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I care for an elderly couple and I'm afraid they have problems related to alcohol consumption. I don't know what to do or who to talk to, I'm afraid other people will think I'm crazy. But all the signs are there. Any suggestions? She has been hallucinating and having "nightmares" and recently started to complain of "itching all over". I'm also becoming increasingly concerned about dehydration.
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yes, my mother has alcohol induced dementia as well, she has practically zero short term memory, itching, intestinal bleeds, angry, hallucinations, severe paranoia. her doctor is a total "quack" and won't treat her at all. she passes the mini whatever 30 question test to determine competency with flying colors, but can't remember 5 minutes ago. those tests are absolutely useless as far as i am concerned. 7 reports have been reported with adult protective services, they do nothing, come by ask 5 questions, she answers correctly and they leave. i have total financial control as my mother stopped paying her bills and spent all the money on booze, she doesn't shower, or clean, lives in filth, i have to send her food. she says i steal her money and when i go over to her house to bring groceries and clean, she calls the cops on me and they make me leave. the very laws that protect some citizens destroy others. what a shame.
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Look for a neurologist, some specialize in cognitive neurology. You can also seek out a geriatric physician, or LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) or MSW (masters in social work) who specializes in geriatrics. There are many tools available to assess cognition, a five question test will not do it. Ask the practitioners who will be assessing her what types of tools they are using. Some common names are "MMSE" (Mini Mental Status Exam), "SLUMS" (Saint Louis University Mental Status), and "Allen Cognitive Level Screen". Hope this helps!
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YES YES YES! And don't let anyone tell you differantly. Alcohol dementia is real and has it's own issues one of the biggest makers is a "shuffled" gate. Look up Alcohol induced dementia and see all the studies done and all the differing symptoms. My mother has it and has had it for some time with no one willing to diagnose it or treat it. And yes if they go cold turkey then the withdrawals are great. My mom was chemicaly restrained for 2 weeks, not pretty.
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How do you get a thorough cognitive assessment done? What kind of doctor or psychologist does that? My mother has had a quick dementia check with a social worker who asked about 5 questions. I didn't think it was too thorough.
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I have worked with several clients over the years who had a diagnosis of "alcohol induced dementia", but it affects differently than other types of dementia. A thorough cognitive assessment should be done anytime cognition is a concern to establish a correct diagnosis and baseline.
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Our very own Carol Bradley Bursack wrote an article on this for health central , and perhaps she will add her words of wisdom here soon.

Lynn.. I agree with you, I would think that alcohol can induce 'dementia' like symptoms, although it seem that a good detox will help those with alcohol dementia, whereas true dementia has no 'detox' program.
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Well.... I would not call it alcohol induced dementia but I have read over and over that people who abuse alcohol, especially after 60, are WAY more likely to develop dementia. A friends grandpa went through terrible alcohol withdrawal - hallucinations, itching all over, hives, fever, chills, vomiting, tingling in hands and fee - for several days after he was hospitalized for a broken hip. His neighbor found him on the floor of his home when the papers piled up. He thought he'd just fallen but he must have been there 3 days.

My own uncle and brother suffered from memory and lack of cognition in later years and their docs said it was from years of heavy drinking. They didn't get as bad as alzhiemers patients but they suffered memory loss, had trouble making decisions, became paranoid and easily angry. My brother in particular was bad due to emphysema - he just didn't get enough oxygen in his blood - which contributed to his cognitive decline.
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