Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a serious brain disorder that can
develop in people who drink alcohol excessively over time. Symptoms include
blurred vision, rapid movement of the eyes, and difficulty walking.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a combination of two conditions:
Wernicke syndrome and Korsakoff syndrome.
Wernicke syndrome is caused by thiamine
(vitamin B1) deficiency. Symptoms such as blurred vision may go away if a
person stops drinking and takes thiamine supplements.
syndrome is caused by changes in the brain that result from long-term alcohol
use. Symptoms include confusion and memory loss, especially of recent events,
which often lead the person to make up events (confabulation) to fill the
memory gaps. The effects of Korsakoff syndrome may be permanent.
Treatment for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome includes replacement of
thiamine, proper nutrition and body fluids (hydration), and avoiding alcohol
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.