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Korsakoff Dementia

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
25
0
Hi, I am new to this. My husband is in a care home with Korsakoff dementia. Caused by being an alcoholic for many years. Home life was chaotic, especially when he became violent. He went into the home 6 months ago. At first I visited 4 times a week but he became more and more aggressive towards me and constantly demanding money which he wants for alcohol. I have walked away for a break as the stress is just too much. Due to him now not drinking like he was, eating regularly and being given his medication he is actually the best he has been for at least 5 years. He thinks he is there to 'get better' and that he is now well enough to come home. That is not going to happen. Does anybody have experience of Korsakoff dementia?
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,463
0
Scotland
My only experience is of talking to people who had relatives in homes because of Korsakoff. Without exception they had suffered extreme distress and had to stay away from visiting too often. This is self inflicted dementia and often includes aggression and violence.
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
25
0
My only experience is of talking to people who had relatives in homes because of Korsakoff. Without exception they had suffered extreme distress and had to stay away from visiting too often. This is self inflicted dementia and often includes aggression and violence.
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
25
0
HI marionq, yes it is self inflicted, and this makes me angry. I see other residents in the home who are there through no fault of their own, and this makes me sad. In fact when I was visiting him regularly it was to spend time with the other residents more than him. He does not believe me when I tell him that he is there by his own doing, he thinks I am responsible for him being there and resents me for this. He was getting more aggressive with me to the point I could not be in his room alone with him, I had to get him come down to the lounges. Korsakoff is hard to get a diagnosis for and I am struggling to find someone else in my position.
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
679
0
HI marionq, yes it is self inflicted, and this makes me angry. I see other residents in the home who are there through no fault of their own, and this makes me sad. In fact when I was visiting him regularly it was to spend time with the other residents more than him. He does not believe me when I tell him that he is there by his own doing, he thinks I am responsible for him being there and resents me for this. He was getting more aggressive with me to the point I could not be in his room alone with him, I had to get him come down to the lounges. Korsakoff is hard to get a diagnosis for and I am struggling to find someone else in my position.
Hi @Daze, this is something I had never heard of and perhaps if more heavy drinkers/alcoholics were aware that this could happen it might prompt them to stop drinking. As a complete outsider reading your post I have to ask if you really owe your husband any more of your time? If he has been violent in the past and is getting aggressive when you visit do you need to visit at all? Have you thought of setting yourself free from this man and enjoying a worry free and peaceful life?
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
3,063
0
North West
Hmmm very difficult for you with this affliction.

Can I just say to other readers alcohol addiction is not 'self inflicted' -its an addiction many cannot get out of and it doesn't just affect the 'local townies down the sqaure' -its a horrible disease process and I have seen many well placed people in society with alcohol addiction. This isn't saying its ok, but its a real medical problem and not just social. The other aspect to this is that someone with alcohol problems are very often still loved an part of a family and hope always prevails in those who have to deal with this, sadly that hope is never payed back.

My dad was a heavy drinker, bottle of whisky a day in the end and had signs and symptoms of Korskoff Dementia. He was lucky in that he died very quickly from a massive lung tumour in the end as death from alcohol pathology is far worse.

His behaviour and mental state was terrible and all alcohol related damage. Its very hard to deal with this especially when you have probably had years of abuse before the situation as it is now. You can only do what you can do in the circumstances -enjoy the better days and know on bad days your just checking he's ok. Don't let stigma around this disease stop you asking qeustions if you need to
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
679
0
Hmmm very difficult for you with this affliction.

Can I just say to other readers alcohol addiction is not 'self inflicted' -its an addiction many cannot get out of and it doesn't just affect the 'local townies down the sqaure' -its a horrible disease process and I have seen many well placed people in society with alcohol addiction. This isn't saying its ok, but its a real medical problem and not just social. The other aspect to this is that someone with alcohol problems are very often still loved an part of a family and hope always prevails in those who have to deal with this, sadly that hope is never payed back.

My dad was a heavy drinker, bottle of whisky a day in the end and had signs and symptoms of Korskoff Dementia. He was lucky in that he died very quickly from a massive lung tumour in the end as death from alcohol pathology is far worse.

His behaviour and mental state was terrible and all alcohol related damage. Its very hard to deal with this especially when you have probably had years of abuse before the situation as it is now. You can only do what you can do in the circumstances -enjoy the better days and know on bad days your just checking he's ok. Don't let stigma around this disease stop you asking qeustions if you need to
Thanks for the reminder that alcohol addiction isn't self inflicted, yes it's an addiction so actually even threat of dementia is unlikely to help, very sad, and dreadful for family members.
 

