Caring For A Loved One With Dementia
Its important to recognize when memory loss causes a deeper level of concern. While many older adults might have some forgetfulness, when the lack of memory starts to interfere with normal functioning it is a sign that medical intervention might be necessary. Memory loss is sometimes treatable and even curable, but, as with any medical condition, the prognosis depends on the cause. Be sure to reach out to your doctor or help in figuring out if dementia is the underlying cause of your memory problems.
In the early stages of Alzheimers disease and related dementias, many people rely on their loved ones to help them manage their symptoms. It is common for elders to want to age in their own homes for as long as possible, but ultimately most people end up needing specialized medical services from an assisted living facility. Depending on your care needs, there are a few different types of facilities.
When facing dementia, the biggest concern is usually safety- especially concerning wandering. The benefit of a memory care unit is that it is always secured around the clock, by awake security and nurses as well as electronically locked exits and doors. However, many assisted living facilities and independent living communities offer secured units for those facing mild to moderate dementia symptoms that dont yet require full memory care.
How Is Arbd Treated
A person who has ARBD wont only have problems caused by damage to their brain. They will usually also be addicted to alcohol. This means that they have become dependent on it. Addiction can make it much more difficult to treat a person with ARBD. This is because professionals need to treat the persons alcohol addiction together with their symptoms related to memory and thinking.
Blood Alcohol Content And Memory Blackouts
Why do memory blackouts happen while drinking? Well, when blood alcohol content levels rise to a certain degree, alcohol starts to affect the hippocampus. This is the area in the brain that stores short-term memory. Blackouts are not an experience of forgetting memories. Rather, they are a result of the brain not being able to store memories while blood alcohol levels are high. Some people can drink without end and still not experience memory blackouts. This is because they may not be as prone as others to a high blood alcohol content, creating the loss of memory function in the brain.
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How Alcohol Blackout Causes Extreme Memory Loss
Teens and young adults are at high risk for alcohol-induced blackout drinking to the point of having little or no memory of blocks of time.
During a blackout you may still be able to talk, party, and even drive a car, but what you cant do is form new long-term memories.
The morning after you may not remember last nights party not because you forgot, but because you never formed memories of it in the first place.
Common Memory Loss Causes
Forgetting where you put your glasses or keys is a common occurrence even in younger adults. But as we age, it seems that forgetfulness becomes more problematic and occurs more often. Still, few seniors understand what causes memory loss to begin with, and how can you tell if its something more serious. Understanding common memory loss is an important first step in determining if your forgetfulness might indicate a more serious condition.
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Memory Loss Cause #2 Over
Self-medicating with alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances can affect our memory. While it is important to take your medications as prescribed, using several medications in a day is called polypharmacology, and further complicates health problems as well as the risk of overmedicating. Every added drug further complicates a potentially toxic cocktail, especially if you also drink alcohol. The most common drugs to be prescribed as one ages past 65 are hypertension medication, heart pills, and anti-diabetics. The National Institute of Health has a guide for safe medication use for elders, and recommend the following list of questions to ask your doctor whenever you are prescribed something new:
- Why am I taking this medication?
- What specific times do I need to take it?
- Do I need to eat or drink when taking this?
- How long can I expect this medicine to start working?
- Will this interact with any of my other medications?
- Can I drive when I take this?
- What does as needed mean?
- What should I do if I forget a dose?
- What side effects can I expect?
- Will I be able to take my normal vitamins with this medicine?
Avoid Memory Loss And Seek Professional Treatment
As you can see, there are many short and long-term effects of alcohol on memory, as well as your overall health. Not only that, but dependence can also cause issues in your daily life and interpersonal relationships.
While it might be difficult to admit you have a problem, thats the first and most important step. Once youve acknowledged your issue, the rest of the journey to sobriety will quickly fall into place.
So do yourself a favour and seek treatment. With the help of professionals, you can turn your life around and make vast improvements.
If youre ready to hear more about addiction rehab, please get in touch with us now. Our staff is standing by, ready to give you free advice.
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Alcohol Consumption After Dementia
People who have a form of dementia, whether caused by alcohol use disorder or not, are likely to suffer more serious memory loss if they consume alcohol. In part, this is caused by reactions between dementia medications, other medications for other ailments, and alcohol. It can also be caused by alcohol itself, especially in the later stages of dementia. Senior citizens who binge drank twice per month were 147 percent were more likely to experience cognitive decline and 146 percent more likely to have more memory problems compared to those who did not drink.
