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Can Alcoholism Cause Dementia

Can Alcoholism Cause Dementia

Dementia and alcohol have a strong connection. While not everyone who drinks develops dementia, the chances that someone who already developed dementia also drinks regularly is staggeringly high.

Dementia is usually thought of as a form of Alzheimers, though it actually is a much larger category. Dementia is actually any degenerative brain disease that affects memory, reflex, or social interactions.

With this in mind, and knowing how alcohol affects the brain, it’s really no wonder that so many people with dementia potentially developed it from a binge drinking habit.

Dementia in a Nutshell

Dementia is a complicated disease that encompases a whole host of other degenerative brain diseases. Dementia can range from moderate to severe, and will change from person to person.

Alcohol induced dementia can seem like common, run-of-the-mill Alzheimers, though the causes actually are different. Alzheimers is still largely a mystery, but leading theories involve a build up of proteins in one’s brain.

Dementia can often mimic the effects of Alzheimer’s without displaying the same problems in the brain or the same ambiguity. Alcohol induced dementia is even more straightforward, as the cause of it is simply regular binge drinking.

Many studies have been done with regard to dementia, and while one who was never prone to dementia before can develop alcohol induced dementia, those who are already predisposed to dementia have a higher chance of developing it if they regularly binge drink alcohol. Studies have shown that those that would naturally develop dementia are three times more likely to develop it before the age of 65 if they regularly partake in binge drinking.

Can Alcoholism Cause Dementia

Alcohol Induced Dementia

Drinking large amounts of alcohol not only kills brain cells, it prevents them from regrowing, effectively permanently damaging your brain. This is what’s creatively called “alcohol-related brain damage.” Alcohol related brain damage is a type of dementia that can be prevented by just not drinking alcohol. Those that don’t drink are not at risk of developing it, and while not all who do drink develop it, the odds of them developing it only increase with the amount of alcohol consumed.

While men are more commonly diagnosed with alcohol related brain damage, women are at serious risk to this because alcohol affects women in much stronger ways. The reason men are diagnosed more often is likely due to the fact that more men drink per capita.

Throughout the years, studies have arisen that claim drinking alcohol can help prevent dementia. While it is true that some specific ingredients in some specific alcohols aid brain function, consuming other ingredients in alcohol are always negatively affecting your brain, and thus the result is therefore only neutral in the specific drinks that have the aiding ingredients, and a net negative in the drinks that don’t have them at all.

Alcohol Consumption With Dementia

We’ve already talked about how consuming alcohol can increase the chance that one can develop different kinds of dementia, particularly alcohol related brain damage, but haven’t mentioned the effects on a brain that already has developed some form of dementia.

Drinking with dementia already developed does two things to their brain – it heavily accentuates the current symptoms of their dementia and it works to accelerate any further dementia that they might develop. Essentially, it’s one of the worst things that one can do to themselves if they have already developed dementia.

Regardless of the cause of their dementia, if one drinks with it already developed it will severely increase their memory loss, motor function, and social ability.

Living with dementia is no easy diagnosis. It might seem like there’s really nothing left to live for anyway and that ruining your body further is a non-issue. Life is not that bleak, however. There are ways to still enjoy life, and while dementia is a tough reality that some must learn to live with, using alcohol to try and cover up their sadness will only accelerate the inevitable.

Getting Help

Dementia is not a joke. It is such a difficult diagnosis to live with. If you or someone you know has already been diagnosed with dementia, it is not the end of the world. If you think that there is a chance for you to develop dementia later in life (early warning signs, genetic triggers), slowing down or stopping your drinking is recommended.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol related addiction, reach out and get help as soon as you can. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to us at ecosoberhouse.com. We have the tools and a burning desire to help those in need as soon as we can. Don’t wait, reach out today.

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