Vitamin B-1 Deficiency and Alcoholism

Vitamin B-1 Deficiency and Alcoholism
Category: recovery

When you drink alcohol regularly to excess, it impacts your body in unhealthy ways. One of the most common results is Vitamin B-1 deficiency. Vitamin B-1 is vital, as it takes the food you eat and turns it into energy. It also impacts your brain’s hypothalamus and thalamus. The hypothalamus regulates your body’s hormones, while the thalamus helps control the functions of memory, mood, and motor activity. As you can imagine, impairing these long-term could create significant side effects. 

How Does Consuming Alcohol Lead to Vitamin B-1 Deficiency?

Alcohol use leads to inflammation in your body’s digestive tract. This inflammation makes it more difficult to absorb vitamins like thiamine. The problem compounds as your body needs outside sources to obtain Vitamin B-1. It does not produce it. With this in mind, regular excesses of alcohol can create a deficiency that results in many health problems.

Vitamin B-1 Deficiency Symptoms

When you experience Vitamin B-1 deficiency, you’ll exhibit:

  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • A loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling sensations in your arms and legs
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Changing heart rates

At first, the symptoms might not seem too noticeable, or you might confuse them with other illnesses. However, they will become more pronounced and could result in Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.

What is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome?

Also known as Wet Brain, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is a Vitamin B-1 deficiency resulting from excessive drinking. This syndrome impacts your brain’s hypothalamus and thalamus, leading to memory loss, confusion, muscle coordination difficulties, and low blood pressure. 

Furthermore, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome has two progressions. The first is Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which can be a life-threatening condition. That said, with proper treatment, you can reverse some or all of its effects. Timing plays a vital role, as you want to address these symptoms fast. If you don’t, you could progress to Korsakoff’s syndrome. It is where you have nerve damage in and around your brain and spinal cord, leading to tremors, feeling disoriented, memory loss, and coma. 

Treatment Options

You can correct Vitamin B-1 deficiencies by addressing the root cause of the problem: drinking alcohol to excess. However, it is ill-advised to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, as you could have severe withdrawal symptoms, such as shaking, headaches, chills, nausea, vomiting, and more.

A wise alternative is to consider a treatment program with HRVC. With it, you receive the care and guidance you need. Your body also has the meds it requires as you refrain from drinking alcohol. In turn, you might not experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Moreover, you’ll also learn daily structure to help you address the root cause of alcohol use. It is common to find an undiagnosed mental illness that might have been a contributor in urging you to drink. You’ll engage in personal therapies, 12 Steps, group and cognitive-behavioral therapies, and much more. You can reach out to our admission counselors to learn how they can help you get on the road to a promising future.