by Dal Onan
(Lonia MI, USA)
My husband has been to detox twice and had a complete blood work up and they say his liver is good.
I have been reading about wet brain because his whole attitude has changed over the last couple of years. He used to be active but now he just sits and watches TV. He can”t talk well anymore and he repeats things. He sleeps a lot and complains about not being able to see well. He has no short term memory.
I would like to know what to do to have him checked for wet brain. Can you please give me information on where to go for help.
I think the best place to start is with your family doctor. My advice can, by no means, substitute for a doctor’s advice. From my research, I understand “wet brain” (formally called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome) to be the result of a severe deficiency in thiamine (vitamin B1). In this case, he will need to have his thiamine levels checked to see if there’s a possibility of him having this diagnosis. You will need to check with his primary care physician to see if they do that kind of testing or if they can refer you to a doctor who can.
Also, diagnosis usually involves a neuropsychological assessment. Again, his primary care physician should be able to refer him to a neuropsychologist for this testing.
The most important question is whether or not your husband is willing to get checked for this condition. Does he express concern over any symptoms? You may have to spend some time pointing out your concerns to him. You do not necessarily need to connect them with alcohol abuse. If you blame his drinking for his symptoms, he may avoid going to the doctor for fear that they will ask him to quit drinking or put him through detox again. You could attempt to point out your concerns for his physical symptoms outside of the alcoholism discussion.
It may be hard for him to notice if his memory is not as good or if he is less active. This may have become comfortable and normal for him. You will likely need to do some convincing to get him to the doctor.
If he permits you to attend the appointment with him, you can point out your concerns over the drinking to the doctor. It will be important for the doctor to have this information when doing his/her assessment of your husband.
You can learn more about wet brain and brain damage from alcoholism here.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.