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Alcoholic Wet Brain

One of the many ways in which alcohol can do lasting damage is through alcoholic wet brain, otherwise known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Finding out about the symptoms of this condition and the effects of alcohol on the brain helps you understand the risks of continued drinking. If you or your loved one might be suffering from alcoholic wet brain, finding medical treatment is absolutely essential. The damage done to your brain continues to accumulate, and it can get to the point where it no longer responds to treatment.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is actually two separate conditions which both result from the same chemical deficiency. This substance is called vitamin B1, or thiamine, and it is used to break down glucose within the brain. Alcoholics frequently have thiamine deficiencies because they often replace food with alcohol, and may generally disregard their nutritional health. When the brain doesn’t have enough thiamine it causes cell death, which is essentially brain damage. The term alcoholic wet brain arose because of the condition’s association with drinkers, but it can also happen to people who can’t absorb nutrients from food.

The first condition that makes up alcoholic wet brain is Wernicke’s encephalopathy. This affects the thalamus and the hypothalamus, which are responsible for several aspects of ordinary functioning. Some symptoms of Wernicke’s encephalopathy are confusion, various vision changes and problems with muscle co-ordination such as leg tremors. Individuals can experience double vision, lose control over their eye movements and develop drooping eyelids. The muscle co-ordination issues can lead to an unusual gait when walking; suffers often take short steps with widely spread legs.

After Wernicke’s encephalopathy has started to fade, Korsakoff psychosis starts to take effect. Its symptoms are caused by the deficiency’s effects on the areas of the brain involved in memory. The individual might start making up stories, hallucinating (whether visually or aurally) and having trouble forming new memories. The overall loss of memory can be severe in some cases of alcoholic wet brain, depending on the level of brain damage.

Since alcoholic wet brain is the result of a thiamine deficiency, a large dose of thiamine can help the condition in less severe cases. If treatment is offered early enough, around one in five patients will recover ordinary mental functioning, two in five will regain their muscle coordination and three in five will no longer experience uncontrolled eye movements. However, if Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is allowed to progress to the later stages there is no treatment. Abstaining from alcohol will prevent any further damage to the brain, but the already damaged areas will not be repaired.

Stopping drinking immediately after your initial treatment for alcoholic wet brain is vital. Many alcohol rehab centres have detoxification and counselling programmes which can help you get sober and stave off the progression of the condition. You’ll be encouraged to eat nutritious meals and will be taught new psychological coping mechanisms to remove your reliance on alcohol. Dealing with alcoholism isn’t easy, but with the right support you can stay sober.

We can help you find the right treatment if you or your loved one’s alcoholism is causing additional problems. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome should give you serious cause for concern, and after seeking medical treatment you need to abstain from drinking. We have a comprehensive knowledge of the different alcohol rehabilitation facilities across the country, and we’ll help you reach the right decision. We know you’re going through a difficult time, and we provide free advice to ensure you get the right care!


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