Up to half of all long-term heavy alcohol users develop alcoholic neuropathy.
Alcoholism makes the body unable to use or store certain vitamins and minerals such as thiamine (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid and biotin, vitamin B12, folic acid, niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin A.
Damage to nerves from alcoholic neuropathy is usually permanent and may get worse with continued consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol.
The neuropathic signs of alcohol abuse vary from mild discomfort to severe disability, which can lead to emotional, physical and monetary disasters affecting not only the sufferer but loved ones also.
What to do?
In addition to abstinence from binge drinking, a supplemental vitamin enhancement program, especially B1 is recommended, although the results depend on the severity of the damage.
If the symptoms are caught early enough, the body may be able to normalize itself to its previous state.
However in most cases, scientific studies indicate the effects are permanent, but not life-threatening and the patient adapt to the new reality.