DENVER, Colo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Americans are smack dab in the middle of an alcohol crisis. Twelve percent of deaths between the ages of 20 and 64 are caused by alcohol abuse. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it’s the fourth leading preventable cause of death. Approximately 97 thousand men and 43 thousand women lose their lives due to drinking too much every year. The CDC reports that 25 percent of US adults binge drink every weekend. The NIH recommends men drink no more than 2 drinks a day. Women should just drink one. But did you know that alcohol doesn’t just affect your body, but can impact your brain?
Not only can drinking kill – drinking too much can cause a form of permanent brain damage called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome or Wet Brain.
Joseph Schacht, PhD, Psychologist at University of Colorado School of Medicine says “Wet Brain or WKS would not typically manifest until we saw someone drinking perhaps, at least, six or seven drinks a day on average.”
University of Colorado Psychologist Joseph Schacht says there are two parts to WKS. First, Encephalopathy — it causes people to seem drunk even when they’re sober.
“Wernicke Syndrome is characterized in particular by motor difficulties. So, difficulty walking, falling over or losing one’s balance, as well as some mental confusion.” Explains Schacht, PhD.
The second stage, Psychosis – causing hallucinations and delusions.
Schacht, PhD says, “They can also be confused for symptoms of other dementias.”
These symptoms are caused by a lack of vitamin B1.
“The symptoms of Wernicke Syndrome can be identified and treated. That can be very simple with simply thiamine or vitamin B1 supplementation. But if that is not treated, it will progress to of course psychosis, which is not treatable.” Says Schacht, PhD.
The damage can be reversed if caught early. But the only way to prevent it is to minimize or quit drinking.
Up to 80 percent of people with severe alcohol use disorder become vitamin B1 or thiamine deficient. Men die from alcohol illnesses at a much higher rate than women, but the gap is closing as women drink more. Women don’t process alcohol as well as men because their bodies have less water to dilute it.
Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Matt Goldschmidt, Videographer.
AMERICA’S ALCOHOL CRISIS: DAMAGING OUR BODIES AND MINDS
BACKGROUND: The alcohol crisis in America is a persistent and devastating issue that has claimed the lives of many individuals across the country. This crisis is multifaceted, encompassing not only the immediate health risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption but also the broader social and economic consequences that stem from widespread alcohol abuse. Each year in America, over 140,000 thousand people die from an alcohol related death. It is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the country. Nearly 30 million people living in the United States suffer from an alcohol use disorder and over 10 percent of children live with an adult suffering from a disorder. While alcoholic disorders affect the body negatively physically, they can also negatively impact the brain.
THE STUDY: According to psychologists from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, alcoholism and alcohol related illnesses can cause permanent brain damage called Wernicke Korsakoff Syndrome, also known as wet brain. Experts report that there are two factors of Wernicke Korsakoff Syndrome. The first factor causes patients to appear drunk even when they are sober. Things such as trouble walking, standing upright, falling over, and mental confusion commonly occur. The second factor is one of patients entering psychosis and delusions. These are caused by a lack of the vitamin B1. The symptoms of Wernicke Korsakoff Syndrome are very treatable if caught early and treated with Vitamin B supplements. However, if left untreated and uncaught, patients will enter states of psychosis. The only existing way to prevent the condition is sobriety.
NEW REGULATIONS: New treatment options for Wernicke Korsakoff Syndrome involve the use of thiamine and offering proper nutrition and hydrations for individuals suffering from the illness. It is highly important that patients begin thiamine replacements before starting nutrition replenishing. Oral thiamine should be given in 50 to 100 milligram doses per day to prevent more neurosecretion in case a patient continues to drink or is sensitive to thiamine deficiency for any other reason. Thiamine is often prescribed orally for brief periods of time due to the lack of thiamine production that occurs in the body as result of alcohol consumption.
* For More Information, Contact: Laura Kelly
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