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Excessive drinking over a period of years may lead to a condition known as Alcohol Dementia, which can cause problems with memory, learning and other cognitive skills.
Alcohol has a direct affect on brain cells, resulting in poor judgment, difficulty making decisions and lack of insight. Nutrition problems which often accompany long-time alcohol abuse can be another contributing factor, since parts of the brain may be damaged by vitamin deficiencies.
Those suffering from dementia, may have very little ability to learn new things, while many of their other mental abilities are still highly functioning. Along with the decline in cognitive skills, sometimes noticeable personality changes take place.
Those suffering from dementia may remember in great detail events that happened years ago, but are not able to recall events that took place in the past few minutes.
Another symptom is telling the same stories or asking the same questions over and over, with no recollection that the questions have just been asked and answered. In conversation they may repeat the same piece of information[/link] 20 times, remaining wholly unaware that they are repeating the same thing in absolutely stereotyped expression.
Remarkably, at the same time they can seem to be in complete possession of their faculties -- able to reason well, drawing correct deductions, makes witty remarks, or playing games that require mental skills, such as chess or cards.
Korsakoff syndrome, or Korsakoff psychosis, involves impairment of memory and intellect/cognitive skills such as problem solving or learning, along with multiple symptoms of nerve damage. The most distinguishing symptom is confabulation (fabrication) where the person makes up detailed, believable stories about experiences or situations to cover the gaps in the memory. Korsakoff psychosis involves damage to areas of the brain.
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