How is Wernicke's encephalopathy related to delirium tremens?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner
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.

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