Wet Brain or Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome

I promised I would write more about ‘Wet Brain’

I am not an expert and have no medical training, everything I write is from experience and things I have learnt along this journey.

The first time I heard about it was about 7 or 8 years ago. Faith was living with me and drinking fairly heavily.  (This was before I put the no alcohol rule in my house)

He had an appointment at the hospital to check his liver and to meet for the first time the alcohol nurse.  A lovely doctor spoke to him about the damage his liver was starting to show,  but it was still reversible if he stopped drinking. Now wouldn’t that be just great “if he stopped drinking”

Next it was the alcohol nurse.  He had a long chat with Faith, took notes and suggested for the first time rehab.  Now that was a word I liked :-D.  But,  there were long waiting lists and he wanted Faith to try and stop on his own to show he really wanted to stop.  Places were few and there were people in more need of a place than Faith. There we go, another glimmer of hope which is quickly extinguished,  I struggle to contain the tears.

He arranges another appointment and we walk out of his office.  He stood and watched us walk down the corridor.  I remember wondering at the time what he was thinking.

He called down the corridor for us to come back.

Back in his office he tells us why he has called us back. The reason he watched Faith walk away was because he was concerned Faith could be suffering from Wet brain or Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome to give it its official name. It affects more men than women. One of the symptoms is staggering or an irregular gait. Faith had that symptom. If untreated it can lead to death quite quickly. Very scary stuff, Faith at this time was in his early twenties.

But the positive was, he wanted to get Faith into rehab, and quickly. So, although the diagnosis was frightening, finally someone was taking it seriously and doing something to help .

I thought it was the answer to my prayers, my son would be saved. How naive I was.

Within 2 weeks Faith had his first stay in rehab. 10 days. It wasn’t long enough of course and within 3 weeks of coming out, he was back drinking.

I have listed below some of the symptoms of Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome

  • Remembering things that haven’t happened (confabulation)
  • Staggering, irregular gait and other muscle coordination issues.
  • Inability to form new memories.
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations.
  • Confusion.
  • Double vision, eye lid drooping and abnormal eye movements.

Source: Wet Brain: End Stage Alcoholism | Recovery Connection

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