What the text books tell us...

What we know...

Wernicke-Korsakoffs Syndrome (WKS) is caused by a lack of Vitamin B and excess alcohol.

The syndrome is made up of two separate but related disorders -
Wernicke's Encephalopathy and Korsakoff's Psychosis.
The main symptoms are:
Loss of memory
Confusion about time and place
Apathy
Poor mobility and balance

Only around 12.5% of drinkers will develop WKS.
Wernicke's Encephalopathy is often the first indication, and that can develop into Korsakoff's Psychosis.

Wernicke's Encephalopathy is difficult to diagnose as the subject is likely to be affected by alcohol.

If Wernicke's Encephalopathy is not treated it can develop into severe brain damage and a dementia-type state.

The treatment, if diagnosed early, is managed with high doses of thiamine and no alcohol.

People with WKS can learn new memories.

The degenerative process can be slowed and arrested with abstinence.

The ability to confabulate and convince others of non-existant events is powerful.

The chance of a full recovery is minimal but the person could still manage a meaningful lifestyle.

Apathy is destructive to a meaningful lifestyle and a structured existence as part of rehabilitation to independence is recommended.

Although 'Korsakoffs' is connected with alcohol, a person could develop the illness from a lack of Vitamin B.

The possible consequences of excess alcohol - that a person could incur permanent brain damage - is not generally known.