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Alcohol & withdrawal syndrome

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squirrel

See also:  Beer

_________________

 

had a family get together tonight felt my usual tense and anxious state, so had a couple of drinks and felt like my old self again.i was eating and enjoying my food was talking to people, did not feel tense or agitated. was so nice to feel relaxed again. But i suppose I will pay for it tomorrow !

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Maybe

Hey Squirrel,

 

I may be wrong, but doesn't that sound more like a mental problem rather than a direct wd issue? This surely may have come from taking an ad, but isn't it possible to use therpay to help you with that now?

 

But nonetheless, great that you felt normal again after such a long time :)

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ajay

Hi Squirrel!

 

Great that you got a bit of a break. How are you doing today?

I know what you mean about the alcohol. If I have a glass of wine, I'll feel better for the evening, and go right to sleep, but then my anxiety levels go through the roof later. Which is a bummer because I really like a nice glass of wine.

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alexjuice

If I make these assumptions

 

1. Benzodiazepines limit my Ad w/d

2. Modulation of benzos created havoc that I have not (am not) recovering from at present benzo dosages.

3. I could possible further limit my w/d -- reduce symptoms -- by increasing benzo dosages (disregarding other considerations)

4. Increased benzos are undesirable

5. Alcohol can, roughly, stand in for benzos

 

Can I not make a case for this:

 

6. Adding small vloume of relatively low carb, diluted alcohol (vodka or scotch) may improve symptoms through the same neuro-mechanism that benzos do.

7. Significant benefit from alcohol would argue for increasing benzos or drinking alcohol for current symptoms alleviation. (disregarding down-the-road considerations)

 

I'm not advocating, here. I'm just posting some assumptions.

 

Choices will soon have to be made. Everything is on the table.

 

Alex.i

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Altostrata

I think self-medicating with alcohol is fairly risky. Alcohol affects so many systems in the body. I'd stay away from it.

 

Plus, would there not be some self-beating-up for falling off the wagon?

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alexjuice

I think self-medicating with alcohol is fairly risky. Alcohol affects so many systems in the body. I'd stay away from it.

 

Plus, would there not be some self-beating-up for falling off the wagon?

 

Well, I feel more anxious and more benzo-type symptoms today. Left hand super tingly, that's a big tip off.

 

A mistake, yea. Not self-beating too much though because, for an 'alcoholic', the reassurance I got from leaving half a drink on the table outweighs the disappointment I feel in losing the streak of continuous sobriety.

 

But some beating up still. I wasn't thinking too clearly yesterday. And I feel pretty crappy right now. All sweaty, headache, socially uncomfortable... Vodka wasn't a good idea, even at 3/4 of an oz or whatever.

 

Alex.i

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drb

Hello people-

On David Healy's blog there's a post by Anne-Marie:

http://davidhealy.org/out-of-my-mind-driven-to-drink

In this she explains, in short, that SSRI-medications

(paroxetine, citalopram for her part) can cause

intense craving for alcohol in a person who earlier

had not had an alcohol problem.

 

How common is this problem?

 

How have people come to grips with it?

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alexjuice

Hello people-

On David Healy's blog there's a post by Anne-Marie:

http://davidhealy.org/out-of-my-mind-driven-to-drink

In this she explains, in short, that SSRI-medications

(paroxetine, citalopram for her part) can cause

intense craving for alcohol in a person who earlier

had not had an alcohol problem.

 

How common is this problem?

 

Hello drb,

 

I've got personal experience in the matter. I was a non-drinker, unappreciative of the effects or side effects of alcohol as a teen. In my early 20s, while on SSRIs, I became an alcohol abuser, eventually attending addiction rehabs on several occasions over multiple years.

 

Because many with social anxiety turn to alcohol to cope with social situations, the true nature of my alcoholic drinking was obscured. Of course, the situation contained other complications but, for a variety of reasons the possibilty of psych meds influencing the drinking was never considered. Not even by me.

 

I took Lexapro (escitalopram) manufactured by a company called Forrest Labs, now a Pfizer subsidiary. At the time, alcohol abuse was not listed as a side effect by the manufacturer. Last I talked to a rep at Forrest, they do not acknowledge a connection. And that's a bunch of baloney and the poor guy on the phone with me choose his words very, very carefully on the matter.

