Neuropathies from one month of very heavy drinking?

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Hi all, 

I am 46 years old and have been suffering from depression for nearly 18 months following an HIV scare and other issues. 

I have been a moderate, social drinker for 25 years but, as my depression worsened, I turned to self-medication in September and drank very heavily in October (last month).  In particular, I had two binges where, on both occasions, I consumed two bottles of spirits in a 36 hour period, and had detox in hospital both times. 

I have not drunk since then, however, since then I have begun to have pins and needles and numbness in my feet and hands, also in my mouth and around my lips, have constipation, blurred vision and complete loss of libido.  I also get dizzy when I stand up.  My voice is also weak and 

I visited my doctor on Monday this week and he did various tests, including with a reflex hammer, and he said these were normal.  He put it down to my body recovering and anxiety

I am obviously worried.about this.  Could one month of very heavy drinking (after many years of social drinking) cause neuropathic damage? 

Appreciate your comments and help.  Thanks.

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  • Posted

    No, gnnir. A month of drinking wouldn't cause that. If those symptoms don't go away, see your doctor again and ask him to send you to see a neurologist for more investigations.

    There are many things this could be, some of which are not serious. But get it checked out properly.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Paul.

      I reckon I consumed about 500 units of alcohol in October, including the two binges where I probably had 80 or so units on both 36 hour periods.

      It all just seems like too much of a coincidence.

      I do know that a liver function (blood) test just after one of the binges showed that the liver was irritated.

      Are you sure that my very heavy October drinking (after many years of sustained social drinking) would not cause widespread nerve or brain damage?

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    • Posted

      It is very unlikely without another medical condition that could have been exacerbated by the heavy drinking. It may settle down but I would get it checked out anyway.
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  • Posted

    i would listen to your DR i am in recovery since 2005 previous to that i drank heavily for 25 years- i have met many heavy drinkers , in treatment centres etc, neuropathic damage is not top of the list of damage though it does occur-your body had a hell of a shock- drinking at that level when unacustomed is toxic to your body, your liver would have gone into meltdown, the enzymes would be through the roof- then they would return to normal within a couple of weeks if you have been off alcohol- you would be amazed the amount of damage the body can cope with- you may also be reacting or withdrawing from the medication they gave you in detox- your Dr obviously is not worried, he would be the one to listen to. Anxiety can manifest itself in a large number of different ways so again this may well be a contributing factor.
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    • Posted

      Thanks.

      I have made another appointment with the same doctor for one week today on the basis that I have now had these symptoms for nearly 2 weeks and they are not going away.

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    • Posted

      I left a bit out of my opening contribution: my mouth and tongue can't guage the temperature or taste of what I'm eating or drinking.

      It is all quite frightening. 

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  • Posted

    i am sure that must be both uncomfortable and quiet upseting- to be honest i have never heard of symptoms like that and i have been listening to war stories from alcoholics , including some of my own , for twenty years-  thats all i can tell you, i wish i could be of more help-
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    • Posted

      I can't think other than my very heavy drinking in October has been some sort of tipping point and that I have acquired alcoholic polyneuropathy.

      I feel a mixture of sadness, despair and anger with myself for ruining my life.

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    • Posted

      i would  be exteremly suprised, i dont mean to be rude, though your drinking was quite heavey by normal standards, it was over a very short period of time - i personally, i drank over a bottle of whiskey a day - often more- for over ten years- many other people have drunk far more over longer period without developing these symptoms or any other neurological problems- to be honest normally you would expect to develop liver disease or throat cancer and a myriad of other problems before your neuro system is affected-
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    • Posted

      I don't think you are rude and am glad of your contributions. 

      I guess that, while my own fault, my stressed-out body was vulnerable and, while my own fault, I have just been unlucky.

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    • Posted

      I should add that I have only passed motions twice in the last fortnight, and have difficulty starting to urinate and complete urination.
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    • Posted

      On the advice of one of my GPs, I went to the local general hospital's A&E and, after a few tests, they admitted me for observation and scans as, to quote an A&E consultant: "something's not quite right".

      Several doctors and nurses have, however, assured me that one month of heavy drinking and 2 binges would not cause damage to the brain, central nervous system or peripheral nerves, so that's reassuring.

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    • Posted

      I am glad you have done this. It seems they concur with my opinion that these symptoms are not due to a month of heavy drinking. I hope it turns out to be something easily resolved.
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  • Posted

    I am still in hospital and feel physically a bit better

    They did a CT scan today and a doc said it was fine, but they are going to do an MRI scan tomorrow to make sure all is OK.

    I can't question their thoroughness.

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