Alcohol Related Brain Injury
Excessive drinking over a period of years may lead to a condition known as Alcohol Related Brain Damage. This condition can cause problems with memory, learning and other cognitive skills.
Abuse from alcohol can have a direct effect on brain cells, resulting in poor judgment, difficulty making decisions and lack of insight. Nutrition problems which often accompany long-time alcohol misuse can be another contributing factor, since parts of the brain may be damaged by vitamin deficiencies.
The list of warning signs that may indicate an individual has early signs of alcohol dementia include the following:
Cognitive and memory problems such as:
- Confusion about time and place
- Impaired attention and concentration
- Difficulty in processing new information both verbal and visual
- Inability to screen out irrelevant information
- Confabulation used to fill gaps in context and memory creating inaccurate accounts of recent or past events
- Loss of spontaneity motivation and initiative
- Apathy depression and irritability
Physical problems such as:
- Poor balance and ataxia – which may or may not improve
- Damage to gastric system liver and pancreas
- Traumatic brain injury causing further damage
- Peripheral neuropathy – numbness pins and needles burning sensations or pain in hands feet and legs
- Visual disturbance – nystagmus
If the condition is not dealt with then the resulting effect may mean the individual will go on to have Wernicke Encelopathy or Korsakoffs Syndrome.
Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is mainly developed as a result of malnutrition caused by heavy drinking over time – however it is also possible to develop Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome via other causes.