PalSal

Registered User
Dec 4, 2011
970
0
Pratteln Switzerland
HI marionq, yes it is self inflicted, and this makes me angry. I see other residents in the home who are there through no fault of their own, and this makes me sad. In fact when I was visiting him regularly it was to spend time with the otheresidents more than him. He does not believe me when I tell him that he is there by his own doing, he thinks I am responsible for him being there and resents me for this. He was getting more aggressive with me to the point I could not be in his room alone with him, I had to get him come down to the lounges. Korsakoff is hard to get a diagnosis for and I am struggling to find someone else in my position.

I am so sorry for you and for your alcoholic husband. You have endured a lot to have lived so long with a practicing alcoholic. I am no expert but self inflicted is harsh judgement. There has probably been enough blame and resentment around practice of his alcoholism that going there again will not make you or your family feel any better now that he is suffering permanent damage from his chronic alcoholic disease. It also then negates the medical opinion that alcoholism is a disease in and of itself.(Definition Alcoholism is a type of substance addiction. As defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, this means alcoholism, like other addictions, is a chronic disease affecting the reward, memory, and motivation systems of the brain.)This compulsive and destructive disease destroys the lives of the alcoholic and his family too. Perhaps if you could find Alanon meetings you could find comfort and another person who partner suffers from Korsakoff.

In the end, you are dealing with a demented person, whose mental abilities suffer, like all the rest of us here on TP, no matter how he came to be in his demented state.
We had a mother of a young man here on TP who had it here some years ago.Perhaps you can use the search tool to look for others here with this syndrome.
Good luck
https://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/
 
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Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
6,281
0
Nottinghamshire
Hello @Daze

I have no direct experience of this disease but a friend’s brother has it. They are struggling to accept it and see it as “self-inflicted”. The affected has times when he manages not to drink and is ok for a while but always lapses and I think the end is inevitable. I’ve met his grown-up son who is a lovely hardworking young man, as was his dad before his addiction took hold. It’s a horrible disease and I know the family find the aggression particularly difficult to deal with. Who wouldn’t?

Please continue to post if you need advice, or a rant or whatever. Dementia is dementia whatever the cause.
 

