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Brain fog, mental disorientation, Dizziness - 24 days sober- Please Help



Brain fog, mental disorientation, Dizziness - 24 days sober- Please Help

Old 02-19-2016, 08:08 AM
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Brain fog, mental disorientation, Dizziness - 24 days sober- Please Help

I am a relatively healthy 30 year old guy, workout a fair bit and my diet has always been pretty good.
I typically don't drink during the week, and maybe only drink 2-4x a month but when I drink it is typically a binge drinking. I'd say over the last 3-5 years I binge drink (15-20 beers) a couple times a month. I am a big guy (6'3" 230lbs.) so I hold and soak up the alcohol fairly well. Couple times a year I go on a hunting, fishing, or other such trips where I will drink 15-20 beers (or more) per day, for a couple days straight. Typically I am hungover for a day, maybe 2 days-or at the worst I may be a little groggy for 2-3 days even after a long weekend.
About 4 weeks ago ( weekend January 23) I was on a trip where I drank probably 20+ alcoholic beverages per day for 4 straight days, with minimal sleep. I sobered up around January 27th, but ever since I have been experiencing the following symptoms:
Dizziness, lightheadedness, Brain fog-mental disorientation, sensitivity to light and loud sound, trouble focusing, feeling tired and dazed etc.
The brain fog feeling I liken to having a concussion ( but I don't have a concussion), or like I am stoned (but I am not stoned), or like I haven't slept for 5 straight days (but I have been well caught up on sleep). I am afraid to drive sometimes, but sometimes I feel ok. Sometimes for 12-24 hours I almost feel like I am getting better but then I feel back to disoriented again. Initially I was feeling like I was going to faint, pass out, very off-balance. I was doing things like opening the fridge when I meant to open the trash can, grapping my razor when I meant to grab Q-tips (etc. non-stop everyday for the first 10-14 days) Those symptoms have gotten better- not fully gone but have gotten better.
But this general feeling of brain fog hasn't gone away at all. I thought I was getting better-almost felt normal for about 24 hours, but before I knew it I was back to feeling woozy and disoriented again.
I have had plenty of sleep since that trip, I am completely hydrated, I am back to eating very healthy and even started forcing myself to go to the this week.
I have been to my Physician, had bloodwork done 2x, an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, holter exam.. all revealing I am perfectly healthy. She also said it wouldn't be diabetes either. I am scheduling an appt. with a neurologist, but as of now it just looks like a lot of medical bills with no revealing results.

-Does anyone have any serious experience with this?
-Is this "Post Acute Withdrawal"?
-What are the expectations with this?
-I guess I more so would figure Post Acute Withdrawal to be for people who drink almost everyday and then suddenly stop, could this happen all of the sudden to someone in my case- or is it something permanent- brain damage?

Its just odd, I have had long weekends of drinking before, I am pretty healthy in general, I don't get drunk every night- I only (binge) drink a few times a month etc. and have never had this situation occur. 1-2 day hangovers, maybe some 'brain fog' for 3 days after severe weekends. But 24 days of sobriety now, still dizzy, lightheaded, light-sensitive, brain-fog etc. Its quite scary to be honest. So far all health tests have come back with nothing wrong with me.

Coincidentally, the sad thing is that I declared to a lot of people that-that trip was the last time I was going to drink. Kind of my final hoorah before taking on a completely sober life. And it was certainly no hollow claim, as 'fun' as it is drinking-I'd grew quite sick of the last, however many years now - of waking up feeling hungover and horrible and groggy on the weekends. I literally felt like I was wasting away precious time in my life. I once went completely sober for 5 months, for no other reason than to prove I could, to myself and to everyone who thought I couldn't merely out of spite. So in all honesty quitting drinking- I can do, I really don't think I am in need of rehab. I don't want to drink, I don't have much urge to drink, I genuinely was going to quit drinking January 27th (and have). But of course my last hoorah ended in the long-lasting experience that I have now been dealing with for weeks now, as if I'm being punished. I am dumbfounded and beside myself, I would GREATLY appreciate any-and as much insight as possible!!!
Thank You all for you time
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:25 AM
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Although no one can give you a definitive answer, I think if you've been on a drinking schedule of every weekend or every other weekend and you drink as much as you did (20+ beers for days straight) it can be a form of PAWS. Thats a lot to be drinking and if you've done it for years it can eventually catch up to you. I think you did the right things by checking with dr's/neurologists and deciding on quitting drinking. Im in my late 20's so I can relate when you say that drinking and beibg hung over has become tiring and "old".

People say that PAWS can peak a few weeks after quitting, or 2 months after quitting etc. Everyone is different for this depending on how much they drank or how often. Try not to panic too much because you have taken some steps to help yourself and if it is PAWS it takes time. Welcome to the forums!
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:32 AM
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That stinks.

These are symptoms lots of folks have when they quit, but seems a bit odd given your drinking pattern with lots of time downtime between sessions etc.

If you believe in woo woo, could be the universe's way of confirming that you are making the right decision to stop.

