All in the mind: Meeting the challenge of alcohol-related brain damage

English | Cymraeg

17 March 2014

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Note: This report was written and/or funded by our predecessor organisation Alcohol Concern.

Introduction

This paper looks at the range of conditions that are grouped under the umbrella of alcohol-related brain damage or impairment (ARBD or ARBI). These conditions have a variety of related symptoms, including confusion, memory loss, and difficulty reasoning and understanding. They are the result of the physical damage that alcohol, as a poison, does to brain tissue, coupled with nutritional deficiencies resulting from heavy drinking.

Although less common than some other alcohol-related conditions, ARBD nevertheless represents a serious public health challenge, and remains very much overlooked and misunderstood. This paper seeks to clear up much of the ignorance around ARBD, and to place it firmly in the context of our drinking society, rather than stereotyping it as an extreme affliction of a distinct group of easily identifiable ‘problem drinkers’. It also emphasises the fact that, unlike some other forms of mental impairment, ARBD is not a progressive condition – it does not inevitably worsen, and can be successfully treated. It makes the case for ensuring that appropriate treatment is provided promptly to all who can benefit from it.