Nerve damage is the common term for a medical condition called neuropathy. Alcohol damages normal nerve function when it accumulates inside your body, and anyone who sustains heavy alcohol intake for extended periods of time can develop especially serious forms of nerve damage.
Doctors refer to nerve damage that results from excessive alcohol intake as alcoholic neuropathy.
In most cases, people who develop alcoholic neuropathy have been active alcoholics for at least 10 years. However, in some cases, the disorder occurs in people who drink heavily for shorter periods of time.
Symptoms of motor nerve damage can include muscle cramps, muscle pain, muscle twitching, partial or complete loss of normal muscle control, and the development of certain movement-related problems that qualify as their own separate disorders. These symptoms typically appear in the upper and/or lower extremities (arms, legs, hands, or feet).
Treatment for alcoholic peripheral neuropathy may include Vitamin B-12 injections, certain oral medications to ease any burning pain, topical ointments, magnetic therapy, and galvanic stimulation (which is the therapeutic use of electric current, particularly for stimulation of nerves and muscle). Early diagnosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy is important, because the peripheral nerves have a limited capacity to regenerate, and treatment may only stop the progression - not reverse damage.