What are psychiatric complications of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS)?

Updated: May 16, 2018
  • Author: Glen L Xiong, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

The symptoms of global confusional state often resolve gradually after treatment is initiated. If an amnestic deficit is present, it will manifest as the early signs of apathy and global confusion resolve. Only 20% of patients who demonstrate signs of the amnestic state after treatment has been initiated have complete recovery. The remaining patients have varying degrees of persistent learning and memory impairment.

Maximum recovery may take 1 or more years and depends on abstinence from alcohol. According to reports, once patients with Korsakoff psychosis have recovered, they do not demand alcohol, but they will accept it if offered.


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