What Is Alcohol Dementia?

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For those wondering, “Does alcohol cause dementia”, the heavy consumption of alcohol and dementia can be interrelated. Over time, persistent and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to symptoms resembling dementia. That said, the progression of these effects can be slowed, and in some cases, even reversed, by abstaining from alcohol.

The term alcoholic dementia is an outdated descriptor now replaced by the clinical terms alcohol-related dementia or alcohol-induced major neurocognitive disorder. These phrases are used interchangeably to characterize a severe manifestation of ARBD (alcohol-related brain damage). ARBD represents a form of cognitive impairment arising from prolonged and heavy alcohol intake over an extended period.

Alcohol-related dementia is occasionally mistaken for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. While these conditions share certain similarities, they stem from different causes. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome results from a deficiency in thiamine (vitamin B1), although excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to this deficiency.

Alcohol-Induced Dementia

Alcohol-related dementia is categorized as ARBD (alcohol-related brain damage).

Individuals with alcohol-related dementia often encounter challenges in their daily activities due to sustained damage to their brain resulting from prolonged, excessive alcohol consumption over an extended period.

Common manifestations include memory loss and cognitive difficulties, especially in tasks requiring intricate thinking, such as financial management. These symptoms can significantly impede daily life, potentially hindering activities like meal preparation.

A woman sits with her hands on her head as she experiences Alcoholic dementia symptoms

Alcoholic Dementia Symptoms

Alcoholism and dementia disease is associated with challenges in the following areas:

  • Maintaining focus on a task without succumbing to distractions.
  • Problem-solving, planning, and organizing.
  • Setting goals, making judgments, and decisions.
  • Motivation for essential tasks or activities, such as eating or drinking, may wane.
  • Control of emotions leading to irritability or outbursts.
  • Understanding the thoughts and feelings of others, resulting in behavior that may appear insensitive or indifferent.

The symptoms of alcohol-related dementia can vary significantly from one person to another. Brain scans of individuals with this condition often reveal varying degrees of shrinkage in different brain regions, with the frontal lobes being particularly susceptible to the effects of alcohol.

Preventing Alcohol Dementia

Preventing alcohol-related dementia involves taking proactive measures to curb excessive alcohol consumption and mitigate the risk of brain damage. Consider the following strategies:

  • Moderation: Practice moderation in alcohol consumption. Abide by recommended guidelines and avoid excessive drinking to protect your cognitive health.
  • Seek professional help: If you or someone you care about struggles with alcohol dependency, seek professional help. Consult with healthcare providers, counselors, or addiction specialists to explore treatment options.
  • Education and awareness: Enhance awareness about the risks associated with long-term, heavy alcohol use. Education can empower people to make more informed decisions about their alcohol intake.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep. A holistic approach to well-being contributes to overall brain health.
  • Social support: Cultivate a supportive social network. Having strong connections with friends and family can provide encouragement and assistance in maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
  • Regular health check-ups: Schedule regular health check-ups to monitor overall health and detect early signs of potential issues. This proactive approach allows for timely intervention.
  • Mindfulness practices: Incorporate mindfulness practices, such as meditation and stress-reduction techniques, into daily routines. These practices can contribute to mental well-being and resilience.
  • Set personal limits: Establish personal limits on alcohol consumption and adhere to them. Clearly define boundaries to prevent the escalation of drinking habits.
  • Stay informed: Stay informed about the potential impact of alcohol on cognitive function. Understanding the risks can serve as a powerful motivator for responsible drinking.
  • Regular mental stimulation: Engage in activities that stimulate the mind, such as reading, puzzles, or learning new skills. Keeping the brain active supports cognitive health.

Remember, preventing alcohol-related dementia involves a combination of personal responsibility, awareness, and seeking support when needed. Prioritizing mental well-being and making informed choices contribute to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

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Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers

Many people find that intense cravings for alcohol prevent their independent efforts at recovery from getting traction. Avoid this and reach out to Ohio Recovery Centers when you are ready to live without the constraints of alcohol addiction.

We specialize in treating alcoholism in an outpatient setting. This delivery method enables people to get the treatment they need without neglecting their personal or professional obligations – after all, not everyone can take a month or more off work to attend residential rehab. For those who required more structured support, we also offer more intensive outpatient programs.

During treatment for alcohol use disorder, you’ll access a personalized mix of holistic and behavioral treatments. In some cases, FDA-approved medications may be beneficial in combination with talk therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Crucially, all Ohio Recovery Centers treatment programs include comprehensive aftercare. Call 877-679-2132 today and begin your recovery from alcohol addiction tomorrow.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn