Excessive drinking can cause a lot of wear and tear on your body. Chronic alcohol abuse can even lead to memory loss. Don’t simply look up the term “alcohol addiction treatment near me” online using a search engine if you want to learn more about dementia and alcohol abuse. Instead, call 833.999.1941 to speak with someone from Solution Based Treatment & Detox about the link between abusing alcohol and dementia. Ask our caring and compassionate team about our alcohol addiction treatment options, too.
What Is Dementia?
Contrary to what most people think, dementia isn’t a disease. Instead, dementia is a collective term used to describe a range of symptoms linked to specific types of cognitive decline. Generally, dementia refers to memory loss, diminished reasoning, and weakened problem-solving skills. Dementia can also affect your communication and language skills, visual perception, and attention span.
Occasionally misplacing your car keys, forgetting an acquaintance’s name, and struggling to remember a word but remembering it later are regular age-related memory changes. When you have dementia, however, you’ll begin to forget the knowledge, experiences, and memories you’ve gathered over the years. You might also have trouble communicating with others. These kinds of memory challenges happen when brain cells incur damage and die, which is not a part of the normal aging process.
Types of Dementia
There are many different types of dementia, but the most common types include the following:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Lewy body dementia
- Mixed dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia
Dementia is most commonly associated with neurodegenerative disorders, diseases that happen when nerve cells in the brain lose function. As the affected brain cells continue to lose their functionality, grow weaker, and eventually die, dementia becomes progressively worse over time.
Symptoms of Dementia
Dementia symptoms can vary widely depending on the type and progression of the disorder, but common signs that may indicate dementia include:
- Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
- Using unusual words to refer to familiar objects
- Forgetting the name of a close family member or friend
- Forgetting old memories
- Not being able to complete tasks independently
Not remembering where you are or getting lost on the way home can be terrifying. As a result, people with dementia may crave routine and fear new experiences and change.
Family history, poor heart health, age, and a traumatic brain injury can increase your risk of developing dementia. Still, alcohol-related brain damage is one of the leading—and preventable—causes of dementia.
How Are Abusing Alcohol and Dementia Linked?
According to a study published in The Lancet Public Health, most early-onset dementia cases are alcohol-related. The study examined data from more than 1 million adults with dementia from 2008 to 2013. More than 33% of the dementia cases they documented were directly related to alcohol consumption. Other research confirms the connection between heavy drinking and dementia:
- Data from a 2019 study revealed that having more than 14 drinks per week can cause lower cognitive functioning in adults 72 years and older.
- Heavy alcohol use—more than 14 drinks per week for men and more than eight drinks per week for women—can cause changes in brain structure, cognitive impairments, and an increased risk of dementia. This study also revealed that reducing heavy use may be an effective way to prevent dementia.
- An English study found that older adults who continued binge drinking once per month were 62% more likely to experience the most significant cognitive function declines and 27% more likely to experience the highest amount of memory loss.
- A study published in Epidemiology reveals that people who consume five or more bottles of beer in one sitting or one bottle of wine during their midlife period are three times more likely to have dementia by age 65 than those who do not binge drink in midlife.
- Nearly 80% of people with an alcohol use disorder have thiamine or vitamin B12 deficiency and develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which consists of two separate-but-linked forms of dementia.
Heavy alcohol consumption, alcohol use disorders, and alcohol abuse can lead to dementia due to the following:
- Toxins in alcohol directly interfering with the way brain cells function
- Periods of heavy drinking leading to overall brain shrinkage
- Repeated intoxication and withdrawal adding stress to the brain and weakening brain cells
- Increasing the likelihood of traumatic head injuries that can harm the brain
- Consuming large amounts of alcohol and preventing neurons from regenerating
However, some forms of dementia can be idiopathic or from no specific source.
Find Alcohol Addiction Treatment in California at Solution Based Treatment & Detox
Our evidence-based treatment programs can help you overcome alcohol addiction challenges. We also have a specific program dedicated to alcohol and drug detox. We have residential, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs that we can customize to fit your individual needs and help you obtain long-term recovery and sobriety.