Addiction A-Z

Idiosyncratic intoxication

Idiosyncratic intoxication is a rare form of alcoholic psychosis that occurs when a person drinks a small amount of alcohol and yet becomes extremely intoxicated and aggressive. They will experience hallucinations, delusions and then go into a long sleep. Idiosyncratic intoxication can happen very quickly, last a few minutes to several hours, and then be followed by amnesia. It most often occurs in elderly people and those with impaired impulse control.

Other forms of alcohol psychosis are Wernicke’s encephalopathy, Korsakoff’s syndrome, and alcoholic dementia. Wernicke’s encephalopathy is a brain disorder caused by lack of vitamin B1, and can happen suddenly. The person will be confused, drowsy, have double vision and abnormal eye movements. Without treatment, the person will die or go on to develop Korsakoff syndrome, characterized by severe memory loss and the inability to recall events and form new memories. Alcoholic dementia is brain damage caused by drinking too much.

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