Alcoholism is a progressive and fatal disease. Without recovery, an individual’s alcoholism will inevitably worsen and they will face a slew of neurological consequences. The legal status of alcohol may influence some people to think of it as a “safe” form of intoxication, but alcohol abuse and addiction carry devastating neurological symptoms. Alcohol may take time to develop into alcoholism, and it may take even more time for a person to realize that they have entirely lost control over their drinking. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “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.” Alcoholism makes physical changes in the brain leading to physical dependence and possible disorders. One such disorder, known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS), comes from a lack of thiamine, an essential nutrient required by the body. Up to 80 percent of men and women suffering from alcoholism are deficient in thiamine and may develop WKS or another serious brain disorder. According to the NIDA, WKS begins with encephalopathy which causes “mental confusion, paralysis of the nerves that move the eyes (i.e., oculomotor disturbances), and difficulty with muscle coordination. For example, patients with Wernicke’s encephalopathy may be too confused to find their way out of a room or may not even be able to walk.” 80 to 90 percent of those who develop encephalopathy will eventually develop a long-term and debilitation condition known as Korsakoff’s psychosis. Korsakoff’s psychosis, according to the NIDA, is “characterized by persistent learning and memory problems. Patients with Korsakoff’s psychosis are forgetful and quickly frustrated and have difficulty with walking and coordination (17). Although these patients have problems remembering old information (i.e., retrograde amnesia), it is their difficulty in “laying down” new information (i.e., anterograde amnesia) that is the most striking. For example, these patients can discuss in detail an event in their lives, but an hour later might not remember ever having the conversation.” Unless an individual suffering from alcoholism chooses to enter into a life of sobriety, there is little chance that he or she will not face at least some of the possible neurological consequences of alcoholism. Through recovery, these consequences can be avoided before it becomes too late.
Your story can be one of health and happiness in sobriety. You can make the choice to seek help now and begin building a better future. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in beautiful Laguna Beach, is dedicated to providing you all the tools needed to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. For information about individualized treatment options please call today: (877) 279-1777