 

GSK, maker of Paxil (paroxetine) acknowledges alcohol abuse as a documented side effect. I believe they list it in the 'uncommon' category neither 'common' nor 'rare'. An uncommon side effect according to GSK, and my memory, should occur in 1 in 100 or fewer users... so it is quite uncommon... If you are happy to take GSK's interpretation as gospel truth which I am not.

 

I've read accounts of psychiatrist's noticing this connectionin their own practices. I don't recall the specific authors, but remember one doc noticed this effect occurred frequently enough that he started vigilantly monitoring patients for any unusual compulsive behavior (usually expressed as alcohol/drugs/sex/spending) in the first months after initiation.

 

On lexapro I found alcohol very powerful and euphoric. I ended up in rehab multiple times. In 2008 I was switched from Lexapro to Effexor and. though I endeavored to stay sober, sometimes I gave in to temptation. On Effexor I found it easier to sometimes stop after a few drinks, though most frequently drinking to significant excess, and noticed the alcohol lacked some kick.

 

When I discontinued Effexor (too quickly) I felt terrible. I tried to drink the w/d away. I discovered, shockingly, that no euphoria arrived at all. I drank many times in the first 6 months of discontinuation. I rarely had more than one drink, often not finishing the one. Alcohol felt like it had when I was a teenager; I didn't really like it much. I realized perhaps I was never alcoholic. Talk about a shock...

 

Anyway, I realized drinking alcohol in any capacity wasn't helpful so I suspended the activity, satisfied that at the very least something was different.

 

For over a year I was totally abstinent without any cravings. In August 2011 I ordered an alcoholic drink -- partly to test 'alcoholism' and partly to test a reflux problem -- and I didn't care to finish the drink. I was still not an alcoholic. On December 3rd, out late at a coffeeshop/bar I ordered a drink for kicks and to test. I lost interest halfway through and left half a glass on the table. I've not had a drink or a craving to drink since Dec 3.

 

Between 2000 and 2010, while on psych Drugs, I drank hundreds of times, 90+% of the time drinking more than 6 six drinks, frequently exceeding 10, even 20 drinks or more. Since early 2010 I've had alcohol probably 20 times and only exceeded two drinks once.

 

I was written off as an alcoholic and a drug addict. I made friends and got 'sober' with other alcoholics. They can't fathom how I so easily stopped drinking (and drug use) without using 12 steps or antabuse or whatever. I've explained the connection to SSRIs, but they can't understand it.

 

I still frequently talk to a couple guys who struggle with cravings like I used to. It's odd to hear this now, and remember how I used to be that way too.

 

Today substance abuse has no allure and I contemplate it as often as I contemplate gathering up all my money and favorite things -- and lighting them on fire.

 

For about 10 years, I was an alcoholic and drug addict by side effect. At the end of it all, I had lost about everything to drinking and drugging only to then discover I wasn't even a true alcoholic.

 

How have people come to grips with it?

 

With which part? The not drinking? Well, it's pretty easy when you don't crave the drink. The tragic destruction of finances, reputation, body and spirit from years of 'phony alcoholism'? I don't know how you come to grips with it. Slowly, I suppose. You put the pieces of your life back to together, one by one as best you can. Cope with the anger and shock as best you can with the support of others who know what it's like. Try to speak openly of your experience to benefit those otherwise next-in-line, if you are able to do so.

 

Drinking, drugging, risk-taking, suicidality, violent outburts... there are reports of drugs causing 'out of character' behavior of all sorts. It's just a part of the tragedy. For a lot of people the side effects of taking the drugs is the hardest part, since afterwards it becomes clear that none of the wreckage needed to occur and it wasn't the 'real' you driving those decisions.

 

Still the real and unmedicated you will live on with the traumas, memories, consequences and "unfair" circumstances of the complusivity.

 

In the end though, the past is the past and we hope to move on and live positive, healthy lives in the future. At least, that is the plan. The positivity part being maybe easier to come to than the health.

