Wet brain is directly caused by excessive alcohol abuse. It doesn’t happen overnight, rather it takes time and a severe addiction to alcohol for it to develop. It is also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. And, it is a type of brain damage caused by a vitamin B1 deficiency. There are signs and symptoms of wet brain you can look out for, but the best thing you can do is get help for alcohol before your addiction becomes so severe.
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 15.1 million adults over the age of eighteen had an alcohol use disorder. Of those, 9.8 million are men, and 5.3 million are women. While it is often suggested that drinking alcohol in moderation can have health benefits, it is important to understand what that means. Drinking moderately means no more than one drink for women, or two for men, daily. Also, health benefits can come from red wine, but those same benefits can be found in fresh fruit. It isn’t the actual alcohol that provides any health benefits.
Wet Brain and the Many Health Issues Associated with Alcohol Abuse
For people who drink more than the moderate drinking described above, alcohol can have negative consequences to many different parts of the body. The damage most people associate with drinking is liver damage, which is accurate. Your liver is responsible for detoxifying the body and breaking down impurities. When alcohol is present, it goes into overdrive to keep up with all of the alcohol. This can cause a fatty liver and permanent liver damage, which in extreme cases requires a transplant.
Other than the liver, alcohol abuse affects the heart, your lungs, your stomach, and even your skin, hair, and eyes. For women, it can raise the risk of breast cancer. Alcohol abuse pretty much affects every part of your body in one way or another, from minor changes to life-threatening complications. This is especially true if you have any kinds of medical conditions.
Finally, alcohol has a prominent impact on your brain, the most extreme form of which is called wet brain. When your brain tissue is exposed to repeated and heavy alcohol use, it becomes deprived of essential vitamins it needs to function properly. This directly causes wet brain to occur.
Wet brain actually consists of two different and individual syndromes:
Wernicke’s encephalopathy – a condition that causes neurological symptoms and memory loss because of its effect on the lower portions of the brain.
Korsakoff’s psychosis – a more long-lasting condition which often occurs after Wernicke’s encephalopathy. This means there is permanent damage to the memory centers of the brain.
If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from wet brain, it is important to get them into treatment as soon as possible. If they are so far into their alcoholism that they have wet brain, the rest of their body is suffering also and help is a necessity. Early signs and symptoms include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Unsteadiness and a lack of coordination
- Short and long-term memory problems
People in these early stages also often have issues with vision, experiencing double or blurry vision. Once a person is in the Korsakoff’s psychosis stage, they may actually begin to hallucinate. They often lose the ability to gain any new memories, and they often have no recollection of the past both short term and long term. It becomes increasingly difficult for these people to find jobs and hold onto relationships because of their mental state.
Getting Help for Wet Brain
If you or a loved one are having a hard time giving up alcohol, get help as soon as possible. The earlier you get help, the more you can reverse any damage done to your body and mind. And, you can prevent the onset of wet brain and other irreversible diseases. Here at Diablo Valley Drug & Alcohol Services, we offer an outpatient approach to dealing with alcohol dependence. So, individuals can get the help they need without having to enroll in residential treatment. This means continuing with work, school, or family obligations while getting the support you need for a life of recovery. Call us today to speak with one of our specialists at (925) 289-1430.