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Alcohol Induced Dementia

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Alcohol is a fairly common part of your life. It’s how you relax after work. It’s how you cope with family gatherings. It’s how you unwind on a nice weekend before the work week starts all over again. Your nightly drink has become a comforting and familiar routine, and tonight is no different. 

Or… did you grab a drink already? How many have you had tonight? You don’t feel drunk but your memory has been really shoddy recently. Things you used to have no trouble recalling are now giving you a struggle. Retaining new information has been a pain, too. You’ve started bringing a notebook to your Zoom meetings to take notes or else you’ll forget within a few hours.

These sudden, developing signs of memory loss might be an indication of the beginning of alcohol-induced dementia. Here in California, drinking is fairly common. Over 17% of people aged 18+ reported binge drinking within the past year. We know how many people are impacted by alcohol use, which is why we wanted to shed some light on lesser-known side effects and conditions that can arise from it.

With our hands-on team here at Pacific Sands, we’ve seen cases of alcohol-induced dementia. Our high-end facility uses solution-focused therapy to get to the root causes of alcohol use. Today we’re going to look further into alcohol-induced dementia, how it’s caused, the symptoms of it, and how it can be treated.

What Is Alcohol-Induced Dementia?

As the name implies, alcohol-induced dementia is caused by excessive alcohol use. This process of negatively impacting the brain and its function falls under the category of an ARBD, or alcohol-related brain damage.

Alcohol-induced dementia doesn’t happen overnight. In order to experience side effects like these alcohol use needs to be long-term and/or frequent. 

understanding alcohol induced dementia

Why Does Alcohol Cause Dementia?

There are two prevailing theories regarding the specifics of alcohol-induced dementia. First, alcohol in general is known to impact memory and personality over a long period of use. Alcohol commonly makes its way into the brain, especially when binge drinking is involved. This can negatively impact the brain and damage it over time, leading to personality and memory changes.

There is another prominent scientific study regarding alcohol and dementia. It points toward vitamin deficiencies, specifically B1, caused by alcohol use. This can lead to the development of a condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome has a lot of symptoms that overlap with dementia, but it is a condition you can develop without alcohol consumption.

The Common Symptoms of Alcohol-Induced Dementia

Being able to spot the symptoms of alcohol-induced dementia is important so you can know when it’s time to seek treatment. Here are some of the symptoms you can look out for in yourself or a loved one:

  • A new difficulty learning things
  • Personality changes
  • Developing problems with memory
  • Having difficulties with tasks like time management, organizing, and planning
  • Having problems with your balance
  • Losing drive for creativity and spontaneity
symptoms of alcohol related cognitive decline

Can Alcohol-Induced Dementia Be Treated?

Many long-term conditions develop because of alcohol use. Whether you’re reading this page for yourself or a loved one, we want to note that many conditions that arise from alcohol use can be treated or at least managed, depending on each individual’s case. For alcoholic dementia, you can potentially fully recover your memory loss if it’s caught early enough. With everything from alcohol detox to ongoing treatment services, we’ll work with you to find a plan that suits your recovery needs. Our treatment programs also offer many skill-building sessions to help you learn to better navigate your current situation.

If you’re looking to seek treatment for your alcohol use, our team at PacificSands is ready to help. Just give us a call anytime at 949-426-7962 and we can help you get set up. Whether it’s just answering questions or scheduling an appointment, our team is here to help whenever you’re ready. 

FAQs About Alcohol-Induced Dementia

What is the life expectancy of someone with alcohol dementia?

Alcohol-induced dementia will not directly lessen a person’s lifespan, however, alcohol use can. Long-term alcohol use associated with alcoholic dementia can lead to other conditions like heart disease, liver failure, increased risks of cancer, and more. 

What is Korsakoff Syndrome?

Korsakoff syndrome is one part of a bigger condition known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Korsakoff syndrome is a chronic memory disorder caused by a severe B1 deficiency in the body.


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