 

Alex

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alexjuice

I hope that Alex will weigh in on this -

There has been discussion of carbohydrate and sugar craving on SSRIs also -

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1667-cravings-advice-sought/page__pid__20641#entry20641

 

Just FYI

 

Yes, I believe this falls into my niche. I never would have dreamed, say in high school, that I'd be sharing my experiences with phony addiction.

 

"Oh the places you'll GO!"

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Jemima

I tapered off 10 mg. of Lexapro over a four month period, and that was way too fast. My doctor's advice, when I was down to 2.5 mg. was to take it every other day, which I did for two weeks, and then quit. The first two months of withdrawal were horrible, mostly due to insomnia and a great deal of irritability in the mornings. After reading the section regarding sleeping problems under 'Symptoms and What Helps', I realized both were symptoms of elevated Cortisol. After making the bedroom as dark as possible and getting a sleep mask, I was finally able to sleep and withdawal symptoms have been improving ever since.

 

One thing that strikes me about the alcohol craving is that many people on antidepressants are also put on a benzo for sleep, and benzos most definitely create a craving for alcohol. According to what Dr. Peter Breggin has to say about them, the benzos actually set a person up for alcoholism. (I wish I had bookmarked the article, but apparently I didn't.)

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drb

thank you!

would make sense to "collect" these non-pharmaceutical methods/approaches to the havoc that the process of getting off a medication very often wreaks

could even be done not only intuitively but also rationally though i would not be surprised to discover that each such method is related to various factors that are known to be important in tapering

like sleep hygiene, high quality food supply, regular fun exercise, no alcohol etc

so we should probably not only keep this (or a similarly purposed) list in mind while planning but also collect and share the creative "tweaks" to the list (like your optimizing darkness for sleep)

drb

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alexjuice

One thing that strikes me about the alcohol craving is that many people on antidepressants are also put on a benzo for sleep, and benzos most definitely create a craving for alcohol. According to what Dr. Peter Breggin has to say about them, the benzos actually set a person up for alcoholism. (I wish I had bookmarked the article, but apparently I didn't.)

 

In my case, i've been on both a benzo and an antidepressant (alcoholic drinking). An antidepressant (different AD) plus other meds but no benzo (alcoholic drinking but a little less so). And finally on benzos with no AD (and no other meds)-- alcoholism CURED! Rejoice another Christmas miracle!!

 

Its complicated because i've probably experienced a lot of effects from all these meds. I can certainly see how benzos can lead to drinking, benzo reductions led to increased cravings for sure for me. And it's a fair bet that just being on benzos at all played a role in the beginning. I have some reasons to think this based on my benzo dosing habits and my drinking habits. But it also clearly wasn't solely the benzos, again in my case.

 

I take a good dose of benzos going on two years and don't struggle with any cravings and the two times I drank any alcohol in the last 20 months (again on benzos, no AD) I didn't much care for the alcohol and left both drinks unfinished.

 

I don't think there are definitive conclusions to be taken from my case, except that some % of alcoholism is 'phony', an effect of psychiatric medication fooling around with the couriers in your brain and causing havoc.

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Barbarannamated

This is a topic very personal to me. I left a comment.

 

Excellent comment, Alex.

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Barbarannamated

Trying to find the original publication of this article by Ann Blake Tracy.

 

http://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/5023-alcohol-cravings-induced-via-increased-serotonin/

 

Alcohol Cravings Induced via Increased Serotonin by Ann Blake Tracy, Director, ICFDA

 

There is an alarming connection between alcoholism and the various prescription drugs that increase serotonin. The most popular of those drugs are: PROZAC, ZOLOFT, PAXIL, LUVOX, SERZONE, EFFEXOR, ANAFRANIL, and the new diet pills, FEN-PHEN and REDUX. For seven years numerous reports have been made by reformed alcoholics (some for 15 years and longer) who are being "driven" to alcohol again after being prescribed one of these drugs. And many other patients who had no previous history of alcoholism have continued to report an "overwhelming compulsion" to drink while using these drugs.

