Alcohol is toxic to skeletal muscles in a dose-dependent way. Alcoholics often suffer from malnutrition, which adds to the chronic changes in muscles. Chronic myopathy can be found in 40 to 60 per cent of alcohol-dependent patients.(2,9) Pathophysiological mechanisms of muscle damage include alterations in membrane fluidity, ion channels and pumps, as well as protein synthesis and hormonal dysfunction. Patients complain of pain and weakness. Swelling of the muscle can be easily detected. In chronic states, muscle atrophy is evident. There is no acute treatment for alcoholic myopathy other than abstinence, when acute myopathy can rapidly disappear; chronic myopathy usually only improves, leaving persistent weaknesses.

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