Alcohol-related dementia is a broad term currently preferred among medical professionals. Many experts use the terms alcohol (or alcoholic) dementia to describe a specific form of ARD, characterized by impaired executive function (planning, thinking, and judgment). Another form of ARD is known as wet brain (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome), characterized by short term memory loss and thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. ARD patients often have symptoms of both forms, i.e. impaired ability to plan, apathy, and memory loss. ARD may occur with other forms of dementia (mixed dementia). The diagnosis of ARD is widely recognized but rarely applied, due to a lack of specific diagnostic criteria.
On many non-medical websites, the terms wet brain and alcohol-related dementia are often used interchangeably, creating significant confusion. Additionally, the term alcohol-induced persisting dementia is another non-specific name that is sometimes used.