One of the effects of alcohol addiction is the problem of the Wet Brain. It has a complicated name in medicinal terms – Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS) and occurs due to excessive and long-term consumption of alcohol, leading to deficiencies of nutrients and damage to the brain. The disease may not get diagnosed most of the time, and the male population is more prone to develop this.
If you take excessive alcohol, your liver would get affected. It fails to absorb sufficient thiamine, which is absorbed from the food that you consume and gets stored in the liver.
Thiamine is also known as Vitamin B1. Your body cannot produce thiamine on its own, and the only source is the type of food that you consume. The nerve cells of the brain use thiamine for enzymatic reactions.
In case the thiamine level is low in the body, the heart and the nervous system start malfunctioning. It causes dementia or Wernicke’s Encephalopathy (WE). Most of the thiamine deficiency cases in the U.S. are linked to alcohol addictions.
There are two forms in which Wet Brain syndrome can occur:
- Wernicke’s Encephalopathy (WE)
This is a temporary illness but severe in effect. It causes neurological problems and causes biochemical lesions in the nervous system. In the brain, the thalamus and hypothalamus, which are associated with memory, get affected.
The patient may experience memory loss, a problem with vision, confusion, and ataxia, which is a loss in muscle coordination. Other effects are inability in social interaction and difficulty in walking.
- Korsakoff’s Psychosis
This problem occurs as an aftermath of WE and occurs after the symptoms of WE go away. Around 80-90% of people, who had WE earlier, develop this problem. It may cause permanent brain damage and is the result of long-term and severe alcohol addiction.
The affected individuals get severe memory problems, learning disability and may fabricate
information to make up stories.
Recovery and Treatment of Wet Brain
For proper treatment, the problem has to be diagnosed as early as possible. If there is severe brain damage, then recovery may be difficult due to permanent impairment. It can result in slipping into a coma and finally death. In most cases, patients having WE also develop Korsakoff’s Psychosis, and only 10-20% of patients can recover. Treatment consists of:
- De-addiction from alcohol
- Administering Intravenous Thiamine – It is essential for people who have improper gut functioning. In other cases, strong doses of oral thiamine may increase the thiamine levels in the body.
- Psychological therapy
In case you do not want to get medical treatment for the negative effects of alcohol, stop consumption immediately. Additionally, consume thiamine rich food as below:
- Brown rice
- Soy foods
- Salmon and other fishes
The brain is one of the vital organs, and to maintain a healthy brain, you have to stay away from any type of substance and alcohol abuse. Also, maintain a healthy diet and active routine to enjoy a beautiful life with your loved ones.