Menu Close

Understanding Wet Brain Syndrome Symptoms and Risks

a person with Wet brain looks at the camera

Wet brain is a complication that arises from long-term alcohol abuse. It is a severe, life-threatening brain disorder, typically caused by a thiamine deficiency, that can lead to coma and death. While doctors cannot cure wet brain syndrome, they can reverse some symptoms through early intervention. Seeking alcohol addiction treatment and maintaining a sober lifestyle will slow the progression of the disease and can significantly minimize symptoms.

Ashwood Recovery in Boise, Idaho, offers alcohol rehab programs that can help patients through safe detox and withdrawal and holistic recovery therapy. Our flexible treatment plans offer outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs that can be catered to each patient’s unique needs. Call us at 888.341.3607 to learn more about what we can offer you.

What Is Wet Brain Syndrome?

Wet brain is the common term for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, or WKS. The term wet brain was coined due to the prevalence of WKS cases that arise from long-term alcoholism. WKS is a brain disorder that combines two conditions, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, and Korsakoff’s psychosis.

Wernicke’s encephalopathy is the first stage of wet brain syndrome. Its symptoms are usually mistaken as signs of simple alcohol intoxication, which may make it easy to overlook. It is important to note that not all symptoms need to be present for a positive diagnosis. The common symptoms of this stage are as follows:

  • Double vision, involuntary or unusual eye movements and twitches, eye muscle weakness, drooping eyelids
  • Impaired reflexes, coordination, and balance, difficulty walking, muscle weakness, abnormal heart rate, hypothermia
  • Drowsiness, confusion, memory loss, cognitive processing difficulties

The second, often fatal, stage of WKS is Korsakoff’s psychosis, sometimes called “alcoholic dementia.” The symptoms of this stage include:

  • Vision problems
  • Impaired coordination and balance, trouble walking, tremors
  • Personality changes, increased agitation, anger, and frustration
  • Problems forming new memories, mild to severe memory loss
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations, confusion, disorientation
  • Fabricating stories that didn’t happen or confabulation is often done to fill up gaps in memory

How Do You Treat Wet Brain Syndrome?

When someone is a chronic drinker, this results in nutritional deficiency, which is what makes it the leading cause of wet brain syndrome. A thiamine deficiency primarily causes WKS, so the leading treatment is high-dose thiamine supplementation. Abstinence from alcohol and maintaining a well-balanced, nutritious diet are also essential in slowing the progression of the disease.

Early intervention is essential in the treatment of wet brain syndrome. Some of the symptoms of stage one, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, may be reversed if caught early enough. However, the effects of Korsakoff’s psychosis, stage two, are potentially fatal, and the damage to the brain is often irreversible.

Get Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ashwood Recovery

The best cure for wet brain syndrome is prevention. Don’t wait for chronic alcohol abuse to progress to WKS. Choosing sobriety is always the healthiest and safest course of action. If you are ready to begin your journey towards a sober lifestyle, please reach out to a trusted rehab facility to ensure safe, effective treatment.

At Ashwood Recovery, we offer a wide variety of flexible treatment plans, including outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs that fit every patient’s individual needs. Our treatment facility provides a safe, comfortable environment for outpatient recovery and aftercare. Our qualified, compassionate staff employ evidence-based therapies that ensure a successful recovery and a new sober mindset.

Recovery from alcohol addiction is always safest under the proper medical supervision. Ashwood Recovery is ready to support you through your journey from outpatient recovery to long-term abstinence and lifelong sobriety. Call us at 888.341.3607 today and speak to a recovery specialist to learn more about our programs.