In recent years it was referred to as Korsakoff’s psychosis; however, this is confusing as korsakoff’s has no psychotic medical symptoms. It is caused by a lack of Thiamine (Vitamin B1), which affects the brain and nervous system.
What causes Korsakoff’s Syndrome?
Many heavy drinkers have poor eating habits and an inadequate diet, which often results in the body becoming depleted in a lack of essential vitamins. Consumption and long term alcohol abuse can also potentially cause the stomach lining to inflame, making it harder for the body to absorb these essential vitamins, in particular, vitamin B1. Vitamine B1 also called Thiamine, is responsible for converting food into energy and has many important neurological benefits too.
Korsakoff’s syndrome is the chronic form of Wernicke’s encephalopathy and is sometimes referred to as alcohol-related brain damage or dementia (ARBD). Korsakoff’s may result if Wernicke’s encephalopathy is not treated or is not detected in time. It is not easily resolved and can continue over a long period, even permanently. Damage occurs to small but essential areas in the middle part of the brain, causing severe short-term memory loss. This memory loss is the most significant feature of the condition, and many other abilities remain unaffected. This is where Korsakoff’s differs from most types of dementia, where there is often damage to a large area of the outer part of the brain.