Korsakoff's psychosis is a neuro-psychological condition usually believed to result from vitamin B1 deficiency, because of long standing nutritional deficits due to chronic alcoholism, paralysis, dementia, brain damage, infections, and poisoning. The common symptoms of this condition include memory defect, confabulation, delirium, anxiety, fear, depression, confusion, delusions, insomnia, painful extremities, and neurological deficits such as wrist drop or foot drop. The memory defect seen in this condition is usually for recent events, while long-term memory is preserved. The modern management of this condition is aimed at giving symptomatic treatment as well as correcting nutritional deficiency, especially vitamin B1 deficiency.
Ayurvedic herbal treatment for Korsakoff's psychosis is aimed at correcting the nutritional deficiency, as well as strengthening the brain and the nervous system, and providing treatment for psychological symptoms. Ayurvedic herbal medicines which have a specific action on psychotic symptoms and also simultaneously provide a corrective and strengthening action on the central nervous system form the mainstay of treatment in the management of this condition. These medicines are used in high doses in order to rapidly control the symptoms and cure this condition. Ayurvedic immunomodulatory herbal agents are also used in high doses, especially those medicines which have a specific action on the brain and the central nervous system; so as to correct the functional or structural abnormality of the nerves and restore physical as well as mental functioning to normal or near-normal levels.
Localized treatment can also be provided in order to supplement oral medication. This is done in the form of massaging the body with medicated oils, followed by medicated steam fomentation. Other Panchkarma procedures like Shiro-Basti and Shiro-Dhara are also useful in providing immediate relief from psychotic symptoms which are common in this condition. These procedures involve a sustained flow or contact with the scalp of medicated oils and pastes. Panchkarma treatments as well as massage therapy help to reduce treatment time and improve chances for a more complete cure. Depending upon the severity of the condition, most individuals affected with Korsakoff's psychosis require Ayurvedic herbal treatment for about three to six months.
Ayurvedic herbal treatment thus has a definite role to play in the management and treatment of Korsakoff's psychosis.
The writer, Dr. A. A. Mundewadi, is available as an online Ayurvedic Consultant at www.ayurvedaphysician.com