Alcohol-related brain damage (including Korsakoff's syndrome)

7. Symptoms

As with Korsakoff's syndrome, the symptoms of alcoholic dementia largely reflect the areas in the person's brain that are damaged. Overall, the symptoms of alcoholic dementia are more varied than those of Korsakoff's.

A person with alcoholic dementia often has:

  • poor planning and organisational skills, and problems with decision-making, judgement and risk assessment
  • problems with impulsivity (eg rash financial decisions) and difficulty controlling emotions (eg irritability or outbursts)
  • problems with attention and slower reasoning
  • lack of sensitivity to the feelings of other people
  • behaviour which is socially inappropriate.

Unlike Korsakoff's syndrome, however, not everyone with alcoholic dementia has loss of day-to-day memory.