Learn About the Risks of Heavy Drinking and Dementia

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Anytime a person experiences episodes of drinking too heavily, there are risk. These risks may be physical, psychological, or otherwise, but they do exist. Over time, heavy drinking can permanently alter the way your brain and body function. Learn more about the risks associated with heavy drinking and dementia, a disease that ravages the brain and body.

Risk of Dementia

Research published in the Lancet Public Health journal described evidence that showed people who drink enough to end up in hospital are putting themselves at serious risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It will also raise questions for people who drink moderately about the possible long-term consequences of this social habit. A million people diagnosed with dementia between 2008 and 2013 were looked at through a large database of information. More than a third of the cases of early-onset dementia were directly linked to alcohol-related causes. Nearly 20 percent of people had an additional diagnosis of alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorders were associated with a three times greater risk of all types of dementia.


Alcohol has long been known as having neurotoxic effects and that thiamine deficiency in people with alcoholism wreaks havoc on the memory. Cirrhosis and epilepsy are also found to damage the brain, accelerated by the presence of alcohol. Traditionally, alcohol has not been considered a factor in dementia, but the tides are slowly changing. The research conducted showed damage to the brain by alcohol that is never repaired. Heavy drinkers who give up alcohol for a time did not reduce their dementia risk, even if they were less likely to die early. Even moderate drinking can have a permanent effect on the brain itself.

High Cost to Pay

Even as there are guidelines promoting the safe use of alcohol, odds are people could be doing more harm than good to their bodies by over consuming alcohol. Alcoholism is a devastating disease which ravages the brain and body over time. The liver, kidney, and heart are all impacted by excessive drinking and now, it seems, alcohol deeply scars the brain as well. What remains to be seen is just how much of an impact it has and how to support people with addiction to alcohol in seeking help before permanent damage is done. Public health officials warn about excessive drinking but it may be the low to moderate drinking over time needs to also be reviewed for potential side effects, especially as it may lead to excessive drinking habits over time for some individuals.

Sound Recovery has programs and resources to help address your drinking problem specifically. If you are struggling with alcoholism, call us. We will help guide you through a step-by-step process to start you on the path to recovery from alcoholism.

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