What is Wet Brain?
WET BRAIN SYNDROME: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS INJURIOUS BRAIN CONDITION
One of the long term effects of consistent alcohol consumption is a brain condition known as Wet Brain. According to a recent study, 1-2% of Americans suffer from the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome popularly known as Wet Brain. The stigma behind this disease and why it is referred to as Wet Brain is because of the inaccurate belief that people willingly contract the disease by not abstaining from prolonged alcohol addiction.
The truth about this disease is that the body system differs, and two people with the same alcohol consumption pattern might be affected differently. What we must know, however, is the complexity of this condition. It is a very complicated condition and like any other addiction, no one chooses a life like that. That’s why there have been massive campaigns aimed at educating the public and urging people to refrain from using the term “Wet Brain” and use the correct term for the condition, which is the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
Although the term Wet Brain has stuck with most people and will be hard to reorientate the public, we believe a continuous reorientation campaign will accomplish the long term goal of setting the public on the right path.
Let’s get back to the disease, what really is “Wet Brain”, how drinking affects the brain, what are the symptoms and stages of this disease, who are most at risk of getting this disease, the prognosis for ” Wet Brain”, and finally, how is the disease treated.
What is Wet Brain (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome)
Have you seen people getting confused over a simple task, always forgetting birthdays, repeated stories, unsteady walks, violent muscle spasms, and even hallucinations? These are signs of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. If the affected person is left without treatment will develop into a full-blown version of the disease.
The Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a condition or form of brain damage that’s caused by heavy, prolonged addiction to alcohol. This condition is caused by a deficiency in a vitamin called Thiamine (Vitamin B1). Thiamine is a vitamin unlike most vitamins that don’t occur naturally in the body, it needs to be ingested by a person into the body daily to achieve the needed amount. The thing with heavy drinkers is they fail to observe a healthy diet and as a result of poor diet, the Thiamine in their system diminishes.
If this behavior is sustained over time, they suffer the risk of developing the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Studies have also found out that alcohol reduces the absorption of Thiamine, reduces the thiamine reserve in the liver and will interfere with certain enzymes that convert Thiamine into an active state vitamin.
Thiamine is a very important substance for the body. Almost all tissues in the body need Thiamine to function well, and different enzymes in the brain need thiamine to develop and function perfectly.
How prolonged alcohol usage will affect your brain
A heavy drinker has a higher risk of suffering from “Wet Brain” than someone who doesn’t drink often. The disease which we have established occurs due to lack of Thiamine is a rare one. The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse says Thiamine deficiency is rare in developed countries except for someone with high alcohol abuse or HIV infection.
When someone has been exposed to too much alcohol, food becomes a secondary need. This is dangerous. If you’ve had the experience of being around someone with chronic alcohol depression, you will notice their poor diet and the need to always get alcohol instead of food. Most times, an alcoholic comes home drunk and will head straight to bed without eating. If this lifestyle is sustained for a long time, they get what most people love to call Wet Brain.
Wet Brain is harmful to the eye too, as it causes visual impairment, dementia, and can even reduce life expectancy drastically.
Symptoms and stages of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (Wet Brain)
The Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome isn’t just one disease but a combination of two different types of disorders. Wernicke disorder is a disease that affects the nervous system. The patient suffers from a constant state of confusion, ocular aberrations, and the inability to perform voluntary muscle movements. The Korsakoff syndrome, however, is characterized by memory loss and sometimes dementia – mental disorder!
The symptoms of Wet Brains differ. There are two stages of this disorder and every stage has its peculiar symptom.
Symptoms of Stage1
The symptoms of stage one Wet Brain includes
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Less effective sense of smell
- Ocular abnormalities
- The weakness of limbs and lack of muscle coordination
- The shakes (Delirium Tremens)
- The drowsiness of eye movement (sleepy eyes)
These are the symptoms for a stage one victim of Wet Brain
Symptoms of Stage2
The symptoms of stage2 Wet Brain include
- Mild to severe memory loss
- Mental disturbance
- Repetitive information to cover up for memory loss
- Inability to learn new tasks as a result of the combination of other symptoms.
The prognosis for Wet Brain (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome)
The mortality rate for people with Wernicke’s encephalopathy is between 10 to 20%, of the people who survive the first stage, at least 80% will develop Korsakoff psychosis. It is an almost hopeless situation, but it isn’t a hopeless situation.
With treatment, a patient’s condition can be managed but not treated, as the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome doesn’t have any cure yet.
A doctor will have to prescribe medications to control every symptom suffered by the patient, and hopefully reduce the complications they suffer from.
The Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a really complicated and serious brain condition, that’s why at JCRecovery center we have always advocated for a cleaner life and freedom from addiction to alcohol and drugs. We know the journey to recovery is difficult, but together we can achieve it.