Category Archives: Brain Injuries and Alcohol Category

Brain Injury, Alcohol and Dementia

Brain Injury and Alcohol Category Brain Injury

Brain injuries can cause a permanent decline in cognition in the process of thinking, remembering, understanding, reasoning and communication as well as changes in emotions and behavior, depending on the location of the injury. This is even more the case with older patients.

The symptoms of dementia include difficulty in interacting with others, problems with memory, thinking clearly, memory loss, irritability, slowed thought processes, neglecting grooming and hygiene, apathy, psychosis and mood and behavior difficulties. Dementia creates a significant loss of intellectual abilities and can be severe enough to interfere with social and occupational functioning. Someone suffering from dementia will have difficulty solving problems, maintaining emotional control and may have periods of delirium. Dementia is the result of the death of nerve cells.

Alcohol impairs brain functions and abstract reasoning also. For someone who has suffered a brain injury, there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink. Both a brain injury and alcohol affect memory, cognition, reasoning, judgment and executive function. A person who drinks heavily, and consistently over a long period of time, may have brain deficits that will continue even after they are sober, which may lead to dementia.

Heavy drinking can further permanently impair the brain over and above the injuries sustained from the head injury. Even moderate drinking can lead to brain impairment. The influence of alcohol combined with a brain injury can precipitate the potential for dementia depending on: how much and how often a person drinks; how long they’ve been drinking; their age, level of education, and family history of alcoholism. Heavy consumption of alcohol can result in serious and persistent changes in the brain. The combination of a brain injury and alcohol can significantly impair cognitive abilities, as does dementia.

Often, because of the head injury, a sufferer may have difficulty seeing the relationship between their behavior and the resulting consequences of their heavy consumption of alcohol, i.e.: they don’t understand why drinking is a problem; that they are too drunk to drive; that alcohol is creating a health problem for them; that drinking creates problems in their relationships; or in understanding that heavy and consistent drinking can lead to the strong possibility of developing dementia.

It is difficult to deter someone from drinking if they are determined to do so but particularly if they have had a brain injury.

It is even more difficult if the consumption of alcohol has been a behavior pattern before their injury as well. But it is important to attempt to do so as continual drinking combined with a head injury will have no good outcome.

Sylvia Behnish has written numerous articles relating to family issues, motivational topics, entertaining, travel and brain injuries. For more information on any of these topics, go to her site listed below. She has recently published her first non-fiction book entitled “Rollercoaster Ride With Brain Injury (For Loved Ones)” and her first fiction novel entitled “His Sins”, a three generation family saga.

Either of the above books can be ordered by e-mail at the following blog:

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