Publication date: 29 Jan, 2019
It can be fully or partially reversed if a person stops using alcohol, but it will often progress with ongoing use.
Alcohol-related brain damage is often not recognised, and is under diagnosed. Patients can be stigmatised, with a perception that they are difficult to help, and a feeling in some cases that their problems are self-inflicted.
A further difficulty for medical staff, social workers and addiction workers can be balancing the rights of individuals to live as they choose, with their rights to get help that could improve their quality of life.
Colin McKay, Chief Executive of the Mental Welfare Commission, said:
Dr Roger Smyth, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, added:
Notes to editors:
1. Alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) is present in 1.5% of the general population, and almost 30% of alcohol dependent individuals.
The average age of people referred to specialist services is 55, and three quarters are male.
The number of hospital admissions for ARBD is comparatively low, with people more often being treated in general wards compared to psychiatric wards.
2. While the guide is written for professionals, patients, relatives or carers may find it useful in describing available resources and approaches.
3. This is the first time the Commission has produced a good practice guide on this subject. The Commission is keen to get feedback on how useful it has been, and will conduct a survey later in the year.
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