One of the primary treatment options we offer is inpatient rehab for alcohol addiction. Alcoholism causes thiamine deficiencies over a prolonged period of time because alcohol reduces the body’s ability to absorb thiamine through the gastrointestinal tract. Over time, the body will absorb less thiamine as the result of excessive alcohol consumption.
- It helps the body process fats and proteins and break down carbohydrates.
- Some people may need to stay in the hospital early in the condition to help control symptoms.
- Some pharmacies or grocery stores will stock these supplements as well.
- The illness is formally known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, and it occurs in two separate stages.
In 2015 alone, 15.1 million adults struggled with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Symptoms of the second stage of wet brain syndrome, known as Korsakoff psychosis, often do not develop until long after the symptoms of the first stage have developed. It is only after a person has exhibited symptoms of the first stage of wet brain syndrome for a prolonged period of time that symptoms of Korsakoff psychosis occur. For heavy drinkers, these seemingly innocent memory lapses can evolve to slurred speech, an unsteady walk, violent muscle twitches or hallucinations, signaling alcohol-induced brain damage.
Graduate School of Addiction Studies
With that said, they may still sustain some minor permanent damages to the brain. Wet brain syndrome is determined by several factors, including how long a person has been drinking and how often they do it. But early detection can slow the progression of the disease and alleviate many symptoms.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, early intervention is the best way to prevent the onset of wet brain. At Westwind Recovery®, we offer alcohol addiction treatment programs in our Los Angeles recovery center. Connect with a member of our team today or contact us online to learn more. Your body can’t produce thiamine on its own—it has to be ingested through your diet. This is typically a non-issue for most healthy adults (think whole grains, asparagus, kale, pork, beef, chicken, eggs and potatoes). Those who struggle with alcohol use disorder, though, are at risk of thiamine deficiency.
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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 have eating disorders like anorexia can also become thiamine deficient and develop wet brain. Even though the symptoms of the second stage of wet brain syndrome can’t be reversed, medical professionals may still administer additional thiamine through an IV or supplement. The additional thiamine may be able to stop the progression of wet brain syndrome. You won’t notice an improvement in your symptoms, but you won’t notice a worsening of your symptoms.
- The wet brain treatment continues until clinical improvements cease.
- There are enzymes in the brain that need thiamine, including several critical neurotransmitters.
- This is why the disorder is sometimes called alcoholic encephalopathy or alcoholic dementia.
Heart and nervous system cells are extremely sensitive to a thiamine deficiency. Congestive heart failure and extensive cognitive impairment (“mush brain”) are often the cause of alcoholics requiring long-term hospitalization or nursing home care. Korsakoff’s syndrome dementia affects not just the brain, but also the cardiovascular and central nervous system. Once https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/wet-mush-brain-from-alcoholism-symptoms-and-dangers/ a person has been diagnosed with end stage alcoholism, life expectancy can be as limited as six months. About 80% of people with alcohol use disorder have a thiamine deficiency, and up to 2% of the total U.S. adult population has Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. However, it is not well understood who has wet brain because of alcohol abuse or from poor nutrition.
What Is Wet Brain? Can It Be Reversed?
The long-term effects of this disease can range from difficulty with personal interactions and injuries caused by loss of coordination to coma or even death. Blood testing can provide key insights into a person’s thiamine levels and other general nutrition. Decreased red blood cell activity could be an indicator of thiamine deficiency. And the true number of people who suffer from this disorder may be even higher, as some never seek treatment for it. Normal mental activity can become harder and harder for the individual to maintain as Wernicke’s syndrome progresses. It can potentially become so severe, in fact, that it progresses into coma-like states and even death.
Wet brain life expectancy is an important consideration when considering its permanency. Alcohol addiction, even if it has not progressed to the point of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, can considerably decrease life expectancy. Research has shown that people who are hospitalized for alcohol misuse die 24 to 28 years sooner compared to people in the general population. Medical experts say the best treatment for living with this disease is to stay sober, eat healthily and receive the most appropriate support for their ongoing cognitive and physical needs. Many alcoholics wonder whether it’s possible to prevent wet brain.
By this point, patients have sustained a significant amount of brain damage. Permanent damages lead to the development of wet brain, also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. This disease most often affects individuals who are struggling with an alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, this means that many Americans are susceptible to wet brain.