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alcohola nd dementia


Registered User
Sep 23, 2003
How much research has gone into this? My Dad was a heavy drinker during his life and we would like to know the relationship between alcohol abuse and dementia, particularly as i have spokekn to a psychiatric registrar about this and he was rather confident that the two are related. I know about korsakoff's syndrome, however Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease and not Korsakoffs, though the staff at the psychiatric hospital dont seem to have ruled it out. He is now in the advanced stages and is sleeping for most of the time. I would be grateful for any feedback on this as i think it merits further investigation.
Many thanks


Registered User
Sep 23, 2003
alcohol and dementia

thanks for your reply nada, yes that is something we explored while dad was in psychiatric unit and have to say they were pointing the finger at a possible connection there but were obviously too polite to say it
i wonder if it is wernickes or korsakoffs, and will be looking into this more closely
would welcome more feedback if anyone else has ideas


Registered User
Mar 4, 2012
wernicke Korsakoff- anyone prepared to talk?

I know people have mentioned this but I wondered if anyone was prepared to talk about how they arrived at a diagnosis.
From my own experience it seems that if you have someone who refuses to stop drinking you are pretty well on your own as a carer, whether its for that reason or any other.
So if anyone has had to face this problem and can talk about it- did you repeatedly get told you just have to wait for a crisis and then have to deal with the crisis. Or did you actually get any help before the crisis.

If anyone can help I would truly appreciate it- its very scary to be trying to cope with multiple problems when the information is very thin on the ground


Registered User
Apr 10, 2012
2 weeks in.....

I wonder if anyone can be of any assistance? I knew my 81 year old liked his Martini's and wine. He is from the "Mad Man" era and owned a business etc...Martini lunches...one with Mom when he got home....and after Mom died 4 years ago he stated that he was drinking less. He has always been a guy who likes to be right...likes to take control. I thought recently that he has Asperger's...very concrete...limited but savanty skill sets.

He lived alone, drove, still picked great stocks, participated in running his company and went out to lunch every day, still went to academic lectures. I went to dinner with him every Thursday. I noticed that he would cut a conversation off early if he didn't want to discuss it; that he left our house abruptly when dinner was done and before he would have been "legally intoxicated." He also had some troubles with repeating himself. I thought this was prudent and not a sign of something else.

2 weeks ago he fell at home while workers were feet away in the yard in sight and ear sot and yet did not elicit their assistance. He called my husband and I and we got him to the emergency room. He had broken the odontoid bone in C2 (his neck) and it was not displaced. A serious neck brace was put on him and he was getting more hostile and accusatory. I stated to him that he was pretty lucky and that in 6 weeks he would be back to 'normal" as a bone healed. I thought that he was thinking like I was that this was a sign that he would in the future need to think of moving etc...

In the hospital he had trouble sleeping and was getting irritable, within 4 days he was saying very strange things and taking his neck brace off at night. (we thought it was the morpheme and switched to Motrin) In a few we moved him to an Assisted living for Physical therapy so we could bring him home but within 4 days his night confusion and aggressiveness and decreasing coherence resulted in a readmit to the hospital. I suspected that he had some brain involvement from the fall. I spent the entire day with him in the ER and he started sentences with something concrete but ended them with confabulating statements that made no sense and were not context driven. He seemed to remember the fall but not to much past that. His short term memory was non existent. I had to keep telling him where we were and what we were doing.

He was given a number of tests and was found to be dehydrated and the neurologist walked up and told me he suspected Korsakoff and did my father drink? I was floored. As he didn't get the "DT's" etc. I had after 4/5 days thought that was not the case (and I was ay that point relieved)

He is treated with Thiamine, electrolytes and is currently in a Rehab trying to get him back to walking etc. He is basically not there. He cannot carry on any conversation. Can begin a statement or comment but ends it with nonsense or a deluded statement. It is my understanding that they will not diagnose Korsacoff for 5 weeks and are mega dosing thiamine as I said. He will not eat....and I left that part out. He had also quietly dieted while not cutting out wine as he thought he was getting fat. I didn't know that until St. Patrick's Day when he ate an infant portion of a meal he had relished all my life. (Anorexia also contributes to Korsakoff)

He is getting off and on combative and is often incontinent...seems to care randomly. He knows who people are from his past but places them in the old context and cannot incorporate the current situation into old information.

I do not know what to expect next. Does anyone else have any experience with this. If so...what have you done. I cannot bring an agitated combative, non-compliant man home and he cannot go home to his home. One person cannot handle him when he begins to lash out. The look of hate and anger on his face is frightening ... I just ignore it and try to calm him down,,,but... does anyone relate and has had this experience? and thanks...I am off to see him now.
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Registered User
Jun 26, 2006
Ask for an assesment

Hi Hockey,
I have met cases like yours when i was working...sounds as though you live in the States...over here i would recommend asking the hospital and social services to completed a full INP..individual needs portrayal once the Doctors have declared him medically fit, and having completed his treatment. You would need a psychiatric report as well, and an assesment of his capacity. Then you should go through the whole assesment with the care manager and ensure everything is documented so you have a clear picture of his needs.
Dont jump in and offer to have him at home...and dont be pushed into taking him out until all the assements have been done.
When you have the full picture social services should look at whether you should be applying for continuing health care funding... and also look at and advise you about hte most appropriate care for your father. But the full assement is key together with a psychiatric report. And psychs wont see him until all the medical treatment is complete..or that is my experience in a general hospital. Good luck..and look after yourself