Korsakoff Dementia

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
21
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?
I think you are right, it does need to be made more aware that this does happen, even when I went to alcohol addiction centre for support this was never mentioned. The problem with getting it diagnosed is that the person has to be without alcohol for several weeks, tests are done at the begining and afterwards. My husband got his diagnosis because he had a bad fall and was in hospital for several weeks and had a brain scan. Even when I went to Al Anon they had never heard of this. Now he still drinks, even in the care home, but nowhere near as much as he was doing. So he has improved, not like the other residents in the home, who he see are detiorating. I am gradually starting to have a worry free and peaceful life!!
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
21
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.
Gosh, what a sad story!! You could write a book! I haven't seen my husband for several weeks now, am getting my head around walking away. I have to think of the children, they are my priority. Many thanks.
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
341
I think you are right, it does need to be made more aware that this does happen, even when I went to alcohol addiction centre for support this was never mentioned. The problem with getting it diagnosed is that the person has to be without alcohol for several weeks, tests are done at the begining and afterwards. My husband got his diagnosis because he had a bad fall and was in hospital for several weeks and had a brain scan. Even when I went to Al Anon they had never heard of this. Now he still drinks, even in the care home, but nowhere near as much as he was doing. So he has improved, not like the other residents in the home, who he see are detiorating. I am gradually starting to have a worry free and peaceful life!!
Quite shocked that they don't mention the disease in AA groups, also surprised he can drink alcohol in the care home! Enjoy your new life - be happy with your children, you deserve it x
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,008
Scotland
@Daze i think you have done a service in raising this issue. As you can see lots of people have experience or interest in this topic. You are right that it needs more publicity so that people who are drinking heavily see what the outcome can be in the long run. When my husband was in hospital there was a youngish Polish guy in the next bed with this problem. He had a compound leg fracture or they would have thrown him out for the trouble he was causing. His youngish pregnant wife was at the end of her tether. It is a very tough on the families.
 

jenniferjean

Registered User
Apr 2, 2016
661
Basingstoke, Hampshire
@Daze You are right that it needs more publicity so that people who are drinking heavily see what the outcome can be in the long run.
About three or four years ago my husband's doctor talked to my husband about his drinking. He drank Vodka but it wasn't excessive, but she felt he was drinking too much. She asked me to try and make him cut back. As he had already been diagnosed with MCI at this time I'm surprised that nothing was mentioned about Kosakoff.
As it happens he hardly drinks at all now, just the odd beer maybe once a week. He seems to have lost the taste for alcohol and never touches shorts now.
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
21
About three or four years ago my husband's doctor talked to my husband about his drinking. He drank Vodka but it wasn't excessive, but she felt he was drinking too much. She asked me to try and make him cut back. As he had already been diagnosed with MCI at this time I'm surprised that nothing was mentioned about Kosakoff.
As it happens he hardly drinks at all now, just the odd beer maybe once a week. He seems to have lost the taste for alcohol and never touches shorts now.
At least your doctor was aware and did the right thing and actually helped your husband, our doctor when I asked him for help just said that my husband was a grown man who can make his own choices he knew the consequences. Thank goodness your husband is fine now!
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
21
@Daze i think you have done a service in raising this issue. As you can see lots of people have experience or interest in this topic. You are right that it needs more publicity so that people who are drinking heavily see what the outcome can be in the long run. When my husband was in hospital there was a youngish Polish guy in the next bed with this problem. He had a compound leg fracture or they would have thrown him out for the trouble he was causing. His youngish pregnant wife was at the end of her tether. It is a very tough on the families.
Gosh that poor lady! The main problem when they are drinking is that they are so wrapped up in them selves that they just can not see what is happening around them, especially with their loved ones. It is very tough on those closest to them, and there really is not much help out there to cope with this. I hope that lady is okay!
 

Platinum

Registered User
Nov 7, 2017
69
South east
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
 

Platinum

Registered User
Nov 7, 2017
69
South east
I so agree Palerider.