 

(A few personal accounts: #1 A young woman, a recovering alcoholic, reported that during the eight month period she had been using Prozac she found it necessary to attend AA meetings every day in order to fight off the strong compulsions to begin drinking again. #2 In the Southeastern United States a middle aged psychologist, also a recovering alcoholic, after being prescribed Prozac, found herself needing to attend AA meetings morning, noon, and night to keep from destroying the sobriety she had achieved. #3 A young father, who was Mormon and had never before in his life used alcohol, found himself drinking Ever Clear and exhibiting bizarre as well as violent behavior, after being prescribed Prozac and Ritalin. #4 A young mother who had never used alcohol before began drinking large amounts within weeks of being prescribed Prozac and quickly found herself committed to a mental institution due to the psychotic behavior that resulted. Added to her Prozac prescription were anti-psychotic meds and electric shock treatments. She then began to experience seizures and was started on anti-seizure meds. #5 A concerned neighbor reported her friend was drinking straight Vodka on a regular basis after being prescribed Zoloft. #6 A daughter reported her father, sober for 15 years, began drinking again on Prozac. The consistant report from these patients has been an "overwhelming craving or compulsion" for alcohol.)

 

For some time we did not have specific medical documentation to help us understand why this was happening. Could it be that Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc., being mood altering substances, were removing the inhibitions that individuals had placed upon themselves to stop their additions? But beyond this mood altering effect of Prozac, etc., there seemed to be a physiological cause for this alcoholic obsession as well. There were reports of people who rarely drank before Prozac, etc., consuming excessive amounts of alcohol after starting usage of these various drugs. For example we have the case of a young newly wed in Southern Utah who was given Prozac for a hormonal imbalance. Before that time she would have two or three social drinks a year, yet soon after being prescribed Prozac she began bringing alcohol home by the case. Many similar reports followed.

 

Could it be that because these drugs have such a strong adverse effect upon the pancreas [Manufacturer's warnings include such side effects as hypoglycemia, diabetes and pancreatitis.]they are producing a potent disruption in the body's blood sugar balance? This would in turn cause a "craving" for alcohol as the body reaches out for a "quick fix" to raise the blood sugar level thus triggering a vicious self-perpetuating cycle as the alcohol pushes the blood sugar level even lower after the brief high it produces. This means that those suffering a tendency toward alcoholism or any other blood sugar disorder would suffer the most disastrous repercussions of Prozac, etc., (including psychosis, suicidal ideation and violence) much faster than most. Patient reports support this conclusion.

 

In November of 1994 Yale published a study that gave us one answer to the alcohol cravings associated with these drugs. The study demonstrated that an increase in brain levels of either of two neurotransmitters (brain hormones), serotonin or noradrenalin, produces: #1 a craving for alcohol, #2 anger, #3 anxiety. They found this to be especially true for those who have a history of alcoholism. All of the drugs listed above are designed in one way or another to increase serotonin which in turn also increases noradrenalin. Anyone who has a history of alcoholism should heed the warning contained in these reports. And anyone who has developed a problem with alcoholism while using these drugs deserves answers as to why they have experienced such an overwhelming compulsion to drink.

 

America already has an estimated 10 -15 million alcoholics. To increase that number with a reaction from prescription drugs which causes a compulsion to drink is a tragedy! What a sad state of affairs that drugs which are actually being promoted as a treatment for alcoholism have the potential to create alcohol craving behavior. This is not only frightening, but absurd. It is heart-rending to listen to those who have had years of sobriety destroyed almost overnight or those who have never touched alcohol before Prozac, yet began drinking compulsively due to a medication prescribed by doctors unfamiliar with this connection. By chemically inducing an overwhelming urge to drink this effect also causes patients to mix alcohol with these powerful drugs. When alcohol and drugs are combined, one can compound the effects of the other so the resulting impairment is far worse than if the two were taken separately...even small amounts, mixed with some medicines, will deaden your senses or change your perceptions which can lead to psychotic behavior, seizures, etc. Those in this situation need to be made aware that they are not alone, and that this is a common report which is now substantiated by medical documentation. They also need to understand that it is possible to very gradually withdraw from these drugs and overcome these adverse drug reactions.

