Other Causes of Neuropathy
Alcohol is not the only cause of neuropathy. In fact, the condition can come from a number of different causes. It’s important to realize that, whatever the primary cause of neuropathy, drinking alcohol contributes to the condition and makes it worse.
Also, it is important that people do not use other conditions as an excuse to keep drinking. This is sometimes called fundamental attribution error.
Diabetes is actually the most common cause of neuropathy in Europe. Diabetes causes neuropathy because high levels of blood sugar cause nerve damage. Drinking is hard on people with diabetes. That means that it’s important to avoid alcohol if you have neuropathy and diabetes.
Another cause of neuropathy is poor diet. Many people with alcohol abuse problems also suffer from a poor diet. That happens because of budget reasons and preference reasons. A poor diet that lacks vitamin B12 or folate can result in peripheral neuropathy.
Neuropathy is also caused by exposure to toxic substances. These substances damage nerve cells in different ways. Insecticides and solvents are a particular issue. This means that people addicted to inhalants, like sniffing glue or paint thinner, are also at risk for neuropathy.
Proper nerve health depends on a balance of salts and chemicals in the blood. These substances are controlled by the kidneys. Therefore, kidney disease can be a source of neuropathy.
No matter what caused a particular person’s neuropathy, drinking makes things worse. Alcohol affects all of the conditions listed above. It prevents the body from effectively filtering out poisons. This can make other things more dangerous.
Alcohol also causes damage to the kidneys. That’s because the kidneys depend on having the right amount of water to function. Alcohol dries the body out. That prevents the kidneys from doing their job properly.
Alcohol also prevents the body from getting proper nutrition. It has this effect for several reasons. First, it damages cells in the stomach. This causes the stomach to produce more acid. That lowers the stomach’s ability to take in vitamins and nutrients. Also, breaking down alcohol requires nutrients. Excessive alcohol consumption drains these nutrient stores, causing deficiencies.