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Alcoholic neuropathy: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

You can also find treatment facilities nationwide using the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s FindTreatment.gov website. Recovered is not a medical, healthcare or therapeutic services provider and no medical, psychiatric, psychological or physical treatment or advice is being provided by Recovered. If you are facing a medical emergency or considering suicide or self harm, please call 911 immediately. Has been contributing to medical fields including mental health and addiction since she retired from medicine; with over 19 years of practicing clinical experience. Several treatment options and interventions can help a person recover from alcohol dependence.

Intake of Alcohol

This condition often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet. It also can affect other areas and body functions including digestion and urination. Alcohol-induced PN can be managed with antiseizure medication, which has an anticholinergic effect on the central and peripheral nervous systems and blocks the uptake of serotonin and norepinephrine to decrease pain perception. Gabapentin, pregabalin, and carbamazepine are commonly used to alleviate burning and stabbing dysesthesias. 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.

Oxidative-nitrosative stress and alcoholic neuropathy

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drinking less or not at all may help you avoid neurological harm. If liver damage is evident, appropriate consultation with a transplantation service is recommended. However, neuropathy is generally an exclusion criterion for transplantation. Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about symptoms. In total, 585 papers did not meet the inclusion/exclusion criteria and were excluded. By scanning the reference lists of included studies, an additional 4 papers were identified.

  • Miyoshi et al. [15] found that a significant decrease in the mechanical nociceptive threshold was observed after 5 weeks of chronic ethanol consumption in rats.
  • This is a severe and short-term neurologic disease that can be life threatening.
  • Alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy generally presents as a progressive, predominantly sensory axonal length-dependent neuropathy.
  • However, data from literature indicate additional autonomic alterations in long-term chronic users (Milovanovic et al., 2009).

Systemic effects of heavy alcohol consumption

Not only mGluRs but ionotropic glutamate (NMDA) receptors are also involved in alcoholic-induced neuropathic pain. An analysis of lab data may correlate with the patient’s neuropathic syndrome and systemic symptoms. Elevated levels of the liver enzymes gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and alkaline phosphatase may indicate long-standing heavy alcohol consumption and its effects on hepatic function. Decreasing albumin, increasing bilirubin, and prolonged clotting factors may indicate hepatic decompensation.

Effects due to nutritional deficiency

alcohol neuropathy

Overcoming alcohol use may not reverse the damage that has been done, but it can prevent nerve damage and other health issues from getting worse. Getting help as quickly as possible can also reduce the alcoholic neuropathy recovery time, which can vary based on the extent of a person’s nerve damage and other factors. The signs and symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy can vary based on the person, their medical history, and the bodily functions most impacted by their alcohol use. Nerve degeneration progresses from sensory symptoms to include motor function problems of the lower and upper extremities. Patients may stand and walk with a wide base of support to maintain balance. They may have peroneal nerve damage, causing foot drop with difficulty raising the feet sufficiently to walk safely without stumbling.

Health Q&A: Can alcohol consumption cause nerve damage? – Wine Spectator

Health Q&A: Can alcohol consumption cause nerve damage?.

Posted: Wed, 18 Aug 2021 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Treatment Options for Alcoholic Neuropathy

Once a person stops using alcohol, they can often experience recovery from symptoms, though in some cases, some damage may be permanent. Avoiding alcohol is the best way to treat these conditions and relieve symptoms. The alcohol will continue to circulate in the bloodstream and eventually affect other organs. Up to 46 percent of people with alcohol-related myopathy showed noticeable reductions in strength compared with people without the condition.

Miyoshi et al. [15] found that a significant decrease in the mechanical nociceptive threshold was observed after 5 weeks of chronic ethanol consumption in rats. Injection of (S)-2,6-diamino-N-[[1-(oxotridecyl)-2-piperidinyl]methyl] hexanamide dihydrochloride (NPC15437), a selective PKC inhibitor, once a day for a week after 4 weeks of ethanol treatment. Moreover, phosphorylated PKC was significantly increased in the spinal cord following chronic ethanol consumption. These findings constitute direct evidence that spinal PKC plays a substantial role in the development and maintenance of an ethanol-dependent neuropathic pain-like state in rats. Coasting is a major feature of alcoholic neuropathy, largely due to chronic alcohol abuse. Even though much research was done in this area, still we do not have a full understanding of the mechanism of alcoholic neuropathy.

Biopsy results

Translocation of NFkβ to the nucleus has been reported to result in activation of the endogenous proteolytic enzyme system caspases [69]. Joseph & Levine [71] suggested that activity in signaling pathways that ultimately lead to apoptosis plays a critical role in the generation of neuropathic pain, before death of sensory neurones becomes apparent. Activator and effector caspases, defining components of programmed cell death alcohol neuropathy stages signalling pathways, also contribute to pain-related behaviour in animals with small fibre peripheral neuropathies. The death receptor ligand, tumour necrosis factor α, and its downstream second messenger, ceramide, also produce pain-related behaviour via this mechanism. This suggests that these pathways are potential targets for novel pharmacological agents for the treatment of inflammatory as well as neuropathic pain [71].

alcohol neuropathy