B Vitamin deficiency and neuropsychiatric syndromes in alcohol misuse

Alcohol Alcohol. 1998 Jul-Aug;33(4):317-36. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.alcalc.a008400.


Alcohol misuse and alcohol withdrawal are associated with a variety of neuropsychiatric syndromes, some of which are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. B vitamin deficiency is known to contribute to the aetiology of a number of these syndromes, and B vitamin supplementation thus plays a significant part in prophylaxis and treatment. In particular, the Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome (WKS). due to thiamine deficiency, is a common condition in association with alcohol misuse, and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Nicotinamide deficiency may result in a rarer condition, alcoholic pellagra encephalopathy, which often has a similar clinical presentation to WKS. This review considers the role of B vitamins in the aetiology and treatment of neuropsychiatric syndromes associated with alcohol misuse, with particular emphasis on WKS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Amnestic Disorder / etiology
  • Alcohol Amnestic Disorder / therapy
  • Humans
  • Pellagra / etiology
  • Pellagra / therapy
  • Psychoses, Alcoholic / etiology*
  • Psychoses, Alcoholic / therapy*
  • Thiamine Deficiency / complications
  • Thiamine Deficiency / therapy
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin B 6 Deficiency / therapy
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin B Deficiency / therapy*
  • Wernicke Encephalopathy / etiology
  • Wernicke Encephalopathy / therapy