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Possible Alcoholic Neuropathy

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Old 04-06-2019, 07:00 PM   #1
UKGuy35
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Default Possible Alcoholic Neuropathy

Hi guys. I am new to this forum and looking for some advise. Over the last 5 years I have been experiencing weakness, numbness and hypersensitivity in my toes. It mainly happens when driving when putting pressure on the brake pedal and holding my foot on the accelearator for long periods of time and also when walking. I can hardly even stand barefoot as my feet feel really sensitive and weak when standing with no footwear, especially on hard surfaces. Also, lieing down without my feet resting on anything I get alot of tingling sensations in my toes and they feel very sensitive. I can't stand in the shower as it feels like my toes are so weak and like they are going to spasm, I have to have a bath instead

I used to drink heavily mostly 2 or 3 nights per week but over the past year I have tried to cut down and rarely exceed 6 units in a single week. The reason I decided to cut down is because a year ago, in addition to my usual symptoms, I noticed I could hardly walk the day after a night of heavy drinking. My toes in my left foot would go all stiff and feel really sensitive with every step. For days after the attack I would still experience shooting pains,weakness and hypersensitivity when walking even short distances.

Over the past year my symptoms have improved dramatically since cutting down alcohol but I still struggle a little. My doctor but me on amitriptilyne - whether thats the thing thats helped or the fact I have cut down alcohol I have no idea. But my doctors persist that my issues have nothing to do with alcohol even though I have explained to them that my symptoms have been worse the day after drinking heavily. I still eat ALOT of sugar and sometimes feel it is my substitute for not drinking alcohol. But I am thinking that proberbly isn't helping.

What do you think? Does it sound like I have alcoholic neuropathy? is the only way I can beat the symptoms by giving up alcohol for good, even the 6 or so units I drink per week? I do notice things improve when I don't drink as much. I have been feeling slightly frustrated because there a part of me that believes alcohol could be the cause of my symptoms but it seems really hard to get a diagnosis for this sort of thing. Doctors just say my blood test results were fine and I am not lacking any vitamins. They say I proberbly have a neuroma or a trapped nerve but I think there is alot more to this. Any advice will be appreciated. I have tried to explain my symptoms and the scenarios the best I can. Many thanks for reading.
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:54 PM   #2
kiwi33
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Hi UKGuy35

Welcome .

Well done for cutting down on alcohol; I am glad that your symptoms have improved. You might have some alcohol-induced PN though this can vary a lot. In my case it is in my hands only and is stable/decreasing since I stopped drinking.

I am a bit surprised that your doctor prescribed amitriptyline. It is a tricyclic antidepressant; I have never heard of it being prescribed in circumstances similar to yours. Perhaps you could discuss the reasons for the prescription with your doctor.

Best wishes.
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Old 04-14-2019, 02:27 PM   #3
UKGuy35
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Hi Kiwi,

My doctor prescribed amitriptyline as it has been known to relieve nerve pain. However I feel no investigation has really been done to work out the source of the nerve pain. I have been doing a bit of reading on Alcoholic Neuropathy and it seems it is something that is very difficult to diagnose. I think I have Alcoholic Neurpoathy, based on my symtoms being worse the days following drinking alcohol. Throughout my late 20's and into my early 30's I used to drink very heavy 1-2 nights per week. Although my symptoms have improved I still feel I have a reduced quality of life as I can't walk as far and be on my feet for too long. The symptoms are worse when it is cold weather.

Today I have decided I am so fed up of this miserable condition. As much as I enjoy alcohol I am certain now is the time to turn my back on alcohol 100%. I really want to commit to this as so far my efforts to remove alcohol from my diet has been very half hearted if you know what I mean. I have still been having the odd few pints, the odd binge here and there but I feel as much as I have reduced my alcohol intake it has not reversed my symptoms completely.

I will post regular updates to my progress roughly every 3 months. This is day one. I want to reverse and fight this.
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Old 04-14-2019, 03:15 PM   #4
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UKGuy35, please keep us all up-dated.

I think that stopping drinking is a good plan. I did it some time ago and my PN (which is in my hands) has been stable/decreasing since then.

Apart from that my overall health has improved as has my bank balance.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:19 AM   #5
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Welcome UKGuy,


Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi33

I am a bit surprised that your doctor prescribed amitriptyline. It is a tricyclic antidepressant; I have never heard of it being prescribed in circumstances similar to yours. Perhaps you could discuss the reasons for the prescription with your doctor.

It is one of the possible tools in the toolkit against PN. I have taken it a couple of years back because I got reduced effect from the tramadol I was taking. So I tapered that down and started taking Ami. It does work, oddly enough, but the side effects were horrible to me, so after a few weeks I started tapering off again and went back to tramadol.

Some of the meds that are used with PN are antidepressants and/or anti-seizure meds of some sort. Lyrica* is now first choice for diabetic PN, but it's primary role is supposed to be an anti-seizure. Note that I tried that too, but it had nowhere near the effect amitriptyline had on me, and that is about 100 times cheaper.


* back in 2010, the neurologist who put me on Lyrica had to declare in writing that I also had a depression, and had tried all other meds, otherwise he could not prescribe it to me - no doubt a local quirk.
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