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Wet Brain Syndrome

Ultimately, you must seek a loving community and find others to support you through this process. If left untreated, wet brain will advance to its second stage, Korsakoff syndrome. As serious as end stage alcoholism is, it can still be treated and managed if the person is committed to recovery.

What is the life expectancy of a wet brain patient?

Once a person has been diagnosed with end stage alcoholism, life expectancy can be as limited as six months. In many ways, a person struggling with alcohol addiction and showing symptoms of second-phase wet brain acts much like someone with Alzheimer's disease.

Seizures occur in over 5% of patients suffering from abrupt cessation of alcohol after years of heavy use. Most seizures occur within four days’ cessation of alcohol. If the alcoholic makes it through the first four days without a seizure, chances are reduced by 90% that he or she will have one. When untreated, Wernicke encephalopathy causes death in up to 20 percent of cases. Eighty-five percent of survivors develop the final stage of wet brain, which is called Korsakoff’s psychosis.

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How effective treatment is depends on how severe a person’s symptoms are and whether or not they stop drinking. Unfortunately, it is rare for people to make a full recovery. Many people do see improvement with thiamine therapy after 1-2 weeks. Are you or a loved one struggling with symptoms of wet brain or alcohol use disorder?

Currently, around 14% of people who struggle with alcohol use disorder will develop wet brain. Once a patient has been diagnosed with any of the comorbidities that occur with end-stage alcoholism, life expectancy can be as short as six months. Many hospitals that will perform liver transplants on end stage mush brain alcoholics require a period of six months’ abstinence. It is unfortunate that many alcoholics at this point in their drinking careers cannot achieve six months’ abstinence. The disease is generally fatal by the time it reaches this point. ‘Wet brain’ is formally known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

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Millions of people in the United States live with the devastating effects of opioid abuse and addiction. When someone struggles with substance abuse and addiction, they have likely faced traumatic experiences in the past. Making the decision to seek treatment for heroin addiction is life-changing. Now, it’s time to decide on which treatment program…. Drug and alcohol addiction can harm your mind, body, and relationships.

end stages of wet brain

Wet brain syndrome is relatively rare in the general population, especially in developed countries such as the United States, where malnutrition is not a chronic or widespread issue. The disease arises mostly in alcoholics who have been drinking excessively for a prolonged period of time. According to the Merck Manuals, about 10%–20% of people with untreated Wernicke encephalopathy will not survive. When these symptoms become long term, they cause lasting brain and nerve cell damage. This causes severe memory loss and the inability to form new memories, leading to Korsakoff syndrome.

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In fact, many people who struggle with heroin addiction continue using the drug simply…. Making the decision to seek treatment for your addiction is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Opioids are a class of drugs with a high potential for abuse. Heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers like oxycodone…. Many people think of heavy drinking as part of American culture.

  • Wet brain, also called alcohol dementia or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), is a neurological condition caused by a serious vitamin B1 deficiency (thiamine deficiency).
  • Millions of people in the United States live with substance abuse or addiction.
  • Heroin addiction is a serious problem in the United States, with more than 14,000 people dying from a heroin overdose….
  • Most people with Korsakoff’s psychosis cannot live independently, and their symptoms are likened to that of dementia.
  • The truth is two people can have similar drinking patterns and one will develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and the other won’t.

And the true number of people who suffer from this disorder may be even higher, as some never seek treatment for it. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome affects more men than women, usually between ages 30 and 70 years. Most alcohol-related cases of WKS involve men and those over age 40. Women and people who are younger are more likely to develop the syndrome due to other causes (aside from alcohol). Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is rarely reported in children. If you’re struggling with alcohol use disorder, you are not alone.


The signs that wet brain is developing are outlined below. Thiamine replacement therapy, where vitamin b1 is administered intravenously, can help reverse some cognitive decline and halt the condition from progressing. Other treatments may focus on minimizing existing symptoms. Wet brain is reversible, particularly in the early stage. Recovery depends on how early the condition is detected, the severity of symptoms, and what treatment is given. Sadly, the longer it takes to diagnose and treat wet brain, the harder it is to reverse or limit the damage to the brain.

Learn more about the risks of mixing Zoloft and Alcohol. If the doctor is unaware of an existing alcohol problem, testing of the liver enzymes could help eliminate other possible causes of these symptoms. These physical changes to the brain can impact other areas of the body as well.

Wernicke’s Encephalopathy

Millions of people in the United States struggle with substance abuse or addiction. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops after you experience something traumatic. Substance abuse and addiction impact millions of people in the United States. Alcoholism is a term used to describe an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Do alcoholics get worse as they get older?

Aging can lower the body's tolerance for alcohol. Older adults generally experience the effects of alcohol more quickly than when they were younger. This puts older adults at higher risks for falls, car crashes, and other unintentional injuries that may result from drinking.

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