When is inpatient treatment indicated in the treatment of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS)?

Updated: May 16, 2018
  • Author: Glen L Xiong, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Emergency psychiatric hospitalization and evaluation are indicated when the patient is having active psychotic symptoms that pose a danger to himself or herself or to others. Many such patients also meet the criteria of grave disability (ie, inability to provide basic needs, such as food and shelter). In such cases, however, the patient should generally be medically and neurologically stable prior to transfer to a psychiatric facility, where acute medical work-up and monitoring may be available (eg, IV access, neuroimaging, nutritionist, neurology consultation).

In most cases, patients with psychotic symptoms may require inpatient medical hospitalization and psychiatric consultation. Once medically stabilized, patients may need continued psychiatric care if severe psychotic symptoms persist.

In patients with comorbid acute alcohol withdrawal, treatment with IV/IM thiamine occurs concurrently with the indicated alcohol withdrawal procedures.

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