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.



Hospitals need to have an agreed pathway for people who arrive with alcohol related problems. Staff need to be trained to deal with patients who are at risk of ARBD.


People need to know that excessive alcohol can lead to permanent brain damage – even at a young age – and they need to know the signs to be able to take remedial action.


Families need support, even if it is only a HELPLINE, so that they know where they can get answers to their many questions.


More facilities are required and this could be met by government funding to support ARBD placements within the private sector. Staff training should follow and a remedial programme for people with ARBD introduced.


ARBD Awareness aims to support people who have or are affected by alcohol related brain damage. We aim to change the culture towards this group who are stigmatised when it comes to accessing accommodation, benefits and the legitimate right to healthcare and rehabilitation.


You can help us achieve our aims by being a PEST.

Pathways... Education... Support... Training...

Scarce resources