AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Dementia is a progressive collection of symptoms overall characterized by a decline in mental ability.

Memory loss is the major symptom most people associate with dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease is the most prominent form of the disorder, accounting for 60% to 80% of all cases.

img Dementia ID 8088 The Connection Between Alcoholism And Dementia

According to, the Alzheimer’s Association, when at least two of the following symptoms are disrupting an individual’s daily life and functioning, dementia may be the diagnosis:

  • memory
  • communication and language
  • ability to focus and pay attention
  • reasoning and judgment
  • visual perception

What causes such a debilitating disorder? Damage to brain cells. When cells in the brain cannot communicate with each other properly, the different areas of the brain are cut off from one another. Additionally, if one area of the brain is damaged, it cannot carry out its designated functions and other areas cannot compensate or take on those forms of functioning.

The main causes of dementia, again based on information presented on are:

  • Depression
  • Medication side effects
  • Excess use of alcohol
  • Thyroid problems
  • Vitamin deficiencies

The connection being made between alcoholism and dementia is an interesting one because not only is excessive drinking a direct cause of dementia symptoms, but alcoholism is also responsible for depression and vitamin deficiencies.

Drinking A Lot

Drinking alcohol often or in large quantities destroys brain cells and depletes vitamins necessary for healthy brain functioning. Alcohol limits the brain’s capacity to make energy out of glucose and oxygen, to send messages to and from various areas, and to sustain brain cell life.

Have you heard of Korsakoff Syndrome? It’s a chronic memory condition caused by severe Vitamin B-1, or thiamine, deficiency, mainly linked to alcohol consumption. Vitamin B-1 helps your brain cells transform glucose, or sugar, into energy. Without the vitamin, the brain is not able to generate enough energy for proper functioning.

Korsakoff Syndrome

Korsakoff Syndrome often develops from acute occurrences of Wernicke’s encephalopathy resulting from a severe lack of thiamine. Consequences of Wernicke’s encephalopathy include delirium, imbalance, visual problems, and an impaired ability to coordinate body movements, usually in the lower half of the body.

The connection between alcoholism and dementia is very real. Continuous drinking will inevitably lead to brain impairment and the death of brain cells that are needed for memory, coordination, and problem-solving.

To Drink Or Not?

Each of us must make the choice: drink or not. One problem is that alcoholism is a progressive disease. You may have every intention of only having a few drinks at a time, but you gradually become unable to control your use. You may be at a point where you cannot stop drinking, no matter what you try.

The repercussions of a life of untreated alcoholism include dementia. Without formal intervention and treatment, consumption of alcohol over a lifetime will cause major health concerns. If you can make the choice to not drink, then you can avoid a whole set of medical complications. If you cannot make the choice on your own, substance abuse treatment is a choice you can make.

Save yourself, or a loved one, from a life of painful memory loss and an overall inability to continue functioning by treating current or progressing alcoholism now.

About the Author: Jared Friedman has his masters in psychology from Pepperdine University and currently works as the Quality Improvment Manager at Sovereign Health Group, a dual diagnosis treatment center helping people with addiction and mental health issues learn more here.
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