Old person near window, thinking about wet brain syndrome

What Is Wet Brain?

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, getting help sooner rather than later is critical. Excessive drinking has many adverse effects, including severe health conditions like wet brain syndrome (WBS). That said, recovery is possible with dedication and support. If you’re seeking alcohol detox and treatment in the Wrightsville area, contact Recovery Ranch PA. Our caring and compassionate team of professionals and specialists is available at 717.969.9126 or via online message and looks forward to assisting you in the healing journey. 

What Is Wet Brain Syndrome? 

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, or wet brain syndrome, refers to severe thiamine depletion and resulting physical and mental symptoms. Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is an essential micronutrient not naturally produced by the body. Its presence is necessary for carbohydrate breakdown, creating energy for all bodily processes. Furthermore, it facilitates other vital functions, including DNA synthesis and nerve impulse transmission. Because human bodies don’t naturally produce thiamine, we must eat it. Some natural dietary sources include beans, meat, nuts, yeast, and cereal grains. It’s, of course, also possible to take thiamine as a supplement. 

WBS can develop when a person becomes thiamine deficient through malnutrition, certain diseases, or prolonged heavy alcohol use. Alcohol use is strongly associated with WBS because those who misuse it often neglect their diets, failing to consume enough thiamine to meet their bodies’ needs. Alcohol likewise creates gut inflammation, which means the body cannot absorb and use dietary thiamine as effectively.

Those who struggle with WBS often exhibit symptoms similar to those of intoxication. For example, they might display loss of coordination, double vision, memory issues, irritability, lying, or confabulation. The difference between intoxication and WBS is that wet brain’s symptoms persist even when those struggling are sober. This reflects the presence of ongoing thiamine deficiency. Sadly, long-term brain damage, persisting symptoms, coma, or even death can occur if the syndrome isn’t identified and treated quickly. With prompt diagnosis and effective treatment, however, recovery from WBS is often possible. 

What Treatments Are Available for Wet Brain Syndrome? 

In an alcohol treatment program like the one at Recovery Ranch PA, patients can benefit from some of the following evidence-based approaches: 

  • Medical detox in which they receive intensive supervision from a physician while they undergo the problematic but essential withdrawal process
  • Individual counseling featuring cognitive-behavioral therapy to identify and revise self-defeating thought patterns
  • Individual counseling featuring dialectical-behavioral therapy to cultivate resilience and effective coping in the face of triggers to drink
  • Dual diagnosis for any cases where a patient’s therapist determines they suffer from co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse 
  • Group offerings, such as 12-step programs and comparable alternatives, create recovery communities for peer support and accountability
  • Holistic approaches like meditation and art therapy give patients creative and physical outlets and lasting self-care strategies

Doctors typically first prescribe intensive thiamine supplementation to treat those struggling with wet brain syndrome. If alcohol use causes the progression of WBS, they advise the patient to get sober and then remain abstinent. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a severe addiction that can be difficult to deal with alone. Thus, doctors may also suggest a formal treatment program to begin the process.

Learn More About Alcohol Detox and Recovery at Ranch PA Today

While recovering from AUD or other excessive drinking problems isn’t easy, it’s a journey many have successfully taken. If you or a loved one is at the beginning of this life-changing process, remember you’re not alone. In fact, compassionate assistance is at your fingertips. Contact Recovery Ranch PA today at 717.969.9126 or reach out online for more information on alcohol treatment. 

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