It’s estimated that 15 million people in the U.S. struggle with an alcohol use disorder. Problem drinking can lead to a wide range of problems such as legal trouble, worsening mental health and physical problems. One of the issues that can result from repeated drinking is ‘wet brain’ or ‘wet brain syndrome,’ a term that refers to two different but related conditions: Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis.
Wernicke encephalopathy is a type of cognitive impairment caused by a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. Every tissue in the body needs this vitamin to function. However, since the body doesn’t naturally produce thiamine, you have to get it from the foods you eat. Korsakoff’s psychosis is a complication of Wernicke encephalopathy and causes symptoms like confusion, behavioral changes and memory deficits.
Let’s learn more about wet brain, the signs to look for and how alcohol rehab in Arizona can help.
What is Wet Brain Syndrome?
Wet brain is a disorder of the brain that results from a thiamine deficiency. It’s most common in people who have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), though it can happen to anyone. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 80 percent of people with an AUD have a thiamine deficiency.
Men are more likely to develop wet brain than women, probably because more men are diagnosed with AUDs. While wet brain does cause significant behavioral and cognitive changes, it is possible to reverse the effects. However, a person will need to seek treatment at an Arizona alcohol rehab and abstain from drinking.
Characteristics of Wet Brain
How can you tell if someone has wet brain syndrome? After all, it can be confusing since problem drinking can cause cognitive changes as well. This is why many people aren’t sure what they are dealing with. Is it confusion from the alcohol, or confusion from something else?
One of the telltale signs that you’re dealing with wet brain is if the person is confused when they’re not under the influence. Pay attention to how you or your loved one acts when sober. Here are some signs to watch for:
- Memory loss
- Double vision
- Difficulty with coordination
- Abnormal eye movements
- Loss of body heat
- Rapid heartbeat
- Eye muscle weakness
- Droopy eyelids
Dangers of Not Treating Wet Brain
Wet brain is treatable in the early stages. Doctors typically recommend thiamine supplements to alleviate symptoms and prevent disease progression. If you are in an alcohol treatment center in Arizona, you can also work on eating a healthier diet that gives your body essential B vitamins.
Without treatment, wet brain will progress into Korsakoff’s psychosis, which is fatal. At this stage, symptoms include delirium, fatigue, severe memory loss, an inability to form new memories, hallucinations and difficulty paying attention. Korsakoff’s psychosis is persistent, chronic and irreversible.
As long as you catch wet brain syndrome early, the prognosis is generally positive. However, you will need to stop drinking and eat a healthy diet with thiamine-rich foods. Wolf Creek Recovery is an alcohol rehab in Prescott Arizona that offers comprehensive treatment for AUDs. Contact us today to learn more – your phone call can save a life!
Finding purpose in pain is what Jonathon does best. He is a strong advocate for those suffering from substance use disorders. As a person in recovery, Jonathon knows how important it is to receive empathy and compassion. He recognizes that each person comes from a different set of circumstances and deserves to be valued and respected.
With a fresh perspective and compassionate attitude, Jonathon works closely with clients to help them let go of the past and know when to take necessary risks. The recovery process is ongoing, which means people need to move forward while applying the skills learned in treatment. Jonathon is a great motivator when it comes time for this!
Jonathon also places emphasis on the family unit and how it can make or break the recovery experience. Individuals with active, supportive families have far better outcomes. Jonathon realizes that it’s impossible to move mountains overnight, but with the right support team and positive attitude, anything is possible.