Does alcohol affect neuropathy, the answer is yes. Alcoholic beverages can be toxic to your nerve tissues. Alcohol neuropathy is a disease resulting from the excessive long-term intake of liquor. It causes pain in the peripheral nerves, which transmit information between your brain, spinal cord, and body.

Causes of Alcohol Neuropathy


Apart from nerve damage, long-term overindulgence in alcohol can cause malnutrition. The reason is that the drink impedes the transportation, processing, and absorption of nutrients. These are essential to your body, and their lack leads to dire consequences.

In some people, it affects their appetites, leading to inadequate food intake. It leads to deficiencies in vitamins B12 and B6, folate, thiamine, niacin, and vitamin E. The inefficiency or lack of these nutrients interrupts the functionality of your nerves. It is also harmful to your overall health. 

Symptoms of Alcohol-related Neuropathy


Signs and symptoms of this condition may include:

  • A sensation of pins and needles or paresthesia

  • Fainting or dizziness

  • Constipation

  • Abnormal gait

  • Numbness in your hands and feet

  • Diarrhea

  • Pain may include burning sensations

  • Urinary retention

  • Sexual impotence – including issues with lubrication and erection

  • Weakness in the extremities.

  • Difficulty in talking or swallowing

  • Incontinence

  • Muscle aches, cramps, or spasms

  • Intolerance to heat, especially after heavy activity

  • Dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system in severe cases

  • Muscular atrophy in the limbs

  • Nausea

  • Abdominal bloating


How Much Is Too Much?


The amount of alcohol that can affect neuropathy is different for everyone. It is also difficult to estimate what level of consumption leads to the disease. However, the duration and amount you ingest throughout your life can affect the development of alcohol neuropathy. Recent studies show that over 100 grams of alcohol daily over a lifetime can contribute to alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy.

Standard measurements indicate that 12 ounces of beer contain approximately 14 grams of pure alcohol. Binge drinking, in essence, is consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more for men on a single occasion. The event should be at least one day a month. Heavy alcohol consumption comprises binge drinking five or more days in a month.

Alcohol Neuropathy Diagnosis


When visiting a doctor for help with the disease, it is advisable to be honest about your alcohol indulgence. Neuropathy can result from several other causes, so your honesty helps your doctor make the correct diagnosis. You may need to undergo several tests to confirm the presence of the condition. They include:

  • Neurological examination

  • Electromyography

  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

  • Complete blood count

  • Blood chemistry test

  • Nerve biopsy

  • Nerve conduction test

Depending on your condition, the doctor may also test the functionality of your thyroid, liver, and kidneys. They may also require blood tests to check for deficient nutrients and vitamins.



Treatment of this condition likely first comes with a reduction of alcohol intake or complete abstinence. Most doctors will recommend this as the first remedy for the disease. Others may insist on it before ordering other tests or courses of treatment. 

Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may recommend various approaches. We offer solutions that are non-invasive and do not requires long term medication usage. Our cutting edge technology and innovative neuropathy treatment is highly reviewed. Contact us today to learn more about our options and how we can help you!

For more information on how alcohol affects neuropathy, call South Bay Wellness Center & Chiropractic in San Jose, California (408) 642-6060 to book an appointment today.