Alcoholism is a pernicious illness that has a catastrophic effect on the physical, mental and emotional disposition of the individual. It shows no respect for financial, social or intellectual achievements and whilst it destroys the individual, the unremitting debilitating effect it has on the family is often underrated and unrecorded.
Alcohol related brain damage can present as a dementia type illness and those diagnosed with Korsakoff’s syndrome will almost certainly experience confusion, memory loss, apathy and irrational thinking. The illness may also be degenerative. Although ARBD will be the primary illness that needs to be managed the individual will almost certainly possess additional physical, mental and emotional traumas which they will not recognise as presenting a threat to life. Working with individuals who have ARBD requires an understanding of the condition. As with dementia, staff will be challenged to re-evaluate their response to behaviour. Whilst a person may appear to be physically sound, their behaviour may be a reaction to a confused world within which they suddenly find themselves and with which they are struggling to make sense.
Working in this world, we understand that staff will need to learn new rules whilst families will often have to re-evaluate their lives.