 

SORUCE:- References for this material: Krystal JH, Webb; E, Cooney N.; et al., "Specificity of Ethanol-like Effects Elicited in Serotonergic and Noradrenergic Mechanisms," ARCHIVES OF GENERAL PSYCHIATRY, Vol. 51, Issue 11, pgs 898-911. (This is the Yale study mentioned above.)

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alexjuice

It is on her site, excerpted from a book she wrote. The book is Prozac: Panacea or Pandora and is available on her site as well.

 

I've never read it, the book. I've seen this article before. It was the first thing I found when I started to suspect that my ADs influenced my alcohol cravings. It was difficult to find this time around.

 

http://www.drugawareness.org/prozac-panacea-or-pandora/ssris-and-alcohol

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Narcissus

Had a few drinks on Friday and I've dearly paid for it the past two days. I wonder when I'll be able to drink again?

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Skyler

Had a few drinks on Friday and I've dearly paid for it the past two days. I wonder when I'll be able to drink again?

I had a couple of drinks on my sixty-fifth birthday and there was a significant tinnitus uptick (my primary withdrawal symptom). Bad move but kinda human.

 

We can't drink until we are off this crap.. that said, a very occasional cheat will not upset our boat, but there will be a price. Alcohol is not good as long as we are tapering.

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Altostrata

Being a psychoactive substance, alcohol throws another possibly destabilizing factor into recovering from withdrawal.

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dalsaan

my sleep turns really bad when I drink alcohol

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Skyler

It sure does Alto... Being a psychoactive substance, alcohol throws another possibly destabilizing factor into recovering from withdrawal.

And not only is it psychoactive, but it acts on many of the same receptors. I give in maybe 3 times a year for a couple of drinks, the last time not so good as that particular BD hit kinda hard. I paid the price and it cost me better than 2 weeks extra hold time, maybe even 3. I can't imagine how it would be for someone who is a regular drinker and not able to stop... I don't think they would be able to stabilize. Makes me shudder.

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Narcissus

I am a regular drinker, although I've stopped over the past three to four months because of my withdrawal. I drank the other night and the effect wasn't even pleasant. There was none of the euphoria I normally get from drinking, just a weird voided feeling in my head. I get this feeling sometimes during my withdrawal, but this was specifically triggered by the alcohol, as it started within half an hour of my first drink. After two hours or so I had a very strong craving for starchy/fatty foods even though I've almost completely removed these foods from my diet and no longer even really enjoy them. I had similar cravings during the peak of my withdrawal two to three months ago, but they've since then disappeared. Three to four drinks, however, and these cravings were back with a vengeance. I felt drained and miserable for three days afterward, though today I think I'm more or less recovered. I don't know exactly what's going on neurologically when I drink (besides just more destabilization as you say Alto), but it's obviously no good.

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annelle

Hello!

 

I have had the opposite exerience - it has helped me somewhat with regard to abstain from alcohol to take SSRI's - and almost the second I stopped taking Cipralex after a too quick taper, I had a relapse of alcohol abuse after 7 years of being sobre - I felt like it could just not be helped, I had to have some alcohol, and did have some - I had 7 days of drinking too heavily, and that was it - after that I have had no urge to drink, although I still feel terrible with withdrawal symptoms 7 months after quitting Cipralex too quickly (Just reinstated on a low dosage a week ago, though in order to try to ease my withdrawal symptoms)

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alexjuice

Hello Annelle,

 

Thanks for sharing your experience. I think it's interesting, but not that shocking, that you had the opposite effect. In a number of areas the SSRIs can overaffect function in either direction depending on the patient. For instance, some people have trouble sleeping on the ADs while others have trouble waking. Some react with mania others go into depressions so serious that the suicides may result.

 

Did you take any pyschiatric medication for longer than seven years?

 

Alex

 

PS - Hang in there, annelle. As time passes you'll find your bearings!

 

Hello!

