What is Wet Brain?
Wet brain, more formally known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS), is a brain disorder caused by severe vitamin B1 (Thiamine) deficiency. This essential vitamin is responsible for converting sugar into energy. An inadequate supply of Thiamine in the body can severely affect brain function.
Wet brain is commonly seen in individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction, as heavy long-term alcohol use affects the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients. While treatment can reduce or eliminate symptoms, early detection is critical. Potential long-term damage includes memory loss, hallucinations, and muscle coordination issues.
Wernicke Korsakoff Syndrome Stages
Wet brain is a severe, life-threatening condition comprising two stages, Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome.
1. Wernicke Encephalopathy
Wernicke’s encephalopathy, the first stage of wet brain, is a temporary, though acute condition in which the brain experiences inflammation.
Symptoms of Wernicke encephalopathy include:
Sufferers may find themselves generally disoriented, inattentive, or experiencing difficulty completing their usual daily tasks. This symptom can develop over days or weeks, progressively worsening as time goes by.
Loss of muscle coordination
As this condition most affects parts of the brain tied to coordination and muscle movement, key early warning signs include loss of balance, slow reflexes, and unexplained muscle weakness.
Changes to vision
Double vision is a common occurrence for those suffering from Wernicke encephalopathy. There are also several symptoms that others would be able to recognize, including unusual eye movement or drooping eyelids.
If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it is imperative to seek medical assistance immediately, to lessen the likelihood of permanent damage.
2. Korsakoff Syndrome
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 80-90 percent of individuals with Wernicke syndrome develop Korsakoff syndrome, the second stage of Wet Brain.
The symptoms associated with this stage are more chronic in nature than those of Wernicke encephalopathy.
Symptoms of Korsakoff syndrome include:
Short-term memory loss is the leading symptom of this stage of Wet Brain. Some may also suffer from long-term memory loss.
This condition occurs when someone produces false memories to make up for gaps in their memory. It’s not deceitful in nature, as they believe that the memories are truthful.
Sufferers of Korsakoff syndrome often have trouble putting words into context or understanding the meaning of new information.
In this stage, symptoms are more likely to become permanent.
Wet Brain Symptoms
Many of the symptoms of Wet Brain are similar in nature to those experienced while intoxicated. Sufferers of Wet Brain will also experience these symptoms without the influence of alcohol.
Common symptoms of Wet Brain include:
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Changes in vision
- Unusual eye movements
- Memory lapses or loss
- Learning difficulties
- Behavioral changes
- Confabulation (making up stories to account for memory lapses)
If left untreated, symptoms of Wet Brain can lead to more severe conditions, including coma, or even death.
Can Wet Brain Be Cured?
While Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome can’t be cured, symptoms can be greatly reduced, and reversed in some cases, if detected and treated early. Early treatment can also help to slow the progression of irreversible conditions.
How to Slow the Progression of Wet Brain
Early detection and treatment is the key to slowing the progression of Wet Brain. Another important step is making important life changes.
1. Abstain from alcohol
This isn’t going to be easy, but there are programs that can help – one of those being Barn Life Recovery. It’s critical that you have people around you who understand the problem, and can support you appropriately. Of course, the key to lasting abstinence is getting to the root of one’s alcoholism, and developing new habits and ways of thinking that help shift you into a life of serenity and peace.
2. Make changes to your diet
As Wet Brain is caused by a lack of vitamin B1, it’s important to ensure that you are getting proper nutrition. A doctor may prescribe you with vitamin B1 or other supplements. A whole food diet can also ensure you get the nutrients you need.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Orange County, CA
Barn Life Recovery is the first holistic mental health treatment center in the state of California licensed to treat mental illness on an outpatient community based level. Barn Life got its start as an addiction treatment facility and still helps clients living with alcoholism to this day. Give us a call to learn more about our programs.