Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The Demon Drink Can Wreck Your Nervous System

Topics like that of today's alcoholic neuropathy post from indydetox.com (see link below) always run the risk of sounding 'preachy' when 'experts' advise you to change your lifestyle, or else the sicknesses of the world will rain down on you. However, there are lots of reasons to back up the theory that neuropathy caused by over-indulgence in alcohol, is one of the fastest-growing forms of nerve damage. Add to the fact that people turning to drink as an escape from all the ills of this troubled and dangerous world, are being boosted by the growing numbers of patients who are substituting alcohol for pain relievers that are being denied to them, is an indication of a real social problem that leads to a real medical problem. A massive drinking culture among the youth is fuelling the fire for later years and yet alcoholic nerve damage is rarely spotted on time and often too late to bring about any major changes. This article doesn't preach but it does provide the facts. Everything in moderation eh folks!!

Consequence of Alcoholism: Alcoholic Neuropathy
Posted By admin - Posted In Alcohol 15 Jul 2018

Alcoholism or alcohol addiction is compulsive and excessive use of alcoholic drinks. Many symptoms of alcoholism remain hidden for a long time until they manifest as something significant. Alcoholism itself goes undiagnosed most of the times. It harms not only the individual but the whole family. Alcohol is usually initially excessively consumed by someone to counter his/her hardships. What they don’t understand at that time is that it will convert into an addiction becoming another hardship later on.

Introduction to Alcoholic Neuropathy:

Alcoholic neuropathy is one of many complications down the road of consumption of excessive alcohol. In an alcoholic, it’s only a matter of time, when they start getting symptoms of neuropathy. Neuropathy occurs because alcohol deprives the nervous system from some major nutrients like thiamine which are required for nerve conduction. Mostly, peripheral nervous system is affected. All in all, signals between the body, brain and spinal cord are badly disrupted leading to abnormal sensations.

Alcoholic Neuropathy Symptoms:

Chronic alcohol consumption brings about varied symptoms associated with nerve damage.

Sensory symptoms:
Numbness in extremities
Pins and needle sensation
Tingling and burning
Loss of vibration sense
Increased pain sensitivity
Lack of co-ordination
Loss of position sense leading to unsteady gait

Motor symptoms:

Muscle atrophy
Muscle cramping
Non-functioning muscle

Urinary symptoms:

Urinary incontinence
Incomplete bladder emptying
Problems initiating urination

Gastrointestinal symptoms:
Difficulty in swallowing

Miscellaneous symptoms:
Sexual dysfunction
Speech problems
Intolerance to variation in temperature

Diagnosing Alcoholic Neuropathy:

After taking a detailed history and doing a full neurological examination, there is a need of lab investigations to figure out the cause of neuropathy.
Nervous system symptoms that usually occur due to deficiency of some vitamins and so, first their deficiency has to be rule out. These vitamins are vitamin A, B1, B6, B12, biotin and pantothenic acid, Vitamin E and folic acid.

Nerve conduction studies

Nerve biopsy
Renal function test
Liver function test
Thyroid function test
Complete blood count

Prevention is Better Than Cure!

It is better to control the drinking habit from the very start to prevent complications like alcoholic neuropathy. Such a disease may be irreversible and may lead to poorer quality of life. As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate consumption for men and women is 2 and 1 drinks per day respectively but most exceed the recommended limit leading to alcohol use disorders. In any case, people should be advised to drink within safe limits and observe a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and healthy diet with minerals and vitamins are the basics of a good living. If one fails to handle the amount of alcohol consumption, they should immediately consult professional help which will supervise them while tapering off their alcohol.

Treating Alcoholic Neuropathy:

If prevention doesn’t help and the disease progresses to become a full-blown alcoholic neuropathy, there are some treatment options for symptomatic relief because most injuries to the nerve are permanent and thus incurable. The first thing alcoholic should do now is stop drinking and for that they might need help of rehabilitation centers. They should also keep a check for any injuries which will go unnoticed because of loss of sensation. Apart from that, other measures that can be taken are: 

Pain relief medications to manage increased sensitivity to pain
Tricyclic anti-depressants prescribed as a pain reliever medication and to look after any co-occurring disorder
Anti-convulsants as a pain killer
Multivitamins rich in vitamin A, B3, B6, B12, E, biotin, pantothenic acid and folic acid
Medication to improve urinary function. For some, medication would not be a good idea and catheterization would have to be done
Walking aid in the form of stabilizing footwear to prevent trauma
Orthopedic devices for proper functioning of extremities
Physiotherapy to improve the muscle mass and reduce the rate of atrophy
Stockings to avoid episodes of dizziness. Also, consuming more salt and putting a pillow beneath the head also helps to counter symptoms of dizziness.

Alcoholism is a serious disorder with complicated consequences. If a loved one is consuming alcohol in excessive amounts, do not turn a blind eye. It can be easier to heal the person and reverse the symptoms if treatment is sought soon after the alcoholism is developed. Reach out for help today!


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