In this article, we discuss the link between alcoholism and dementia. Many people equate long term damage caused by alcoholism with liver failure and pancreatitis. Many are thus surprised to learn that alcoholism also causes a form of dementia known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is entirely preventable. It’s believed around 7% of people over the age of 60 exhibit signs of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome due to alcohol abuse. Many of these people may believe they are beginning to experience Alzheimer’s disease. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in that it is characterised by memory loss and other cognitive impairments.
Other symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Significant memory loss
- Difficulties in forming new memories
- Disorientation and confusion
- Communication difficulties
- Inappropriate behaviour
- Personality changes
- Paranoia or agitation
Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome induced through alcohol abuse is much more likely to arise before you turn 65 years of age. Studies indicate that around 40% of cases involving early-onset dementia is caused by alcohol abuse.
Experts believe that alcohol kills neurons in the brain. Once these neurons are killed, the body struggles to replace them as sufferers grow older and older. This is a particular risk for people who are middle-aged and older.
We hope the above discussion puts to rest the idea that alcohol is only capable of damaging the body and not the mind. Alcoholism is a disease that must be overcome using modern evidence-based treatments that are offered at an alcohol rehab clinic.
Below, we share an interesting infographic titled ‘The Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Brain’. The infographic details many of these specific long-term effects in a visual format.
Effects of Alcohol on the Brain Infographic
Without further ado, we would now like to share this infographic: