Alcohol Related Brain Damage (ARBD)

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ALCOHOL RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE (ARBD)

Alcohol is currently the biggest socially accepted solvent – it dissolves health, wealth, families, self -esteem, jobs, friendships

Alcohol also affects the brain due to long term and excessive consumption of alcohol resulting in neurological damage and damage to cognitive function.

Men drinking more than 50 units of alcohol a week and women drinking more than 35 units a week are prone to ARBD This results in Alcohol related dementia and Wernicke’s Korsakoff’s syndrome.

Damage to the body by alcohol that affects the brain

Repeated falls resulting in head injuries that damage the brain. Heavy drinking results in damage to blood vessels which result in high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes which also damage the brain.

Alcohol related Dementia

Consuming large quantities prevent neurons in the brain from regenerating resulting in dementia. This is seen mostly amongst middle age and above individuals as the young people from 16 to their mid 20s are using other drugs instead of alcohol.

Women are more prone to alcohol related brain damage and dementia due to their body fat composition and hormonal differences . Instances in male elderly adults is also seen to be high due to the quantum of alcohol consumed over the years.

A 2013 study showed that 78 percent of people diagnosed with alcohol use disorder displayed signs of dementia or other brain pathology.

The symptoms of alcohol induced dementia which is different from Alzheimer’s are:

  • Memory loss
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Anxiety/ depression
  • changes in coordination
  • agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty in finding words to communicate
  • difficulty in solving problems, reasoning , decision making.
  • difficulty in tackling complex tasks
  • Inappropriate behavior like acting out, aggression
  • Insensitivity towards other people
  • Paranoea

Alcohol related brain disorder related dementia can linger even after the person stops drinking alcohol. 10 percent of this type of dementia occurs in younger individuals i.e. people who are below the age of 65years.

Wernicke’s Korsakoff’s Syndrome

Another disorder caused by thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency resulting in an ailment called Wernicke- Korsakoff’s Syndrome

Wernicke’s encephalopathy is caused by severe deficiency of Thiamine and surfaces suddenly after abrupt and untreated withdrawals from alcohol. The Symptoms are:-

  • Poor balance due to damage to the cerebellum (the responsible for balance and coordinated movement.
  • Disorientation, confusion and memory loss
  • Confabulation
  • Malnourishment due to nutritional deficiencies consequent to drinking
  • Paresis of eye muscles resulting in jerky eye movements.

This requires immediate medical attention . Treatment is high doses of thiamine injected intravenously .This helps in reversal of symptoms over a few days. If untreated severe brain damage can result and even death.

When Wernicke’s encephalopathy is not treated on time Korsakoff’s syndrome can develop . In this there is severe loss of short -term memory mainly a day to day memory loss.

Solutions

Long term residential care in a rehabilitation facility that encourages voluntary ,client -specific programs with Counseling, meditation and other therapies that encourage one to discover oneself and deal with one’s emotional unmanageabilities to go beyond the need to drink. We at Anatta provide that.

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