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Wet Brain is a brain disorder caused by a vitamin B1 deficiency. This lack of vitamin B1 is often seen in people with inadequate nutrition and can result from long-term alcohol abuse. This condition damages the brain’s lower parts called the thalamus and hypothalamus, resulting in permanent brain damage.

It is a severe brain disorder that we divide into two separate stages:

1. Wernicke’s Encephalopathy

Wernicke’s Encephalopathy (WE) is an acute neurological condition primarily caused by vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. This condition affects the central and peripheral nervous systems and is characterized by loss of muscular coordination, irregular eye movements or vision changes, and confusion. Although these three signs point to Wernicke’s Encephalopathy, a person who exhibits even just one can have the disorder. Because of this, Wernicke’s Encephalopathy is a condition that may be hard to diagnose as usual, and we must observe the presence of all three characteristics before making a diagnosis.

Additional signs of WE include:

  • Leg tremors

  • A sudden decrease in mental ability

  • Eyelid drooping

  • Coma

If untreated, Wernicke’s Encephalopathy can progress into the following complications:

  • Neurological injury

  • Ataxia

  • Korsakoff’s Psychosis

  • Ophthalmoplegia

  • Heart failure

  • Lactic acidosis

  • Death

2. Korsakoff’s Psychosis

Korsakoff’s Psychosis is severe amnesia or a form of dementia that typically follows from Wernicke’s Encephalopathy. Similarly, it is a condition that is also related to thiamine deficiency and occurs as a complication of WE. This condition can also be referred to as “alcohol dementia.” However, although it is usually associated with alcoholic patients, the disease’s main factor is more dietary deficiency than alcohol intake. Once WE progresses into Korsakoff’s Psychosis, the following symptoms can be observed:

  • Severe global amnesia

  • Hallucinations

  • Behavioral changes


The term “Wet Brain” is how people would casually refer to Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Wet Brain and the Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome are technically the same conditions. It is a lesser-known complication of alcohol abuse.


People who have an alcohol addiction and abuse alcohol for long periods have a higher chance of developing wet brain than people who don’t. The body chemistry of a person who abuses alcohol over a long time adapts to deal with the alcohol in their system. An example of this is in wet brain, where alcohol’s ability to prevent the body from properly absorbing vitamin B1 leads to a vitamin B1 deficiency, which is the primary cause of wet brain. However, it is essential to note that vitamin B1 deficiency leading to wet brain can also be caused by poor nutrition.


Each stage of wet brain or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome has its own set of symptoms. Initially, the symptoms of wet brain can be comparable to the signs of alcohol intoxication. However, the symptoms of wet brain persist long after the consumption of alcohol.

In the first stage, Wernicke’s Encephalopathy may have the following symptoms:

  • Confusion

  • Loss of mental activity resulting in coma or death

  • Loss of muscle coordination

  • Vision changes

  • Changes to the ability to smell

  • Alcohol withdrawal

Once Wernicke’s Encephalopathy progresses into Korsakoff’s Psychosis, the following symptoms may be observed:

  • Loss of memory as well as the ability to form new memories

  • Confabulation or making up stories

  • Hallucinations


Wet brain is a severe condition and can cause permanent damage to the brain and its functions. It can also lead to a coma and even death. Studies have shown that about 20% of people who suffer from wet brains die from the condition. 80% of those who survive the first stage of wet brain called Wernicke’s Encephalopathy progress into Korsakoff’s Psychosis.


Although the wet brain is incurable, it is possible to slow down the complication of the disorder and reverse some of its symptoms if it is treated as soon as possible. While some aspects of the condition can be alleviated with treatment and medication, brain damage resulting in memory loss tend to be permanent and irreversible. The most important way to reverse wet brain is to ensure that it never progresses, and this is done through early intervention. Suppose someone is exhibiting even one of the three significant signs of Wernicke’s Encephalopathy. In that case, the person must start receiving treatment for alcohol abuse and improve their dietary lifestyle.


The best way to prevent wet brain is by treating any existing alcohol addiction. Even though wet brain can also be caused by poor nutrition, alcohol use disorder is a pervasive disease that tends to contribute more to the progression of wet brain. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, intervention is essential to save them from wet brain.


Wet brain is an incurable disorder. Once its progression has gone far enough, some of its effects are permanent and irreversible. Fortunately, it is a disease that is entirely preventable as long as treatment begins as early as possible.

There are two primary methods for treating wet brain:

1. Prevention

Wet brain is a result of vitamin B1 deficiency commonly caused by alcohol abuse and inadequate nutrition. Given this, the best way to treat it would be to treat its root causes, thus preventing it from ever occurring in the first place. Treating the root cause can be done with preventative measures like abstaining from alcohol, maintaining a proper diet, and engaging in therapy and rehabilitation for alcohol drinking disorder when the time comes.

2. Thiamine Replacement Therapy

Thiamine replacement is the established treatment for wet brain aimed towards reversing mental status changes and curbing the disease’s progression. In this procedure, doses of vitamin B1 (Thiamine) are administered intravenously on people whose thiamine absorption may be impaired due to alcoholism.

At Recovery Blvd, we can provide services and treatments aimed towards cutting the root of this dangerous disorder: alcohol abuse. We can help curb alcohol addiction progression, heal you from the destructive effects of alcohol drinking disorder, and guide you towards a healthier and sober approach to life.

Some of our high-quality and professional programs and therapies include:

  1. Advanced Relapse Prevention

  2. Substance Abuse Counseling

  3. Recovery Crossfit

With enough help and the proper care, you can break free from alcohol abuse and embrace a brighter and better future.

If you would like to know more about Recovery Blvd, please call us at (866) 231-3007. You can also visit our drug recovery center in Portland at 1316 SE 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214, to book an appointment.

Disclaimer: This post serves a strictly educational use. It does not reflect the services, products, or therapeutic approaches of this establishment or its healthcare practitioners. This blog aims not to advertise the products, services, or therapeutic approaches of any other establishment that may be associated with this site. On the subject of safe or legal services, products, and appropriate therapies, recommendations ought to be given by a qualified professional on a case to case basis.

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