Alcohol and Dementia


Alcohol is closely associated with some types of dementia. Studies have shown that sustained heavy drinking over a long period of time can result in brain damage and cause problems with cognition and the memory. Estimates suggest that around one in ten people diagnosed with dementia have a history of heavy drinking.

Alcohol has an effect on brain cells directly. It can cause poor nutrition resulting in the brain being starved of the vitamins and nutrients that it needs to function effectively.

Alcohol-related dementia symptoms do not differ from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and related brain disorders. Memory is often impaired and there are problems with day-to-day tasks, speech and mental cognition. Personality changes will often be noticed by friends and relatives as well.

Korsakoff’s Syndrome is a form of dementia brought on by a deficiency in Thiamine (B1). It is the second stage of Wernicke's Korsakoff’s and follows on from Wernicke's encephalopathy. Wernicke's encephalopathy does not always result in Korsakoff’s Syndrome but can do if left unchecked. Korsakoff’s Syndrome is serious and potentially life-threatening. Signs of Wernicke's encephalopathy are eye muscle problems, paralysis and jerking, balance problems, tiredness and confusion.

Those who consistently drink heavily run the risk of developing alcohol-related dementia. It is true that dementia often affects older people but it does affect young people too, especially when it is brought on by drinking. People aged 30 and younger can develop alcohol-related dementia. It is more common, though, in the over-50s.

The onset of drinking-related dementia is affected by how much alcohol is drink and when. Generally the more that’s drunk regularly, the sooner dementia can develop. If dementia related to drinking is caught early, the condition can be stopped or sometimes reversed. However, drinking must cease altogether and vitamins and minerals must be replaced through a good diet.


← Back to Index

Email usTel: +44 (0)330 555 4680

Our site uses cookies to help provide you the best experience. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.
Find out more about cookies and how to change your cookie settings in your browser.