Binge Drinking Put Britons at Increased Risk of Dementia Epidemic

by VR Sreeraman on Nov 2 2008 10:29 AM

Binge drinking culture is putting Britain at an increased risk of dementia epidemic, warn psychiatrists.

Dr Susham Gupta and Dr James Warner have warned that excessive alcohol consumption at a young and middle age may lead to brain damage and impaired faculties in later life.

Gupta, specialist registrar at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London and Dr Warner is a consultant in older adult psychiatry in north-west London said that Britain might be heading towards a "silent epidemic" of alcohol-related dementia unless urgent action is taken.

They also suggest that laws similar to those used to restrict smoking might be needed.

Following a drop in the price of alcohol, the consumption has soared since 1960s.

Although moderate drinking is associated with health benefits, heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking could be highly destructive, said the psychiatrists.

"Given the neurotoxic effects of alcohol and the inexorable increase in consumption, future generations may see a disproportionate increase in alcohol-related dementia," the Independent quoted the researchers, as writing.

"This could be compounded by recreational drugs, whose long-term effects are uncertain. There is a need to develop tools for assessment of alcohol-related cognitive impairment.

"It is difficult to motivate change in public behaviour when there is a delay between risk-taking behaviour and the onset of complications.

"Calls for initiatives aimed at educating people about the risk of alcohol-related dementia may be unpopular and ineffective. This might need similar legislation to that used against tobacco-related health problems," they added.