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Hands--Numbness, twitching, weakness muscles cramps

I was a chronic alcoholic for about 10 years, drinking liquor daily. About 2 weeks after I quit cold turkey (went into a year-long rehab), I was hospitalized because the muscles in my upper and lower extremities became so weak that I could not walk or even hold a pen well enough to write. After many tests, I was treated for B-12 deficiency. This was almost 6 years ago, and I now suffer from constant but varying degrees of weakness, numbness, muscle cramps, and fluttering under the skin in my hands, particularly the right one. There have been a couple of times when I've been ill (once with UTI, once with stomach bug) when the symptoms have gotten so extreme that I was again having trouble holding a pen and even climbing stairs (although never as bad as when I was first hospitalized). I have not yet been to a neurologist and I've done some online research. Could these symptoms be caused by permanent peripheral nerve damage due to alcoholism and, if so, is there any treatment available? I don't drink at all anymore. Thank you.
3 Responses
1689801 tn?1333983316
Hi, I am sure a doctor will answer you here soon and of course they know best. But I have been waiting for diagnoses my self, and my neuro at first thought I might have polyneuropathy but that has been ruled out now. Polyneuropathy happens to some peoble with diabetes and some kind of poisoning in their body (like story of drinking much). So maybe you should look into that. I hope you get answers soon.

My best,
Dagun    
Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL

Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I cannot tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

Chronic alcohol abuse can result in permanent peripheral nerve damage, as well as to the central nervous system.  

Some of the neuropathologic consequences of alcohol abuse include generalized brain atrophy, atrophy to the cerebellum (can result in impaired motor control), or damage to the peripheral nerves causing a peripheral neuropathy (may have sensory deficits or weakness).  The results of B12 deficiency due to alcohol abuse can result in damage to the spinal cord, and in severe cases, to the brain.  Alcohol abuse can cause other nutritional deficiencies such as thiamine deficiency which can result in symptoms including impaired memory, visual changes, and lack of muscle coordination.

Although your symptoms may be the result of chronic alcohol use, I would highly recommend that you visit a neurologist for a formal evaluation.  There may be reversible causes for your symptoms, such as a nutritional deficiency, or there may be a cause for your symptoms that is unrelated to your alcohol use.  

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response and information.  I've got an upcoming appointment with my PCP and hope to get a neuro referral from him. Be blessed!

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