When thinking about dementia, you might first think of Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are other types of dementia that you need to know about. One of the most common is known as alcohol-induced dementia.
Defining Alcohol-Induced Dementia
Unlike other kinds of dementia, it is important to know that this type of dementia happens due to excessive alcohol consumption. After consuming alcohol in excess for many years, there is damage done to the brain. This type of brain damage is also called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
If someone consumes a lot of alcohol throughout their life, this is going to affect the way their brain functions. For instance, if your elderly loved one had 5 alcoholic beverages every time they drink, for 20 years straight, this is going to affect their brain. In some instances, this could lead to early-onset dementia. This is due to the fact that alcohol does kill off brain cells.
Symptoms of Alcohol-Induced Dementia
There are numerous symptoms that someone might experience if they have alcohol-induced dementia. Some of the symptoms that your elderly loved one might experience if they have this disease include the following:
- Being insensitive to how others feel
- Lack of attention
- Acting inappropriately
- Trouble making decisions
- Lack of reasoning
- Some level of memory loss
- Lack of organization
If you notice that your elderly loved one experiences any of these symptoms, you or their senior care provider might want to schedule them a doctor’s appointment to get assessed for alcohol-induced dementia.
Stages of Alcohol-Induced Dementia
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is one of the most common types of alcohol-induced dementia. With this disease, patients seem more confused, experience more memory loss, and have more symptoms than with other types of dementia. They might even have severe hallucinations.
The 2 stages that are related to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome include Wernicke encephalopathy (acute) and Korsakoff syndrome (chronic and long-lasting).
If someone has Wernicke encephalopathy it can be fatal. Someone with this condition might stagger or stumble. They might have eye movements that are involuntary, as well.
Alcohol-Induced Dementia Treatments
If your elderly loved one has this type of dementia, treatment could be possible. It is important to get them to a doctor as soon as possible. Your elderly loved one might need to be on thiamine medications and various vitamins to compensate for what their body lost when they were drinking.
Your elderly loved one will need to quit drinking if they want a chance for treatments to work.
If your elderly loved one has consumed a lot of alcohol throughout their life, they might end up with alcohol-induced dementia. If they experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, be sure to schedule them a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible.
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