Alcoholic neuropathy is a consequence of heavy alcohol abuse over an extended period. Its effects lead to decreased sensation, muscle weakness, hypersensitivity and nerve damage.
Causes of Alcoholic Neuropathy
Generally, this condition takes years to develop, the reason why long-term heavy alcohol users are likely to have it. Some heavy alcohol abusers may have immediate effects and development of alcoholic neuropathy than others. Also, researchers are still not sure why the complications affect some people more than others.
However, the leading causes include accumulation of toxins in the body and nutritional deficiency such as Vitamin B12 and proteins. Lack of significant nutrients results in malnutrition, which disrupts the proper functioning of various parts of the body.
Additionally, alcohol affects the functions of liver, stomach, and kidneys involved in waste products detoxification. When such products continue building up in the body, they damage crucial organs, including nerve functions.
The body cannot repair severe nerve damage, which is responsible for transmitting signal throughout the body. Therefore, the nerve damage associated with alcoholic neuropathy may become permanent if it persists.
Symptoms of Alcoholic Neuropathy
Signs of alcoholic neuropathy can develop slowly, so usually, a heavy drinker might not realize the symptoms associated with this condition. Below are some signs or symptoms:
- Reduced sensation of the upper and lower limbs
- Painful or itchy rare feelings in the limbs
- Poor hands and feet coordination leading to unstable walk or balance
- Dizziness, especially when one stands or wakes up abruptly
- Weak arms and feet
- Sexual dysfunction
- Awkward gait
- Skin infections such as bruises and open wounds on various parts in the body
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Urinary incontinence
Alcoholic neuropathy diagnosis involves several tests such as physical examination, medical history evaluation, blood or nerve tests involving nerve conduction studies and electromyography (EMG).
Additional evaluations might involve urine tests, and brain spinal cord scans to rule out possible causes of neuropathy symptoms.
Treatment of Alcoholic Neuropathy
Several medicinal therapies such as pain medications and antidepressants can manage alcoholic neuropathy symptoms. Most therapists prescribe antidepressants though they are not openly approved to control neuropathy pain. Also, anti-seizure drugs are sometimes used to alleviate pain.
Additionally, treatment may involve improving nutritional deficiencies using different supplements since they are part of its primary causes.
Notably, no medications can improve nerve symptoms, specifically to strengthen weak muscles or address balance and coordination problems caused by alcoholic neuropathy. However, some symptoms start improving after some period if the affected people quit alcohol consumption.
Also, people with severe nerve damage may require a liver transplant to improve the symptoms.
Besides, the best treatment involves seeking a professional rehab therapist who will guide you in the process of alcohol withdrawal along with other crucial programs for recovery.
Final Thoughts from the Recover
Alcohol use disorder that causes alcoholic neuropathy is a challenging ailment that requires professional medical support to manage it.
While some of the symptoms can be partly reversed, advanced neuropathy consequences might not be reversible. However, seeking a professional rehab help from nearby centers will utilize medication and other therapies to address worsening symptoms and control alcohol consumption in the best way possible.