Wet Brain Syndrome

Korsakoff Psychosis
Korsakoff's Syndrome
Wernicke Encephalopathy



Wet brain syndrome is actually two illnesses; Korsakoff psychosis and Wernicke encephalopathy.
It is fatal in 20% of cases.





Related Links

-Treating Advanced Alcoholism

-Alcoholism and the Elderly

-Alcoholism: End-game

-Alcohol and the Brain
Here are four simple facts:

  • Alcohol is toxic to the brain.
  • It kills brain cells resulting in brain damage.
  • In the end stage of alcoholism, alcoholic dementia is relatively common.
  • While in a minority of cases, Wet Brain Syndrome can develop [1]

It's as straightforward as that.

However, if an alcoholic abstains from alcohol then alcohol dementia can be halted and, in many cases, reversed.

This, unfortunately is NOT the case with Wet Brain Syndrome (Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome).

If caught early enough it can be treated and a full recovery can occur. But if allowed to progress it will cause permanent brain damage and can kill (about 20% of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome sufferers will die from the condition)[2]


free alcohol rehab
Our FREE E-book The Guide to Free and Affordable Drug and Alcohol Rehab is the definitive directory of treatment centers around the U.S. that can offer a way out of alcohol dependence to those without insurance or the money to pay for expensive alcohol rehab. 436 pages long, this guide is invaluable for those who want help for themselves or their loved ones



Wet Brain Syndrome: What is It?

Wet Brain Syndrome is actually two disorders - Wernicke Encephalopathy and Korsakoff Psychosis. They can appear together or independently.

Both of these illnesses are caused by a lack of thiamine [3] (vitamin B-1).

There are two reasons as to why thiamine deficiency occurs in alcoholics:

  1. Alcohol inhibits the absorption of thiamine
  2. Usually alcoholics are so focused on the consumption of alcohol that they neglect their diets. This results in them not getting enough thimaine

Symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Because Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is two disorders there are two distinct set of symptoms:

  • Wernicke Encephalopathy

    This is the acute phase. Symptoms can include:

      -a staggering gait (not unlike the walk of someone intoxicated),

      -difficulty swallowing,

      -speech problems,

      -disturbed eye movements

      -and mental confusion.
    If these symptoms are ignored and the alcoholic continues to drink then the next, chronic, stage appears.....
  • Korsakoff Psychosis

    This is the chronic phase of the Syndrome. Symptoms can include:

      -An inability to remember the recent past, although long term memory might be perfect.

      -Sometimes someone with Korsakoff Psychosis might not even have long term memories. A total shutdown of memory.

      -Fabrication. Because the sufferer can't remember anything they will make up stories to fill in the gaps.

      -Unable to engage in meaningful dialog.

      -Apathy, sufferers lose interest in things quickly and generally appear indifferent to change.
      [4]

Treatment of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

If the syndrome is caught before it has moved into the chronic phase (Korsakoff Psychosis) then it is more than probable that the sufferer will recover.

However, this recovery could take up to a year.

wet brain syndrome Treatment usually involves intravenous thiamine (vitamin B-1)being given to the patient. Sometimes a prolonged stay in hospital is required as the symptoms subside.

Of course, it is essential that alcohol is taken out of the equation, otherwise the syndrome will reappear.

Unfortunately if the syndrome is too far advanced (korsakoff Psychosis) then treatment is limited to halting the progress of the disease with thiamine replacement and abstinence. Symptoms (see above) will remain for the rest of the sufferers life. [5]

If allowed to run its course, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome will kill. [6]




References:

  • [1] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000771.htm
  • [2]http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/wernicke_korsakoff/wernicke-korsakoff.htm#Clinical_trials
  • [3] http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/print/disorders_of_nutrition/vitamins/thiamin.html
  • [4] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000771.htm
  • [5]http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm
  • [6] http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_wernicke_korsakoff_syndrome.asp



Related Content:


Return from Wet Brain to Alcohol Abuse Effects

Return to Alcoholism Help Homepage


Alcoholism Help Homepage | What is Alcoholism | Signs of Alcoholism | Alcoholism Tests | Alcohol Abuse Effects | Living with an Addict | Alcoholism Recovery | The AA Way| Alcoholism Cure| Alcoholism Medication | My Story | Alcoholism Guide Blog | Contact Us | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

addiction counselor

Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)



Want To Read About The Myths That Maintain AA's Dominance Of The Alcoholism Recovery Industry?

Download our FREE E-report:

"AA CRACKED:
Why You Might Want To Look For Another Way"



alt text





Free Online Drinking Consultation
alcoholic anonymous meetings



test for alcoholism
Am I an Alcoholic?
Assess your drinking now!



contact us alcoholism
Got a Question about Alcoholism?
Click on the above Image to Contact Us



Alcoholism Treatment Programs


Women for Sobriety

Moderation Management

Orthomolecular Medicine

Health Recovery Center

The Sinclair Method

Christian Alcohol Rehab

Is Baclofen a Cure?

Alcohol Rehab for Women

Lifering Secular Recovery

Naltrxone, Disulfiram and Acamprosate

Kudzu Alcoholism Treatment

SMART Recovery

Rational Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous

Secular Organization for Sobriety