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Can alcohol use cause a full-blown neurological problem?


Can alcohol use cause a full-blown neurological problem?

Old 12-22-2016, 08:42 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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Can alcohol use cause a full-blown neurological problem?

Hi guys,

Forgive me if this isn't the right place for this question - and I'm glad to have finally signed up!

Three years ago, I began experiencing some strange symptoms, such as dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), a feeling of weakness/shakiness and muscle twitching that began in the immediate aftermath of a three day drinking session.

Unfortunately, although they settled down a lot, the symptoms never really fully went away. After I brought them to the attention of my doctor, I/we assumed them to be some sort of neurological illness and began down a diagnostic process that has so far proved unsuccessful.

I recently began to wonder if there was a connection between alcohol and my symptoms after I started noticing that they became worse (particularly the hand tremor) after each bout of binging ( of note: I don't really drink besides these 'nights out' with friends which usually occur every second weekend).

Because I have a blood test that could point to a neuromuscular condition (my creatine kinase, which is a muscle enzyme, is slightly elevated), and doctors have generally given me the impression that this is what I like have, I have always been working under the assumption that this is my problem and that, if I persist with the docs, it will finally be diagnosed with something to explain what I'm experiencing.

As the post-drinking exacerbations became more obvious to me recently, I found myself on SR and learned about PAWS and the kindling effect, which is significantly worse in binge drinkers than it is in traditional alcoholics.

Has anyone heard of a comparable situation to mine? Is it too far of a stretch to think that something that mimics a neurological condition could simply be the result of acute withdrawals and some kind of damage produced from that from that as well as PAWS? I realize that we're not doctors, and can't give each other medical advice, but I thought that somebody might have a comparable experience.

Simply for my health, I have stopped drinking altogether a month ago, but I would be interested to hear if anybody has any thoughts about the above.
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Old 12-22-2016, 09:56 AM
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The best thing to do is remain sober. It takes quite a while for the central nervous system to heal...so - patience.

Were you honest with your medical team about how much you drank?
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Old 12-22-2016, 12:46 PM
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Yup, I was honest (and kind of surprised that nobody gave me a lecture about it, to be honest).

One doctor did ask me to not drink for a month before running bloods to see if I felt any better and if it affected the muscle enzymes.

Neither improved, unfortunately. Also none of my medical testing has ever pointed to anything obviously caused by alcohol (ie liver enzymes, etc, have always been normal).

This is probably an impossible question to answer, but how long is long?
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Old 12-22-2016, 03:43 PM
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I don't really know how long it will take for you.

I felt quite a bit better by three/four months. It took me a year until my annoying "best friend" anxiety was gone, but still I handled everything better without alcohol. I consider anxiety a CNS issue. It took over two years until all my noticeable neuro symptoms disappeared completely. I didn't go to the doctor for any of them, I've had enough doctoring prior to getting sober and I really didn't want to take any pharmaceuticals to get through early sobriety, so I was on zero drugs. I'm still drug-free. (Well, except caffeine.)

I think staying sober is the best thing. The healing is gradual. You'll get better or you won't - but at least you'll be giving your body the best shot at health.
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Old 12-22-2016, 05:33 PM
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I felt better at three months sober, and by six months, was feeling much better. It takes a while to heal the damage we've done to ourselves. Give yourself six months sober at least to see if your symptoms get any better.
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Old 12-22-2016, 06:38 PM
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Factoring likely years of abuse, it can take months for things to clear up. Alcohol brings havoc to everything in the body. I'd give it another month or two clean, then see how things are going from there.
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Old 12-23-2016, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
I consider anxiety a CNS issue. It took over two years until all my noticeable neuro symptoms disappeared completely.
Wow! So when I gave up at the one month mark, I was really quitting early.
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Old 12-23-2016, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Forward12 View Post
Factoring likely years of abuse
Correct. About six years from the point I started drinking until now.
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:56 PM
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I have these issues too. Extremely severe social anxiety, agoraphobia, paranoia. I'm sure it will take awhile to clear up, but should get better. Trying to be optimistic. I've been drinking heavily for over ten years, but recently quit. Thanks for all the posts guys.
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Old 01-18-2017, 06:00 PM
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Hang on, DesertTraveler. I really believed I was going to get better. I think there is immense power in taking recovery into your own hands and really diving into your issues - whatever they are.

It does get better, and it does take time. There is so much info out there to help with whatever you are struggling with.

I would add hallucinations and vertigo, PTSD, insomnia and depression to your list. At least those were part of my experience.
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Old 03-28-2017, 12:07 PM
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Ive experienced dizziness to the point of absolute nausea. i know my alcoholism has just GOT to have had awful effects on my body. its got to be...I seriously abused alcohol to no end, recklessly. I also suffer from numbness and tremors in different areas. i believe my alcoholism caused me permanant damage.
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:42 PM
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Look up alcoholic neuropathy
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:59 PM
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I'm having residual walking and balance issues, plus some VERY mild memory issues. I'm 8 1/2 months sober. Hopefully they will continue to improve. All of the symptoms are pretty minor. I'm doing balancing exercises and seeing some improvement. It does feel like the residual symptoms are still improving. Give it some time.

Hand shakiness and muscle twitching after a long binge could very well be withdrawal symptoms. Again, give it some more time.
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