It comes in flashes—a repetitive story, forgotten birthdays, and even confusion over the meager tasks. While these seemingly innocuous memory lapses are normal for most people, heavy drinkers should be alarmed. These occurrences eventually evolve into unsteady walks, slurred speech, and even hallucinations. This means alcohol-induced brain damage and if left untreated, can become Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which can be life-threatening. 

Colloquially referred to as “wet brain”, this brain damage is a type of cognitive impairment caused by the lack of Vitamin B1. Most people consume enough Vitamin B1 to prevent the condition, but those struggling with alcohol abuse are left with malnourished bodies, especially since alcohol has become a daily part of their nutrition rather than well-balanced meals. 

If you wish to learn more about this condition, here is a quick guide for you. We take a look at the symptoms and treatments, along with a dive into the dangers of the condition. Let’s start.

What are the symptoms of a wet brain?

The symptoms vary depending on the person with the disorder, and how much alcohol they consume. During the early stages of the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, however, a person may go through the following symptoms:

  • Ataxia and confusion
  • Coma
  • Changes in vision
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of mental activity 

Once the syndrome progresses, however, a person will experience the following debilitating symptoms: 

  • Inability to comprehend and store new memories
  • Severe memory loss
  • Hallucinations (visual and auditory)

Who’s the most susceptible to wet brain development?

1 – Those with thiamine deficiency 

People suffering from alcohol substance abuse also suffer from a thiamine deficiency, which is what exacerbates the development of the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Those who consume too much alcohol and pay little to no mind to their nutrition are also vulnerable to the disease, and most succumb to it due to refusal of treatment. 

2 – Those dealing with substance abuse since their early years 

The level of brain damage is directly proportional to how often and how much a person drinks. In other words, people who develop a drinking problem in their early years are more susceptible to the wet brain condition, as opposed to people who only drink moderately. 

3 – Those suffering from genetic alcoholism 

People with a family history of alcohol substance abuse are also believed to have a higher risk of developing wet brain, especially those exposed to alcohol during fetal development. Genetics and overall health also dictate a person’s chances of suffering from the dreaded Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

The Extent of Danger

Wet brain can lead to comatose and eventually death, as there is currently no cure for the condition. While doctors can reverse or slow down some of the symptoms, this can only happen if intervention is done quickly. Those suffering from wet brain can deteriorate at extremely fast rates, with some conditions like memory loss permanent. 

Race Against Time: Extending Helping Hands and Early Intervention

Alcoholism is dangerous, but the silver lining is that it can be treated. The conditions that come after it are not, however, and the prospect of developing a wet brain can be extremely horrifying. Many of the issues surrounding alcoholism can be deadly, so it’s best to intervene early on. The race against time is real, but with proper care and attention, you’ll be well on your way to recovery. 

If you’re on the hunt for a Los Alamitos drug rehab center, California Addiction Help is the place to call. We offer you the chance to reverse the effects of alcohol abuse and gain control of your life. Allow our team to help you—call us today to learn more.