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Alcohol and dementia

Sagalover

New member
Jul 7, 2020
2
My DH has vascular/Alzheimers dementia. He has since the age of 45 been a moderate drinker. However, now, with mild/moderate dementia it seems to me that after not very much to drink he does not cope well mentally, and starts talking rubbish - and being confrontational (not physically aggressive) - which he admits himself later. Is it likely that having the dementia increases the effects of alcohol - the only reports I can find are on whether alcohol consumption can be involved are in getting dementia in the first place.
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,552
N Ireland
Hello and welcome from me too @Sagalover.

In the first couple of years post diagnosis my wife reacted to alcohol in the way you describe. I had a terrible time when trying to cope with this and tried everything I could to cut alcohol consumption to a minimum. I'm sure that if you use the site search facility you will find many threads about this. I know it's been discussed many times.

My wife seems to have progressed through that phase. The dementia has progressed but is more manageable when the agitation isn't present so often.

I wish you both strength.
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
199
Hi @Sagalover this seems to be the problem I am having, and as of tonight, will try and go alcohol free, until I can get alternatives in. We usually have a drink about 6pm, and then maybe a glass of wine, and even though I think it’s not a lot, it’s probably exacerbating the Alzheimer’s. His sleep is often disturbed, and he ended up outside last night, and has psychotic/sundowning episodes where he gets verbally aggressive, and accuses me of not talking to him and ignoring him all day. Anything is worth a go, good luck.
 

Sagalover

New member
Jul 7, 2020
2
Many thanks, everyone. It is at least good to know that I am probably not getting too paranoid about it. Last night was much better, with no arguments or strange behaviour. Here's hoping.

I am lucky in that, up to now, he goes to bed early and sleeps very very well, just getting up once for the usual and then going back to sleep until 5.30 or 6.
 

Annielizmay

New member
Apr 30, 2018
6
My husband has Alzheimers and until lockdown, alcohol was the biggest problem. He insisted on going to the pub twice a day every day. He had, and has, no idea what he is drinking, and the local pubs were reluctant to refuse to serve him what he asked for, as he would become argumentative, resulting in many phone calls and trips to A&E. Lockdown made life so much easier . Now he is aware the pubs have reopened it's a constant battle all day to stop him trying to find a bank card and head to the pub. This stage is truly awful. I sympathise with anyone trying to protect their loved ones from themselves.
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
199
Gosh @Annielizmay i feel for you. We are lucky in that our village hasn’t had a local for years, so we are more home drinkers. Which can be worse because the measure that is poured, is certainly more than a pub measure!
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
137
Hi @Sagalover, how much notice does OH take of the bottles -you could try alcohol free wine and beer, maybe even decant into familiar bottles if he would notice a change of bottle and be unhappy with it. My grandmother used to save the butter wrappers of the expensive one my grandfather insisted he should have and she always bought whatever was on offer, re wrapped and he never noticed lol.
 

Grahamstown

Registered User
Jan 12, 2018
1,696
80
East of England
My DH has vascular/Alzheimers dementia. He has since the age of 45 been a moderate drinker. However, now, with mild/moderate dementia it seems to me that after not very much to drink he does not cope well mentally, and starts talking rubbish - and being confrontational (not physically aggressive) - which he admits himself later. Is it likely that having the dementia increases the effects of alcohol - the only reports I can find are on whether alcohol consumption can be involved are in getting dementia in the first place.
Your description of your partner is very similar to that of my husband. I noticed his physical response to alcohol as one of the first symptoms of what turned out to be Alzheimer’s/mixed dementia. He was never a heavy drinker, or aggressive but gradually I noticed that he was staggering after wine, being irrational about drinking, seemed to know he shouldn’t drink much, said he would stop but never could. I posted on TP and got lots of helpful tips and advice which resulted in me gradually removing all alcohol from the house, going to the pub with him, alerting the landlady who really helped by letting me know if he went there alone and being very vigilant. It drove me mad, but things finally came to a head when he went to a dinner without me, where plenty of wine was served, collapsed and was taken into hospital where he was what I can only describe as out of his mind, rambling, incoherent, pulling out the IV, trying to climb off the bed, and loudly demanding the doctor, completely alien to his character from his previously relatively normal self. The consultant strongly hinted that he probably had dementia of some sort and he was diagnosed a month later having had all the tests as an inpatient. I had responses from many people on TP who had the same experience so I would say that dementia does increase the effects of alcohol especially in someone who has not abused alcohol other than social drinking. If you put alcohol and dementia into the search box on TP you will find a lot of posts.