Once the alcohol problem has been addressed, treatment goals include:
- Controlling symptoms
- Maximizing ability to function independently
- Preventing injury
It is important to supplement the diet with vitamins, including thiamine and folic acid.
Physical therapy and orthopedic appliances (such as splints) may be needed to make sure muscle function and limb position are maintained.
Medicines may be needed to treat pain or uncomfortable sensations. Because persons with alcoholic neuropathy have alcohol dependence problems, they are advised to take the least amount of medicine needed to reduce symptoms to help prevent drug dependence and other side effects of chronic use.
Positioning or the use of a bed frame that keeps the covers off the legs may reduce pain for some people.
Light-headedness or dizziness when standing up (orthostatic hypotension) may require several different treatments before finding one that successfully reduces symptoms. Treatments that may help include:
- Wearing compression stockings
- Eating extra salt
- Sleeping with the head elevated
- Using medicines
Bladder problems may be treated with:
- Manual expression of urine
- Intermittent catheterization (male or female)
Impotence, diarrhea, constipation, or other symptoms are treated when necessary. These symptoms often respond poorly to treatment in people with alcoholic neuropathy.
It is important to protect body parts with reduced sensation from injury. This may include:
- Checking the temperature of bath water to prevent burns
- Changing footwear
- Frequently inspecting the feet and shoes to reduce injury caused by pressure or objects in the shoes
- Guarding the extremities to prevent injury from pressure
Alcohol must be stopped to prevent the damage from getting worse. Treatment for alcoholism may include counseling or social support such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or taking medicines.