Wet Brain: What Is It?

‘Wet Brain’ is a slang term for a disorder with a specific set of neurological conditions that can have an impact on an individual’s memory, lifespan, and more. In addition to ‘wet brain,’ this disorder can also be referenced as alcohol dementia, Korsakoff psychosis, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, alcoholic encephalopathy, encephalopathy-alcoholic, Wernicke’s dementia, and Wernicke’s disease. Its formal name, however, is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome consists of two different conditions: Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome. It starts with symptoms of Wernicke encephalopathy, which are directly followed by the side effects of Korsakoff syndrome.

This disorder is extremely under-diagnosed and may be confused with other illnesses. Since the disease gets worse over time and has extremely dangerous effects, it is important for wet brain to be diagnosed as soon as possible.


Wet Brain Causes

Issues such as AIDS, cancer, chronic infections, kidney dialysis, anorexia, and the inability of the body to absorb nutrients from food may eventually evolve into alcohol dementia/wet brain.

In most cases, however, wet brain is caused by alcohol abuse. Individuals with addictions to alcohol are the most likely to develop this disease. Heavy alcohol consumption (along with poor nutrition) could lead to a thiamine, or Vitamin B1, deficiency. When someone is deficient in Vitamin B1, their brain doesn’t process sugar into energy. When sugar isn’t processed into energy, it may lead to a variety of side effects that mimic those of dementia or withdrawal.


What It Feels Like To Have Wet Brain

Since a majority of individuals with wet brain suffer from alcohol use disorder, they may experience side effects similar to those that come with alcohol withdrawal. These symptoms may include leg tremors, decreased muscle coordination, and vision changes.

Other symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome  are similar to the side effects of dementia. These side effects may include confusion, memory loss, making up stories, and hallucinations.

Wet brain is known to drastically shorten a person’s life expectancy. However, life expectancy may not be shortened if someone is committed to cutting out alcohol and treating this disorder.


How to Treat Alcohol Dementia

This disorder should be treated by medical professionals as soon as possible. First, a doctor will try to reach a diagnosis by testing an individual’s Vitamin B1 levels and trying to rule out other illnesses. They will also perform cognitive assessments, blood tests, & neurological screenings.

Once a person receives a diagnosis, they will be given a custom treatment plan. The treatment process will likely include thiamine therapy (where thiamine is given intravenously), nutrition plans, therapy, group support, and more. Those who are undergoing wet brain treatment should remain abstinent from alcohol to ensure that the symptoms of the disorder will not get worse.

Wet brain is a very complex and unique disorder that needs to be diagnosed and treated as such. While it is very difficult to diagnose, receiving a diagnosis can help patients relieve and even eliminate their symptoms or potential risks.

To learn more about wet brain and how to treat this disorder, contact our team of substance abuse treatment representatives by calling 267.209.7312.