 

I have had the opposite exerience - it has helped me somewhat with regard to abstain from alcohol to take SSRI's - and almost the second I stopped taking Cipralex after a too quick taper, I had a relapse of alcohol abuse after 7 years of being sobre - I felt like it could just not be helped, I had to have some alcohol, and did have some - I had 7 days of drinking too heavily, and that was it - after that I have had no urge to drink, although I still feel terrible with withdrawal symptoms 7 months after quitting Cipralex too quickly (Just reinstated on a low dosage a week ago, though) in order to try to ease my withdrawal symptoms)

 

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annelle

Hi Alexejice!

Thanks for the encouragement! It is all about patience, I think.

 

The way I see my relapse with alcohol is that I fell into a deeply depressed mood after quitting Cipralex, and wanted to self-medicate with alcohol - which is what I have done earlier in my life. Depression, low self-esteem, insecurity - I always used alcohol to help myself feel better - until I finally said stop in 2005.

 

Yes, I have been taking different SSRI's for appr 10 years, and also taken benzodiazepines fairly consistently for about 10 years, until I also stopped that, shortly after I stopped drinking alcohol - often I used benzos to 'heal' after drinking too much for around a week or so.

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annelle

Hi Alexejice - and everyone else!

 

I just wanted to follow up on the subject of ssri and alcohol cravings - I have always thought that the ssri's helped with regard to staying sober - helped me fight the impulse to drink - and I thought the this was proved to me by the fact that I had about 4 days of 'needing' to drink alcohol upon my quitting Cipralex almost cold turkay - that is to say after a very - too - quick - taper last fall.

 

But now I have experienced maybe the opposite - and maybe the same thing that you, Alexejice, experienced - that upon reinstating at a very low dose - 2,5, going down to 2 mg - that I again have an urge to drink alcohol - which I have had not for some time prior to quitting Cipralex last fall - 7 years sober which made me happy and proud.

 

Now I am confused - It seems that too little and too much Cipralex - any change up or down, I guess - is not good for me with regard to alcohol, maybe because I am genetically predisposed to drinking.

 

I just wondered if I should stay on this dose - 2 mg of Cipralex - and it will stabilize also with regard to alcohol - do you, Alexejice, who have personal experience with this - or anybody else have any suggestions or generally thoughts about this?

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annelle

Hello again

 

maybe I shoud add that I had a rather traumatic experience - a funeral - a few days ago - which probably triggered something - but I do not think that it would have given me the urge to drink alcohol - or I would have been able to fight it - for for instance a year ago, when I was relatively stable on 10 mg of Cipralex - any comments will be appreciated :)

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alexjuice

Hi annelle,

 

I'm sorry you are going through so much. It's my humble opinion that a lot of psychiatric medication can spin one around in all sorts of ways that really confuse the issue.

 

I think it's important for you to assess your likelihood of alcohol relapse and make sure you re-establish the support system around you to decrease the chances of drinking. It sounds like you've worked hard and accomplished a serious accomplishment -- 7 years -- so fpr right now I'd focus on maintaing that.

 

I don't know if you go to meetings or support groups ... That might be helpful right now.

 

If I were you, Id keep at it and try to research as best you can and hang in there. It's really important to not take risks right now, believe me. Drinking alcoholically would add yet another variable and is likely to really muck things up. Again, if I were you, I'd realize I'm in a fragile situation and be extremely proactive about addressing relapse or anything else that can monkey wrench the recoverry process.

 

Will the cravings remit? I only talk from my own experience and I never noticed the effect of SSRIs on alcohol until AFTER I WAS OFF OF THEM and I never had to re-start ... So I don't know if your cravings will diminish as you adjust to the reinstatement.

 

Do you think they are resolving? Getting worse?

 

Alex

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annelle

Hello Alexejice!

 

Thank you so much for your response - it always helps to hear from someone who knows what you are going through from personal experience.

 

I think maybe you are right that it will be a good idea to be proactive with regard to alcohol cravings - I am considering going to a counsellor like I did 8-9 years ago, which helped me stop drinking.

 

I feel that the craving is over for now - now that I have had time to process things - the funeral of a very old friend - that triggered it - but I am aware that it may return at some point - also because I am very sensitive to stress right now - I suppose that is part of the withdrawal syndrome.

