This disease was first described by SS. Korsakov in 1877, calling it a polyneuritic psychosis due to the fact that along with gross mental disorders occur phenomena of polyneuritis (lesions of peripheral nerves). Typically, the development of this disease is preceded by severe delirium tremens, the clinical picture of which is joined by gross memory impairment. First of all, memory for current events is violated, i.e. memorization (fixation amnesia). Therefore, the patient can not correctly call the date, the place of his location, disoriented in the environment, because perceives everything as just seen and heard. He turns to his doctor every time as a stranger, repeatedly repeats the same requests. The patient does not remember that he ate for dinner, who came to his hospital, what he did during the day. Gaps in memory, he replaces the events that happened to him earlier, or just fictions and fantasies.
From memory also falls the events preceding the disease. The duration of such a period that has fallen from memory may be different, from several months to several years. The logical thinking of patients is not disturbed; therefore, patients compensate for gross memory disorders with ingenuity and ingenuity. Patients are partially aware of their illness and are trying to hide gaps in memory from others.