Instead it occurs due to typical lifestyle of the alcoholic where good nutrition is neglected. The individual will have poor diet habits and over a long time this will lead to nutritional deficiencies. Lack of Thiamine in the diet interferes with glucose metabolism, which can then lead to atrophy in the brain. Wernicke’s encephalopathy occurs due to damage to the thalamus and hypothalamus.

  • This can be hard to diagnose in a person who is habitually intoxicated.
  • They can happen if you don’t get enough vitamin B1, also called thiamine.
  • The majority of deaths are caused by infections to the lungs, high blood toxicity, or permanent brain damage.
  • Thiamine injections can improve things greatly and may restore the individual back to full recovery.
  • Korsakoff’s syndrome dementia affects not just the brain, but also the cardiovascular and central nervous system.

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. Stopping or limiting alcohol use (follow the advice of your healthcare provider) and having proper nutrition can support your recovery. About 50% of those who develop Wernicke encephalopathy eventually develop Korsakoff syndrome. The number is higher (80%) among those who have alcohol use disorder. In serious cases, it can cause brain damage and lead to problems with memory and your walk that don’t go away.

What Drinking as a Teenager Does to Their Brain

Within 7 days, endothelial cells malfunction, leading to neuron death and increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier (high-risk factors for stroke). After 14 days, the brain damage is mostly irreversible and fatal. Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin that is vital to helping to covert glucose into energy. 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. As harmful as Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome is, preventing it is rather easy.

The second reason heavy alcohol consumption causes thiamine deficiency is because alcohol prevents the liver from working properly. The alcohol will wet brain prevent the liver from converting the thiamine into a usable form. This causes the body to not be able to have enough thiamine to properly function.

The Treatment of Wet Brain Syndrome

This cannot be reversed, even with treatment and alcohol cessation. People who use alcohol heavily over a prolonged period are most at risk of developing Heavy alcohol use is defined as drinking more than four drinks in one day or more than 14 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. Alcohol affects how the body absorbs thiamine, and people who misuse alcohol are also frequently malnourished, further increasing the problem. Thiamine deficiency causes inflammation called Wernicke encephalopathy.

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Mostly, these neurological symptoms are related to memory problems. Once the signs of the first part of the wet brain syndrome diminish, a person can develop the symptoms of Korsakoff’s psychosis. Wet brain is a serious brain disorder caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Immediate medical treatment is needed to avoid experiencing severe, life-altering problems from wet brain.

What Treatment Options are Available for Those with Wet Brain Syndrome?

As a consequence of alcohol abuse, your liver enzyme level can rise. Wet brain, or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, is caused by a thiamine deficiency that often stems from excessive alcohol use. This condition leads to brain damage that can become permanent if not treated.

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