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Aftereffect of Alcoholism: Alcoholic Neuropathy | West Palm Beach

Many suffer from alcoholism. It’s considered a behavioral disorder that affects both the victim and the people around them. It starts off when people use alcohol as a coping mechanism. It then changes the person’s behavior, isolating themselves from their loved ones.

Then, after long term abuse comes the physical damages. Among them is neuropathy.

What is Alcoholic Neuropathy?

Simply put, it’s damage to the nerves of your arms and legs, due to too much alcohol use. The nerves commonly affected are the peripheral nerves. Their job is to transmit signals to the spine and back. When alcohol consumption damages these nerves, signals can get distorted or missent, causing numbness and tingling.

The damage happens when alcohol affects the nutrients your nerves need. Vitamins such as vitamin B6, B12, folate, and thiamine are essential to nerve health. Lack of these can cause neuropathy. Fortunately, quitting alcohol can help prevent further damage, but sadly, nerve damage is almost always permanent.

Symptoms of Alcoholic Neuropathy

The first symptom is the tingling feeling in the limbs. Though tingling is also one of the symptoms of diabetes, it can be differentiated and confirmed with the following symptoms.

Visit the nearest addiction treatment center in your area to learn more about alcoholism.

Effects on the peripherals (arms and legs)

  • Noticeable muscle weakness
  • Burning and tingling sensations
  • Noticeable loss of muscle coordination
  • Prickly sensations similar to “pins and needles”
  • Noticeable decrease in muscle mass

Effects on your excretory system:

  • Constipation
  • Incontinence
  • Occasional Diarrhea
  • Loss of urinary control
  • Getting the sensation that the bladder is not fully empty

Other symptoms can also include:

  • Impotence
  • Impaired or slurred speech
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Temperature intolerance

Though the effects of neuropathy rarely fatal, it can impede your quality of life. There are therapies that can help ease the symptoms. Ultimately, prevention is better than cure.

How to Diagnose Alcohol Neuropathy

Even if you know the symptoms, there could still be other explanations like diabetes and other nerve diseases. The only way to confirm alcohol neuropathy is to consult your doctor. With that, they will perform a wide number of tests, some of which are:

  • Complete Neurological Examination
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Electromyography
  • Nerve Conduction Tests
  • Liver, Kidney, and Thyroid tests
  • Upper GI and Small Bowel Tests

Part of the blood tests also includes a full vitamin workup. They will check if you’re missing essential vitamins needed to maintain nerve health.

Alcoholic Neuropathy Treatment

If prevention was not enough and the neuropathy has started, it’s not all too late. Consult your doctor and they may provide the following treatments to manage the symptoms.

  • Physical therapy to combat muscle atrophy
  • Gears and equipment to manage peripheral stability
  • Medication for loss of urinary control
  • Pain relievers, anti depressants, and anticonvulsants

There’s also rehabilitation treatments and detox to counter alcoholism. The treatment for it is two-pronged. They will attempt to manage or treat the symptoms while dealing with the source.

How to Prevent Alcoholic Neuropathy

If you believe you’re on the road to becoming an alcoholic, here are some tips you should know.

    • Limit your alcohol consumption.
    • If you already have symptoms, stop ASAP.
    • Seek help if you can’t manage your alcohol intake
    • Eat healthily and exercise

For more info on alcoholism, check out this playlist.