Not a doctor, but I venture that it will get better with time, and if you don't drink again, it wont happen again, theres that universe again...
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:32 AM
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Congratulations on 24 days sober. Have you talked to your dr? That would probably be the best thing to do.
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:26 AM
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Welcome to the family. It could very well be Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.

Binging is thought to be almost worse than every day drinking as it puts the brain thru withdrawal after binging sessions.

If it doesn't clear up in a few weeks, I'd see the doctor again.
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:36 AM
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Welcome ShortTom88
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Old 02-19-2016, 03:35 PM
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Hi ShortTom - welcome

I started as a binger and ended up an all day drinker. I think you're drawing an arbitrary distinction between the two, whereas I see both as different plot points on the same 'alcoholism' axis.

I used to think binging was 'better for me' because of the 'days off' I'd have but when I look at how much alcohol I put into my system I was actually drinking less when I drank all day later on.

I'm glad you saw your Dr. I'm not a Doctor, but I can see no reason why PAWs

or Kindling


would not apply?

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Old 02-19-2016, 04:47 PM
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Yes, it's just odd. I've read a lot of people's experiences, anywhere from 45 days to 6 months to (one person) even said a couple years to feel normal again- I guess my point about it being odd is I was never a daily drinker, so I didn't necessarily take away my daily fix per se, of alcohol and then start withdrawing.
But after that long weekend of drinking last month I just noticed something was different/off. Hangovers I'm famaliar with, but within a day or 2 of these symptoms I knew it was different. And with the bloodwork, and all the heart tests I've had done over the last few weeks, and the fact that I'm pretty young and rather healthy says to me: if the neurologists doesn't find something wrong with me I may just take it as Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. From all the people that say they've had it- I'm experiencing the exact same symptoms. And although binge drinking may not be as common for it ( or maybe it is), I believe that - that one weekend last month set something off in my brain or initiated something so wrong that I'm now dealing with PAWS.
Like I said earlier, I've made myself go to the gym a bit this week and get active again, I'm taking some B-vitamins and D3 and fish oil etc to try and do my brain some good. Also trying to eat healthy, (although another symptom- my cravings for junk food have been so strong the last few weeks).
I have glimpses here and there where I almost feel normal, or 60/70% better, but then just go right back to feeling terrible, For the majority of the day.
All in all I'm trying to get myself right, I hope this doesn't take years to get better and regular again.
I appreciate everyone's help and responses.
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Old 02-19-2016, 05:41 PM
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I’m one of the people for whom it took 2 years (more, actually) to feel mostly normal again after quitting drinking. My drinking patterns followed a perfect-storm recipe for the development of kindling and PAWS, plus I believe individual susceptibility varies, and I was way out on the high end of the curve.

I wish I could find the reference I read which said that occasional binge drinking can actually be harder on your brain than daily drinking. It was from a reputable source such as NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). The gist of it was that it's actually the withdrawal process that causes the brain damage, and repeated bouts of binge drinking put your brain through a whipsaw of habituation/detox cycles that throw it way more out of whack than drinking the same amount more evenly would.

The answer to your question seems obvious to me: If you are concerned at all about the symptoms you're experiencing and want to prove beyond a doubt whether alcohol caused them, simply stay abstinent for long enough (considering your history, 6 months is probably a good trial period) to see if they start to go away. If they do, then you have your answer. If they don't, another visit to the doctor will be in order.

If you really don't have an alcohol problem, the idea of going without it for 6 months shouldn't trouble you at all.
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Old 02-19-2016, 06:10 PM
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The neurologist should clear that part up. It sure does sound like what I went through though. I actually thought I had done serious, long term damage. It started to clear after a few months and by 6 months I felt good. At about 14 months I realized I felt great. Amazing it takes that long to recover but look at what we did to ourselves.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:52 PM
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Stay sober and get checked out. 2 things you gotta do , and it sounds like you're doing that and more. Good job!
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:12 AM
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Welcome to the Forum Tom!!
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:22 AM
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Thank you again for your responses and input.
I will have no problem not drinking, that trip literally was my last hoorah- and of course this happened. I was supposed to go back to school ( now this happened- so if I can't think, who knows what I'll have to do now), I saved a bunch of money up- was going to buy a place, I'd been getting a couple tattoos removed that I didn't want, i just got a bunch of spots removed on my body that I had thought may have been cancerous ( turns out that were just disgusting sunspots), I got a surgery I was holding off on for awhile, I just got done with a bunch of legal issues I was dealing with the last year, etc etc...
In so many words, literally that was suppose to be my last hoorah, the culmination of a bunch of BS going on in my life, and the start of a new chapter in my life- and of course this happens. I certainly do appreciate the insight from everyone! But also, to think I may be now dealing with this for a couple years? Is very disheartening. Think I'm getting all the pieces put together- and I did, and now this. It's like, I can't get off the ground.
Like I was saying, I'm trying to do everything I can to expedite the process as far as being healthy and what not, and certainly not drinking- as was my plan before January 26th to begin with, but who knows if any of the extra effort will help or not.

