The excessive consumption of alcohol can cause a deficiency of thiamine, or vitamin B1, which is an essential vitamin for the proper functioning of the brain and body. Alcoholism interferes with the consumption, absorption, and activation of thiamine in your system. The wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is actually the occurrence of two syndromes.
According to theNIAAAresearch, abstinence from alcohol and increased levels of nutrition have been shown to reverse symptoms of wet brain. In addition, direct administration of thiamine helped to reverse the condition. Wet brain is called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome because the lack of thiamine results in two conditions, as described by the National Library of Medicine’sMedLine Plus. The first, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, is caused by brain damage in the thalamus and hypothalamus areas that affect sensory input and hormonal activities in the brain, affecting vision and coordination. The second, Korsakoff’s psychosis, results from damage to the memory system of the brain. Wernicke encephalopathy is the early stage of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
What Is Wet Brain, and How Does It Occur?
Often, this means that patients are encouraged to create boundaries around their old “drinking buddies”. Everywhere in the body requires thiamine to work properly, meaning that your entire body will not function well if thiamine is low in your body. If you are searching for help for an alcohol problem, there are a number of national and local resources that can help you or your loved one with whatever substance abuse problem that you are suffering from. It is important that you are able to identify the things that trigger you or your loved one to use alcohol.
- It can be difficult to diagnose wet brain because one of the primary symptoms is confusion.
- The researchers were also successful in displaying a deficit in recognition memory by having patients make a yes/no decision as to whether a stimulus was familiar or novel .
- Remember, the only way of being sure that you do not get wet brain is by stopping drinking alcohol.
Heavy drinkers at risk of wet brain can reverse some of the symptoms and halt the process of brain damage with thiamine supplements. Once wet brain reaches the second stage, Korsakoff’s psychosis, patients experience a marked decrease in the ability to form new memories. People who start drinking early on in life and drink heavily are at a higher risk of developing wet brain than those who drink moderately or don’t start missing alcohol until later in life.
Who Is Most at Risk of Developing Wet Brain?
During alcohol rehab, one of the most common services offered is medically assisted detoxification. In general, if doctors catch the disease early and are able to treat it, the prognosis is quite good. Thiamine supplements will improve most symptoms other than memory loss and cognitive impairment. The mortality rate for Wernicke’s encephalopathy is only at about 10% to 20%. Mortality only happens when the disease has progressed to its severe stages.
People who have been struggling with alcoholism for many years are likely to develop these two conditions together as a result of the thiamine depletion in the brain. About percent of the people who develop Wernicke’s encephalopathy will subsequently develop Korsakoff’s psychosis. Treatment can help improve symptoms and replenish vitamin B1 levels. However, it’s essential to stop drinking to prevent further damage. Recovery is a long process, but it’s possible to heal the brain and live a sober, healthy life with treatment and support.