Because Wernicke's encephalopathy weakens the body and affects the brain, it can worsen delirium tremens or interfere with treatment and recovery if left untreated. Wernicke?s encephalopathy is a condition resulting from severe thiamin deficiency, usually related to excessive, long-term alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol intake impedes thiamin absorption in the body. Wernicke's encephalopathy is a serious condition that causes brain damage in the hypothalamus and thalamus. Wernicke's encephalopathy leads to confusion, uncoordinated movement and loss of balance, eye problems, tremors, and fainting.