People are confused about Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, known on the street and professionally as Wet Brain!
Note: I feel strongly regarding people of influence having a misunderstanding of this very serious problem. WHY I AM UPSET? Because a lack of understanding could hurt or destroy a person. What you will read reinforces my call for A Challenge to the Executive Branch – SUD Education .
I have been affected by a lack of a recovery organization’s understanding of wet brain. After a recovery meeting, I was pulled aside by an individual who worked at the recovery organization. Well respected by me, he was 14 years sober and a stand-up guy. He pulled me aside because he feared I was on the verge of “Wet Brain.” I was told that Wet Brain is a real sickness and once the line was crossed, there is no cure. That, potentially, there is no resistance to the disease.
Depressed, I went to my hell hole of a hotel, broke recovery, and drank. In my mind, my age experience and logic failed; there was no hope other than death. But my reason won out.
This misunderstanding of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome/Wet Brain was confirmed December 31st, 2015. In the last 4 months, I have had two separate conversations with 2 certified therapists in SUD prevention. One therapist did not even know the term “Wet Brain;” neither therapist knew that Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome can be prevented, measured, and that an individual can have a chance of recovery. Hope is everything.
I have included the definitions of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome and Wet Brain below. I’m also including very important information on the cause, prevention, and treatment for Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.
Note: Please read this material and pass this blog along to everyone you think can benefit from this information. I want to provide people with hope!
- Wet brain is another way of describing a condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This is a type of dementia that people going through end stage alcoholism might have to deal with. It is caused by a deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamine).
- Korsakoff syndrome is a chronic memory disorder caused by severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B-1). Korsakoff syndrome is most commonly caused by alcohol misuse, but certain other conditions also can cause the syndrome.
Treatment and outcomes
Some experts recommend that heavy drinkers and others at risk of thiamine deficiency take oral supplements of thiamine and other vitamins under their doctor’s supervision.
Many experts also recommend that anyone with a history of heavy alcohol use who experiences symptoms associated with Wernicke encephalopathy be given injectable thiamine until the clinical picture grows clearer.