It’s very easy to be judgmental about alcoholism and I agree that living with an alcoholic must be absolutely devastating. But it is an addictive illness that is stigmatised and goes untreated most of the time. Korsakoff’s is missed all the time in A and E when it should be treated. I have a partner who was diagnosed with alcohol related brain damage. The diagnosis labels him but he is not and was not an alcoholic although plenty of people use the term. After diagnosis I watered down his wine which he did not notice and since an emergency admission to A and E in August 2018 and subsequent CH placement alcohol was withdrawn completely and suddenly without any effect other than he says would like a glass of wine now and again. Plenty of heavy social drinkers do not develop symptoms of brain damage although it is accepted it is a risk factor for dementia. His current CH gives all the residents a glass of wine every Sunday lunchtime which he enjoys without demanding any more. I have written about our situation before and excess alcohol has caused peripheral neuropathy and cerebral ataxia and he has an indwelling Foley catheter which he does not recognise. He is of an age where social drinking was the norm and he would never accept his burning painful feet was the result of alcohol when at home.
He has a true dementia but also part of his brain works well in that he can hold a conversation although his memory makes this difficult to sustain as his short term memory is absent. Like most addictions, food, drugs, etc there are never clear cut solutions. Much more support from the medical profession would help but that’s not going to happen in the current climate
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
21
I so agree Palerider.

It’s very easy to be judgmental about alcoholism and I agree that living with an alcoholic must be absolutely devastating. But it is an addictive illness that is stigmatised and goes untreated most of the time. Korsakoff’s is missed all the time in A and E when it should be treated. I have a partner who was diagnosed with alcohol related brain damage. The diagnosis labels him but he is not and was not an alcoholic although plenty of people use the term. After diagnosis I watered down his wine which he did not notice and since an emergency admission to A and E in August 2018 and subsequent CH placement alcohol was withdrawn completely and suddenly without any effect other than he says would like a glass of wine now and again. Plenty of heavy social drinkers do not develop symptoms of brain damage although it is accepted it is a risk factor for dementia. His current CH gives all the residents a glass of wine every Sunday lunchtime which he enjoys without demanding any more. I have written about our situation before and excess alcohol has caused peripheral neuropathy and cerebral ataxia and he has an indwelling Foley catheter which he does not recognise. He is of an age where social drinking was the norm and he would never accept his burning painful feet was the result of alcohol when at home.
He has a true dementia but also part of his brain works well in that he can hold a conversation although his memory makes this difficult to sustain as his short term memory is absent. Like most addictions, food, drugs, etc there are never clear cut solutions. Much more support from the medical profession would help but that’s not going to happen in the current climate
Hi, I found this post very interesting as I can relate to several points. My husband has peripheral neuropathy as well. He can barely walk now, has a stroller, and refuses point blank that it was brought on by the amount of alcohol hes consumed over the years. He also always has foot ulcers which look so painful but he can not feel them as he can not feel his feet. He also has diabetis bought about by the fact that he barely ate and due to just drinking consumed too much sugar which was the route cause. He also has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung disease, bought on by his smoking 60 cigarettes a day. All of which he now say he never did and thinks I am lying about, just to get him into a CH, so I 'can move on with my life without him'. His CH allows him to drink and smoke.He can also hold a conversation, but if you actually analyse the context of the conversation it is of no substance and meaning. I find this very confusing. He has been diagnosed with alcohol related brain disease, but as they say dementia he can stay in the CH which suits me.
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
1,277
North West
I think we live in a society that is unable to pick up the pieces of its own making. People are quick to judge alcoholics, but how many of them have another level of addiction that goes unquestioned?

Alcoholism is not one definition and dependency is not at one level either, some get by on a glass of beer a night and others need more, but either way the underlying feature is a dependency/addiction to alcohol.

Its a very complex problem and one that many either underestimate or are too quick to judge rather than step back and try to understand.

My father was a loving father when I was a baby and a small child, but then he didn't drink alcohol, but as I got older I noticed his drinking and experienced his behaviour after drink and back then in the 1970's it was normal (no it wasn't but it was accepted). My dad continued all of his life I knew him to drink and in my late twenties it cost him dearly -I walked away and refused to see or talk to him for over 3 years, mum was devastated and in the end I only went home for mums sake not my dads. He continued to drink up to the end of his life and it was only when he was dying I saw through all of what had gone before and at that point he let me help him sort out his affairs. It was avery sad and upsetting time for me but all was made right in the end. But I stick to what I said before, there is a hope that is never repaid, and I lived with that hope all of my life that dad would stop, but he never did until it was too late.
 

