This might seem at first like an odd observation, but I sometimes think drunkenness might be the closest most people get to experiencing debilitating dementias like Alzheimer’s disease.
Okay, a couple to-be-sures:
- Alzheimer’s et. al. is far, far worse than getting tipsy
- Being sloshed is nothing like forgetting your loved ones
But that’s why I said closest. It still may be far off.
Hear me out.
Being drunk puts you in the weird state of disconnect. You are impaired but aware. Your actions, mostly physical but also things you say, seem disconnected from your mental state a bit, like the two aren’t fully in sync. You are aware completely when you misstep or misspeak things, knowing you wouldn’t normally do so, and also knowing that it’s the weird sensation causing it. (This might be why drunk people are so often keen on stating that they are drunk.) You are completely aware but also a bit helpless and must witness your own humiliation.
From what little I know of dementias, this seems to be on that same track. They are aware of the things missing, though they are still missing and unknown. They know there’s a bathroom around here somewhere, or that they have a child all grown up that looks like… something. It’s frustrating to them, but only because they are aware of the impairment.
Much like severely shit-faced folks, extreme forms of dementia probably do leave them with little recollection, but for the vast majority of cases I think the similarity is there.
Of course, it’s only a glimmer of what it must be like. None of us normal folk can possibly know without actually having Alzheimer’s (and who would wish for that?) but, like I said, it’s gotta be the closest we’ll get to experientially understanding it.
Coincidentally, I made this observation whilst a bit drunk myself…