In the Lancet Public Health Journal, Alcoholism has been cited as the main preventable reason for dementia. Previously, the illness had been attributed to genetic factors, but a French national study observing nearly a million people has proven that alcohol use disorders could lead to early onset dementia.
The study had been aimed at those who abused alcohol and had been diagnosed with a mental health related issue due to said alcohol abuse.
Out of nearly sixty thousand people who had been diagnosed with a form of early onset dementia, more than half had also had co-existing issues with alcohol abuse.
The definition of alcohol abuse differs per country, but in the UK, the Chief Medical Office announced a guideline where they do not recommend more than 14 units per week, for both men and women.
Due to the results of the research into the link between alcoholism and dementia, the authors have appealed to health organisations throughout the world to intervene and consider possible alcohol abuse during the diagnosis of dementia, and co-existing treatment for alcohol abuse, to ensure the treatment of the patient will be more effective.
The fact that the two disorders – alcoholism and early-onset dementia- go hand-in-hand, could make the risk of premature deaths even more likely. According to one of the authors of the study, Dr Rehm, all alcohol-induced brain damage are very preventable which makes the findings even more damning. Add to that, the author also claims that alcohol abuse will shorten your life expectancy by more than 20 years if you factor in deaths due to early-onset dementia.
There is also a difference between the genders for when it comes to susceptibility of alcohol induced early-onset dementia. Dementia cases over 65 + tends to affect women more than men, however, early onset dementia – the cases of dementia in people under 65 – affects mostly men; only a third of the early-onset dementia patients in the study were women.
Alcohol abuse also goes hand in hand with other health related issues, like smoking, depression and diabetes, which could individually also lead to dementia.
However, a geriatric psychiatrist who has been interviewed for the study has claimed that alcohol abuse treatment in dementia patients is often futile, as the symptoms of dementia have manifested in the brain already. This could indeed make the calls for early screening in dementia even more urgent.
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Posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2018 at 8:53 pm in Alcoholism.