The term dementia refers to various symptoms relating to brain function. As Medical News Today explains, dementia is not a disease.1 It is, “a general term to describe symptoms of impairment in memory, communication, and thinking.” Persisting dementia refers to lasting, ongoing dementia symptoms.

Dementia symptoms may include the following:

  • Asking the same question repeatedly
  • Having trouble completing simple or routine tasks
  • Forgetting words
  • Using the wrong word
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Losing everyday items like keys or purses
  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, projects or events

Anyone can develop dementia, but certain factors increase its likelihood. If you use drugs or alcohol, you put your brain health at increased risk.

Demented man

Drug Use and Dementia

Drug and alcohol use damage physical and mental health. They contribute to the development of a variety of serious medical complications. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol and drug abuse are significant risk factors for the development of early-onset dementia.2

Alcohol is particularly damaging to brain health. It influences early-onset dementia. It also contributes to thiamine deficiency. This nutrient is essential for brain function. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains, “Thiamine deficiency is the established cause of an alcohol–linked neurological disorder known as Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), but it also contributes significantly to other forms of alcohol–induced brain injury, such as various degrees of cognitive impairment, including the most severe, alcohol–induced persisting dementia.”3 Even if you don’t experience substance-induced dementia, addiction is still harming your brain. You will experience cognitive effects. You may lose memories and brain function. You will not be your healthiest, happiest self.

Treating Substance-Induced Dementia

Not all dementia can be reversed. However, WebMD explains, “Sometimes treating the cause of dementia helps the dementia.”4 By treating your substance use, you treat your mental and physical health. Take back control. Choose an integrated treatment program. Choose Black Bear Lodge. We offer care for the mind, body and spirit. We emphasize addressing mental health as much as we emphasize addressing drug use and its physical effects. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that “7.9 million people in the U.S. experience both a mental disorder and substance use disorder simultaneously.”5

Because co-occurring mental health and addiction issues are so common, we provide every patient with in-depth assessments. We then provide the care that addresses your personal and medical needs. Call today to speak with one of our admissions counselors. Learn more about your options. Get started on your path to recovery today.


1 MacGill, Markus. “Dementia: Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes.” Medical News Today. 22 Mar.  2017. Accessed 6 Sep. 2017.

2 National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. “Alcohol Abuse Important Risk Factor in Early-Onset Dementia.” Accessed 6 Sep. 2017.

3 Martin, Peter; Singleton, Charles; Hiller-Sturmhofel. “The Role of Thiamine Deficiency in Alcoholic Brain Disease.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Jul. 2004. Accessed 6 Sep. 2017.

4 WebMD. “Dementia–Treatment Overview.” Accessed 6 Sep. 2017.

5 National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Dual Diagnosis.” Aug. 2017. Accessed 6 Sep. 2017.