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Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

November 12, 2021 by Monika Tyszkowski0

Once WKS progresses to the point that there are noticeable symptoms, the prognosis for the individual is not good. Significant short-term intervention is required, while about 25 percent of patients will need long-term institutionalization. This is incredibly dangerous as thiamine is central to proper brain function.

how is wet brain diagnosed

While short-term Alcohol abuse or occasional binge drinking won’t cause wet brain, forming a dependency could lead to a reduction in thiamine. The disorder is broken down into two stages called Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis. Patients do not need https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/alcohol-abuse-and-narcissism-how-are-they-linked/ to present all symptoms of Wernicke’s encephalopathy to be diagnosed with the disorder. In some patients, the symptoms of Wernicke’s encephalopathy may be mild and unnoticeable for the most part. If left untreated, it can cause coma or even death in many patients.

What’s the prognosis for someone with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome?

Around 80 to 90% of people with alcohol use disorder who have Wernicke’s encephalopathy develop Korsakoff’s psychosis. Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome or wet brain carries many symptoms common to ongoing abuse such as Alcohol memory loss and coordination problems. However, it can have many more detrimental side-effects if not treated immediately. If you suspect you or someone you love has developed this condition, you need to educate yourself. Below is a detailed look at wet brain including its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Watch more videos on people who recovered from their alcohol addiction – Click Here. It’s usual for people with Korsakoff psychosis to carry on a conversation coherently then forget that the exchange happened a few minutes afterward. They may also forget things that have happened in the past (retrograde amnesia) or experience difficulty forming new memories (anterograde amnesia). Patients may not even realize that they have symptoms of this disorder.

Prognosis of Wernicke’s Encephalopathy

The symptoms of the disease are similar to many other cognitive diseases, including varying forms of alcohol memory loss syndrome. Additionally, the patient may struggle to communicate their symptoms due to the confusion and memory loss caused by the disease. Because it is caused by sustained heavy drinking, binge drinkers are less likely to develop the condition than those who drink alcohol heavily on a daily basis. Those who are genetically predisposed to addiction also are at a higher risk of getting the disease. There is also data showing that those with fetal alcohol syndrome have a greater likelihood of becoming alcoholics, and thus developing wet brain. First and foremost, frequent alcohol abuse over many years damages cells in the body and brain.

Early treatment in this stage, typically with thiamine supplements, can alleviate symptoms and prevent the condition from degenerating into Korsakoff’s psychosis. Although Wernicke’s encephalopathy is generally caused by alcoholism, other potential causes include severe malnutrition, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, and severe anorexia. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by the lack of thiamine (vitamin B1). The disorder includes Wernicke what is mush brain encephalopathy and Korsakoff amnesic syndrome which are not different conditions but different stages of the same disease (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome). Wernicke’s encephalopathy represents the “acute” phase of the disorder and Korsakoff’s amnesic syndrome represents the disorder progressing to a “chronic” or long-lasting stage. The disorder’s main features are problems in acquiring new information or establishing new memories, and in retrieving previous memories.

Wet brain syndrome prevention

Left untreated, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome may lead to disability and even death. One symptom in people with severe disease is confabulation, where they invent information to cover memory loss. As mentioned earlier, “wet brain” is the blanket term that characterizes Wernicke Encephalopathy and Korsakoff Psychosis symptoms. Let us discuss each as Wernicke Encephalopathy can progress to Korsakoff Psychosis if left untreated. Alcohol dementia is treatable, and with proper care and nutrition, the symptoms and potential risks can be relieved and sometimes eliminated. It depends on how severe the symptoms are, and at what point in the progression of this disease the person begins treatment, as well as the types of treatment they receive.

It affects the lower regions of the brain known as the thalamus and hypothalamus. It’s a serious condition that can lead to permanent brain damage and a variety of distressing signs and symptoms. In this article, we will explore more about this illness, as well as its causes, signs, symptoms, and progression. It is very rare for the individual with wet brain syndrome (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome) to recover fully even with aggressive treatment.

With advanced wet brain, life expectancy will depend on several factors. These include how extensive the brain damage is, how much treatment the patient is getting, and other health issues. However, they’ll experience deteriorating conditions due to the extreme loss of brain cells. Wet brain is a form of alcohol brain damage that results from repeat and heavy exposure to alcohol.

  • Most symptoms of Wernicke’s encephalopathy can be reversed if detected and treated promptly and completely.
  • Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.
  • Early intervention in cases of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is the most effective for reversing course and saving someone’s life.
  • Individuals with the disorder often suffer from mental confusion, making it challenging to communicate with doctors.
  • One can prevent Wet brain by watching what you eat and taking vitamin supplements.
  • The onset of Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome may be hard to recognize, as many of the symptoms are similar to regular short-term Alcohol abuse or binge drinking.

Also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, wet brain stems from a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. Thiamine is an essential vitamin in the body that doesn’t occur naturally. The amount of thiamine in a person’s system diminishes as a result of a poor diet, which oftentimes occurs in people who regularly abuse alcohol.

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