Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Thiamine also helps the body maintain the right levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Most people have heard of the term “Wet Brain” but not many know its actual meaning. Wet Brain from alcohol impacts the thalamus and hypothalamus region of the brain and may also result in permanent brain damage and memory problems. The brain also has difficulty processing large amounts of alcohol. Alcoholic wet brain is a form of dementia caused by brain damage that can occur in the advanced stages of alcoholism. Over time, this disease develops as the result of a deficiency of the vitamin thiamine.

  • This syndrome is also known as Korsakoff’s psychosis because of the aggressive way it attacks memory more than other parts of the brain that affect different cognitive abilities.
  • The enzymes that turn thiamine into an active compound the body can use are preventing from working when someone consumes large amounts of alcohol.
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  • But in affluent countries like the United States, it is most commonly attributed to alcohol abuse, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Additionally, an early diagnosis of WKS, should it develop, is very important. As mentioned wet brain previously, the amnesic symptoms of WKS include both retrograde and anterograde amnesia.

The End Stage of Wet Brain Syndrome

The liver naturally releases thiamine into the body in an active state. The thiamine stored in the liver is rendered inactive and unusable once a person begins to drink heavily and often.

If caught early on, the disease can be halted and reversed to a large extent. This refers to Wernicke’s encephalopathy and the subsequent Korsakoff’s psychosis that follows if the disease is allowed to worsen.

Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome

It is an essential vitamin that is not produced naturally by your body, so it must be consumed from outside sources. While some effects of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome may be permanent, the best way to avoid further damage is to stop drinking safely, with professional help, and to embrace a life in recovery. The syndrome is a combined manifestation of two namesake disorders, Wernicke encephalopathy and alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome. It involves an acute Wernicke-encephalopathy phase, followed by the development of a Korsakoff syndrome phase. If a person with wet brain is unconscious or in a coma, they will need special care in a medical environment, and potentially, for a longer period, depending on the severity of their symptoms. Wet brain is a severe disorder that needs early diagnosis and adequate treatment.

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This disease most often affects individuals who are struggling with an alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, this means that many Americans are susceptible to wet brain. In 2015 alone, 15.1 million adults struggled with an alcohol use disorder . If it is left untreated, it can cause a significant amount of damage within the affected individual. Alcoholics, in particular, should familiarize themselves with this disease. They need to watch out for the symptoms, and seek help if they suspect that they may be developing the early stages of the disease. Want to learn more, find out can alcohol permanently damage your brain.

Health Information

This condition is separate from Korsakoff syndrome, although the two are closely linked and usually considered different phases of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Wernicke encephalopathy presents as the early symptoms of wet brain mentioned above, and it’s an acute, short-lived condition. If you recognize any of those early symptoms in a loved one who struggles with alcohol addiction, help them seek immediate treatment. Wet brain is the direct result of a lack of thiamine in the body, making it hard for the brain to process sugar into the energy it requires to function properly. People can develop wet brain for a number of reasons, either because they are suffering from cancer, a chronic infection or infections, or AIDS. People who don’t eat enough, are on extreme and dangerous diets, and/or who have eating disorders like anorexia can also become thiamine deficient and develop wet brain.

In this case, Wernicke syndrome is the initial, acute, shorter phase with more serious symptoms. Korsakoff syndrome then indicates https://ecosoberhouse.com/ a chronic and long-lasting disorder. Again, a wet brain occurs following a severe deficiency of vitamin B1 in your system.

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