The Basics of Alcoholic Neuropathy

Excessive alcohol use takes a toll on your body in a number of ways. Many people who drink too much may experience a condition called alcoholic neuropathy. It’s similar to other types of neuropathy in that they will experience tingling, numbness, pain, and weakness in their arms, legs, hands, and feet.

For some, they may feel more numbness than pain, and some people may experience these sensations in their legs more than their arms or vice versa. First and foremost, it’s important to overcome the drinking problem, but peripheral neuropathy treatment will help patients deal with the correlating symptoms.

What Is Alcoholic Neuropathy?

In medical terms, neuropathy occurs when the nerves that transmit signals from the brain, spine, and body are damaged. Usually, these are the peripheral nerves that run down to your feet and out to your fingers. When these nerves are damaged, they lead to a number of different sensations.

These feelings aren’t necessarily the same for every person dealing with alcoholic neuropathy. For some, there’s mostly pain. Others may feel more of a numbness or a tingling. Muscle weakness can also occur.

What Causes Alcoholic Neuropathy?

In some cases, excessive drinking does direct damage to the nerves. This can come from years of drinking, but it can also come from a short period of heavy binge drinking.

Alcoholic neuropathy can also be a side effect of vitamin deficiency. Heavy drinking can lead to a deficiency in a number of vitamins and minerals, including B6, B12, E, niacin, folate, and thiamine. The nerves depend on these vitamins for nutrients. Without them, they lose the ability to properly function and can even start to die.

The Symptoms of Alcoholic Neuropathy

In addition to the tingling, burning, numbness, and pain that you may feel in your arms and legs, there are a number of other symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy you may suffer from. These include losing some muscle function and experiencing loss of control in the muscles. You may have muscle cramps or spasms and may develop a movement disorder.

Alcohol can also affect the nerves that control the bowels and urinary tract. You may experience diarrhea, constipation, incontinence, and difficulty urinating. You may also feel like your bladder is full even after you’ve emptied it.

Other symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy include sexual dysfunction and impotence, nausea, dizziness, difficulty tolerating heat, impaired speech, and difficulty swallowing. Again, you may only experience some of these symptoms.

How is Alcoholic Neuropathy Treated?

Alcoholic neuropathy can be treated in a number of ways. However, the first step to successful treatment is to stop drinking. The more you drink, the less effective any type of treatment will be. This means you may need to go through detox or a full rehab program before you can begin focusing on treating your neuropathy.

Once you’ve stopped drinking, you can work with a neuropathy expert to determine the best course of treating your condition. There are a few different things you may need to do to treat your neuropathy. If your body is still deficient in vitamins and minerals, you will need to take supplements and start eating a more balanced diet.

You may also need to take some medication, at least in the short term. This depends on what symptoms you’re dealing with. For example, if you’re having difficulty urinating, you may need to take medication to correct that issue. Those who are experiencing muscle weakness or atrophy may need physical therapy.

Contact Fox Integrated Healthcare Today

If you’re ready to treat your alcoholic neuropathy, we’re here to help. We understand addicts are often very hesitant to take painkillers, but our treatment plan avoids medication. Contact us today to set up an appointment and learn more.