joeylou

Registered User
Mar 11, 2019
372
0
I worked in a Korsakoff specialist care home for years. Whilst your husband can remain sober the decline should stop and if it is a good home they should help him to maintain and improve the life skills he has. Sometimes the plan is for people in these kind of homes to move back into supported living accommodation and some go back home.
The key is to remaining abstinent for the rest of their lives.
I agree with the above alcohol dependence and addiction are not self inflicted, but have many causes. Hopefully they will work with your husband to look at the roots of this and help him to stay sober.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,463
0
Scotland
Interested in all the above comments and I certainly go along with alcoholism being an addiction. Nevertheless it is something that the person is doing to themself as opposed to other forms of dementia which happen to the person. Yes you can argue it is outside of their control and I would accept that. I have no axe to grind personally. The reason I have spoken to several family members affected is that we have a psychiatric hospital a few street away from our house and from time to time I meet people on their way to visit and they invariably feel bitter and distressed at a history of alcohol driven abuse which has resulted in Korsakoffs. Anyone who takes a kinder view needs to talk to family members and as I said I have no personal issues involved here.
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
25
0
Hi you all and thank you for reading my post! Your replies have made me think. I think his alcohol intake was his doing. And only his. He is the one who drank all day every day for years. Cost us a fortune. His aggression, abusiveness and then violence got worse and worse, making our home life chaotic. And awful. We have 2 children, both disabled, 1 severely and I was left to do everything for them, including disruptive nights, he didn't lift a finger. They are disabled through no fault of their own - my husband chose his route. He threw the alcohol down his throat. Now he says he is 'disabled' and that I should be his full time carer. He can't grasp that I need to care for the children. Like I have always done. He was constantly being bought home / taken away in ambulance / police car. He was diagnosed with Korsakoff whilst in hospital for weeks due to a fall, and was dried out. Which is how he ended up in the care home, social services were ordered by the judge that he was not to enter the house for all our safety, after he attacked me with a knife 3 times in 1 day. I caved in and started to go see him in the home, he relies on me heavily. But the violence towards me started up again. So I have walked away a few weeks ago. He now phones me 20 times a day being abusive. I have now cancelled the contract which I was paying for.I know he has dementia but I am finding it hard to know how to talk to him. Thank you for letting me vent!!
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
2,489
0
cornwall
Hi you all and thank you for reading my post! Your replies have made me think. I think his alcohol intake was his doing. And only his. He is the one who drank all day every day for years. Cost us a fortune. His aggression, abusiveness and then violence got worse and worse, making our home life chaotic. And awful. We have 2 children, both disabled, 1 severely and I was left to do everything for them, including disruptive nights, he didn't lift a finger. They are disabled through no fault of their own - my husband chose his route. He threw the alcohol down his throat. Now he says he is 'disabled' and that I should be his full time carer. He can't grasp that I need to care for the children. Like I have always done. He was constantly being bought home / taken away in ambulance / police car. He was diagnosed with Korsakoff whilst in hospital for weeks due to a fall, and was dried out. Which is how he ended up in the care home, social services were ordered by the judge that he was not to enter the house for all our safety, after he attacked me with a knife 3 times in 1 day. I caved in and started to go see him in the home, he relies on me heavily. But the violence towards me started up again. So I have walked away a few weeks ago. He now phones me 20 times a day being abusive. I have now cancelled the contract which I was paying for.I know he has dementia but I am finding it hard to know how to talk to him. Thank you for letting me vent!!
I had an alcoholic husband and 3 children. I divorced him when the children were young as I couldn’t cope with the madness caused by his drinking.My elder boy who was 4 at the time tried to help stop a cooker falling onto his father. Obviously we did.But to this day he doesn’t have much time for him.He is now 30. You do what you have to do...
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
3,063
0
North West
Hi you all and thank you for reading my post! Your replies have made me think. I think his alcohol intake was his doing. And only his. He is the one who drank all day every day for years. Cost us a fortune. His aggression, abusiveness and then violence got worse and worse, making our home life chaotic. And awful. We have 2 children, both disabled, 1 severely and I was left to do everything for them, including disruptive nights, he didn't lift a finger. They are disabled through no fault of their own - my husband chose his route. He threw the alcohol down his throat. Now he says he is 'disabled' and that I should be his full time carer. He can't grasp that I need to care for the children. Like I have always done. He was constantly being bought home / taken away in ambulance / police car. He was diagnosed with Korsakoff whilst in hospital for weeks due to a fall, and was dried out. Which is how he ended up in the care home, social services were ordered by the judge that he was not to enter the house for all our safety, after he attacked me with a knife 3 times in 1 day. I caved in and started to go see him in the home, he relies on me heavily. But the violence towards me started up again. So I have walked away a few weeks ago. He now phones me 20 times a day being abusive. I have now cancelled the contract which I was paying for.I know he has dementia but I am finding it hard to know how to talk to him. Thank you for letting me vent!!

Is there any point in continuing this relationship? Like I said families and those close always have hope that is never repaid. I'll be honest with you I couldn't have cared for my dad the way he was on alcohol, and you have experienced far worse than I ever did. No one can tell you the next move you make, but I hope you are putting yourself first in whatever you decide.
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
679
0
Hi you all and thank you for reading my post! Your replies have made me think. I think his alcohol intake was his doing. And only his. He is the one who drank all day every day for years. Cost us a fortune. His aggression, abusiveness and then violence got worse and worse, making our home life chaotic. And awful. We have 2 children, both disabled, 1 severely and I was left to do everything for them, including disruptive nights, he didn't lift a finger. They are disabled through no fault of their own - my husband chose his route. He threw the alcohol down his throat. Now he says he is 'disabled' and that I should be his full time carer. He can't grasp that I need to care for the children. Like I have always done. He was constantly being bought home / taken away in ambulance / police car. He was diagnosed with Korsakoff whilst in hospital for weeks due to a fall, and was dried out. Which is how he ended up in the care home, social services were ordered by the judge that he was not to enter the house for all our safety, after he attacked me with a knife 3 times in 1 day. I caved in and started to go see him in the home, he relies on me heavily. But the violence towards me started up again. So I have walked away a few weeks ago. He now phones me 20 times a day being abusive. I have now cancelled the contract which I was paying for.I know he has dementia but I am finding it hard to know how to talk to him. Thank you for letting me vent!!
Vent away @Daze and after everything you've said I'm even more convinced that you owe him nothing, it's a blessing he's in a care home and you and the children are safe from him. Get a new phone number and start your new peaceful life - good luck to you, you deserve it x
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,183
0
South coast
Such a sad story @Daze
He cannot come home with you as a judge has decreed that he cant, so there is no choice in that matter. You can choose whether or not to visit, but honestly, you do not have to put yourself in the place of abuse. Stopping him phoning you was the right decision IMO. He will be safe and looked after where he is and no one will blame you if you choose not to visit him
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
6,266
0
Chester
I agree that alcoholism is not self inflicted but it does inflict an awful lot of pain on family.

