What is False memory Syndrome symptoms?

Confabulation, Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome and false memories


Confabulation is sometimes called “honest lying” because the person telling the tale actually believes that it is true despite the apparent inaccuracy of their story. It is related to false memories but appears to have specific causes other than incorrect memory storage and retrieval or implanted false memories.

Confabulation is that tendency for the brains of people who can’t remember things to try to fill in the gaps of missing memory thereby making up an explanation that will answer questions. This is particularly common among chronic alcoholics, though other brain issues also cause these symptoms.

It is common in chronic alcoholics, particularly those with Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome. These two syndromes used to be listed separately but current usage is to consider them both parts of the same disorder.

The Wernicke part has to do with eye movements, confusion, uncoordinated movement and sometimes even losing consciousness followed by death, which is always a bad side effect of any activity.

Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome is cause by lack of Thiamine (vitamin B-1) as a result of chronic alcoholism or malnutrition. This condition is sometimes referred to in alcoholism literature as “wet brain.” While it is treatable to some degree many chronic alcoholics never recover from the condition. In addition to confabulation and blackouts people with Korsakoff’s syndrome develop amnesia, lack insight, have reduced speech and stop caring about themselves and others.

The brains of chronic alcoholics shrink in volume and cells stop working resulting in many defects in thinking and memory.

Some authors report that confabulation results from gaps in the memory do to Blackouts or brownouts after which the brain needs to fill in the gaps by adding details from other events in the alcoholic’s life or by suggesting things that are possible even if they did not happen.

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