Headway
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Enough to put anyone off drinking

I attend a brain injury group each week. I had heard of this young woman who had attended who is only in her 30s who had very poor memory like half hour memory. I met her at an allotment last few week at the group. She needs constant reassurance that someone is going to pick her up at set time, constant reminding of where she is or going. Only speaks when spoken to as it must be hard to think of conversation when you only remember what happened in last half hour. Like how often does something worth talking about happen in the last 30 mins?

Turns out she has got foster parents and they couldn't cope so put her in an elderly care home. She is aware of the condition she has and remembers the name of it (which I don't). Today the woman who runs the group had just had enough of having to constantly reassure this girl and remind her everything. She did keep making effort and trying but said to me as horrible as it sounds the girl was doing her head in. Later the woman told me that they had tried helping the girl getting her a watch that she could put reminders in so like set it for 4 o clock to tell her to do something like make meal or have a walk etc, but the girl didn't take notice. So got to stage where she couldn't be helped as she never could remember why she hadn't done what reminder said.

All this memory loss is down to drinking too much alcohol. So effect that isn't as well known from drinking. I thought anyone who drank a lot had liver problems or health issues rather than memory problems.

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Alcohol will destroy parts of the brain at random, and like all brain injuries you never know what will happen I suppose. If it kills off some important neurons in your hippocampus then there goes your short term memory ability. A nasty way to live.

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Yea and probably sadder cos it's so rare. I mean how often do you hear of alcohol causing such bad memory? This is first I've heard of. Alcohol doing other damage to organs in body yes. So sad that it's not something that can get better with time which is why woman who runs group said it's no use her keep coming. As every week it's like they have to tell her where we are going and tell her she's been before and likes it there and then she still doesn't know where she's going. I was shocked that her adoptive parents put her in an elderly home as you normally make more allowances for family and care for them when needed.

Got to say I do agree she shouldn't really be going to this group as it does make it awkward for them that run it like we can be talking or joking about something and this girl is just like stood there looking blank. It's not easy making conversation as most conversations require some memory of the past even if it's just what you done that day or something. One thing I have noticed is she is honest. We go to allotment in woman who runs groups car which is to be honest a mess everything dumped on seats etc. Woman said she might need to clean it soon. This girl quickly replied no might about it. Actually saying what most people would be to shy to say.

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The woman probably has Wernicke's Encephalopathy or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome :

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werni...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werni...

The body needs thiamine (vitamin B1) to metabolise alcohol and glucose. With heavy drinking and bad diet (which is common to alcoholics) the brain can run out of thiamine. The result is brain damage.

The problem can occur with other conditions too - but alcohol is by far the biggest culprit for running out of thiamine.

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