Do Alcoholics Have a Higher Chance of Getting Wet Brain Syndrome?


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Alcoholics have a higher chance of developing wet brain syndrome, known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, according to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. The chronic brain condition develops in long-term alcoholics who become Vitamin B-1 or thiamine-deficient because they are malnourished and their bodies are not absorbing vitamins and food properly.

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Individuals suffering from wet-brain syndrome exhibit behavior similar to Alzheimer's disease patients, notes Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome patients experience loss of short-term memory and display time and place disorientation, confusion and confabulation, which is imagining, telling and believing untrue events as if they were true. Early diagnosis and vitamin B-1 infusions can prevent further deterioration.

About 25 percent of patients who develop Korsakoff syndrome eventually recover, whether or not they experience an episode of Wernicke encephalopathy, a brain-disrupting medical emergency, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Approximately half of the syndrome patients recover partially, and about 25 percent stay the same.

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