Some people who are addicted to alcohol are known as “high functioning” which means they continue to take care of themselves and their life responsibilities even as they become increasingly abusive with alcohol. Others alcoholics find themselves completely consumed by alcohol. Everything else in their life ceases to matter. Health, wellness, relationships, money- in varying degrees and forms, alcohol becomes their primary source of life. Drinkers who stop eating, stop exercising, or taking care of themselves in any way run the risk of developing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, commonly referred to as “wet brain syndrome.”
What is Wet Brain?
According to American Addiction Centers¹, the definition of wet brain is: “…a form of brain damage that results from repeat and heavy exposure to alcohol”.
What Causes Wet Brain?
Wet Brain Syndrome happens because of malnutrition. Specifically, the body is lacking in thiamine, also called Vitamin B-1. If Wet Brain Syndrome is not completely advanced, thiamine treatments can help the brain recover.
Thiamine helps the body digest food and absorb nutrients from food. Alcoholism damages the insides, not just through malnutrition, but from the organs’ inability to process that much alcohol. A damaged liver means the body becomes inefficient at processing thiamine. Too much sugar in the brain is the heart of the problem. Thiamine is responsible for taking sugars, like the high sugar content of alcohol, and converting them into a useful form of glucose which the brain needs. Without this healthy conversion, the brain just receives a chronic overload of harmful sugars. The old saying “too much sugar will rot your brain!” is somewhat accurate in this situation. Brain cells cannot regenerate without thiamine to create healthy glucose. As a result, the brain endures significant damage to areas of the brain which are essential to continuing to act and think like a human, including the brainstem and the cerebral cortex.
Can You Recover from Wet Brain Syndrome?
Unfortunately, in advanced stages of severe alcoholism, the brain might not recover. Many who are addicted to alcohol have faced the look of concern from their doctor’s faces when they say one more drink could ruin their brain. People who are addicted to alcohol know it isn’t about one more drink, but the many, uncontrollable more which will follow.
The Final Stages of Wet Brain: When Late Is Too Late
Once the brain has entered into the final stages of Wet Brain Syndrome, it can be difficult to recover, especially without clinical intervention. Dementia can be caused by severe alcohol abuse. Motor functions, speech, and other primary movements can be permanently damaged. The ability to speak and understand becomes damaged as well, causing hallucinations, believing in hallucinations, inability to tell real from lies, and more.
Alcoholism doesn’t have to get worse before it gets better. If you believe you have developed a problem with alcohol, hope exists in recovery. Everyone has the capacity to change their lives. Design For Change is here to show you how. For information on our treatment programs and recovery services, call (877) 267-3646 today.