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Alcoholic Wet Brain Treatment

Wet Brain Syndrome Symptoms. Wet Brain Syndrome. Wet Brain Symptoms. Stages, Dangers & Treatment.

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Wet Brain Syndrome

What is wet brain in alcoholics? Wet brain, also referred to as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a brain disorder that occurs due to vitamin B1 deficiency. Wernicke’s encephalopathy is a degenerative brain disorder caused by the lack of thiamine. It may result from alcohol abuse, dietary deficiencies, prolonged vomiting, eating disorders, or the effects of chemotherapy. B1 deficiency causes damage to the brain’s thalamus and hypothalamus. 

Korsakoff syndrome (also called Korsakoff’s amnesic syndrome) is a memory disorder that results from vitamin B1 deficiency and is associated with alcoholism. Korsakoff’s syndrome damages nerve cells and supporting cells in the brain and spinal cord, as well as the part of the brain involved with memory.

Although Wernicke’s and Korsakoff’s are related disorders, some scientists believe them to be different stages of the same alcohol-related disorder, which is called 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. [1]

Wet Brain Treatment
Wet brain treatment involves the replacement of thiamine and providing proper nutrition and hydration.

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Who Gets Alcoholic Wet Brain?

Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome are not different conditions. They are different stages of the same disease process. Both are due to brain damage caused by a lack of vitamin B1. Lack of vitamin B1 is common in people who have alcohol use disorder. It is also common in people whose bodies do not absorb food properly (malabsorption). This can sometimes occur with a chronic illness or after weight-loss (bariatric) surgery.

Korsakoff syndrome tends to develop after symptoms of Wernicke encephalopathy go away. Wernicke encephalopathy causes brain damage in the lower parts of the brain called the thalamus and hypothalamus. Korsakoff syndrome results from permanent damage to areas of the brain involved with memory.

Wet Brain Symptoms

Symptoms of Wernicke encephalopathy include:

  • Confusion and loss of mental activity can progress to coma and death
  • Loss of muscle coordination (ataxia) that can cause leg tremors
  • Vision changes such as abnormal eye movements (back and forth movements called nystagmus), double vision, eyelid drooping
  • Alcohol withdrawal

Symptoms of Korsakoff syndrome include:

  • Inability to form new memories
  • Loss of memory can be severe
  • Making up stories (confabulation)
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not really there (hallucinations)

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Wet Brain Stages

Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome has two stages. First, there will be a brief time when a person has intense inflammation of the brain. This is known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy. If this condition isn’t treated quickly, the person may develop a more long-term condition called Korsakoff’s syndrome. This has many of the same symptoms of dementia.

Early Stages of Wet Brain

Wernicke encephalopathy is an acute neurological condition characterized by a clinical triad of ophthalmoparesis with nystagmus, ataxia, and confusion. This is a life-threatening illness caused by thiamine deficiency, which primarily affects the peripheral and central nervous systems. [2]

Thiamine deficiency is characteristically associated with severe alcohol use disorder. Although Wernicke encephalopathy mostly affects people who have a thiamine deficiency due to chronic alcoholism, various other causes include severe malnutrition, hyperemesis gravidarum, prolonged parenteral nutrition, malignancies, immunodeficiency syndromes, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, and severe anorexia nervosa. Chronic alcohol consumption may cause thiamine deficiency due to impaired absorption of thiamine from the intestine, a possible genetic predisposition, inadequate diet, reduced storage of thiamine in the liver, and other nutritional deficiencies.

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Final Stages of Wet Brain

Korsakoff syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder associated with memory disturbances in which there are significant deficits in anterograde and retrograde memory. Immediate memory is maintained, but short-term memory is diminished with intact sensorium. The disorder is associated with patients fabricating stories in the setting of clear consciousness. Confabulations can be spontaneous or provoked with provoked confabulation commonly seen in chronic Korsakoff syndrome and spontaneous confabulation usually noted in the acute Wernicke state.

How Dangerous is Wet Brain?

Without alcoholism and wet brain treatment, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome gets steadily worse and can be life-threatening. With treatment, it is possible to control symptoms (such as uncoordinated movement and vision difficulties). This disorder can also be slowed or stopped.

Possible Complications

Complications that may result include:

  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Difficulty with personal or social interaction
  • Injury caused by falls
  • Permanent alcoholic neuropathy
  • Permanent loss of thinking skills
  • Permanent loss of memory
  • Shortened life span

Is Wet Brain Reversible?