How Is Arbd Different From Dementia
ARBD doesnt always get worse over time, unlike common causes of dementia such as Alzheimers disease. If a person with ARBD stops drinking alcohol and receives good support, they may be able to make a partial or even full recovery. They may regain much of their memory and thinking skills, and their ability to do things independently.
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Dopamine And The Brain
The brain contains neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that transmit signals between brain cells and send information throughout the body. Dopamine is one of those chemical messengers and is strongly impacted by the presence of alcohol. Centered in the motivation, pleasure, and reward center of the brain, dopamine levels influence our mood. Higher levels of dopamine make us feel happier, more motivated and raise our self-esteem. When dopamine levels are low, we may feel depressed and unmotivated.
Dopamine levels naturally increase when we experience something pleasurable, like eating something delicious, exercising, spending time with friends, or receiving positive feedback on a work or school project. Higher levels of dopamine make us feel happy and motivate us to re-experience what made us feel that way. Alcohol and other addictive substances trigger a much higher than normal increase in dopamine levels, causing an even more intense desire to repeat the behavior.
Studies have confirmed that even small amounts of alcohol cause an increase in dopamine levels. One such study, published in the journal Alcohol Health and Research World, states, This dopamine release may contribute to the rewarding effects of alcohol and may thereby play a role in promoting alcohol consumption.
The Effects Of Red Wine And Resveratrol On The Brain
No discussion about alcohols effects the brain would be complete without taking a closer look at red wine, its active compound resveratrol, and the Mediterranean diet.
Which of these or combination of these is responsible for the reported health and cognitive benefits?
Of all alcoholic beverages, red wine has by far the best reputation as a healthy drink due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
And red wine is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet.
But theres no reason to believe that you can isolate red wine from the rest of the Mediterranean diet and expect to get similar health benefits.
Dan Buettner is a National Geographic explorer, renowned longevity expert, and author of the bestseller The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Whove Lived the Longest.
According to Buettner, there are several factors responsible for the pockets of longevity and low incidences of depression and dementia found in places like Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy.
Its not red wine nor even the Mediterranean diet alone that makes these people the healthiest and most long-lived on the planet.
Its their entire healthy lifestyle package less stress, more exercise, more time spent outdoors, better social connections, and a strong purpose in life.
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Treatment & Outlook For Alcohol Use Disorders & Dementia
Treatment for conditions such as alcohol-related dementia or WKS may involve rehabilitation, high doses of thiamine daily, and more. Although WKS may involve some types of irreversible changes in the structure of the brain, it offers promising prognoses with the proper treatment. Evidence suggests that 25% of those who develop Korsakoff syndrome and get treatment recovery fully, about half improve but dont completely recover, and around 25% remain unchanged in the severity of their WKS diagnosis. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/korsakoff-syndrome
If you or a loved one are looking for alcohol use disorder treatment, American Addiction Centers offers various nationwide treatment facilities specializing in the treatment of AUD and other substance use disorders.
Alcohol And Memory Loss
Symptoms such as blurred vision and slower reaction times are a good indication on the effect alcohol has on a persons brain.
While complete memory loss is rare, short-term memory loss and blackouts are common among people who drink regularly. Research presented by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reveals that people who drink heavily are much more likely to experience retrospective memory loss, which is the:
of previous data and events. While everyone suffers from a loss of memory at some stage, heavy drinkers are likely to make bigger mistakes on a much more regular basis.
If you or a loved one is a heavy drinker and are concerned about long-term memory problems, it may be time to reach out for professional help. Our admissions navigators are available to speak with you about treatment options 24/7. Call our hotline at Who Answers? Who answers the helpline calls. or get a text to start your journey toward recovery today.
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Ways To Get In Contact With Us
If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with addiction, let us hear your story and help you determine a path to treatment.
There are a variety of confidential, free, and no obligation ways to get in contact with us to learn more about treatment.
What Causes Alcohol Blackout
What causes someone to blackout from alcohol specifically lies in the brains inability to function normally and efficiently while someone is under the influence. When you are sober, you form memories by receiving sensory input, processing it, and storing it in your short-term memory. Next, the experience is transferred into long-term memory in the hippocampus by a process known as encoding so that people can recall these memories later.
When you drink too much alcohol, the brain is not as efficient, and all of these memory processes become impaired. Specifically, heavy drinking is believed to interfere the most with the encoding stage.1
As a result, when someones blood alcohol level reaches a certain amount, they lose their ability to form and retrieve new memories. For most people, an alcohol blackout starts at around a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.14, but the onset of an alcohol blackout varies from person to person.
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What Happens To Your Brain When You Quit Drinking
As weve noted above, an alcohol use disorder fundamentally changes the way certain key areas of the brain function. As the brain and body become more habituated to the presence of alcohol in the body, it becomes more difficult for a chronic drinker to quit drinking.
