People who have long-term habits of alcohol consumption at an extreme level may suffer from wet brain syndrome. it affects the brain tissues because of the lack of vitamin B1 and Thiamine. In this article, we will discuss What is the wet brain and you will get to know how Thiamine deficiency is related to alcohol consumption and wet brain syndrome.
Wet Brain is also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. it is a life-threatening disease. the main cause of this disease is the overconsumption of alcohol. it is named wet brain syndrome due to its association with alcohol.
The thalamus and hypothalamus of the brain get affected in this wet brain syndrome, which is why it damages the cells of the organ and causes memory loss.
Stages of Wet Brain:-
The wet brain syndrome develops in two stages. these are as follows:-
- Korsakoff’s Psychosis:- In the early stage, if any patient does not take the treatment of Wernicke’s Encephalopathy then they may develop Karsakoff’s psychosis fast. it is an irreversible neurological disorder, severe and chronic. it kills the learning abilities of the patients and damages brain functionalities. it becomes challenging for the patient to process knowledge and information and get memory loss.,dementia, hallucinations, amnesia, retrograde, etc. are some complications of wet brain syndrome at this stage. it gives results in behavioral changes in the patients.
- Wernicke’s Encephalopathy:- This is the first stage of this neurological disorder. it causes confusion, double vision, difficulty in walking, etc. There are lots of difficulties like managing simple daily activities such as wearing clothes due to the lack of coordination with the necessary muscles. though the main cause of this is alcoholism, it can also result due to anorexia, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, etc.
symptoms of the wet brain:-
Symptoms of the wet brain could differ according to its stage. following are some symptoms that can be seen in patients with Werinicke’s Encephalopathy.
- Leg tremors
- Loss of mental ability
- Impairment of muscle coordination
- Double vision
- Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Abnormal eye movement
- Eyelid drooping
Below are some major symptoms of Korsakoff’s Psychosis:-
- Memory loss
- Inability to develop fresh memories
Cause of Wet Brain:-
The primary reason of Wet brain is the deficiency of Thiamine or Vitamin B1. This vitamin is essential in the production of energy in the human body. it creates necessary signals for the brain.
Inflammation may develop in the gastrointestinal tract if any person drinks alcohol up to an extreme level on a regular basis due to the body’s failure to extract and absorb vitamin B1 from the consumed food. if this kind of situation persists over a period then a person develops wet brain symptoms or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
- Eating Disorders:- Body needs essential nutrients but these nutrients of food may get out of the body due to regular vomiting as a result of an eating disorder such as anorexia. these can deplete the Thiamine level. the tendency of vomit increase after consuming alcohol heavily you should also know that.
- Bad Nutrition:- Bad diet can be one of the main risk factors for this disease. all the necessary vitamins and nutrients including thiamine from the food the human body gets. when a person does not carry a proper diet and keeps consuming alcohol then there could be the chances of getting affected by this disease increase significantly.
We discussed above two main risk factors but there are others that prevent the human body from getting Thiamine such as
- Heart failure
- Gastric bypass surgery
Wet Brain Diagnosed:-
There are no particular tests for diagnosing a wet brain in any patient. but when you go to the doctor the doctor first asks about your symptoms and will check your heartbeat, body temperature, and eye movement, etc.
If doctors get to know or suspect that you may have this disease then they conduct a test to check the Thiamine level in your body. after that, they can go with MRI scanning to check if this disease affects your brain tissues or not.
Treatment for Wet Brain:-
Unfortunately, there is no treatment facility that can completely cure wet brain disease. However, if the disease is in its early stages and the detection is quite early, doctors may take the necessary course of action to reduce some symptoms. For this, they especially recommend high doses of Thiamine. It can restore the functionalities of the brain to some extent.
Furthermore, doctors may also recommend the intake of several other vitamins and micronutrient supplements so that the Thiamine doses may work properly. All these treatment procedures can induce a positive result only when the symptoms are limited to Wernicke’s encephalopathy. Although doctors treat patients with Korsakoff’s psychosis, its effects may be almost negligible. It cannot restore memory loss.
Besides this treatment, a patient also needs to take follow-up care as mentioned below:
- Maintaining a Balanced Diet: Vitamin B1 or Thiamine will function properly if the body has all other vitamins and micronutrients. Therefore, a patient should ideally maintain a balanced diet to help in the absorption of vitamins and nutrients. Furthermore, including food items like milk, oranges, spinach, soybeans, pork, etc. help reduce the dependency on medicinal doses of Thiamine.
- Refraining From Alcohol Consumption: It is necessary to abstain from alcohol consumption to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment. In fact, a patient should ideally stop consumption after being diagnosed with this disease.
Preventive Measures for Wet Brain Syndrome:-
Since alcoholism and the resultant Thiamine deficiency is the main cause of wet brain syndrome, you should ideally avoid binge drinking as a preventive measure. If you have become addicted to drinking, you can get yourself enrolled in an alcohol detox program. It can help you restore your health. You can also get yourself admitted into a rehab center to eliminate the habit of drinking.
Nevertheless, during this process, you can witness alcohol withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, heavy sweating, high blood pressure, etc. All these can be severe. This is why you should ideally stay under the complete supervision of doctors.
When to See a Doctor While Dealing With Wet Brain:-
Symptoms of the first-stage wet brain are reversible with high doses of Thiamine. So, you should ensure that the patients get the required medical attention as soon as possible. Although the symptoms of wet brain and early-stage alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be similar, you need to take the patient to a doctor to ascertain the cause. With early treatment, you can minimize the impact and reduce the chances of permanent damage to the patient’s brain.
Wet brain is a disorder caused primarily due to Thiamine deficiency. Alcohol is the major factor behind the deficiency. With quick medical intervention, individuals can control the complications of Wernicke’s Encephalopathy or the first stage of wet brain syndrome. However, it can be a life-threatening disorder if the patient enters the second stage.
Q1:- Is the wet brain a disability?
Ans:- Permanent memory loss and cognitive deficits can lead to permanent disability and shortened lifespan.
Q2:- What is the behavior of a wet brain?
Ans:- Confusion and ataxia. Memory problems.
Q3:- How does a wet brain start?
Ans:- when a person is deficient in vitamin B1 or thiamine.