Alcohol-related dementia is a broad term currently preferred among medical professionals.
Many experts use the terms alcohol (or alcoholic) dementia to describe a specific form of ARD, characterized by impaired executive function (planning, thinking, and judgment).
Another form of ARD is known as wet brain (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome), characterized by short term memory loss and thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. ARD patients often have symptoms of both forms, i.e. impaired ability to plan, apathy, and memory loss. ARD may occur with other forms of dementia (mixed dementia). The diagnosis of ARD is widely recognized but rarely applied, due to a lack of specific diagnostic criteria.
Alcohol dementia presents as a global deterioration in intellectual function with memory not being specifically affected, but it may occur with other forms of dementia, resulting in a wide range of symptoms.
Alcohol damages neurons, i.e., brain cells, throughout the brain. The lack of specific brain pathology has caused alcohol-related dementia to be under-recognized as a cause of intellectual loss.
Some alcohol dementia patients present with damage to the frontal lobes of their brain causing disinhibition, loss of planning and executive functions, and a disregard for the consequences of their behavior.
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