Background: Wernicke's encephalopathy is a rare disorder resulting from nutrition deficiency in thiamine (vitamin B1). It is most often associated with chronic alcohol abuse. It can accompany other disorders such as hyperemesis gravidarum and hyperthyroidism.
Case: We present a case of severe Wernicke's encephalopathy that developed in a male non-alcoholic inpatient that was precipitated by poor nutritional intake and development of thyrotoxicosis. It is likely that the hypermetabolic state from thyrotoxicosis contributed to the development of Wernicke's encephalopathy, which was extremely debilitating.
Conclusion: Wernicke's encephalopathy is a severe, life-threatening illness that can be a consequence of hyperthyroidism in addition to alcohol abuse and can be easily prevented with appropriate supplementation of thiamine.