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Alcoholic neuropathy

  • Definition

    Alcoholic neuropathy is damage to the nerves that results from excessive drinking of alcohol.

    Alternative Names

    Neuropathy - alcoholic; Alcoholic polyneuropathy

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    The cause of alcoholic neuropathy is debated. It probably includes both a direct poisoning of the nerve by the alcohol, and the effect of poor nutrition associated with alcoholism. Up to half of all long-term heavy alcohol users develop this condition.

    In severe cases, the nerves that regulate internal body functions (autonomic nerves) may be involved.

    Risks for alcoholic neuropathy include:

    • Long-term, heavy alcohol use
    • Alcoholism that is present for 10 years or more