Korsakov syndrome

Further form of dementia

Korsakov’s syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Progression and Treatment

Everything you need to know about Korsakow syndrome

Korsakow-Syndrom - Ursachen, Symptome, Verlauf und BehandlungKorsakov’s syndrome – Causes:

Korsakov’s syndrome, also known as Korsakov’s psychosis, is a particular form of dementia caused by a severe deficiency of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the brain. The main cause of this deficiency is usually long-term alcohol abuse, which impairs the absorption and metabolism of thiamine in the body. Thiamine is essential for the normal functioning of the brain and plays an important role in energy metabolism and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Korsakov syndrome is often considered part of Wernicke-Korsakov syndrome, which is characterized by an acute phase, Wernicke encephalopathy syndrome, and a chronic phase, Korsakov syndrome.

Korsakov’s syndrome – Symptoms:

The symptoms of Korsakov’s syndrome include memory disorders, in particular anterograde amnesia, a special form of memory disorder in which the ability to remember new conscious contents is massively reduced. Those affected often have difficulty remembering past events and may therefore invent stories to fill gaps in their memory (confabulation). In addition to memory problems, disorientation, problems with attention and spatial orientation as well as personality changes can also occur. The symptoms can worsen over time, especially if the thiamine deficiency is not treated.

Korsakov’s syndrome – Progression:

The course of Korsakow’s syndrome is often chronic and can lead to permanent cognitive impairment, especially if the thiamine deficiency is not recognized and corrected in time. Symptoms can vary, and some sufferers may show some improvement in cognitive function when treated with appropriate thiamine therapy. For others, however, the condition can progress and lead to a permanent condition that impairs independence and quality of life.

Korsakov’s syndrome – Treatment:

The treatment of Korsakow’s syndrome focuses primarily on treating the underlying thiamine deficiency. This involves the administration of high doses of thiamine, either orally or intravenously, to correct the deficiency and relieve symptoms. In addition, long-term care may be required to help those affected cope with their cognitive impairment and daily activities. Support from relatives and caregivers is also important to enable those affected to enjoy the best possible quality of life.


Korsakow syndrome is a form of dementia caused by a severe deficiency of vitamin B1 in the brain, usually due to long-term alcohol abuse. Symptoms include memory impairment, disorientation and personality changes. The course of the disease is often chronic and requires long-term care and treatment to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life of those affected. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are crucial to improve the prognosis and slow the progression of the disease.

You can find an overview of other forms of dementia here:

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