The tremendous downside to chronic alcohol abuse includes many negative lifestyle outcomes such as the breakdown of one’s body and mind, otherwise called “wet brain.” Wet brain is a term that describes Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome which occurs when the body has a severe thiamine deficiency. Those that engage in heavy drinking are also often thiamine deficient because these individuals generally have poor nutritional habits which limit their ability to get the right vitamins in from their diets. The stomach lining is also affected by heavy drinking. It becomes inflamed and has limited ability to absorb any vitamins that one does take in.

Thiamine is vitamin B1 and it is very important to the functioning of the human body. It aids in using food to make energy for the brain, nerves, and heart functions. While it also helps to break down fats and proteins, it’s strength is breaking down carbohydrates. It is a vitamin we can get from our diets as it is particularly present in foods including beef and pork, eggs, legumes, nuts, whole-grain foods, and wheat germ. Individuals who do not have adequate thiamine also exhibit symptoms such as loss of appetite, constipation, lethargy, and fatigue, and muscle weakness.

What Is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome?

What Is Wet BrainWernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome develops in stages and if caught early, thiamine treatment can be administered with promising results. One can see a partial recovery from the syndrome. However, if it is caught too late, there is no ability to reverse the damage. This syndrome combines both Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome.

Wernicke’s encephalopathy develops from poor nutrition which reduces the brain’s supply of thiamine. Thiamine is processed in the liver. Alcohol directly affects and damages the functioning of the liver. In alcoholics whose liver is not functioning properly, they cannot process thiamine. Additionally, excessive alcohol use inflames the intestines and causes damage which reduces the ability of the body to absorb vitamins appropriately. When someone has chronically abused alcohol, their bodies are unable to process thiamine. Even when a concerted effort to eat a diet high in this vitamin occurs, the vitamin is not readily absorbed. Physical symptoms include abnormal gait, confusion, and unusual eye movements.

Because thiamine is essential to carbohydrate breakdown, it can fuel the brain. Carbohydrates like sugar are turned into energy that the brain uses to function. If thiamine is deficient, so is the brain’s energy. As time progresses and the brain has been void of the energy it needs to operate, Korsakoff syndrome results. Decreased memory capacity, learning capabilities, and problem-solving abilities are some of the symptoms of this syndrome.

Finding Help For Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome And Alcoholism

When you are suffering from alcoholism,  your health depends on obtaining treatment. Without treatment, the disease will progress and death could result. The medical detox and addiction alternative treatment center at Discovery Place can help you with your alcohol addiction. Our 12-step program will provide you the tools to get clean and beat your addiction. Studies have shown that 12-step programs have a high success rate for individuals to be able to abstain from alcohol for at least one year after treatment. Discovery Place’s Tennessee addiction alternative treatment center’s team is here for you  24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Call our Tennessee detox alternative treatment center anytime at 1-800-725-0922 to get the answers you need and the help you deserve.


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