A new report by Alcohol Concern Cymru is trying to educate people about alcohol related brain damage or ARBD. ARBD is caused when someone has a history of heavy drinking. The alcohol eventually damages the brain to such an extent that it affects cognitive function.
The symptoms of alcohol related brain damage include confusion, memory loss, and having problems reasoning. If these symptoms are not recognised, the condition can progress to more permanent alcohol related dementia.
The Director of Alcohol Concern Cymru, Andrew Misell said that health providers are seeing more and more young people with ARBD. These people often believe they will not cause themselves long term harm simply because they do not fit the stereotypical profile of an alcoholic.
"Once again, our willingness to see alcohol problems as someone else's problem, confined to an extreme group of obvious drinkers, is keeping us from seeing the elephant on our doorstep. We hope this paper will be a wake-up call for all of us who drink."
If ARBD is caught early it is very treatable but many people simply do not recognise the illness until they are beyond treatment. This has lead Alcohol Concern Cymru to call for more awareness of ARBD and better training for health workers on the front lines.
ARBD is not a progressive illness which means the damage done can be reversed if it is treated in time. Without the proper awareness though, people will go on not knowing that their drinking is causing a serious problem.
As the number of heavy drinkers in the UK continues to increase, the number of ARBD cases is expected to continue to rise. This means more money needed for treatment centres, doctors and housing.
Current estimates of ARBD sufferers put the number at around 1.5% of the UK population. That figure rises to 30% for heavy drinkers.
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