What is the Link Between Dementia and Alcoholism?

 


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While many of us who have ever battled alcoholism or known someone who has are familiar with how it can affect judgment, memory, etc. it may not be as well known that there is a link between dementia and alcoholism. While some of the symptoms of dementia can appear in someone plagued by alcoholism while they do not yet have the disease, the longer a person lives an active alcoholic lifestyle the more likely they have actually transitioned into having dementia. Dementia and alcoholism can often go hand in hand.

Alcohol related dementia is a two-fold problem. First, there are the well known affects of alcohol on brain cells. Whether it is destroying cells or inhibiting their function, excessive drinking can cause wide spread, physical damage to the brain. Secondly, many who are active alcoholics tend to migrate into a pattern of poor eating and subsequent malnutrition. The result is a deficiency in vitamins and other nutrients necessary for proper brain function leading to degradation in the brain’s ability to operate.

Dementia and alcoholism is a serious issue as the longer a person lingers in a lifestyle of heavy drinking the more permanent damage is done. It is not enough to attempt to treat the alcoholism, often the dementia must be treated concurrently.

Treating alcohol related dementia can be difficult, but not impossible. While there are conventional drugs available to treat dementia, they can be problematic and pose a whole new range of side effects. A simpler and more direct approach is to attempt to deal with the nutritional factors involved in the dementia. Finding ways to replace the lost vitamins and other nutrients is key in helping the brain to function properly and perhaps even restore some of the damage related to malnutrition.

Attempting to alter the diet of someone struggling with alcoholism can be difficult. Ensuring the person is eating properly throughout the day can be impossible, especially if the alcoholic is uncooperative in adjusting their eating habits. One possible solution to this is to attempt to introduce dietary supplements into the routine. Supplements that focus on supporting brain function in particular can be beneficial in preventing or treating alcohol related dementia. Supplements that provide B complex vitamins and other nutrients lost through a lifestyle of dementia and alcoholism can be a safe, easy and effective way of restoring brain health and function in a way that is less invasive then attempting to alter diet and/or administer drugs. People who are resistant to drugs and other conventional therapies may be more inclined to take vitamin supplements as they are seen more as a natural health related activity rather than a “treatment”.

While dealing with the malnutrition factor in alcohol related dementia is an important step in helping the individual, we can’t forget that the original root cause of alcohol abuse must still be dealt with in order for positive long term results. It is wise for those dealing with an alcoholic to enlist professional help in tackling such a difficult problem. But the fact remains that the malnutrition is still important and must be addressed. Thankfully, with a wide array of dietary supplements and other sources for nutrients there can be safe, effective help for those battling dementia and alcoholism.

Mike Stevens has been studying the causes of memory loss and cognitive decline for years, and has written many articles on the subject. He is a regular contributor to Memory Improvement Guide , a site discussing ways to enhance mental ability and prevent memory loss.

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