Human studies have also suggested a direct toxic effect, since a dose-dependent relationship has been observed between severity of neuropathy and total life time dose of ethanol [6, 13]. The exact mechanism behind alcoholic neuropathy is not well understood, but several explanations have been proposed. Some other studies have indicated that chronic alcohol intake can decrease the nociceptive threshold with increased oxidative-nitrosative stress and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines coupled with activation of protein kinase C (Figure 1) [10, 16]. Therefore, alcoholic neuropathy may occur by a combination of the direct toxic effects of ethanol or its metabolites and nutritional deficiencies, including thiamine deficiency. The precise mechanisms responsible for toxicity on the peripheral nervous system, however, have not yet been clarified.
However, it is known to be directly related to heavy and long-term alcohol consumption. Overconsumption of alcohol may directly harm and hinder the nerves’ ability to communicate information from one body area to another. When alcohol is responsible for damage to the peripheral nerves, a person has alcoholic neuropathy. People who drink heavily on a regular basis are at risk of developing this condition.
Ammendola et al. (2000) showed an inverse correlation of the sensory-evoked potential (SEP) amplitude of the sural nerve which informs about sensory dysfunctions and is altered even in asymptomatic patients throughout the course alcohol dependence . The mouse model of the injection of β-estradiol in males resulted in higher activity of cytosolic alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), microsomal aniline hydroxylase (ANH), and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) which are crucial in ethanol metabolism . Female mouse with injected testosterone showed the decreased activity of cytosolic isoform of ALDH which implies that those enzymes are sensitive to estrogen and testosterone and alcohol metabolism is greater in females. Ethanol and its toxic metabolites affect neural metabolism including metabolic activities in the nucleus, lysosomes, peroxisomes, endoplasmic reticulum, and cytoplasm . The morphological basis of post-alcoholic damage of neural tissue includes primary axonopathy and secondary demyelination of motor and sensory (especially small) fibers .
In order to diagnose ALN, usually, several tests are needed to be performed to provide a complete and reliable diagnosis. Besides blood chemistry test and complete blood count (CBC), esophagogastroduodenoscopy is needed when a patient vomits and has nausea for an unknown reason; X-rays of the gastrointestinal tract can also be performed. Electromyography and nerve conduction tests are performed in order to reveal signs of ALN. Sensory functions and reflexes can be tested during a neurological examination. Sensory symptoms, caused by damage to sensory nerves, usually begin in the feet before progressing to the legs, hands, and arms. Usually, when sensory function becomes impaired above the ankle, they will also spread into the hands, a distribution known as the stocking-and-glove pattern. Symptoms also often develop symmetrically.
This review focuses on the many pathways that play a role in the onset and development of alcohol-induced neuropathy, as well as present the possible treatment strategies of this disorder, providing insights into a further search of new treatment modalities. The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to manage medical conditions that put you at risk. When you consume alcohol, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream from the stomach and the small intestine. The only way to prevent alcoholic neuropathy is not to drink excessive amounts of alcohol. Call for an appointment with your provider if you have symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy. For the most part this review consists of non-interventional studies for which generally accepted tools to evaluate risk of bias are not available.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a chronic and progressive condition involving young people and adults worldwide (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5; World Health Organization, 2018). A recent global alcohol abuse report indicated that approximately 3 billion people consume alcohol alcoholic neuropathy recovery time worldwide (Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, 2016). Additionally, the study sheds light on the pathways involved in alcohol withdrawal-related allodynia and alcohol-induced neuropathic pain. Additionally, people with alcohol use disorder experience allodynia during alcohol withdrawal.
With new research, there is always new opportunity for advancements in treatment and prevention strategies. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for the last decade, covering a range of topics including health, energy, and technology in the US and UK. Ultimately, the best way to prevent alcohol-related neurologic disease is to not drink alcohol. Doctors or family and friends can provide early intervention, which can help you avoid alcohol-related neurologic disease. Some tests can be performed by a doctor to rule out other causes of neurologic symptoms.
It also appears that the addition of NCS may improve the identification of alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy. Caspases, or cysteine-aspartic acid proteases, are a family of cysteine proteases, which play an essential role in apoptosis (programmed cell death), necrosis and inflammation. Translocation of NFkβ to the nucleus has been reported to result in activation of the endogenous proteolytic enzyme system caspases . Joseph & Levine  suggested that activity in signaling pathways that ultimately lead to apoptosis plays a critical role in the generation of neuropathic pain, before death of sensory neurones becomes apparent. Activator and effector caspases, defining components of programmed cell death signalling pathways, also contribute to pain-related behaviour in animals with small fibre peripheral neuropathies.
Early alcoholic neuropathy, usually presenting as sensory symptoms in the extremities, is reversible if the patient stops drinking and establishes proper nutrition. However, more severe cases may be intractable, even with abstinence, and lead to lifelong impairment. However, vulnerability to neuropathy and its severity and speed of progression varies. Women, continuous as opposed to episodic drinkers, and people with a family history of the disorder appear to be more vulnerable to alcoholic neuropathy and more severe presentations.
Alcoholic neuropathy is progressive damage to peripheral nerves and, in extreme cases, the autonomic nervous system, through chronic, heavy alcohol use. According to a 2017 review, muscle myopathy is common in alcohol use disorder. In addition, about 40 to 60 percent of people who experience chronic alcohol misuse also experience alcohol-related myopathy.