Alcoholic neuropathy is characterized as a physical condition caused by the damaging effects on the nerves which results to debilitating symptoms and lasting disability. The lasting effects of excessive alcohol consumption can damage the heart, liver and the brain. As long as the condition is detected early, there are treatment measures that can ease the symptoms as well as minimize the possibility of chronic incapacitating complications.
Cessation of drinking
The immediate concern for those who are suffering from alcoholic neuropathy is excessive consumption of alcohol. In such cases, alcohol must be completely avoided. Individuals who have a long-term history of alcohol abuse might find this as a challenge.
Nevertheless, there are various treatment options available such as in-patient rehabilitation, outpatient counseling or even groups such as Alcoholic Anonymous that can aid in this initial step to recovery.
The indications of alcoholic neuropathy are believed to be partly due to the alcoholic’s tendency to abandon proper dietary practice, thus becoming deficient in essential nutrients. Aside from an overhaul on day-to-day eating habits, supplementing the diet with folic acid and thiamine is highly recommended. Counselling from a dietitian might be required to help the individual recover in maintaining healthier eating habits.
Management of the symptoms
An individual with alcoholic neuropathy can frequently experience pain or unusual sensations in the arms, hands, feet and legs. The management of pain can be aided with analgesic medications such as acetaminophen or aspirin, thus precautions must be observed. Always bear in mind that these individuals already showed predisposition to addiction, thus any addictive medications must be avoided or carefully monitored by the doctor.
The muscular weakness and ensuing atrophy is a usual outcome of alcoholic neuropathy. An effective treatment involves physical therapy along with the use of orthopedic splints.
Lightheadedness or vertigo is also common effects of the condition. The individual can greatly benefit by using certain medications, sleeping with the head in an elevated position and increased consumption of salt.
The diminished sensory nerve impulses make it possible for the individual with alcoholic neuropathy to be unaware that he/she already sustained injuries. Remember that this can lead to life-threatening situations.
The individual should take the necessary precautions such as regularly monitoring the hands and feet for indications of injury or checking the temperature of bath water to ensure that he/she will not inadvertently ignore any injury that can become infected or gangrenous.