This is how excessive alcohol consumption is leading to brain damage -- but it doesn’t have to be permanent

A group of people cheers.
A group of people cheers. (Photo by Isabella Mendes from Pexels.)

As the baby boomer generation ages, medical experts estimate there will be as many as 16 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2050.

Presently, more than 5 million people in the U.S. have the disease. To make matters worse, there’s no known cure.

Now, medical experts are warning that alcohol abuse is leading to alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) that mimics or exacerbates dementia.

Given the fact that 14.1 million adults ages 18 and older meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the problem of ARBD cannot be ignored.

Alcohol-related brain damage explained

Addiction specialists now know that structural and functional changes to the brain occur with excessive alcohol use. These changes can cause impairment of thinking, planning and reasoning, while also causing changes in behavior and moods, according to information provided by Aware Recovery Care.

To complicate things, ARBD mimics the symptoms of dementia.

In fact, research suggests that up to one quarter of all dementia diagnoses are ARBD.

Early warning signs

According to Information from Aware Recovery Care, the first signs of ARBD include impulsive behavior, short-term memory problems and problems with planning and decision making. Problems with false or distorted memories may also occur.

Members of both sexes are more likely to begin experiencing symptoms in their 40s to 50s, but more and more people in their 30s and 40s are being seen with symptoms.

A bit of good news

Unlike Alzheimer’s -- a problem with no hope of recovery -- people with ARBD can partially recover, if they receive proper treatment for their alcohol abuse problem. The first step involves achieving sustained recovery – long term abstinence.

For those struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and need help, recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care offer a unique in-home model of care, giving clients a significantly better chance of recovery, compared to traditional inpatient rehab treatment.

To learn more or to talk to a recovery specialists, click or tap here.