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Old 01-31-2018, 06:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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First Post, Visual Hallucinations


I started drink again about 3 years ago after a 5 years of zero drinking.

I was concerned I was drinking too much so started to lower my consumption. I was at 10 beers per day for about a year.

I am experiencing problems but I am not sure if it's related to reduced alcohol intake.

I had gone down to 2 beers a day from 10 but am back up to 4 a day after some rather frightening experiences.

I am not sure if these experiences were do to the low alcohol intake or it's just a coincidence.

Seems like after a few days of only two or three beers a day I start hallucinating about 20-22 hours after my last beer. No shakes, no anxiety, no headache, no nausea, no vomiting, no sweating.

Nights can be absolutely awful however. I am told I scream in my sleep all the time and I wake up in the middle of the night 5 or more times having stopped breathing and very anxious. (The anxiousness dissipates as I become more awake, almost always terminating withing an hour or less.)

I should add, I do feel very emotional. Ready to cry easily, a heightened startle response and a dread felling, almost a slight paranoia.

Also, my vision the last several months has really been terrible with flashing lights, shooting stars and many different color blotches quickly appearing and disappearing.

So I was wondering:

1) How slowly should one taper to avoid all problems.
2) Can this be alcohol withdrawal?
3) For those of you who have been through visual hallucinations, what kind were they? Were they more imagined, full blown psychedelic images in vivid colors or something in between?

Thanks in advance
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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OK, you need to see a doctor. You may have sleep apnea. It could be alcohol related or not.

I still have hallucinations. I call them gremlins. They're in my peripheral vision. Just little things moving and getting my attention.
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mentor5959 View Post

1) How slowly should one taper to avoid all problems.
2) Can this be alcohol withdrawal?
3) For those of you who have been through visual hallucinations, what kind were they? Were they more imagined, full blown psychedelic images in vivid colors or something in between?
1. Tapering is a form of "control" of your drinking and very rarely effective as alcoholics cannot control their drinking by definition. Of course you'd need to decide if you are an alcoholic or not, but your post raises many, many red flags. Especially your detailed obsessions/bargaining about how much you drink and when - it's classic bargaining that most of us did at one point in our drinking careers.

2. Yes - it could be alcohol withdrawal, but you should really consult with a physician as well as it could be something else.

3. Personal experiences are not really going to be helpful to you here in diagnosing your condition - you really should speak with a health care professional to rule out other causes.
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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1. Tapering is a form of "control" of your drinking and very rarely effective as alcoholics cannot control their drinking by definition. Of course you'd need to decide if you are an alcoholic or not, but your post raises many, many red flags. Especially your detailed obsessions/bargaining about how much you drink and when - it's classic bargaining that most of us did at one point in our drinking careers.
What obsession/bargaining?

I have no trouble tapering alcohol, I have no trouble stopping completely. It is the fear of the of withdrawal syndrome that has me prisoner at present. Some nights it's like swallowing poison to get the 3 beers in me.
It's very opposite of what you think.


Quote:
2. Yes - it could be alcohol withdrawal, but you should really consult with a physician as well as it could be something else.
I have. Unfortunately many diagnosis's are simply an elimination of know physical abnormalities.

Quote:
3. Personal experiences are not really going to be helpful to you here in diagnosing your condition - you really should speak with a health care professional to rule out other causes.
Most conditions are diagnosed through a know set of symptoms when physical tests yield no indication.

-----------------------

Can you offer advise on what is generally a slow enough taper to avoid most problems? I though hallucinations were a rather rare and serious withdrawal consequence that can be avoided with a strategic taper. Hence if I gain confidence here to complete a taper that almost always yield a positive result I will have eliminated one possibility if the hallucinations continue.

I do not think the type of hallucinations I have are consistent with alcohol withdrawal but I'd like to hear what kind people have suffered through for validation. From what I read most alcohol related hallucinations are more of a delusion nature rather than having full mental alertness????
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You cannot ask for medical advice here.

You really need to talk to your doctor.

And, it's interesting that you say you have no problem stopping drinking completely, and yet, you are not able to stop.
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Can you offer advise on what is generally a slow enough taper to avoid most problems? I though hallucinations were a rather rare and serious withdrawal consequence that can be avoided with a strategic taper. Hence if I gain confidence here to complete a taper that almost always yield a positive result I will have eliminated one possibility if the hallucinations continue.
Unfortunately we cannot as that would be considered medical advice, which is against forum policy to ask for or give.

Hallucinations can be a consequence of withdrawal, but they can also be completely unrelated. We cannot determine what the source of your hallucinations might be.
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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OK, you need to see a doctor. You may have sleep apnea. It could be alcohol related or not.

I still have hallucinations. I call them gremlins. They're in my peripheral vision. Just little things moving and getting my attention.
Thanks for the reply.

My story is a bit more complicated but I could not write a book in my first post. I know the sleep problem is related to the alcohol consumption.

I understand about the gremlins, I am questioning full blown visual hallucinations.

I read that most delusions/hallucinations are auditory rather than visual, as I have none that are auditory I wonder if this is a further indication that it's not likely alcohol related... (kinda wondering out loud)
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Unfortunately we cannot as that would be considered medical advice, which is against forum policy to ask for or give.

Hallucinations can be a consequence of withdrawal, but they can also be completely unrelated. We cannot determine what the source of your hallucinations might be.
Thanks, I understand.

Is there a way to get info on tapering that does not break forum rule?

I found HAMS online, it sounded much to rapid...
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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As everyone has said mentor, you need to see a Dr, hopefully a GP AND an opthamologist. I had retinal tears with vision disturbances such as you describe and you don't want to ignore those!
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Is there a way to get info on tapering that does not break forum rule?
As has been mentioned multiple times, specific advice on tapering methods/amounts is not allowed via forum policy as it would be considered medical advice.