Korsakoff syndrome is most commonly seen in the context of chronic alcohol abuse and is thought to be on the spectrum with Wernicke encephalopathy, however, Wernicke encephalopathy is acute and often reversible while Korsakoff syndrome is chronic and may be irreversible. [3]

Most symptoms of Wernicke’s encephalopathy can be reversed if detected and treated promptly and completely. Stopping alcohol use may prevent further nerve and brain damage. However, improvement in memory function is slow and, usually, incomplete. Without alcoholism and wet brain treatment, these disorders can be disabling and life-threatening.

Wet Brain Treatment
As with Wernicke’s encephalopathy, the main treatment for Korsakoff’s syndrome is to give the person high doses of thiamine immediately.

Wet Brain Treatment

Wet brain treatment depends on the underlying condition. Many conditions are treated mainly with rehabilitation and supportive care to help the person with activities lost due to areas where brain function is affected. Medicines may be needed to reduce aggressive behaviors that can occur with some of the conditions.

Abstaining from alcohol and maintaining a healthy diet is a cornerstone of effective long-term wet brain treatment. For those suffering from addiction or alcoholism, the We Level Up treatment center is here.  As a licensed and accredited rehabilitation center, we are dedicated to helping you meet your goals, one day at a time.

The goals of wet brain treatment are to control symptoms and to prevent the disorder from getting worse. Some people may need to stay in the hospital early in the condition to help control symptoms.

Monitoring and special care [4] may be needed if the person is:

  • In a coma
  • Lethargic
  • Unconscious

Vitamin B1 is usually given by injection into a vein or a muscle as soon as possible. This may improve symptoms of:

  • Confusion or delirium
  • Difficulties with vision and eye movement
  • Lack of muscle coordination

Vitamin B1 often does not improve the loss of memory and intellect that occur with Korsakoff syndrome. Stopping alcohol use can prevent more loss of brain function and damage to nerves. A well-balanced, nourishing diet can help, but it is not a substitute for stopping alcohol use.

The We Level Up treatment center can help with inpatient therapy programs exclusively. Because each client is different and requires unique, comprehensive care according to their situation, our staff of well-trained physicians and nurses first begin the client relationship with a detailed one-on-one assessment.

Alcohol Detox

Withdrawal from alcohol is an important first step to overcoming your alcohol-related problems. However, withdrawal isn’t an effective wet brain treatment by itself. You’ll need further alcoholism and wet brain treatment and support to help you in the long term.  [5]

There are two significant signs of alcohol addiction:  tolerance and withdrawal.  Alcohol addiction is a dangerous condition because it can ultimately become life-threatening.  So, alcohol detox allows the body to eliminate all alcohol in the body and return to its usual functioning.  An individual who has been struggling with a moderate to severe alcohol use disorder (alcohol addiction) has a significant likelihood of developing withdrawal symptoms and could benefit from the help of a detox program.

Once fully admitted and evaluated, the 2nd stage of detox gets underway:  stabilization.  Based on the data provided during the admissions process, patient feedback, and the symptoms observed;  our experienced team of medical addiction professionals will provide care to keep the patient stable and as comfortable as possible. [6]

The longer and heavier the drinking, the more prolonged and more severe detox will be.  For this reason, going through the process sooner than later, and getting help, is critical to recovery.

Our FREE 24-hour Hotline can help you with the resources for alcoholic organic brain syndrome and wet brain treatment. We can help you answer addiction-related questions such as “What is wet brain in alcoholics?” Get a free consultation now for your best-fitting treatment programs along with free rehab insurance verification. Call We Level Up today and speak with one of our addiction specialists to check your rehab insurance coverage and benefits.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely used treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction to help individuals identify negative thought patterns, emotions, and problematic behaviors and learn how to make healthy lifestyle changes that decrease the urges to drink alcohol and use other substances; paying particular attention to symptoms of psychosis, depression, and other co-existing mental health-related problems or dual diagnosis that are exacerbated by stress.

Counseling Services

Individual, group and family counseling services are offered in the majority of mental health and substance abuse treatment programs to “get to the root of the problems”, improve communications and relationships, and motivate the abuser toward positive changes. . The structured guidance of a counselor helps the patient stay on track and in the right perspectives as they strive to achieve their potentials and goals of recovery.

Wet Brain Treatment
Korsakoff syndrome typically can’t be reversed. In serious cases, it can cause brain damage and lead to problems with memory and your walk that don’t go away.

We Level Up addiction counselors will discuss the average cost of the program based on the personalized treatment that works best for you.


[1] Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
[2] Wernicke Encephalopathy – National Center for Biotechnology Information
[3] World Health Organization. (1951). Expert committee on mental health: Report on the first session of the alcoholism subcommitteeWorld Health Organization Technical Report Series, 42. 1-24.
[4] Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health
[5] Alcohol Misuse –
[6] Stabilization Treatment Program – We Level Up New Jersey

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