What is Dementia? Types, Causes, Symptoms, Stages, and Treatment

Dementia Diagnosis and Treatment

Alcohol-induced dementia (AIDs) has become the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S. today. In most cases, people suffering from alcohol dementia don't even realize that they have it. The symptoms of alcohol-induced dementia can be so subtle and diffuse that many people in their fifties and sixties may not be aware of the disorder. Because this disease often goes undiagnosed for so long, those who suffer from it are at a greater risk of having a stroke, heart attack or other type of accident. If you suspect that you or someone that you know may be suffering from alcohol dementia, the sooner the proper treatment is received, the better.

Alcohol dementia, also called cirrhosis of the liver or simply alcohol dementia, is a progressive disease of the brain that results from excessive drinking of alcohol. It is believed that excessive drinking of alcohol over a period of time can actually damage the brain enough to cause it to fail. When this happens, the person will experience severe memory lapses, confusion, anxiety, emotional trauma, depression and a host of other problems. The syndrome may also result in the person developing physical problems, such as a stroke, heart attack or other type of accident that damages the brain. Alcohol use and abuse can contribute to this type of brain damage, especially during periods when the patient is experiencing regular alcohol use.

The good news about all of this is that there are a number of effective treatments available for alcohol dementia patients. These range from medicinal methods, such as a form of anti-depressant medication to certain types of counseling and therapy. For those who already suffer from some form of alcohol dementia, the goal is to reduce the level of alcohol use while maintaining a social setting with others who also suffer from this condition. Medications can also be used to treat this condition, but this type of treatment is usually only recommended in the most severe cases. Those who are unable to control their drinking may benefit from other forms of treatment to try to improve the memory, attention span and overall functioning skills of alcohol dementia patients.

Unfortunately, there is no test to determine if one has dementia. However, the doctor can come to an educated conclusion after reviewing the patient’s medical history, conducting physical examinations, and studying behavioral changes. The doctor cannot conclude a case of dementia, but rather the individual types, including Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia types.

Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. Unfortunately, there is no cure for progressive dementias. Fortunately, scientific breakthroughs have led doctors to prescribe Alzheimer’s drugs to help manage this condition.

On the bright side, the non-progressive causes of dementias such as depression and thyroid issues can be treated medically. For most cases of dementia, treatment focuses on managing symptoms, especially agitation, among other emotional concerns.

Bottom Line

Dementia is a common condition among the aged population. Essentially, it defines the decline of cognitive functioning. While dementia may have no cure, particularly progressive dementias, the condition is highly manageable. Consult a medical expert if you notice a loved one showing some initial stage dementia signs and symptoms.