Anthony321

New member
Apr 21, 2018
2
Hi all.
My brother was diognosed with
Korsacoff dementia around six years ago. He was always a drinker but always managed to hold down a job as a baker for most of his life. He is 57 now and
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
21
Hi all.
My brother was diognosed with
Korsacoff dementia around six years ago. He was always a drinker but always managed to hold down a job as a baker for most of his life. He is 57 now and
Hi, is your brother in a CH? In my husbands CH there are 4 other men who are in there due to drink related illnesses/dementia, and who are very young to be in a CH. They are all probably in their 60s, one I think is late 50s. The CH staff says that there has been an explosion of younger men coming in, all due to drink/drugs. They could be in there for many years. You are the first person who knows someone with Korsakoff that I have come across!
 

Cescabell

New member
Feb 3, 2020
2
Hi,

i am new to this forum so not to sure how this thing works, but my dad has recently been diagnosed with this form of dementia and he is still drinking. I haven’t really had many questions answered yet as to what will happen if he continues to drink? How fast will he basically go down hill if continues to drink? His memory is already deteriorating. Thanks I’m advance.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
3,790
Nottinghamshire
Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Cescabell

I’m sorry you’ve had to join us but glad you’ve found us as you’ll find support here. From what I understand of this sort of dementia if the person stops drinking they can be fairly normal but if they continue they will continue to deteriorate. I don’t think anyone can tell you how fast that will happen.

My dad wasn’t a problem drinker but I noticed that alcohol affected him more as his dementia got worse. I don’t suppose your dad will find it easy to stop drinking.
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
21
Hi,

i am new to this forum so not to sure how this thing works, but my dad has recently been diagnosed with this form of dementia and he is still drinking. I haven’t really had many questions answered yet as to what will happen if he continues to drink? How fast will he basically go down hill if continues to drink? His memory is already deteriorating. Thanks I’m advance.
Hi, welcome, I am new to. My first thought on your post is that if he is still drinking how did he get diagnosed with Korsakoff? My husband got his diagnosis via the hospital. The person gets asked a set of questions, has to stop drinking for several months, then the questions are re-asked. This is why it is so hard to diagnose as who is going to stop the drinking - just like that - and probably with no support, wait weeks then redo the questions? My husband got his because he had a bad fall and was in hospital 16 weeks where they did brain scans. I think it depends on how much he drinks as to how quickly he deteriorates. And how long he has been drinking for, as other health issues start to occur which can add to the deterioration. My husband liver is on the verge of packing up which will lead to other organs starting to fail. His legs are so painful he can barely walk. His brain can not absorb new information, and left to his own devices he would not be able to care for himself. At least in the CH he is being fed regularly, having his meds correctly and only drinking minimum. Therefore he is actually the best he has been for the last 5 years!
 

Cescabell

New member
Feb 3, 2020
2
Thanks guys! He did stop drinking for around 9 months whilst he was in a sort of rehabilitation home but as soon as he got his own place the drinking started again. After having brain scans before and after and all the memory questions asked yet again he had declined quite badly. Including his hand movements has he really struggles to now draw, write ect. Iv had a full morning with him today and although you can still have a nice conversation with him the repetitiveness is occurring a lot more now. He struggles to do the simplest of tasks ie putting a seat belt on, putting his shoes on. It’s really sad to watch but at the same time want to encourage him to do it him self.
thanks for responding.
 

Daze

Registered User
Jan 13, 2020
21
Thanks guys! He did stop drinking for around 9 months whilst he was in a sort of rehabilitation home but as soon as he got his own place the drinking started again. After having brain scans before and after and all the memory questions asked yet again he had declined quite badly. Including his hand movements has he really struggles to now draw, write ect. Iv had a full morning with him today and although you can still have a nice conversation with him the repetitiveness is occurring a lot more now. He struggles to do the simplest of tasks ie putting a seat belt on, putting his shoes on. It’s really sad to watch but at the same time want to encourage him to do it him self.
thanks for responding.
Aw bless you, it is hard to watch a loved one deteriorate. My husband is in a similar position to your dad, he is starting to struggle to do simple tasks. Stay strong!