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What Is Wet Brain? Here’s What You Should Know

Alcoholism is a serious disease that affects millions of people each year. Like other substances, it can cause severe health issues, including wet brain.

Wet brain is a serious condition that can devastate individuals who consume excessive alcohol.

It is important to recognize the symptoms of wet brain and seek medical attention promptly if you or someone you know is experiencing new or worsening signs of this condition.

The good news is that treatment is available for wet brain, and we are here to help guide you through it. Our experienced alcohol addiction experts can assist with your long-term sobriety goals, no matter where you are in your recovery journey.

With proper treatment and support, individuals with wet brain can improve their symptoms and reduce the risk of further brain damage. Sometimes, wet brain can even be successfully reversed if caught early enough.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss wet brain in more detail, including what it is, how it’s caused, potential symptoms, and available treatment options. Continue reading to learn more.

What Is Wet Brain?

Wet brain, also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, is a debilitating health condition that most often affects those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol for extended periods.

It is classified as a type of brain damage resulting from a deficiency in thiamine, an essential vitamin for proper brain function.

Thiamine plays a critical role in glucose metabolism, the body’s process of breaking down carbohydrates into energy. The brain cannot produce enough energy to support its normal functions without sufficient thiamine.

While wet brain is typically caused by alcohol abuse, it can also be caused by

  • malnutrition
  • eating disorders
  • underlying medical conditions that interfere with thiamine absorption

Lack of this essential vitamin for long periods can lead to a range of neurological symptoms that can profoundly affect your everyday life and overall well-being.


Wet brain symptoms often mimic that of intoxication.

Depending on the severity and progression of the condition, symptoms could include

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Rapid breathing
  • Memory loss and difficulty retaining new information
  • Difficulty with coordination and balance
  • Visual disturbances, such as double vision or eye movement disorders
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures and convulsions
  • Psychosis, including delusions and hallucinations

Wet brain can be fatal. The condition can lead to permanent brain damage, coma, and death without proper treatment. If you or a loved one is experiencing severe symptoms, please see medical treatment immediately.

The Tie Between Alcoholism and Wet Brain

In the United States, alcohol abuse is the leading cause of thiamine deficiency. Similarly, the leading cause of wet brain is the overconsumption of alcohol. So, it’s no secret that the two are directly linked to an increased risk of wet brain development.

Alcoholics are particularly susceptible to wet brain because alcohol directly interferes with the body’s ability to absorb and utilize thiamine.

Thiamine is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and is then transported to the body’s tissues in healthy individuals.

Those with chronic alcohol abuse tend to have decreased absorption of thiamine due to the inflammation in the digestive tract that alcohol use can cause, hindering the body’s ability to absorb thiamine effectively.

Due to this, many people who overuse alcohol cannot properly absorb this essential vitamin, leading to a severe deficiency. If the deficiency is left untreated, it could lead to wet brain.

Wet Brain Treatment Options

No matter the root cause, treatment for wet brain typically involves thiamine supplementation, often administered intravenously to ensure rapid absorption.

In addition to thiamine, other B vitamins, such as folate and vitamin B12, may also be given to help support brain function.

In some cases, antipsychotic medications may be prescribed to help manage psychosis and other behavioral symptoms.

For individuals who have developed wet brain because of alcohol abuse, abstinence from alcohol is critical to prevent further damage to the brain.

Effective and Compassionate Alcoholism Treatment in Utah

You don’t have to live in active addiction forever. There are effective ways to treat alcoholism and get you on the road to long-term recovery sooner.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or alcohol abuse, we encourage you to consider seeking out innovative alcoholism treatment with our team of addiction specialists, who are here to help you every step of the way.

Contact us today to get the help you need now.