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What is Wet Brain Syndrome Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome?

What is Wet Brain Syndrome Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome?

In order to avoid developing a wet brain, some of the best things you can do are keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum and eat a balanced diet, with plenty of vitamin B1. You can even take a supplement if you are concerned that you aren’t consuming enough thiamin. In severe cases, the untreated wet brain can develop into the late stages. From here, the plan of action is usually abstaining from future consumption in order to prevent it from getting worse. Through thiamine injections, those that have been suffering from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome can see improvements in their brain function and condition of their tissue. Many individuals that get help right away regain their memory and vision.

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  • Some scientists believe that, rather than two conditions, this is two parts of one condition in which the chronic stage is Korsakoff’s syndrome while the acute phase is Wernicke’s encephalopathy.
  • Wet brain syndrome is determined by several factors, including how long a person has been drinking and how often they do it.

With treatment, though, the prognosis for those with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome can be better than other conditions, like Alzheimer’s. 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.

Wet Brain Syndrome Stages

Detox, medication-assisted treatment, therapy, and a supportive community are all needed to recover from AUD successfully. In particular, your brain cells need thiamine to synthesize several other enzymes. If thiamine is absent, these enzymes will not be created, and your brain cell’s metabolism will slow down. Your brain cells won’t be getting the energy they need to stay healthy. If full-blown WKS is caught early enough, doctors will typically treat it with intense thiamine replacement therapy for approximately 5 days. Patients will likely receive these additional nutrients intravenously until the body is able to adequately absorb them on its own.

  • In Wernicke’s encephalopathy, this commonly refers to bleeding of the brain.
  • Once WKS progresses to the point that there are noticeable symptoms, the prognosis for the individual is not good.
  • Blood testing can provide key insights into a person’s thiamine levels and other general nutrition.
  • It is named after Dr. Wernicke and Dr. Korsakoff, who identified the symptoms of the disease.

Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither addictionresource.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose. As many as 25% of WKS patients require continued medical care and support as they develop other complications. This is to be followed by 250 mg of thiamine hydrochloride in regular saline once daily for three more days. Comatose, lethargic, or unconscious patients should be treated at a medical facility where their vitals can be continuously monitored. Researchers estimate that Wernicke-Korsakof syndrome is undiagnosed in about 80 percent of patients.

What Is Wet Brain

It’s a colloquial term for the medical condition Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This brain disorder refers to two separate conditions that often occur together. The first stage is Wernicke encephalopathy, then Korsakoff syndrome can develop after the symptoms of the first mush brain disorder begin to lessen. When Wernicke’s encephalopathy is left untreated, and a person continues to abuse alcohol, they will likely develop Korsakoff’s psychosis. Symptoms directly related to thiamine deficiency will begin to reverse with proper medical care.

final stages of wet brain

However, certain other causes of this disorder occur when a person does not get enough nutrients from their diet or because of other health conditions. Korsakoff psychosis is the second stage of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (wet brain). While treatment can be provided, damage to the brain is permanent and leads to dementia and acute mental decline. The second stage of wet brain can be diagnosed by a medical professional and is treated in similar ways to Wernicke encephalopathy. That said, treatment is more intense and requires medications that treat cognitive decline along with vitamin B1 infusions. Wernicke’s encephalopathy devolves into Korsakoff’s psychosis when wet brain goes undiagnosed and untreated.


Alcoholism causes thiamine deficiencies over a prolonged period of time because alcohol reduces the body’s ability to absorb thiamine through the gastrointestinal tract. Over time, the body will absorb less thiamine as the result of excessive alcohol consumption. Wet brain syndrome is a form of dementia that primarily affects chronic, long-term alcoholics at the end stages of their disease. The illness is formally known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, and it occurs in two separate stages. The problems with thiamine absorption are not exclusive to the brain.

The symptoms of WK syndrome can take a few days to weeks to develop. Confabulation, sometimes called “honest lying,” is a neuropsychiatric disorder in which an individual creates a false memory without intending to be deceitful. If Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome progresses to Korsakoff psychosis, the symptoms become worse. By Toketemu Ohwovoriole

Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics. We understand what you’re going through and we can help you or a loved one survive addiction and find happiness in your life again.

What Is The Life Expectancy of Someone With Wet Brain?

Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction can be linked to various types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Wernicke-Korsakoff (WK) syndrome involves two brain disorders that most commonly occur together, which are Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis. Alcohol causes many diseases when consumed frequently and in large quantities.

  • “Encephalopathy” refers to any disease that affects the structure or function of the brain.
  • This stage of wet brain lasts longer than Wernicke’s encephalopathy.
  • People with Korsakoff’s psychosis have increased difficulty with coordination and movement.
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome takes the first part of its name from Wernicke encephalopathy.
  • The first stage of wet brain, Wernicke encephalopathy, is an acute condition.

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. Wet brain in aslcoholics is less common than some of the other side effects of alcohol abuse, but it can still occur. During these final stages of wet brain syndrome, treatment can manage symptoms, but brain damage from drinking is severe and permanent. Patients who suffer from Korsakoff psychosis may be unable to care for themselves.

Prompt emergency treatment with thiamine can alleviate symptoms and prevent permanent damage to memory and other cognitive functions. While vitamin B1 supplements are the first-line treatment for wet brain, any underlying alcohol use disorder must be addressed for long-term recovery to be successful. Addiction Resource is an educational platform for sharing and disseminating information about addiction and substance abuse recovery centers. Addiction Resource is not a healthcare provider, nor does it claim to offer sound medical advice to anyone. Addiction Resource does not favor or support any specific recovery center, nor do we claim to ensure the quality, validity, or effectiveness of any particular treatment center.

  • This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times.
  • Take a closer look at Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome to understand how it develops and what can be done once it does.
  • However, once a person is in the end stages of wet brain, or once it has developed into Korsakoff’s psychosis, the damage done to the brain is not reversible.
  • Most people with Korsakoff’s psychosis cannot live independently, and their symptoms are likened to that of dementia.
  • Treatment for Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome must begin with alcohol abstinence.

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