Long-term, heavy drinking can seriously damage your health in various ways. One potential consequence of this pattern of drinking is a condition known informally as wet brain. The formal name for this condition is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Left untreated, wet brain can severely harm you or even kill you. Alcohol detox and rehab can help prevent this dire outcome. To keep your risks as low as possible, it’s vital that you seek help sooner rather than later. Educating yourself about wet brain can be the first step in finding the right treatment.
What Is Wet Brain?
Precisely what is wet brain or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome? The term describes two related conditions. The first of these conditions is a brain disorder known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy. People with this disorder have significant nutrient thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiencies. You need this vitamin to supply your brain with adequate amounts of energy. Unfortunately, alcoholism can seriously interfere with your body’s ability to take in and store thiamine.
The second condition involved in wet brain is Korsakoff syndrome. This syndrome can occur if Wernicke’s encephalopathy goes untreated. It triggers damage in your brain’s main nerve cells, called neurons. It also damages essential supporting cells and interferes with your normal memory function.
The two aspects of wet brain tend to occur one after the other. Unless they get help, most people with Wernicke’s will develop Korsakoff syndrome. However, roughly 15% do not. Be aware that you can also develop Korsakoff syndrome without experiencing Wernicke’s.
Wet Brain Symptoms
Wernicke’s encephalopathy has several potential symptoms. The most common issues are:
- A confused mental state
- Ataxia, or loss of the ability to coordinate voluntary muscle movement
- Double vision or other changes in your normal vision
You may also experience problems such as low blood pressure and hypothermia.
Potential wet brain symptoms related to Korsakoff syndrome include two significant memory issues. The first of these issues is memory loss. This loss can severely affect your short-term memory. It can also lead to gaps in your long-term memory. The second memory issue associated with the syndrome is an inability to make new memories.
People with Korsakoff syndrome may also experience visual or auditory hallucinations. In addition, they may make up false stories without consciously meaning to deceive. Other symptoms are also possible. For example, you may undergo unusual changes in your normal behavior. You may also experience fatigue and an inability to concentrate. In addition, you may walk unsteadily or feel disoriented or delirious.
The Dangers of Wet Brain Syndrome
Once it begins, wet brain syndrome is not always curable. However, prompt treatment can potentially limit its impact by:
- Slowing down its progression
- Making some of its symptoms less severe
One very real danger of untreated wet brain is the possibility of going into a coma. You can also eventually die. Whether or not you develop Korsakoff syndrome, this is true. In fact, Wernicke’s will kill as many as one in five affected people. The best way to avoid such extreme complications is to seek help for your alcohol problems promptly.
Learn More About Alcohol-Related Wet Brain at Northpoint Colorado
Want to learn more about the dangers associated with alcohol-related wet brain? Talk to the professionals at Northpoint Colorado. We’ll explain the full details of this condition. We can also help you determine if your level of alcohol use puts you at risk.
Need treatment for alcohol abuse or alcoholism? Northpoint Colorado provides the support you need through our customized recovery options. Our dedication lies in minimizing your exposure to the harms of chronic, heavy drinking. Call us today at 970.579.4569 for more information, or complete our online contact form.