When they do decide to stop drinking, they will experience a condition known as withdrawal, as the brain resets back to its baseline functioning in the absence of alcohol. This means that the brain is no longer releasing the same levels of dopamine and other neurotransmitter chemicals that it was during chronic alcohol use. At the same time, the brain begins to restart the flow of other chemicals that were paused by alcohol.
For example, during withdrawal, the brain restarts the production of neurotransmitter chemicals that cause us feelings of stress and anxiety. While alcohol dampens the production of these neurotransmitters, they are present and active when sober. The release of these chemicals, in addition to other physical and chemical changes in the absence of alcohol, can lead an individual going through withdrawal to become more angry, depressed, frustrated, or tired than previously.
In addition to its effects on the brain, alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Withdrawal often takes place within 48 hours of an individuals last drink and can lead to flu-like symptoms, including lack of energy, increased sweating, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and feelings of stress and anxiety.
The Effects Of Alcohol On The Brain: Take The Next Step
Alcohol is a regular part of the diet of the healthiest and most long-lived people in the world.
When consumed moderately, it increases health, longevity, and brain function.
It protects the brain from age-related memory loss and mental decline, including conditions like dementia and Alzheimers.
What kind of alcohol you drink is not as important as your drinking pattern.
Binge drinking is particularly hard on young brains that are not yet fully formed.
Heavy drinking causes older brains to decline years sooner.
Fortunately, its never too late to repair alcohol-related damage to your brain.
Support your nutritional status with a Mediterranean-style diet and take a milk thistle supplement and a good multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps.
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Will Heavy Drinking Really Cause Forgetfulness
Eleine Ng, Singapore
Charles F. Zorumski, head of the department of psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, answers:
It is indeed possible for a person to get intoxicated and not remember what she or he did. This state is called a blackout or, more precisely, a memory blackout. During a blackout a person is intoxicated but awake and interacting with the environment in seemingly meaningful ways, such as holding a conversation or driving a car. After the period of intoxication, usually the next day, the person has no or, at best, vague recall for events that occurred while inebriated. At times, being in this state can have disastrous consequences, such as waking up in an unknown or unsafe place, losing personal possessions or participating in risky behaviors.
On the neural level, a blackout is a period of anterograde amnesia. That is, a person’s ability to form new memories becomes impaired. Although a person does not lose previously learned information, he or she may also find it more difficult to recall certain facts while intoxicated. Yet once a person sobers up, his or her memory and ability to learn new information are not permanently affected.
How alcohol, or ethanol, produces a memory blackout is not completely understood. It is clear, however, that alcohol can impair a process in brain cells called long-term potentiation , a cellular mechanism thought to underlie memory formation, particularly in the hippocampus.
Memory Loss Cause #7 Thyroid Problems
According to recent clinical studies, hypothyroidism is present in about 5% of people over the age of 65, and women are almost three times as likely to have thyroid issues. Hyperthyroidism is just as dangerous, both to sleep and overall health, and research shows that 15% of people diagnosed with an overactive thyroid are over the age of 65.
As we grow older, it becomes harder to determine is thyroid issues are even present- people over 70 often have no obvious signs of a thyroid disorder, as the symptoms are also present with other issues they are facing due to aging. It is estimated that 20% of those over 65 suffer from some type of thyroid disorder. Little is known about how exactly thyroid disorders affect memory, but research shows a clear link between memory loss and hypo as well as hyperthyroidism. Speak to your doctor to find out more about your thyroid health and if there is anything you can do to help improve your memory.
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Getting Help For Memory Blackouts Caused By Alcohol
There is no way to prove that blackouts lead to alcoholism. Or, that all alcoholics experience blackouts. But, if you experience blackouts and consequences ensue because of them, yet you still cannot stop drinking alcohol, the chances are high that you have an addiction to alcohol.
Fortunately, with dedication and commitment, treatment for alcoholism is successful. Not only is treatment successful in eliminating addiction from lifestyles, but it can also give your body time to heal from the imminent symptoms of memory blackouts. If you decide to go to treatment for your alcohol abuse, you will find that you will wake up with a clear head. Youll even be sure of what you have done the night before. You will no longer have to wake up with a blistering headache. Or, have to wonder what horrible things you may have said or done the night before.
Here at Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, we understand that addiction affects each person individually. So, we come up with a specific recovery plan for each individual who walks through our doors. To learn more about the programs that may help you rid your life of addiction, please visit our website to browse our list of services. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to call. For a confidential conversation with one of our addiction specialists, please call 1-855-762-3797.