The nature of the problem and the mechanism of destruction
Alcohol encephalopathy – specific toxic damage to brain cells caused by chemical compounds. This is a dangerous syndrome, accompanied by a complex of diseases, which leads to the regular use of alcoholic beverages.
Chronic alcoholism is a common social problem of a person who is unable to cope with the dopamine loop of the brain. Clinical studies have shown that the desire to deceive the nature of the neurotransmitter in order to obtain artificial pleasure, without particularly bothering, leads to a variety of human dependencies. When the number of such people increases, exceeds the permissible limits, it turns into a social and human problem.
Alcoholism, drug addiction, gaming, computer addiction, nicotine, antidepressants are all social and medical difficulties, fraught with the emergence of interrelated dysfunctions that have a cumulative effect in the body. The need for constant enjoyment causes the weak personality to constantly resort to synthetic stimulants. A self-sufficient person is able to do this through natural reactions to daily small discoveries, achievements, accomplishments, and emotional follies.
With the emergence of alcohol dependence, as with any other form of dopamine slavery, there is a need for its regular exposure. Many irreversible functional shifts develop, invariably leading to catastrophic consequences..
Its inevitable sign is the death of brain neurons. Aldehyde poisoning causes toxic damage to cells of the nervous system, brain. Necrosis of individual sections of the central nervous system, polyneuropathic symptoms, death of hepatocytes, the development of cirrhosis is a natural consequence of exposure to ethanol.
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Alcoholic encephalopathy of the brain can be caused not only by the significant use of alcoholic beverages, but also by regular small amounts. It depends on the:
- personal characteristics;
- the lifestyle of the individual;
- quality consumed alcohol;
- the presence of other addictions.
Alcoholic encephalopathy is in fact an ongoing process – a kind of toxic, only used as a poisonous substance is consumed alcohol of different types, quality, consistency. Forms of such intoxication can be different, occur gradually or occur after previous acute poisoning, often delirium. The cyclical nature of what is happening does not change, the danger does not become less. The probability of occurrence is almost independent of gender, age differences.
The answer to the question of how much people live with alcoholic encephalopathy depends on the timeliness of diagnosis, the correctness of treatment, the individual state of the body, the nature of the changes that have occurred, and the form of development. Approximately half of the detected cases are fatal.
Forms and types
Alcoholic encephalopathy can occur in an acute or chronic form. The nature of the manifestations depends on the personality characteristics, the state of the body, the experience of alcoholism, the quality of consumed beverages with ethanol content. Derivatives often cause acute current or lead to fulminant form.
Signs of the onset of an aggravated condition are metabolic disorders, as a result of which a person loses appetite, weight, and experiences permanent weakness caused by sleep disorders and digestion. Sometimes it is believed that the acute form is caused by severe short-term intoxication, and chronic – long and regular use of alcohol.
Another point of view on the problem is more substantiated – the existing conditions, the cumulative effect of negative factors give a different length of the prodromal period. In some cases, it lasts at least two weeks, in others – from a year or more.
The rate of death of cerebral neurons under the influence of ethyl compounds determines the form in which toxic damage occurs. The speed, severity, symptoms caused by these components dictate the treatment of alcoholic encephalopathy and its success.
Alcohol consumption is not the only reason for the onset of cell pathology and cell death. This leads to changes in internal organs, systems, disruptions in their work. The existing functional disorders become conditions for the development of encephalopathy, progressing at an individual rate, against the background of a subclinical picture in the body of an alcoholic:
- ethanol washes vitamins and microelements from it, which leads to metabolic disorders;
- the absence of components that are not compatible with alcohol causes a shortage of various substances that affect the functioning of the internal organs, the cardiovascular, digestive and hepatobiliary systems;
- this creates the inability to assimilate individual food compounds, the impossibility of replenishing the substances that the body needs;
- irreversible pathologies of physiological activity develop, aggravated by permanent intake of toxins and oxidative stress;
- necrotic changes occur in the brain, the natural result of which is the occurrence of encephalopathy.
The acute or chronic stage, the duration of the prodromal period, the speed of passage of all stages depend on the accompanying factors, the individual characteristics of the organism.
The stage of the disease depends on the hereditary predisposition, the presence in the body of functional malfunctions of an innate, acquired character, the rate of metabolism and the elimination of alcohol degradation products.
Symptoms and stages of the disease
Alcoholic encephalopathy in the acute course can develop with lightning speed, go to the rallyed variety. The most frequent option is the form of Gaje-Wernicke. It is characterized by multiple symptoms – discoloration of the skin, swelling, delirium, seizures, tremor. Such manifestations are familiar to many who have an alcoholic in the family.
Chronic disease results in Korsakov psychosis in women with impaired memory, attention, and spatial orientation. In men, it takes the form of an alcoholic pseudo-paralysis with personality changes, aggression, and polyneuropathic disorders.
In any case, the pathology goes through 3 stages of development:
- prodromal with digestive disorders, sleep, nervous activity, brain work, psyche, giving a complex picture, easily explained by the constant use of alcohol;
- manifest psychosis – up to hallucinations, schizophrenia, delusions, loss of mental abilities;
- hyperacute with intensification of the symptoms of the previous one, developing in a short time, even more catastrophic and culminating in a coma.
Mental changes are accompanied by physiological manifestations – tremor, convulsions, hyperhidrosis, hyperemia or cyanosis of the skin, depression, feverish states, heart palpitations, digestive pathology, etc. Diagnosis is not difficult as soon as it comes to chronic alcoholism. From this point of view, everything becomes logical for a psychiatrist or emergency doctor.
Treatment of alcoholic encephalopathy at any stage is an urgent need that does not always guarantee the success of the actions taken.
Therapy: comprehensive activities
The main prerequisite – the waiver of alcohol. Without compliance, no methods will lead to an improvement in condition. It will continue its dynamic development until it is fatal.
Medications help to stop the symptoms and alleviate the condition. Anticonvulsant, nootropic, antihypertensive drugs, vitamins are used in the form of intravenous injections. If the patient cannot give up alcohol on his own, he is offered inpatient treatment at the clinic or a coding.
Sometimes good results are obtained by the parallel use of folk remedies – decoctions and infusions of medicinal herbs. To do this, use the fees or monopreparations of plants that have the ability to symptomatically eliminate negative manifestations, rich in vitamins and minerals. Alternative medicine recommends hawthorn, dogrose, bay leaf, lemongrass, sea buckthorn, milk thistle, thyme, and others.
Psychological support plays an important role – conversations with a doctor, attentive attitude, emotional support of relatives, friends, friends, visiting group therapy, art classes, work.
The refusal of questionable companies, provoking alcohol intake, permanent employment helps to abandon the potential dangers of resuming addiction. To break the associative connections, the patient is recommended to quit smoking, to change the place of residence.
However, if alcohol intake continues, is permanent, then encephalopathy continues to develop and sooner or later leads to death.