Alcohol Related Brain Damage

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What Is Alcohol Related Brain Damage?

People who have been drinking large amounts of alcohol for long periods of time run the risk of developing serious and persistent changes in the brain.

Damage may be a result of the direct effects of alcohol on the brain or may result indirectly, from a poor general health status or from severe liver disease.

For example, thiamine deficiency is a common occurrence in people with alcoholism and results from poor overall nutrition.

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is an essential nutrient required by all tissues, including the brain.

Common indicators of alcohol-related brain-damage:

  • Memory impairment
  • Retrieving information stored in memory.
  • Remembering recent events or recently acquired information.
  • Confabulation (fabricating memories because of an inability to remember)
  • Problems learning new information.
  • Retrograde amnesia (there may be a period in the person’s life of which they have little or no recall, and the period may become larger as time passes)
  • Irrational ideas
  • Resistance to change, or inability to change even when you want to change.
  • Inappropriate or difficult behaviour
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion, or disorientation
  • Missed appointments.
  • Difficulty staying focused, or repetitious conversation.
  • Failure to implement plans or get round to chores.

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    Last Updated: June 10, 2021

    About the author

    Peter Szczepanski

    Peter has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. Peter also co-authored the new 6th edition of Drugs In Use by Linda Dodds, writing Chapter 15 on Alcohol Related Liver Disease. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.