All about Korsakoff. What is it, what are the symptoms and what to do.


Korsakov: a serious form of brain injury that can occur from years of excessive alcohol consumption and poor nutrition. The result of this is memory impairment that can eventually lead to dementia. Here you can read everything about what korsakov is, how to recognize it and what can be done about it.

What is Korsakoff?

Korsakoff's syndrome, also known as Korsakoff's syndrome, is a condition in which part of the brain is damaged. This manifests itself in the form of memory loss, difficulty planning and organizing activities and solving problems.

If you have Korsakov, the part of your brain that stores information no longer works as it should. As a result, these people have difficulty storing, retaining and retrieving information. Remembering where you live or even knowing your own name can be a challenge.

The symptoms

In addition to memory loss, there are also other symptoms that can help you recognize whether someone is suffering from this syndrome, namely: 

  • Appearing disoriented
  • Gait and balance disorders
  • paranoid behavior
  • No initiative
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Depression

Cause of the syndrome

The cause of Korsakoff's syndrome is a deficiency of vitamin B1, also called thiamine. This occurs when excessive alcohol consumption, (often) in combination with poor nutrition. Thiamine is indispensable in the body because it supplies the body with energy. In addition, it promotes proper functioning of the nervous system and heart muscle.

Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the liver to such an extent that it can no longer convert vitamin B1 from our diet.

Korsakoff or dementia?

Memory loss, character change and disoriented behavior with regard to time and space are symptoms that are very similar to those of dementia, but there is a difference that distinguishes them from each other. For example, the main difference is that dementia occurs gradually and Korsakov does not. Another difference is that in Korsakov's short-term memory is affected, but the intellectual capacity is usually not affected, while in dementia everything deteriorates: short and long-term memory as well as intellectual capacity. Although they are different from each other, Korsakov's can eventually lead to dementia.

Can Korsakov be cured?

Recovery is actually not possible. It is important that after the syndrome is diagnosed, the patient stops drinking immediately. If the vitamin B1 deficiency is resolved and the rest of the body is stable, no further deterioration will occur. The damage to the brain cannot be treated further, so the memory loss is irreversible.