Josh Chandler | April 27, 2023

Wet Brain Syndrome

A Dangerous Condition That Can Be Prevented

Wet brain syndrome, also known as Wernicke- Korsakoff syndrome, is a disorder that occurs after engaging in heavy drinking. The impacts of this disorder can create severe consequences and implications that can become long-lasting or irreversible if it goes untreated. Although serious complications can arise, the good news is this disorder can be prevented by taking proactive steps and being aware of the signs and indicators of the onset of this syndrome. Early detection of the symptoms of this disorder provides you with time to reverse the time by seeking out professional support within an addiction treatment program. 

At Muse Treatment center, we offer patients a comprehensive treatment program that includes varying levels of care to treat the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual impacts of addictive behavior. Through a whole-person integrated approach to healing, patients are invited to participate in medical treatments, evidence-based therapy, and holistic therapies that help to restore the physical and psychological impacts of alcohol abuse. Patients are assessed upon intake to understand the severity of their alcohol addiction and, during this time, our medical team can identify if they are presenting with signs of wet brain syndrome. If you’re demonstrating signs and symptoms of wet brain syndrome, our team will create a specific healing plan that addresses and treats the symptoms and provides you with comprehensive methods of healing that support the reversal of the impacts caused. As you progress through your healing program, you’ll be supported in developing a new way of life that fosters personal growth, physical and psychological healing, and long-term success in addiction recovery. 

Click here to call Muse Addiction Center today. Our staff is available 24/7 to provide answers and begin the admissions process. Call (800) 426-1818.

What Is Wet Brain Syndrome?

wernicke korsakoff syndrome

Wet brain syndrome, medically known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), is a brain disorder that causes severe, life-threatening symptoms.  WKS has two conditions associated with it. The first part of the condition is characterized as encephalopathy. Symptoms that arise from this condition can include temporary confusion, loss of muscular coordination, unusual changes in vision, and uncharacteristic eye movements.

The secondary aspect of WKS is characterized by psychosis. This aspect of this disorder is an ongoing, chronic condition that causes severe impairments in your cognitive functioning including memory and learning or processing information.  The onset of WKS occurs from a deficiency in thiamine due to engaging in heavy alcohol consumption. In order for a person to be properly diagnosed with wet brain syndrome, a person needs to be abstinent from alcohol use due to the withdrawal and medical concerns from alcohol use can mirror similar impacts of WKS. 

Wet brain syndrome is characterized by symptoms that are separated by the two aspects of the condition. 

Wernicke Encephalopathy symptoms may include the following: 

  • Challenges with walking normally 
  • Unusual eye movements 
  • Altered mental state 
  • Confusion 
  • Delirium 
  • Decrease in body temperature 
  • Tremors 
  • Difficulty with memory 
  • Coma 

Korsakoff symptoms are categorized by psychosis. These symptoms indicate that permanent damage has occurred that can affect your memory and perception of reality. Symptoms for this aspect of wet brain syndrome can include: 

  • Changes in personality 
  • Confusion 
  • Challenges with learning new skills 
  • Memory loss 
  • Difficulties in keeping new memories 
  • Inability to recognize or admit that memory problems exist or are present 
  • Struggles with concentrating and focus 
  • Demonstrate confabulation where you make up new memories to fill in any gaps within your memory 

What Causes Wet Brain Syndrome?

Wet brain syndrome occurs after your body reaches a significant deficiency in thiamine or vitamin B1. Both are water-soluble vitamins that support your body in being able to convert carbohydrates into energy. This is essential for healthy bodily functioning specifically within your heart, nerves, muscle, and brain functioning. During the course of heavy alcohol consumption, people can experience malnutrition and challenges with absorption of thiamine leading to the onset of symptoms and progression of wet brain syndrome. The lack of nutrition can occur during the course of alcohol use for a variety of factors. As your alcohol use progresses, it is common for individuals to become focused on drinking rather than maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet. There are others that may experience side effects from alcohol use such as nausea or vomiting that may cause you to lose the vitamins you have digested in your diet leading to a deficiency. 

Does Wet Brain Syndrome Cause Permanent Damage?

Wet brain syndrome has the potential to cause permanent damage if the symptoms and indicators are not addressed and treated early on. If your use of alcohol progresses and continues after experiencing symptoms of wet brain syndrome, it increases the risks of developing permanent side effects that have the potential of becoming life-threatening.  If your wet brain condition progresses to the Korsakoff condition that is characterized by psychosis, it often indicates that your wet brain syndrome has progressed to permanent brain damage. 

Can Wet Brain Syndrome be Avoided?

There are steps you can take to avoid the onset of wet brain syndrome. The best course of action for you to prevent wet brain syndrome is to end your use of alcohol. The early prevention of quitting alcohol consumption allows your body time to restore itself and begin to absorb thiamine and vitamin B1 again. If you’re concerned about yourself and or a loved one being at risk for developing wet brain syndrome, it’s recommended that you seek support from your family physician who can complete a proper assessment of your condition. If your use of alcohol is difficult to manage or you’re concerned about your capacity to quit alcohol on your own, you can seek help within an addiction treatment program. Depending on your unique history with alcohol consumption and the severity of your addiction, you may require the help of an alcohol detox and rehab program that provides assistance in overcoming the physical and psychological dependency on substances. 

Before Alcohol Addiction Leads to Wet Brain Syndrome, Call Muse Treatment for Help

If you’re concerned about your use of alcohol or are living with an alcohol use disorder, there are preventive steps you can take that treat your condition before experiencing the severe side effects of wet brain syndrome. At Muse Treatment center, we have a dynamic team of medical professionals, holistic practitioners, and addiction therapists that are specifically trained in holistic healing approaches. We understand that substance use is a disorder that has many layers and impacts associated with it that requires a comprehensive treatment plan that is centered around healing within your body, mind, and spirit. 

In order to offer our patients a meaningful healing experience, we take the time to get to know you and your specific needs and goals for healing and addiction recovery. Our team will formulate a personalized treatment plan that includes specific therapeutic approaches that restore your physical health, revive your spiritual well-being, and heal your emotional health by treating and overcoming the root causes of your addictive behaviors.  Throughout your treatment program, you’ll be offered opportunities to develop new coping skills and methods for living in sobriety that will support you in overcoming triggers and remaining true to your goals of remaining free of alcohol use. Healing from your alcohol use disorder is possible and you have what it takes. Call our experienced team today at 800-426-1818, to hear more about our treatment programs and begin your road to recovery now. 

Addiction Treatment Center,Alcohol Abuse,
Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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