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What is Wet Brain? Understanding Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Drinking can cause a lot of problems for people, especially the drinker. Long-term drinking makes the drinker at still at risk for a myriad of issues, including mental health disorders and specific conditions and diseases. One particularly severe health problem that an alcoholic might have is “wet brain,” a slang term for Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. The syndrome is a dangerous disorder caused by alcoholism. A severe thiamine deficiency causes it.

Alcohol Abuse Causes Nutritional Deficiencies

Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency is common among people who chronically abuse alcohol. People who have been drinking heavily for an extended period of time don’t always have the best diet. Pair this with the fact that alcohol prevents thiamine absorption, and there are several health problems that a drinker can be susceptible to.

Not every person who has a thiamine deficiency gets wet brain. But a large number of people who chronically abuse alcohol have nutritional deficiencies that can lead to blood diseases, dementia, and other serious health problems.

Understanding “Wet Brain”

The term “wet brain” has been around a long time. It’s a term that’s used to describe Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome and a collection of symptoms caused by thiamine deficiency.

Symptoms in the early stage of the disease include a loss of appetite, fatigue, and irritability. These symptoms are all familiar to doctors and, in general, can signal a variety of conditions. A person with an alcohol use disorder may have multiple deficiencies.

Another, more evident and alarming symptom of wet brain is problems with motor coordination. A person with this condition may have slow reaction times even if they haven’t been drinking.

Thiamine is an essential vitamin to the body. When the brain is starved of it, it causes brain damage, which can lead to dementia. This means that a person may seem psychotic or have delusions. They may have significant lapses in the memory.

Curing Wet Brain

Because wet brain is brain damage, it cannot be cured. Some symptoms can be treated, but brain damage is usually severe. Treatment for a vitamin deficiency can be treated with injections or an IV. If treated immediately, the damage can be minimized.

Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction

Do you or somebody you love have a problem with drinking or drugs? Help is available. You’re not alone. No one has to be vulnerable to this disorder! Recovery from alcohol addiction is possible. We offer a safe, comforting, safe environment to get and stay sober.

Learn more about our detox services at 619-363-4767.



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Mark G
Mark Gladden brings both personal and professional experience to his role as co-founder of Present Moments Recovery. Now in long-term recovery himself after struggling with addiction for years, Mark understands firsthand the challenges men face in achieving and maintaining sobriety. It was this insight, combined with a desire to help others, that led Mark to establish Present Moments Recovery.

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If Present Moments is the right fit for your current situation you will be speaking to Admissions Director Mark Gladden, who will be your guide throughout the process of arranging travel and undergoing an initial detox (if necessary). Mark has been the guide for dozens of men and women who have gotten their lives back by entering treatment at Present Moments. He has earned his reputation as being truly dedicated to the recovery of others. Mark will be the one to ‘show you the ropes’ when it comes to admitting to our facility for treatment

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