Alcohol Brain Damage

Alcoholism Brain Damage
Alcoholic Dementia
Alcoholism And The Brain



Alcohol Brain Damage
Alcoholism can damage the brain beyond repair, leading to alcoholic dementia



The relationship between alcoholism and the brain, alcohol brain damage and how alcoholic dementia develops is a difficult one for researchers.

This is due to the very nature of dementia and the hurdles this places on objectivity.

Yet it has been long established that alcoholics are at greater risk of dementia symptoms than those who drink within moderate drinking guidelines or not at all.

It is estimated that 4-20% of dementia cases are brought about by alcohol abuse.

Yet there is good news. Although alcohol dementia is progressive, it can be halted and even reversed.

But, the alcoholic needs to stop drinking alcohol altogether in order for their cognitive abilities to return.

There is with alcoholic dementia a point of no return.

This means that past a certain point the brain is so damaged by alcohol that nothing can be done.


Alcohol Brain Damage
What is Dementia?

Dementia is not actually a disease. It is a term used to describe a set of signs and symptoms that could be any number of illnesses including:


The sign/symptoms of dementia can include:

  • Personality changes
  • Loss of problem-solving skills
  • Communication problems
  • Disorientation
  • New and unfamiliar behaviors

For more on dementia visit this fantastic resource on the different dementias.


Alcohol Brain Damage
What is Alcoholic Dementia?

Alcoholic dementia is caused by excessive, continuous alcohol consumption over a long period of time.

It causes neurological damage, having a direct effect on the brain cells which results in various symptoms.

Because many drink dependents do not eat properly, if at all, they do not receive enough vitamin B-1 (thiamine). This can result in further brain damage and the development of wet brain (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome).


Alcohol Brain Damage
Symptoms of Alcoholic Dementia

The symptoms of alcoholic dementia are much the same as any other dementia. Along with the symptoms listed above those with alcoholic dementia may exhibit some of the following:

  • Confusion
  • Short term memory problems They may well be able to remember quite clearly what happened 20 years ago at Christmas. But ask them about 5 minutes previously and they won't have a clue. alcohol brain damage
  • Depression.
  • Repetition. Of questions,information etc.
  • Anxiety/Fearfulness.
  • Displays an inability to concentrate.
  • Learning disability. Has great difficulty in assimilating new information.
Wernicke-Korsakoff's syndrome (an advanced form of alcoholic dementia) has specific symptoms. More can be found by visiting the page wet brain.


Alcohol Brain Damage
What is the Difference Between Alcoholic Dementia and 'Normal' Dementia?

It can be very difficult to distinguish between alcoholic dementia and other types of dementia.This is because the symptoms for all dementia types are very similar.

However, it is not that difficult to determine if someone's dementia is caused by alcohol. If he/she has been drinking excessively and continuously over many years then, in all likelihood, alcohol is, at the very least, contributing to his/her symptoms.

If the dementia sufferer can abstain from alcohol (only attempt withdrawal from alcohol under medical supervision) for a month and their cognitive abilities improve then alcohol, obviously, is causing the dementia.


Alcoholism and the Brain
Treatment for Alcoholic Dementia

The initial treatment for alcoholic dementia is very simple.....

...stop drinking alcohol
(Remember, though, only attempt alcoholism detox under medical supervision)


There are medications used in the treatment of other dementia types, but these are not as effective in treating alcoholic dementia.

The earlier you 'treat' alcohol related dementia the better.

Of course, stopping drinking is only the first step. Alcohol addiction recovery is a long, hard, but essential journey.

A relapse into drinking will only lead to further brain damage and a worsening of the alcoholic dementia.



Give Up Alcohol

Do you want help with moderating or stopping drinking altogether? Are you worried that if you continue the way you are you might do irreparable damage to your brain and your general level of health? "Stop Drinking Alcohol" is an e-book that gives you the tools to either return to normal drinking(staying within moderate drinking guidelines) or stop altogether WITHOUT the need for the 12 steps. I highly recommend it as a viable alternative for binge drinkers wishing to cut down on their alcohol consumption.







If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:


Return from Alcohol Brain Damage to Alcohol Abuse Effects

Return from Alcohol Brain Damage to Alcoholism Help Homepage


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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)


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