What is a Wet Brain?

A brain condition known as wet brain, also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), is linked to both the acute and chronic stages of thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. Thiamine depletion is a typical side effect of chronic heavy drinking and is evident in those with inadequate nutrition. Early detection is key to reversing the symptoms, but if wet brain is not treated, it can result in permanent disorientation, poor motor coordination, and even hallucinations. 

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Wet Brain Has 2 Stages

Wernicke’s encephalopathy, the initial stage of WKS, is a serious and transient illness marked by:

  • Disorientation, 
  • Lack of motor coordination, 
  • Aberrant eye movements, 
  • and vision abnormalities. 

Korsakoff’s psychosis, the second component of WKS, frequently follows or goes along with Wernicke’s encephalopathy. A persistent, chronic illness called Korsakoff’s psychosis can seriously impair learning and memory and interfere with a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. 

How to Add Thiamine to Your Diet

People who are battling alcoholism frequently don’t consume a balanced diet of healthy foods. Additionally, excessive alcohol use may impair the body’s capacity to properly absorb and store thiamine.

There are further causes of thiamine insufficiency. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Misuse and Alcoholism, however, it is more frequently linked to alcohol abuse in wealthy nations like the United States. 

Foods high in thiamine include the following:

  • Pork\Beef
  • Cereals
  • Asparagus 
  • Eggs
  • Potatoes
  • Oranges
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Some kinds of rice 

Diagnosis and Treatment

There isn’t a single, all-encompassing test to identify a wet brain. However, based on a patient’s physical appearance, a doctor might think they are malnourished or lacking in thiamine. A clinician may be alerted to a potential thiamine shortage by a patient’s heart rate, eye movements, body temperature, or even the way they walk.

Key information about a person’s thiamine levels and other general nutrition can be obtained from blood tests. Thiamine deficiency could be indicated by decreased red blood cell activity. Further neurological testing may be ordered as a result of these indications and the doctor’s knowledge of the patient’s alcohol addiction. 

Up to 20% of patients with “wet brain” pass away as a result of the disorder, which causes coma and death. Up to 80% of individuals who make it through the initial stage of wet brain go on to experience the signs of Korsakoff’s psychosis. 

While there is no known cure for wet brain, if medical professionals can act fast enough, they may be able to reverse some symptoms or, at the very least, halt the disorder’s development.

While memory loss problems are often permanent, some components of the disorder can be addressed with medication and other forms of treatment. The best chance of turning a Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome episode around and preserving a life is with early intervention. To avoid or reduce the risk of lasting brain damage, those who show signs of wet brain need to get help for their alcoholism and become and stay sober. 

Consider Myrtle Beach Recovery

If you or a loved one are struggling during recovery, let Myrtle Beach Recovery help you with our 12-step immersion program. Our experienced staff will help you work through the steps to help you regain control of your life.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you on your journey to sobriety.