Glutamate concentrations are elevated in the superficial dorsal horn of rats after chronic ligature of the sciatic nerve [79]. Miyoshi et al. found that 5 weeks after ethanol treatment, the mechanical nociceptive threshold was significantly decreased and is further reduced up to 10 weeks [80]. As supported by immunostaining, the membrane fraction showed that spinal mGluR5 concentrations in ethanol-treated rats were significantly increased compared with those in the control diet group. These findings support the idea that the increased number of membrane-bound mGluR5 following chronic ethanol consumption may lead to a long lasting activation of neuronal protein kinase C in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. This phenomenon may be responsible for the induction of the neuropathic pain like behaviour following chronic ethanol consumption.

alcohol neuropathy stages

Correspondingly, meta-analysis of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) studies showed that nutritional supplementation ameliorates symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy [9]. Ethanol and its toxic metabolites affect neural metabolism including metabolic activities in the nucleus, lysosomes, peroxisomes, endoplasmic reticulum, and cytoplasm [104]. The morphological basis of post-alcoholic damage of neural tissue includes primary axonopathy and secondary demyelination of motor and sensory (especially small) fibers [105]. Demyelination is probably the effect of axoplasmic transmission slowdown; such degeneration so-called dying back bears semblance to Wallerian degeneration [64, 84]. An animal study on axonal transport in vitro using dorsal roots of the sciatic nerve showed decreased axonal transmission after long-term ethanol consumption [106].


In addition, the same neuroimaging approaches demonstrated that abstinence from alcohol could partially reverse alcohol-related macro-structural, micro-structural, and metabolic abnormalities in white matter [49]. Alcohol abuse causes a wide range of disorders that affect the nervous system. These include confusion, cerebellar ataxia, peripheral alcohol neuropathy stages neuropathy, and cognitive impairment. Chronic and excessive alcohol consumption is the primary cause of peripheral neuropathy. It is worth noting that peripheral neuropathy has no reliable treatment due to the poor understanding of its pathology. Generally symmetrical, peripheral nerve damage may be focal, multifocal, or diffuse.

  • Poor absorption and low intake of these vitamins have clinical features of dermatitis, neuropathy, and anorexia.
  • The consistent feature of perivascular micro-hemorrhages reflects loss of vessel wall integrity.
  • With persistence and progression of liver failure, and development of hyperammonemia, which causes direct and indirect neurotoxic injury to the brain [23, 62], metabolic encephalopathy ensues.
  • This approach could help improve our understanding of disease pathogenesis and response to treatment.
  • In many, if not most, cases, improvements in symptoms are seen with continued abstinence from alcohol.
  • Here we discuss a few of the therapeutic options which are tried and could be tried for prevention and treatment of alcoholic peripheral neuropathy.

She spent 10 years on the nursing floor working with a team of doctors and nurses to get patients safely through the detox process, where they then could continue to pursue sobriety. She started to further her knowledge in the Utilization Review Department in 2013. In 2017 she became the Director of Utilization Review Services where she is the liaison between the patient and the insurance company to ensure the best level of care is authorized. HVRC’s Drug & Alcohol Addiction Program provides medically supervised detox and rehab for alcoholism and other types of chemical dependency.

Management of alcohol-induced peripheral neuropathy

Secondary injuries such as contusions and stroke are not considered in this review. Alcohol’s toxic/metabolic effects on the brain are mediated by hepatic encephalopathy, as well as other complex factors that are not entirely understood, despite decades of research in this field. Ammonia toxicity is still regarded as a causal factor, and therefore resolving hyperammonemia is one of the principal targets of care. However, emerging data suggest that other agents such as aromatic amino acids and toxic lipids may be responsible for the impairments in neuronal activity in hepatic encephalopathy. In addition, cofactors such as deficiencies in folate, thiamine, pyridoxine and zinc may play critical roles [147].

  • Because of the many effects that alcohol has on the organism, it is important that patients with alcoholic neuropathy be managed by a team of inter-professionals in the health industry.
  • The toxic effects of alcohol on nerve tissue, combined with nutritional deficiencies caused by alcohol abuse, can lead to nerve damage and dysfunction.
  • Patients should follow a nutritious diet at home with lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Probably the most common symptom of mild neuropathy is chronic prickling, burning, or numbness in the arms and legs.
  • Understanding the link between alcohol and nerve damage is essential for those who have experienced or are currently struggling with alcohol addiction.
  • Ethanol has been linked to insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) resistance in the brain in patients with alcoholic dementia and alcoholic liver disease.

As a support to all, Kristal is committed to giving her undivided attention to all who seek her assistance. Jace joined Hemet Valley Recovery in 2006 after she graduated from 4-D College in Colton, CA. She began her journey in the addiction field working as a detox medication nurse shortly after graduation.

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