My dad's sister was an alcoholic, she died when I was in my mid 20s so I think for at least 30 years from what I know - ie most of her adult life. At work we do wonder if the Irish carry an addiction gene (I work in Liverpool - [plenty of Irish catholics). My dad had promised her mum (his step mum) on her death bed that he would always look after her as he was 20 years older than his sister and his sister was 13 then, he was 33. He arranged for her to go to private clinics to dry out, he never distributed their father's estate so she couldn't spend it (money for clinics came from here) and when she died - directly related to alcohol - he was devastated couldn't stop saying he hadn't looked after her and killed himself within a week of the funeral. We as a family were accused of not looking after her at the funeral - when my mum had distanced us to protect us - she was very forthright to the accusers, pointing out neither of her children would answer the phone in their teenage years due to her excessive phone calls etc and the multiple times hse failed to turn up to our house or answer the door to her house when Sunday lunch had been arranged. Many many instances of family life were affected. I used to wonder what perfume she used as thought it was awful as a child, years later I realised it was the alcohol on her breath.

Please walk away now for your sake and that of your children.
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
2,489
0
cornwall
I agree that alcoholism is not self inflicted but it does inflict an awful lot of pain on family.

My dad's sister was an alcoholic, she died when I was in my mid 20s so I think for at least 30 years from what I know - ie most of her adult life. At work we do wonder if the Irish carry an addiction gene (I work in Liverpool - [plenty of Irish catholics). My dad had promised her mum (his step mum) on her death bed that he would always look after her as he was 20 years older than his sister and his sister was 13 then, he was 33. He arranged for her to go to private clinics to dry out, he never distributed their father's estate so she couldn't spend it (money for clinics came from here) and when she died - directly related to alcohol - he was devastated couldn't stop saying he hadn't looked after her and killed himself within a week of the funeral. We as a family were accused of not looking after her at the funeral - when my mum had distanced us to protect us - she was very forthright to the accusers, pointing out neither of her children would answer the phone in their teenage years due to her excessive phone calls etc and the multiple times hse failed to turn up to our house or answer the door to her house when Sunday lunch had been arranged. Many many instances of family life were affected. I used to wonder what perfume she used as thought it was awful as a child, years later I realised it was the alcohol on her breath.

Please walk away now for your sake and that of your children.
My exhusband is Irish.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
6,266
0
Chester
And to tie in with comments about backgrounds both my father and his sister were privately educated and lived an affluent lifestyle as children and young adults. I am sure losing her mother at 13 affected my aunt, I am told she was always poor M and indulged accordingly both at school and in the extended family. My father's mother also died at 13 but he was packed off to boarding school, not called poor J and had a whale of a time there.
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
679
0
I agree that alcoholism is not self inflicted but it does inflict an awful lot of pain on family.

My dad's sister was an alcoholic, she died when I was in my mid 20s so I think for at least 30 years from what I know - ie most of her adult life. At work we do wonder if the Irish carry an addiction gene (I work in Liverpool - [plenty of Irish catholics). My dad had promised her mum (his step mum) on her death bed that he would always look after her as he was 20 years older than his sister and his sister was 13 then, he was 33. He arranged for her to go to private clinics to dry out, he never distributed their father's estate so she couldn't spend it (money for clinics came from here) and when she died - directly related to alcohol - he was devastated couldn't stop saying he hadn't looked after her and killed himself within a week of the funeral. We as a family were accused of not looking after her at the funeral - when my mum had distanced us to protect us - she was very forthright to the accusers, pointing out neither of her children would answer the phone in their teenage years due to her excessive phone calls etc and the multiple times hse failed to turn up to our house or answer the door to her house when Sunday lunch had been arranged. Many many instances of family life were affected. I used to wonder what perfume she used as thought it was awful as a child, years later I realised it was the alcohol on her breath.

Please walk away now for your sake and that of your children.
Very sad story, the worst is the way others make accusations, sometimes coming from their own guilt I think. The older I get the more I think there are people who just can't be helped, maybe they have a self-destructive gene.