Long-term alcohol usage and binge drinking can cause long-term deficits and effects on brain function similar to malnutrition. Binge drinkers or heavy drinkers may neglect their health and make poor dietary choices such as not eating enough or only eating foods low in nutritional value. This can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, also known as “wet brain.”
What Is Wet Brain?
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency causes a wet brain. Thiamine is essential for a variety of biological functions, the most important of which is assisting the body in the conversion of food into energy. If left untreated, thiamine deficiency can harm the thalamus and hypothalamus in the brain, resulting in a variety of serious health problems.
Thiamine deficiency is more common in people who struggle with alcoholism due to poor nutrition and digestion. This can hinder nutrients from being absorbed from food. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, thiamine deficiency affects up to 80% of alcoholics.
The disease has two stages of symptoms: Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff psychosis. Each stage has its own set of physical and psychological symptoms, but any of them could be mistaken for the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal or intoxication. This is why it is critical to pay special attention to any indicators that a person may be suffering from this major health problem.
Wet Brain Symptoms
Symptoms of wet brain can be divided into two stages. In the earlier stage, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, there may be symptoms such as:
- Vision issues (involuntary eye movements)
- Low body temperature
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Feeling off-balance
- Impaired reflexes
In the next stage of wet brain, called Korsakoff syndrome, memory issues begin to appear and there can be symptoms such as:
- Loss of memory (Amnesia)
- Trouble learning and retaining new information
- Personality changes
Treating Wet Brain
If wet brain is detected and treated early, the brain damage may be repaired. If left untreated, the brain damage may be permanent. Acute wet brain symptoms are treated by increasing thiamine levels, enhancing diet, and hydrating. This can help minimize or stop the symptoms of wet brain, but it will not work long-term if the alcohol usage persists.
To truly treat wet brain caused by alcoholism, a person requires addiction treatment that addresses both the substance use issues and any underlying conditions. The illness could recur if the thiamine shortage and wet brain are not treated. Treatment for drug abuse and related health issues requires a personalized treatment program with experts and therapists who can identify the fundamental causes of the addiction. With the support and guidance of those at Avalon Malibu, you can treat your mental health conditions, help you recover, and lead a joyous life. Call Avalon Malibu at (844) 857-5992.