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alcohol related dementia

Symptoms of Alcohol-Induced Dementia 

If your senior loved one is a heavy drinker or has a history of alcohol abuse, they may be at risk for developing alcohol-related dementia.

While drinking in moderation does not appear to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, alcoholism (which is chronic alcohol abuse and/or regular heavy drinking), destroys brain cells and leads to cognitive decline and brain damage.

Unlike other progressive types of dementia, alcohol-related dementia symptoms may be prevented and further damage may be halted when consumption of alcohol ceases altogether. Thus, the best gift you can give your senior loved one is to learn about alcohol-induced dementia, its symptoms, how to obtain a diagnosis, and when to seek a senior living community to help with the journey. 

What is alcohol-induced dementia?

Alcohol-induced dementia is a form of alcohol-related brain damage. 

Excessive drinking has a toxic effect on the brain because alcohol consumption kills brain cells and slows the absorption of vitamin B1 and Thiamine. Without the proper absorption of these vitamins, permanent brain damage may occur. 

The good news is that alcohol- related dementia is not a progressive form of dementia (like Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy Body Dementia), so your loved one’s symptoms should not worsen if your loved-one is able to stop drinking alcohol.

Therefore, even if existing symptoms cannot be reversed, the cessation of alcohol use will provide a better quality of life and prevention of further brain damage.

Alcohol-related dementia symptoms 

Seniors affected by alcohol-related dementia will experience similar symptoms to seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. 

In the early stages of the disease, symptoms may be subtle, but during mid- to late-stage alcohol-related dementia, symptoms will be more severe.

The most common symptoms associated with alcohol-related dementia include: 

  • Memory loss 
  • Gaps in long-term memories
  • Becoming disoriented
  • Confusion 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Difficulty learning new things 
  • Personality changes
  • Inability to focus 
  • Difficulty solving problems, planning, and organizing
  • Trouble controlling emotions 
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired social skills

Since each person will experience symptoms differently, your loved one may not experience all of these symptoms.

Diagnosing alcohol-related dementia and treatment options

If you are concerned that your loved one is experiencing symptoms of dementia, encourage them to seek a health care professional. 

A physician will give your loved one a physical exam and cognitive impairment tests to check their mental skills and functioning. 

They will also run laboratory tests and possibly even brain scans to ensure that another illness or disease is not the cause of cognitive impairment. 

If dementia is the cause of a cognitive deficit, a physician will consider lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption. 

Depending on the severity of the addiction and your loved one’s overall health and capabilities, you may consider an addiction treatment center, the support of a caregiver to help with the activities of daily living, or the transition to a senior living community for even more professional care.

When to seek a memory care community such as Kensington Park

As your loved one’s care needs increase, the challenge to care for them alone may become overwhelming for you.

At Kensington Park, we offer independent living; assisted living; and three levels of memory care: K-Club, Connections, and Haven. 

With these three levels of memory care, your loved one can receive high acuity care based on their individual needs. 

Kensington Park provides for seniors in need of all levels of care

At Kensington Park Senior Living, we offer our residents high-acuity care and support, even if they have extensive care needs.

Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own is shown in how our compassionate team treats and takes care of our residents. 

When your loved one transitions to our independent living, assisted living, or memory care community, they will receive: 

Contact us or check out our blog to learn more about our communities, floor plans, services, caregiver resources, and upcoming events.