In this thread, Cecil lists a pretty horrific list of symptoms of alcoholism. One detail I didn’t see included . . . just how much drinking are we talking about here?

Depends on a lot of things. I’m a pretty big guy (205lbs.) so it took a lot for me to reach my bodies tipping point. I was a hard drinker, roughly about 6-10 beers or the equivalent per night for about twenty years or so, sometimes more, sometimes less but that was about average.

For the last three years or so before I hit rock bottom I was drinking about a liter of vodka per day, (not a wimpy fifth, a liter) everyday. At that point beer and wine was way too slow for me to get my buzz on.

I’m sure it would take considerably less than that for most people though.
Permanent damage includes some numbness/tingling in my fingers and toes, drinkers nose, short term memory loss, lack of concentration, bouts of heavy sweating for no apparent reason and liver function at about 80% of normal.
Gravitycrash - Sober for 14 months now and lucky to be alive.

How severe is that numbness/tingling, and how long has it been going on?

Some women have shown the physical symptoms of alcohol (liver damage mostly) with as little as two glasses of wine a day over a long period of time. I think its pretty rare - but my sister was apparently one of those that didn’t drink nearly as much as most alcoholics - and therefore had a hard time getting diagnosed. (Of course, she was also probably lying about how much she drank).

Do you have reason to believe that two glasses of wine a day can be problematic other than your sister? I don’t mean to cast aspersions on her, but you did start it. :stuck_out_tongue:

A long time, probably about 5 years before I quit drinking. It has gotten better over the past year but my Doctor says it is probably permanent due to damaged nerve endings.
The severity varied, sometimes almost painful but mostly more annoying than anything. The numbness felt like how your hand feels after you have slept on it too long.

One other thing I forgot to mention was the insane amount of itchiness before and after (that is another lovely symptom of liver damage) I quit drinking. Thankfully that has mostly went away.

It has gotten better over the past year

Ok, that’s good. I experienced the same thing, alcoholic peripheral neuropathy basically. Funny because I never drank very much, only if I was alone or with somebody. I found it got better with abstinence from alcohol, and worse from from resuming drinking. Darn good proof. But there’s another thing worth checking out, I found. Seems that about 50% of diabetics present with peripheral neuropathy. So I got that checked out and i found that although I’m not diabetic, I’m in the waiting room, so to speak, with “impaired glucose tolerance”. And I’ve learned to be wary of sugar, and carbs in general, careful not to overindulge. If I forget to be mindful, I’m reminded by a return of PN symptoms.

There’s three things that my late husband suffered from with regards to the “physical consequences of alcoholism” that Cecil doesn’t mention.

  1. Oesophageal Varices. This was on my husband’s death certificate. Mortality with the first bleed is in the region of 40%; because he kept getting admitted to hospital and patched up, he seemed to think he was immortal. It was the sixth or seventh instance that finally got him. Cecil mentions bleeding ulcers, but this is different, and very, very dangerous. If you are a drinker, and you vomit blood, you call the emergency services right now.

  2. Psoriasis. It’s one of those diseases that has a vague “alcohol may make it worse” tag applied to it. All I know is that on the very rare occasions when he went on the wagon, the psoriasis cleared right up. When he was on a really heavy session, it ran completely out of control, nearing the stage of hospitalisation at one point.

  3. Physical Injury. As physical consequences of alcoholism go, this is probably both the most and least obvious. Being a drunk puts you at much greater risk of physical injury through fights and attacks. Thankfully this never happened to my husband. He made do with falling over drunk in the street, splitting his head open on one occasion, breaking his teeth on another. And the ultimate one, the falling drunk through the glass door into our bathroom. If one of those shards of glass had been a few inches higher, he would have died a year earlier than he did.

Nothing to really add, but this is the funniest thing I have read on the Dope all week—Thank You!!!

(and I am glad things are better for you)

I’ve seen it other places as well and we were told that by doctors at the Mayo Clinic when she was undergoing liver testing.

haha, yw :slight_smile:

and thank you!

B vitamins may help with alcoholic neuropathy.

The ones that are usually recommended for neuropathy are methylcobalamin (a version of B12) and benfotiamine (a version of B1). I’d talk to your doctor about it.

Is there a reason liver damage would cause itchiness? That seems to my layman eyes something that nerve damage would cause, not something the liver would have much effect on.

And congrats to you for staying sober.

Itchiness (in the context of liver damage) seems to be associated with elevated bilirubin, which also gives you - well, not you - the jaundiced look.

Yikes! Pretty gruesome list of symptoms.

This thread makes me think of the old alcoholic joke:

Here. Have a drink.

No thanks. Can’t drink. I break out in spots.

No kidding?

No. No kidding. Jails, courthouses, insane asylums, hospitals.

Which clumsy jest reminds again of a misunderstood concept about alcoholism. It’s not the amount or the type of alcohol one drinks but rather what happens to you when you drink which is a component of the diagnosis.

Individuals vary in tolerance and in consequences, but if the habit is continued, eventually it will kill you. It is a terminal illness.

Oddly enough it continues to exist in its psychological form even during times of abstinence. Hence the high relapse rate.

I don’t know the cause, but itching is also a symptom to autoimmune hepatitis too.

Another omitted disease linked to excessive acohol use is avascular necrosis (AVN).

AVN results in blood loss to bone tissue resulting from a constriction or blockage of capillaries and often occurs in the individual’s long bones (e.g. femurs). The result is often a collapsed femoral head requiring a hip transplant. Ouch.

The pharmocokinetics of what happens in alcoholism is this: up-regulation of dopamine receptors. Alcohol binds to dopamine receptors in the body but doesn’t activate them, much like a key that will fit in a lock but the teeth are wrong and therefore won’t turn the cylinder. The body realizes something is wrong and adds more dopamine receptors. That’s why overtime, it takes more alcohol to get a buzz. Thing is when you suddenly shut off the alcohol supply, the dopamine receptors don’t realize this and take up all that extra dopamine. This raises blood pressure to dangerous levels; we use dopamine drips in Intensive Care Units to artificially raise blood pressure of someone in severe shock. But another effect is this, people with schizophrenia have severly high dopamine levels. This induces hallucinations, paranoia, and other associated symptoms. Then as the dopamine receptors and levels struggle to re-regulate, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can set in, not the disease itself but the symptoms as the disease results from dopamine levels that are too low.

Quite. And it can happen even in the very short term. I’m not a drinker (or very rarely) but when my gallbladder decided it wanted to come out and play, apparently things got backed up into the liver, which caused bile salts to build up in the extremities (the term for the backup is cholestasis, I believe), and it was by and far the worst part of the whole experience, worse than the pain. Nothing helped it. If I were told I’d have to live with that long-term, I’d consider shooting myself.

I did not have visible jaundice, actually, though bloodwork and urine both showed it was happening.