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Dangers and Symptoms of Wet Brain Syndrome Alcoholism, CO

As the symptoms become worse for patients in the advanced stages of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, somewhere around 10 to 20 percent will experience a coma and then death. In the United States, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is usually the result of chronic alcohol abuse, though it can also be the consequence of malnutrition or a severe eating disorder. In short, wet brain is a condition brought on by a deficiency of thiamine, which is more commonly known as Vitamin B1. Wet brain syndrome develops in two distinct stages, Wernicke’s Encephalopathy and Korsakoff Psychosis. Combined, the two conditions are called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Every cell in the body needs vitamin B1 (thiamine) in order to function.

In particular, the healthcare providers will look for lesions in the brain. Specific regions and areas are more likely to sustain damages than other parts. When there’s a deficiency of thiamine in the body, certain enzymes sober house are produced. These enzymes trigger certain metabolic events and sequences that can lead to neuronal death. This causes the formation of lesions, and the brain will basically become damaged to the point where it bleeds.

The Dangers of Korsakoff Psychosis

Wet brain in aslcoholics is less common than some of the other side effects of alcohol abuse, but it can still occur. Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is essential to healthy bodily function and deficiency of this nutrient in those struggling with alcoholism is a serious issue. The body does not naturally produce thiamine, and most of the average person’s thiamine comes from food intake.

In order to properly diagnose wet brain, individuals must be sober when exhibiting symptoms, as the symptoms of wet brain can be mimicked by alcohol withdrawal or medical complications related to alcohol abuse. While the general population is less likely to develop wet brain syndrome (around 1-2%), individuals who frequently consume alcohol have a higher risk, with estimated prevalence rates of 12-14%. Cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and cardiovascular disease are some of the more common damaging effects of chronic alcohol abuse, but wet brain is also one of the lesser-known effects of alcohol addiction.

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Doctors will still do vitamin B1 injections to improve symptoms, but the person will never fully recover. If a person does not seek treatment, they could put themselves in harm’s way. For example, they could start cooking something and forget about it, leading to a fire.

For people suffering from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, this typically involves emergency intervention to stabilize the patient and then restorative therapies and rehabilitation to help curb the substance abuse. Other investigators, however,
have found no differences in the ability of transketolase from Korsakoff’s
patients and healthy subjects to bind ThDP (Nixon et al. 1984). Moreover, processing of the samples being studied
could have modified and deactivated the transketolase. Overall, researchers
to date have found no consistent correlation between genetically determined
transketolase variants and a person’s sensitivity to thiamine deficiency
(McCool et al. 1993). To determine whether a genetic predisposition to thiamine
deficiency and resulting brain damage does indeed exist, more detailed molecular
genetic studies are required. Excessive alcohol abuse can lead to brain damage both directly and indirectly.

How wet brain is diagnosed

It is extremely important that if you suspect you or someone you love suffers from wet brain syndrome, you get them the help they need. When it comes to alcoholism and the health problems it can cause, liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, or fatty liver, and changes in personality or moods are often the first things that come to mind. What people tend to not think about, or might not even know about, is a condition known as wet brain. Since early detection and treatment can help with many aspects of the disease, many doctors urge alcoholics to seek treatment immediately. At the very least, alcoholics should get their thiamine levels checked.

  • If this process cannot be completed or enough energy can’t be created, the body is unable to properly function and symptoms will start to develop.
  • People with Korsakoff Syndrome are typically unaware that they’re suffering from the disorder.
  • However, it is generally accepted that the condition can lead to a decline in cognitive function and overall health.
  • WE is defined by three significant symptoms, including mental confusion and lack of interest, loss of muscle coordination while standing or walking, eye movement dysfunction, and vision issues.

In some instances, it may be possible to reverse the symptoms of wet brain. Heavy drinkers at-risk of wet brain can reverse some of the symptoms and halt the process of brain damage with thiamine supplements. People exhibiting signs of Wernicke’s encephalopathy with a history of heavy alcohol use can be given injectable thiamine to reverse some of the damage and ease symptoms. Abstaining from alcohol is another effective way to prevent symptoms from turning into Korsakoff’s psychosis. Rarely, people will experience abnormal eye movements and issues with vision, such as drooping eyelids or double vision.

Who is most at risk of developing wet brain?

Recognizing the brain disorder early means that medical treatment can be sought before the disease progresses, preventing life-long complications for some. Yet, many alcohol abusers are unaware of the disease and therefore may fail to seek proper medical treatment. In fact, sometimes wet brain is only detected because an individual chose to seek treatment for their alcohol use disorder and addiction professionals recognized the symptoms. These are not the only benefits of attending rehabilitation for substance use disorders.

That occasional drinking can into binge drinking, which can significantly affect the individual’s health. As so many people have been afflicted by it, it is not surprising that more and more people are being diagnosed with alcohol addiction or, as it is clinically called, Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). However, the most common reason this issue develops is as a result of alcohol abuse. This is why the disorder is sometimes called alcoholic encephalopathy or alcoholic dementia. Like with Wernicke’s encephalopathy, Korsakoff’s syndrome can eventually lead to coma and death.

For example, a patient with Korsakoff’s psychosis may be able to discuss a childhood memory in detail. However, within an hour, they may completely forget having that conversation at all. Wernicke and Korsakoff Syndrome are two syndromes normally caused by a lack of thiamine, also known as Vitamin B.

  • The body needs adequate levels of thiamine, a water-soluble vitamin, for heart and nervous system function.
  • If wet brain symptoms are severe, detox may need to happen in a hospital until the patient is healthy enough to be discharged to a proper alcohol addiction program for continued treatment.
  • Blood testing can provide key insights into a person’s thiamine levels and other general nutrition.

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