For those of you who have dealt with this, were you drinking during the recovery time from when you first noticed the symptoms?
As in, for 2 years of recovery- were you still drinking a bit during those 2 years or complete sobriety? 6 months of recovery- were you drinking during those 6 months or complete sobriety?

I will be completely sober- I hope this helps my situation.
Typically when do you start to notice some gains and strides in functionality, 2-3 months? 6 months?

Do you wake up one day and just noticeably feel better? Or is it more of a gradually each day maybe feel a little better? Do you feel great and almost normal more and more often- but still have setbacks out of the nowhere ( setbacks that slowly get less and less frequent)?

Hate to pester or be an annoyance, just trying gauge as best I can what I'll be dealing with- as you can imagine. I hope with complete sobriety I will see signs of improvement within 6 months.

Sucks, this binge drinking weekends and trips have gone on through the years, and no joke Ida sworn the hangovers were getting easier, quicker, more tolerable from being use to a long weekend here or there throughout the year. And before I know it- my last one was the one that got me and screwed me. Only my luck.
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:42 AM
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I noticed some improvements right away. Physically, I felt great.

Brain fog, dizziness, mood swings, anger issues, some cognitive issues like not being able to think of words and names of things, trouble with focus and concentration when reading or problem-solving, trouble making decisions ... I experienced those things. I'll be honest; it took me 1-2 years to see significant improvement. I was able to read right away, but I had to concentrate and read passages multiple times at first. It was quite frustrating, as I was a reader and a creative writer long before my drinking spiraled out of control.

I, too, was a binge drinker. And being a female binge drinker, I probably experienced worse side effects than most. From what I understand, binge drinking can be devastating, because we go through mini-withdrawals, and that can damage the brain.

I've seen massive improvements, though, and I'm about to celebrate three years in a month or so.

The improvements are gradual. Try and have patience and trust you'll improve.
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:47 AM
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I appreciate that input. I'm not one to cross my fingers, but maybe I should start- in hopes I have positive results sooner than later.
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:47 AM
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If it quacks like a duck....

Seems like you drank really hard off and on....like me.

My withdrawals got progressively worse each binge episode.

If I stayed drunk, daily maintenance drinking...3 or 4 units...I felt normalish.

But, then I would binge it up...20 units...once in a while...

Of course I would be wrecked for several days....anxiety, light headed, weak etc.

Then the desire...need to drink...would become strong.

Once I made it 27 days...I feel like i was feeling good, but not really positive...but then I got hammered.

Bottom line.....

Alcohol is poison. It causes brain damage. Respect that it is highly addictive.

It is legal and easily obtained.

Those of us that admit and accept we have a problem have a fighters chance.

It only takes a few days days, 30 plus in my case, to get through the physical detox...I think my pancreas was freaking out...

But, the brain damage is deep...deep...deep...

I still get anxiety dealing w life sober. No where near like it was 6 months ago...but it is there.

I am on no meds. I can't take them because of my job. I just deal w life.

Sometimes it sucks, but mostly it is amazing being on parole from the prison of booze and addiction.

Never going back.

Thanks for the post. Hope this contribution helps you stay clean forever.
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:48 AM
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And oh by the way, congrats on being sober for so long! Can't wait til I'm at that point in my life!
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:11 AM
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P.s...to answer your questions in your last post...

Yes to all....ftmp

It gets better everyday. Nothing overnight really, but the gradual healing adds up and then it feels like a big change happens...e.g...sleeping soundly all the time...

Don't drink. Get over it. Turn the page. Move on. Stop forever.....etc etc.
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:41 AM
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Just don't drink, even a little, and it should improve over time.
Everyone seems to be on a different clock

I was also a binger and could go weeks or months not drinking.
When I finally quit, it took about 11/2 years to fully heal
but I was improving a lot in 6 months.

I got a daily planner to write down things I might forget and to plan
so it didn't hurt my work performance but the fuzzy brain did occur
off and on for quite a bit of time.

Good nutrition, sleep, and hydration really helped.
So did a strong exercise program and beginning a yoga / meditation practice.

Self-care and sobriety should do the trick.
Take it as lesson learned and don't make the mistake of thinking you can
"moderate" in the future and you should be fine
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:42 AM
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Hi Tom that point in your life starts with day 1 and it slowly keeps building by staying sober = no more drama, there is so much I needed to learn like help with my thinking my reactions and such in sobriety as i was diffrent person sober and my thinking was still the old me at times that lead to cravings frustrations arguments over thinking etc I done things like AA, group therapy, cbt, I read a lot on recovery, short courses, volunteering, service at AA, got my relationships back on track with my 21 & 5 year old neices and they really love thier uncle wolf it fills my soul with joy

Basically I done anything & everything to stay sober and here I am 951 days later at 33 I have my life back & I have almost finished renovating our home with Mrs sw heading to 16 years together

Miracles happen I see them all the time
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