Preventing long-term brain damage in alcohol-dependent patients
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Preventing long-term brain damage in alcohol-dependent patients

Irene Guerrini Consultant psychiatrist in addictions, Addictions Clinical Academic Group, Bexley Borough, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London
Rosie Mundt-Leach Head of nursing, Addictions Clinical Academic Group, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London

An inadequate supply of thiamine (vitamin Bx) to the brain can result in Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which is an acute neuropsychiatric disorder. This article explains the known risk of thiamine deficiency in people who are dependent on or misuse alcohol. The importance of making parenteral vitamin supplements available to patients in a community alcohol service is outlined. A project that has provided intramuscular thiamine supplementation to reduce the likelihood of long-term brain damage is described.

Nursing Standard. 27, 19, 43-46. doi: 10.7748/ns2013.01.27.19.43.c9498

Correspondence

irene.guerrini@slam.nhs.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Accepted: 11 October 2012

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