Long Term Alcoholism Can Cause 'Wet Brain'

Learn more about the condition known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

The term "wet brain" is not scientifically valid, but refers to a very real condition known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This chronic brain syndrome is caused by long-term alcoholism and is accompanied by a triad of symptoms:

  • Mental Disturbance
  • Confusion, Drowsiness and Paralysis of Eye Movements
  • Ataxia, or a Staggering Gait

A primary cause for this is a thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency due to severe malnutrition and poor intestinal absorption of food and vitamins caused by alcohol. The wet-brain person acts much like the Alzheimer patient with loss of recent memory, disorientation with regard to time and place, confusion and confabulation, or telling imagined and untrue experiences as truth.

If wet brain is identified in its early onset, an infusion of thiamine (B1) may have some preventive value. But, unfortunately, there is no recovery from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome; therefore, it is one of the most tragic consequences of alcoholism.
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