Korsakov's syndrome


The Korsakov syndrome is characterized by the presence of several symptoms. The main is the combination of memory impairment and thinking with lower extremity polyneuropathy. Polyneuropathy is a simultaneous defeat of many peripheral nerves. When the peripheral nerve is affected, all kinds of sensitivity are violated, paresis of the lower extremities may occur. This disease bears the name of the Russian psychiatrist Sergei Korsakov (1854-1900 gg.), First described it in the XIX century. This syndrome is a combination of neuropathy and amnestic syndrome.


  • A memory disorder - a person often remembers events and actions that were not.
  • The temporal and spatial orientation is disrupted.
  • Sleep disorders, mood swings, capriciousness.
  • Polyneuritis of the lower extremities.
  • Emaciation, weakness down to total impotence.
  • Violations of behavior and reaction to external stimuli.

The first symptoms of Korsak's syndrome - insomnia, bad mood and headache, in addition, it can be preceded by delirium tremens. The manifestation of the syndrome is also pseudo-reminiscences and confabulation. The content of confabulation is incredible and implausible stories in which patients usually play an active role. Violated spatial-temporal orientation, the ability to clearly, logically think. The patient can be childishly cheerful and carefree, but the upbeat mood does not correspond to his physical condition: in fact, a person is extremely exhausted and weak. The function of the sensitive nerves is broken, so the patient reacts poorly to tactile stimuli. Sometimes there are paresthesia (sensation of numbness, tingling, crawling, creepy, not caused by external irritation), there is no sensitivity of the skin.

Causes of development

Doctors suggest that the Korsakov syndrome is manifested due to a deficiency of B vitamins (thiamine) and niacin (nicotinic acid). The reason is alcoholism. Alcohol enhances the peristalsis of the small intestine, and the food enters the large intestine too quickly, without having to undergo reprocessing and digestion in the small intestine. In addition, alcoholism atrophy villi intestines, resulting in a decrease in the total surface area of the mucosa of the small intestine, and most of the food through the small intestine is undigested.

The disease can last several weeks, then gradually pass. However, alcoholism may affect the brain. Finally, the Korsakov syndrome can pass into alcoholic dementia (dementia).

Alcoholism is not the only cause of Korsakov's syndrome. The above symptoms can occur after traumatic brain injuries, poisonings, some infectious diseases.

Treatment of the disease

The main condition for the effective treatment of Korsakov's syndrome is a complete refusal of alcohol. Assign large doses of B vitamins, requires a high protein diet. Alcoholism is difficult to treat. Since the success of treatment is due to the refusal of alcohol, people with alcohol dependence need special help.

Under no circumstances should you take alcohol. To facilitate the refusal of alcohol, the patient is recommended to visit self-help groups.

Most patients do not understand that alcoholism is the cause of memory impairment and clearly pronounced weakness, and do not consider themselves to be sick. A characteristic sign of this pathology is a feeling of euphoria. Therefore, patients suffering from this disease are usually cheerful and carefree. People who are close to people should be convinced of the need to visit a sick doctor.

Having specified the diagnosis, the doctor together with other specialists (neurologist and / or psychiatrist) will make a plan for treating the patient.


1. Guillain-Barre Syndrome
2. Death of the brain
3. Phantom pain
4. Encephalitis
5. Epilepsy