 

I am still hoping that the cravings will level out with the reinstatement mg Cipralex - I am now taking 2 mg oral drops. But as you say, it may not - so I will try to stay very alert to any cravings 'sneaking' up on me.

 

Were your cravings related to stressful life events, too?

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alexjuice

I am still hoping that the cravings will level out with the reinstatement mg Cipralex - I am now taking 2 mg oral drops. But as you say, it may not - so I will try to stay very alert to any cravings 'sneaking' up on me.

 

Were your cravings related to stressful life events, too?

 

Hi annelle,

 

I think you're doing great so far, so keep up the good work.

 

I am sure stress played a large part in my desire to drink. Drug use (alcohol is a drug) was an escape for me, like it is for most people. I started drinking to cope with side effects of medication and effects of anxiety. As time went on, I drank more to escape the misery of daily life and sometimes in response to difficult days or news.

 

I did have some cravings early in withdrawal but they've resolved entirely. I don't struggle with temptation to drink alcohol excessively any more than I struggle with cravings to crash my car into a tree or any other self-destructive activity that will put me further from my recovery goals.

 

Hang in there.

 

Alex

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annelle

Hi Alex,

 

I just want to run a few things by you, because you are the only person I know on this site who has had problems with alcohol cravings.

 

Today I had a visit from my vest friend, and it was nice, but for some reason I could not relax and enjoy our conversation. I felt stressed out and emotional.

 

Even when she was still here, I was thinking to myself that I really needed to drink some alcohol - maybe to take the pressure of - but I did not say or do anything about it.

 

When she left, I could not resist drinking some alcohol, but felt very bad about it - guilty.

 

Now I would like to ask you: As I feel this is very much related to reinstating AD (escitalopram) on May 18, I wonder if that maybe reinstating was a mistake. I really hate 'having to' drink alcohol, but feel like I can't help it.

 

But the problem is, i suppose, that now, once I have started taking escitalopram, I can't just stop again, even if it is causing me to relapse with alcohol. I still have to taper very slowly (app 10%) do i not, even if it is making me drink more than I would actually really like?

 

Do you have any thoughts? I am going to see a counsellor that I saw earlier 7 years ago with good results, but I am afraid it will not work as long I am still taking the AD.

 

I would appreciate any comments from you -  and others reading this.

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annelle

Hi again,

 

I meant to say 'best friend' and not 'vest friend' lol!

 

I was wondering if you had any thoughts as to whether certain antidepressants are more alcohol craving inducing than others? Or are they all the same in this regard? Or maybe it is an individual thing.

 

Which AD were you on when your SSRI related cravings started, do you remember?

 

Thanks

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alexjuice

Lexapro was much worse than Effexor for me in regards to alcohol abuse.

 

While taking Lexapro I also took Zoloft, Remeron, Wellbutrin and other medications and these additional medications may also have influenced the drinking. I noticed a major drop in alcohol cravings and over drinking when I changed to Effexor, which I was only on for about a year and during that time I was trying to abstain from alcohol...

 

For me the effect of alcohol was more noticeable than the cravings. When I wasn't on an antidepressant, alcohol was okay. On antidepressants alcohol was a euphoric release than I couldn't resist.

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annelle

Hi Alex,

 

thanks for responding.

 

It is very interesting to me, because it was actually while I was on Effexor that I was able to stop drinking alcohol. I was taking the 'delayed release' variant.

 

Now, on escitalopram (Cipralex) it has been very difficult - I had strong alcohol cravings tapering escitalopram, even appr 2 weeks before quitting completely. And now after reinstating I have been having and still am have strong cravings for alcohol. I would say, though, that the strongest cravings were after quitting completely last fall. But I am still struggling with wanting to drink now appr 1 month after reinstating. That is why I am wondering if maybe I should not have reinstated? I realize that there have been some triggers - but I think that I would have been able to resist alcohol before quitting escitalopram, since I have been able to for appr 7 years, and there were some triggers in those 7 years, including the the death of my father.

 

But even that is true, I still have to taper very very slowly, right? Not stop cold turkey even if I feel the drug is hurting me with regard to alcohol cravings?

 

Thanks!

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