Alcoholic Polyneuropathy Signs, Symptoms, And Treatment
The prevalence of peripheral neuropathy amongst chronic alcohol abusers is 46.3% (CI 35.7– 57.3%) when confirmed via nerve conduction studies. Alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy generally presents as a progressive, predominantly sensory axonal length-dependent neuropathy. The most important risk factor for alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy is the total lifetime dose of ethanol, although other risk factors have been identified including genetic, male gender, and type of alcohol consumed. Benfotiamine (S-benzoylthiamine O-monophoshate) is a synthetic S-acyl derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1). In an animal study, it has been found that chronic alcohol consumption in rats resulted in a significant depletion in thiamine diphosphate (TDP), the active coenzyme form of thiamine.
- Unfortunately, in most cases, the damage that alcoholic neuropathy causes is permanent.
- Further studies are required to develop a greater understanding of the interaction these entities.
- While some alcoholics do not develop this condition at all, others are severely impacted by its effects.
- Vitamin deficiencies and consuming large quantities of alcohol over an extended period can also lead to severe malnutrition.
- Chronic heavy alcohol consumption depletes hepatic proteins for energy and leads to a lack of B vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism and optimal functioning of the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Community-based support is also available from organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Self-Management and Recovery Training. We do not offer specific health advice, nor are we a remote clinical advice service (RCA). We can, with your consent, pass your details to our partners that can offer this. We receive a commission if you begin treatment with a fee-paying provider.
Complete Blood Count
Mr. Collier also established treatment centers at San Antonio Community Hospital and the Knollwood Center between 1994 and 1999. Focusing on Behavioral Medicine, he became the Director of Assessment and Admissions at Canyon Ridge Hospital in 1999. Throughout his career, Mr. Collier has committed himself to providing hospital based acute care treatment for those suffering from addictions and related illness.
The doctor might also suggest an inpatient detox or outpatient rehab in an alcohol treatment center if the patient’s alcohol disorder is severe. Alcohol-induced neuropathy is not a condition you should take lightly. It can cause chronic pain, problems with normal bodily functions, and in severe cases even disability. That way, you get to minimize its impact and live a healthier life. Alcohol neuropathy is a typical side effect in people with chronic alcohol abuse disorder.
Alcoholic Neuropathy Symptoms
These patients were divided into two groups based on thiamine status. The subgroup without thiamine deficiency consisted of 36 patients, while the subgroup with thiamine deficiency consisted of 28 patients. In addition, 32 patients with nonalcoholic thiamine deficiency neuropathy were also evaluated for comparison. The subgroup without thiamine deficiency, considered to be a pure form of alcoholic neuropathy, uniformly showed slowly progressive, sensory dominant symptoms.
Thus, treatment with TCAs may provide symptomatic relief in patients with alcoholic neuropathy. Therefore, topical application with capsaicin may provide symptomatic relief from neuropathic pain in patients suffering from alcoholic neuropathy. Medicines may be needed to treat pain or uncomfortable sensations due to nerve damage. They will be prescribed the smallest dose of medicine needed to reduce symptoms. This may help prevent drug dependence and other side effects of chronic use.
Gradually, as the body gets left without these nutrients, its functions deteriorate, and the nerves might get damaged as a result. Because of this interruption, the feet and hands tend to feel weaker. But, when neuropathy affects the lower part of the body, these muscles will have poor organ control. That means you may experience intestine, stomach, and bladder problems. So, it’s not uncommon for alcoholic neuropathy to cause sexual dysfunction. She brings with her over 25 years of experience and knowledge surrounding substance abuse, the disease of addiction, and the impact of this illness on patients, families and the community.
But that in itself doesn’t guarantee alcoholic neuropathy will go away. The longer the alcohol abuse has been going on, the more damage it has inflicted on the nerves. Alcohol consumed in excess for a long time can lead to nerve damage and malnutrition, both important contributors to this condition. Ethanol impedes the transportation, processing, and absorption of essential nutrients, resulting in a deficiency which can harm health and preventing nerves from functioning correctly. There is a 6% to 51% prevalence rate of peripheral neuropathy in diabetic adults.
Neurologic effects of alcohol
The data indicates that there is both small and large fibre loss in alcohol-related neuropathy, but that small fibre loss is generally predominant [3, 51, 53, 56, 59, 63, 86]. Spinal cord glial cells are implicated in the exaggerated pain state created by diverse manipulations such as subcutaneous inflammation, neuropathy and spinal immune activation [65, 66]. It has been recognized that spinal cord glial cells, astrocytes and microglia are activated by neuropathic pain or peripheral inflammation . Many different stimuli, including growth factors, cytokines, viral infection, ligands for heterotrimeric G protein-coupled receptors, transforming agents, and carcinogens, activate the ERK pathway. There are many studies suggesting the role of MEK/ERK signaling in inflammatory pain in male [60–63] and female rats . Alcoholism also often results in other medical conditions, such as liver disease and diabetes.
- Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about symptoms.
- This, however, is dependent on your risk of abusing the pills as many opioids can be highly addictive.
- An analysis of lab data may correlate with the patient’s neuropathic syndrome and systemic symptoms.
- Options like anti-depressants and pain medications are the more common choice.
- With continued alcohol abuse, people become vulnerable to chronic pain, disability, and damage to their extremities.
- Kari began working as a professional in the chemical dependency field in 2015, in the roles of Behavioral Technician, House Lead, and then a Substance Abuse Counselor.
Tricyclic antidepressants, including amitriptyline, desipramine, and nortriptyline, work similarly to the antiseizure medications. Duloxetine is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that may improve neuropathic pain. Desired outcomes of these medications include reduced pain and improved sleep.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Alcoholic Neuropathy?
Patients may also have a deficiency in vitamin B12 (cobalamin), affecting the axon and causing muscle weakness, sensory disturbances, and anemia. Vitamin B9 (folic acid) levels tend to be decreased, reducing the density of small and large nerve fibers. Important in carbohydrate metabolism and neuron function, vitamin B3 (niacin) may also be decreased. Epidermal nerve fibre density was assessed in two studies, both of which supported decremental alcoholic neuropathy recovery time nerve fibre density distally in the lower limb, anecdotally supportive of a length-dependent pattern [53, 63]. Due to the breadth of the literature surrounding this topic, this review shall focus exclusively upon peripheral neuropathy, without discussing autonomic neuropathy. Thus, treatment with anticonvulsant drugs may provide another therapeutic alternative for the symptomatic relief of pain in patients with alcoholic neuropathy.
The Recovery Village Kansas City specializes in addiction treatment and offers care at all levels and stages of a person’s recovery. Dr. Raja is a board-certified internal medicine physician, certified by both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is committed to providing the highest-quality medical care to his patients.