If Wet Brain is left untreated, the alcohol will continue to damage the brain. Eventually, the damage will become so severe that it is irreversible and cannot be treated. The first stage of wet brain, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, is 100% reversible with thiamine injections and cessation of alcohol. But if the condition is left untreated and a person continues to drink, they will go on to develop Korsakoff’s psychosis. So, what—exactly—is a "wet brain?" According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is really two different disorders. There is a possibility of misdiagnosis because initial signs of a wet brain can be easily confused with alcohol after effects.
Korsakoff's syndrome dementia affects not just the brain, but also the cardiovascular and central nervous system. Once a person has been diagnosed with end stage alcoholism, life expectancy can be as limited as six months. Wernicke's encephalopathy devolves into Korsakoff's psychosis when wet brain goes undiagnosed and untreated. At this stage, a person with this condition might find it difficult to walk or become confused when engaging in daily activities such as getting dressed.
Wet Brain Treatment
Despite its efficacy, an alcohol detox program on its own is not a solution for long-term sobriety. Continuing your addiction treatment with a drug and alcohol rehab program can help you develop the necessary life skills and coping strategies to maintain your sobriety. Wet brain is not always easy to diagnose, particularly if the patient is confused or unable to share accurate medical history. If someone has a history of alcohol misuse, physicians may look for signs of damage to the liver and conduct tests to determine the levels of vitamin B1 in the body. In addition to conducting a physical examination, doctors may also order imaging tests to look for damage to the brain.
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How Does Wet Brain Syndrome Treatment Work?
Heavy alcohol use is defined as drinking more than four drinks in one day or more than fourteen drinks in one week in men. For women, heavy alcohol use is considered drinking more than three drinks in one day or more than seven drinks in a week. People who regularly abuse alcohol for long periods of time are more likely than others to get wet brain, although it can also be caused by intense periods of vomiting or poor nutrition. Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B1, so people who binge drink on a regular basis or who consume large amounts of alcohol frequently may develop wet brain.
This stage of wet brain lasts longer than Wernicke’s encephalopathy. Research shows that 80-90% of alcoholics who develop Wernicke’s encephalopathy progress to the Korsakoff’s psychosis phase. The easiest way to identify signs of wet brain is by observing if the effects of alcohol and heavy drinking are present even if the person The Symptoms Of Wet Brain From Alcoholism is sober. Doctors will first prescribe intensive vitamin B1 supplementation to treat wet brain syndrome. The vitamin is often injected into a vein in the hand for easy uptake by the body. Creating a healthy and balanced diet going forward is likewise essential to ensure the patient receives adequate B1 in the future.
Wet brain syndrome is a medical condition that develops over time when an individual drinks a large amount of alcohol. As a result, it can lead to brain damage, and that condition is known as wet brain syndrome. It's also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, alcohol dementia, Korsakoff Psychosis, and more. A resurgence is a place you can come for not only addiction treatment, but also community, support, and caring people to talk to when you are having a tough time, even long after treatment is over.
These therapies help the person understand the sources of their alcohol addiction and develop better coping mechanisms to deal with cravings and stress. Group therapy helps the person develop a network of peers that can support the individual’s focus on maintaining sobriety. Group and family therapy help to build new relationships and rebuild existing relationships, so the individual has additional support once they leave the program.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome affects more men than women, usually between ages 30 and 70 years. Most alcohol-related cases of WKS involve men and those over age 40. Women and people who are younger are more likely to develop the syndrome due to other causes (aside from alcohol). Another is that alcohol can cause nausea, loss of appetite, and upset stomach.
- While thiamine deficiency can happen to people with poor diets, it is more common in those who drink heavily over the course of many years.
- If you are a heavy drinker, you are especially at risk of the thiamine deficiency that leads to Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which can have permanent effects.
- Reach out today, before chronic conditions develop, and a health care or recovery expert will help guide you in next steps.
- Alcohol use also blocks the enzyme that converts thiamine into a useful and active state.
- The brain needs thiamine to in order to fully develop and function properly.
- Confusion is one of the most prominent initial warning signs of this syndrome.
- Someone’s overall health can also impact their chance of getting Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
People who start problem drinking at young ages, and drink heavily will be at higher risk of developing wet brain than those who drink moderately or don’t develop alcoholism until they are older. Your healthcare provider may recommend blood tests to check blood sugar and thiamine levels. Healthcare providers often check for signs of alcohol use disorder with a blood alcohol test and liver function test. The most common cause of thiamine deficiency is chronic alcohol use. Alcohol makes it harder for your body to absorb thiamine and store it in your liver. It can also make it difficult for your body to use vitamin B1 for other essential functions.
What Treatment Options are Available for Those with Wet Brain Syndrome?
Treatment involves replacement of thiamine and providing proper nutrition and hydration. In individuals with Wernicke's encephalopathy, it is very important to start thiamine replacement before beginning nutritional replenishment. Summit Malibu is the longest running boutique addiction treatment center in Malibu, California.