It can be shared though that tapering is highly ineffective as it's in a sense an attempt to "control" one's drinking. If you fear that you are to the point of physical dependence that may be manifesting itself in the form of severe withdrawals, you need to see either a medical doctor or a detox center. There is no safe way to make it through severe withdrawals on your own or via the internet, on this forum or any other.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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You cannot ask for medical advice here.

You really need to talk to your doctor.

And, it's interesting that you say you have no problem stopping drinking completely, and yet, you are not able to stop.
then you do not understand the horror of full blown hallucinations for no know cause.

I was on the phone with someone when it happened one time, I avoided the phone for a month afterword. I still get a knot in my stomach when a I must use a phone. It' called association. When something traumatic happens, to protect yourself against such trauma again, you instinctively avoid everything associated with the event.

in the case of alcohol, I have associated it as well as there does seem to be a tie between reduction and the events
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:18 AM   #12 (permalink)
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then you do not understand the horror of full blown hallucinations for no know cause.
No, I don't, but I'm sure it's awful. That's why I and others here, recommend you see a doctor. And, many of us here have gone through traumatic life events. It might be a good idea to talk to a therapist to help you deal with things.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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then you do not understand the horror of full blown hallucinations for no know cause.

I was on the phone with someone when it happened one time, I avoided the phone for a month afterword. I still get a knot in my stomach when a I must use a phone. It' called association. When something traumatic happens, to protect yourself against such trauma again, you instinctively avoid everything associated with the event.
I understand association quite well actually and have dealt with it as part of my life too, and I've sought out help from a professional for it. I personally tried to outsmart my addiction and "figure out" my problems for years. I also tried using alcohol to cure my anxiety issues but of course it eventually made them worse.

No one is here to argue with you or suggest that your problems are not real- we all have problems of some kind, some more severe than others.

We are a community of support for those who seek to quit using/abusing drugs/alcohol. And for someone in your situation, the best advice we can give you is to seek professional help. It would be irresponsible for anyone here to give you advice on how to taper or a psychological/neurological evaluation - which is in essence what you are asking for.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:31 AM   #14 (permalink)
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As everyone has said mentor, you need to see a Dr, hopefully a GP AND an opthamologist. I had retinal tears with vision disturbances such as you describe and you don't want to ignore those!
I did see a doctor and ophthalmologist.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:52 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I understand association quite well actually and have dealt with it as part of my life too, and I've sought out help from a professional for it. I personally tried to outsmart my addiction and "figure out" my problems for years. I also tried using alcohol to cure my anxiety issues but of course it eventually made them worse.

No one is here to argue with you or suggest that your problems are not real- we all have problems of some kind, some more severe than others.

We are a community of support for those who seek to quit using/abusing drugs/alcohol. And for someone in your situation, the best advice we can give you is to seek professional help. It would be irresponsible for anyone here to give you advice on how to taper or a psychological/neurological evaluation - which is in essence what you are asking for.

It seems clear that you and others are suggesting that I am making excesses to not stop drinking.

Good grief. Not everyone that is a heavy drinker craves the stuff or has a problem stopping. I have drank on and off over an entire lifetime with no issues stopping when I thought it wise intellectually.

One day it dawned on me that it had become to regular a habit so I decided to stop. I know from life experience that any substance, even simple caffeine should be tapered. So I did just that. Problems arose during this time and I wondered if there might be a relationship.

It's that simple.
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Old 01-31-2018, 02:29 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The very first time I attempted to quit drinking I had hallucinations for 3 days that ultimately lead to me being committed in a psych ward for a 5 day evaluation. They started off as auditory hallucinations then quickly turned Into full blown visual hallucinations to the point that I thought it was real life. I was in and out of the ER for the first couple of days and they kept sending me home. I thought that there were "ghost people" all around me and ended up naked running down the street until I was ultimately committed.

It was the most terrifying thing I have ever gone through in my entire life so I can completely relate with you being seriously scared. Go see a doctor. This was also my biggest wake up call.
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:43 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Welcome, mentor.
In 2011 I stopped drinking all at once after 8-12 beers/day for several years. After 12 hours I was in alcoholic hallucinosis entailing visual and audio hallucinations--spiders and ants crawling up the walls, demons, people breaking into my house, owls flying around....also bright flashing lights as if someone was shining a flashlight in my eyes. I know the terror of going from normal directly into hell.
I could never taper and needed help to quit; ultimately I went into detox and then rehab. I hope you consult a medical professional. There are drugs to make the withdrawal more bearable. I wish you all the best. It's rough-but you can do this.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Agree with all the advice about seeing a doctor.

If the doctor you saw didn't have any answers (and I don't mean answers you just don't like), get a second opinion or a referral to a specialist.
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Old 02-01-2018, 04:21 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Agree with all the advice about seeing a doctor.

If the doctor you saw didn't have any answers (and I don't mean answers you just don't like), get a second opinion or a referral to a specialist.
what kind of specialist?
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Old 02-01-2018, 04:37 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply.

My story is a bit more complicated but I could not write a book in my first post. I know the sleep problem is related to the alcohol consumption.

I understand about the gremlins, I am questioning full blown visual hallucinations.

I read that most delusions/hallucinations are auditory rather than visual, as I have none that are auditory I wonder if this is a further indication that it's not likely alcohol related... (kinda wondering out loud)
I have auditory gremlins, too. I have tinnitus but when sleeping I hear knocks on the door, bangs and pops, etc, that wake me.

I've come to accept that I've totally phuqed up my brain and use reason to combat my perceptions.
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