Alcoholic Neuropathy: Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Outlook

The mechanism of direct damage of nerve fibers due to alcohol intoxication remains unclear. Activation of spinal cord microglia, mGlu5 spinal cord receptors, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis appear to be implicated in this process [92,93,94,95,96,97]. Oxidative stress also leads to the indirect damage of nerve fibers via the release of free radicals and proinflammatory cytokines with protein kinase C and ERK kinase phosphorylation [98,99,100,101]. Besides, ALN is characterized by insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) resistance, which results in impaired trophic factor signaling [102, 103]. The most effective strategy to prevent further neurologic deterioration is for the patient to reduce or discontinue alcohol abuse.

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In a similar study, SSR was used to assess the number of reactive sweat glands (SGN), which turned out to be decreased in alcohol-dependent patients [164]. Benfotiamine, a synthetic derivative of vitamin B1, improves neuropathic pain and motor movement by increasing nerve conduction velocity. A nutritious diet; vitamin supplements, especially vitamins B1 and B12; and reduction of or abstinence from alcohol use is the only way to improve the patient’s PN by allowing nerves to slowly regenerate.

Alcohol-Related Neurologic Disease

  • Extensive animal and human research of ethanol neurotoxicity in alcoholic brain and liver disease provides a possible mechanism by which ethanol may effect the peripheral nervous system (PNS).
  • Researchers have not determined if this is caused by the effects of alcohol on the brain or is the result of thiamine deficiency.
  • Glutamate concentrations are elevated in the superficial dorsal horn of rats after chronic ligature of the sciatic nerve [79].
  • Ensuring patient safety and interprofessional collaboration are major frameworks for achieving these goals.

A variety of sensory, motor, and autonomic symptoms develop over months to years and worsen with time. These symptoms may not respond favorably to treatment, especially if the patient doesn’t reduce or abstain from alcohol consumption. Most patients with alcohol neuropathy initially present with symmetrical polyneuropathies in the lower distal extremities, however; heavier abuse can progress to distal upper extremity symptoms.

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Diagnosing Alcoholic Polyneuropathy

A smaller number of publications do attribute thiamine deficiency, but generally speaking these studies were older or of lower quality evidence [4, 6, 30, 58, 76, 77]. Alcoholic neuropathy, also known as alcoholic peripheral neuropathy, refers to damage of the nerves due to chronic and excessive alcohol consumption. Affected nerves include the peripheral nerves, primarily located in the arms and legs, and the autonomic nerves, which help regulate our internal body functions. Alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy (ALN) is a potentially debilitating complication of alcoholism that results in sensory, motor, and autonomic dysfunction.

Benfotiamine for the treatment of alcohol related peripheral neuropathy

how much alcohol causes neuropathy

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol misuse, treatment is available. With multiple treatment centers throughout the United States, American Addiction Centers offers everything from detox and inpatient treatment to outpatient treatment and aftercare. Completely avoiding alcohol and eating a balanced diet can help minimize damage. alcohol neuropathy stages Your chances for recovery depend on how early the disease is diagnosed and how much damage has already occurred. Avoiding alcohol is the best way to treat these conditions and relieve symptoms. Up to 46 percent of people with alcohol-related myopathy showed noticeable reductions in strength compared with people without the condition.

What Are the Symptoms of Alcoholic Neuropathy?

Intensive research has been done on medications like alpha-lipoic acid, benfotiamine, acetyl-l-carnitine, and methylcobalamin. Other botanical or nutrient therapies include myo-inositol, vitamin E, topical capsaicin, and N-acetylcysteine. It is still unclear what is the major determinant in the pathogenesis of ALN.

  • The role thiamine plays in the pathogenesis and treatment of ALN is still unclear.
  • Years of moderate to heavy drinking can cause liver scarring (fibrosis), increasing the risk of liver diseases like cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and liver cancer.
  • A medical detox program followed by a comprehensive alcohol rehab program can manage alcoholism and help a person to get sober and stay that way.
  • Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage or disease of the nerves that carry messages to and from the brain or spinal column and the rest of the body.

Alcohol Neuropathy Symptoms

  • These symptoms often respond poorly to treatment in people with alcoholic neuropathy.
  • In another small Russian study, 14 chronic alcoholic men with polyneuropathy were given 450 mg benfotiamine daily for 2 weeks, followed by 300 mg daily for an additional 4 weeks.
  • “As you grow older, health problems or prescribed medicines may require that you drink less alcohol or avoid it completely,” the Institute says.
  • We reviewed the evidence on both sides and conclude that ALN should be regarded as a toxic rather than nutritional neuropathy.

how much alcohol causes neuropathy

Symptoms and Causes