. This will reduce the risk of known serious complications, including delirium and sepsis, though more evidence is required for whether this would also prevent dementia risk, Muzambi said. In addition, the proposed legislation includes the introduction of a “care and health representative” of the patient, who will be appointed for each patient with dementia and Alzheimer’s. This person will act as a legal representative for care and treatment issues when the patient loses cognitive functions and cannot make decisions.

  • There is a great deal of research that shows that heavy and prolonged alcohol use causes brain damage, which leads to a significant increase in the risk of developing dementia.
  • However, certain lifestyle choices, such as exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, may reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia.
  • Perhaps the most obvious way climate change can be linked to harmful substance use is by damaging mental health.
  • The more severe the infection, such as with sepsis and pneumonia, the higher the likelihood of subsequently developing dementia.
  • Having regular alcohol blackout symptoms while drinking is also dangerous to the human brain and acts as a contributing factor to this condition.

Imaging tests of the brains of high alcohol drinkers demonstrate atrophy (brain shrinkage), loss of white matter, decreased neurons and other changes similar to the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. But he said the Lancet research did not change the current advice and did not suggest that moderate alcohol intake could cause early-onset dementia. But we do know that drinking to this extent is likely to increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart failure, which can also increase the risk of dementia.

Treatment for alcohol use disorder

For example, there are several studies that suggest mild to moderate alcohol use (1-14 units per week) can even lower the risk of dementia. Some research also indicates that a complete abstinence from alcohol can increase the risk of dementia compared to mild to moderate use [2][3][7]. Long-term heavy alcohol use also causes reduced levels of thiamine (vitamin B1), which is necessary for proper brain functioning.

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