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The End of my Addiction

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Jetsman32

Hey all- I'm sorry I brought up this topic about Dr. Ameisen's heart attack. I did not mean to stir-the-pot or be divisive.  Being so new to the drug I just have a lot of questions and when I saw that Dr. Ameisen died of a heart-attack (and was skinny) it just made me worry (thanks anxiety!) In fact, his book gave me concrete proof that Baclofen does work and is an effective treatment for alcoholism. It was a game-changer for me.  I've scoured the web and can't find any issues with long-term Baclofen  use and heart issues. Also love the call-out that long-term alcohol abuse can lead to heart issues- it's a great point that I hadn't considered. I have no medical training but  always just assumed it was just your liver, weight overall health that suffered the most from heavy drinking The info provided above about enlarged hearts due to excessive drinking makes perfect sense and is incredibly helpful.

I think (and have read) that Phenibut is similar chemically to Baclofen but as both are Gaba antagonists so the fact that people aren't getting the benefits of Phenibut while on Baclofen makes perfect sense. The one big difference is that I can't find any proof that Baclofen can be used recreationaly. However, that is exactly how Phenibut is used! I agree with others on this post- just don't use Phenibut.......Unless you have outstanding self control and can only use it 1-2 times per week. If you are an alcoholic like me then you likely have other addictive behaviors. Trust me though, if Phenibut does work for you the feeling is just so great that it become a daily habit and crushing addiction will happen in short order. Trust me, I'm living proof.

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Jetsman32

@Felina That is awesome- I hope you get great results from it. L-Theanine is also used for anxiety. For some it's even way more effective than Passion Flower. It can be stacked with Passion Flower for added results though. This combo has been my go-to since cutting back on my Klonopin- which thankfully, I only use 3-4 days per week now. The brand I use is linked below. Read some of the reviews- some are pretty insightful. However- one thing about Passion Flower that I should mention is that for some people it takes time to really start working. I recommended it to a friend and he didn't notice the real effects until after about two weeks of taking it regularly. However, since coming up to speed if you will, he uses it regularly. 

Other than that I've taken everyone's advice and am now supplementing with Vitamin D. Hopefully it's the right stuff. The bottle says Vitamin D3 and it is 5000 IU per serving (1 gel cap). I typically take 3 with dinner as I've read that it's fat soluble and more easily absorbed with a fat source.

Here is the link for L-Theanine:

https://www.amazon.com/Suntheanine®-L-Theanine-Double-Strength-Cold-Pressed-Organic/dp/B00TXY32FY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469873804&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=L-Theanine+coconut+oil&psc=1

 

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Ne1
1 hour ago, Jetsman32 said:

 

Other than that I've taken everyone's advice and am now supplementing with Vitamin D. Hopefully it's the right stuff. The bottle says Vitamin D3 and it is 5000 IU per serving (1 gel cap). I typically take 3 with dinner as I've read that it's fat soluble and more easily absorbed with a fat source.

 

Um, that's a whole lot of vitamin D!!! The RDA is only 600. The article suggests that 1800 IU is a better standard, not 15,000 IU! lol

Vitamin D is toxic, and stored in fat, so you can actually over do it. I read some research about it and they were testing 50,000 IU, so not something to be overly concerned about, but keep it in mind. 

Also, it should be taken with calcium. Vitamin D can't be utilized without calcium. 

Vitamin D is included in a regular blood test (at least here in the states) so you can look at the results of your last (or next) physical and find out if you're low. 

I think I've now posted all I know about supplements! :) 

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Molly78

Agree with Ne - that's a hefty dose!

And yes, you need the calcium. I take Adcal which is Vit D plus calcium carbonate. Maybe you can buy that online? I get it prescribed at the moment, but will be looking to continue taking it even when I am off the steroids. (Down to 5 mg daily this week!)

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Felina
6 hours ago, Jetsman32 said:

Hey all- I'm sorry I brought up this topic about Dr. Ameisen's heart attack. I did not mean to stir-the-pot or be divisive.  

I didn't think you were stirring the pot! That was a perfectly valid concern. When Dr. Ameisen died I remember wondering the same thing. 

Also, I agree with the others that 15,000 is way too hefty a dose. The ones I take are 5000 IUs and I don't take them every day.

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Jetsman32

Thanks all sound advice on the Vitamin D- taken and noted. I've always been a go-big or go-home type of person and didn't understand the IU system. I will reduce my dose and pick up a calcium supplement at Walmart today!

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Molly78
2 hours ago, Jetsman32 said:

I've always been a go-big or go-home type of person

I love that description of a personality type! And from what you have posted here, Jets, I think it describes you well.

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Ne1

I like it, too, Molly. And I also think it sounds like a good description of Jetsman! :)

I wanted to let you know that I agree with what Felina said about Dr. Ameisen, Jets. I hope we didn't sound defensive! Don't think I didn't have the same thought when he died! It's bound to come up again and again. 

It's a good point that AL is so destructive and affects cardiac health. Not just that, it affects every system in our bodies! It's a very dirty drug. (Makes you realize why it's so difficult to treat with just one thing...) 

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joesixpack

I've read that you can get too much calcium too and once it starts gathering in the wrong places, it's very difficult to get rid of. That was a few years ago, but best to read up and get the latest info before you go heavy on that.

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Felina

Hey all!

I wanted to share my personal experience with using low dose beta blockers (5-10 mgs of Propranolol) for anxiety, social anxiety and stage fright.

I had my first public speaking engagement for my new job today. My sister had told me about these beta blockers a while back, since she also does occasional public speaking. She told me that she takes 5 mgs for mild anxiety and 10 mgs for major anxiety before events. She takes them an hour or so before the event. The only side effects she reports are a slight, low-grade headache and dry mouth if she takes too much.

This was a pretty mild event for me, so I took 5 mgs an hour before. I can't believe how well it works! All the racing heartbeats, etc I associate with stage fright completely dissipated. I was in control the entire time. And afterwards I felt--I am not sure of the words to use--I felt sane.  Completely normal. I didn't feel drugged or tired.

I googled "Propranolol for anxiety" and found a lot of evidence that this a great drug for stage fright and social anxiety. I bought mine from River. 100 10 mg doses were about $40 with shipping. Absolutely worth their weight in gold.

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Chuck

@Felina, I totally concur. I love beta blockers (I take propranolol too but I have a tolerance so I take 20-40 mg). I take them to help me sleep if I'm in an emotional state, after an upsetting or traumatic event, or when I deliberately want to block memories or emotions. The way I would describe them vs. benzos is while benzos calm you from the outside in (you feel a little drugged), beta blockers calm you from the inside out (they reduce your blood pressure, inhibit adrenaline) and so you feel, as Felina said, completely sane and normal. Calm, but not sedated.

About the blocking memories/emotions - funny story - last summer I had a Fire Island share house with some guys, one of whom was an amazing cook but others insufferably loud obnoxious assholes, especially when consuming alcohol. So I would always dose about 40 mins before dinner, that way I could enjoy the food and be immune to the annoyance of the loud jerks! Worked like a charm.

It's very easy to get a script from a doc, so if you have insurance it can be even cheaper. It's widely prescribed - concert pianists and surgeons take it to prevent shaky hands, among many other uses.

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Nicnak

I'm on 10mg of ramipril for high blood pressure,is this the same sort of thing because it does nothing for my social anxiety 

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Chuck

I'm not a doc but I'm pretty sure no, the heart and blood pressure etc is very complex and there are tons of meds for it, but I'm pretty sure all beta blockers end in -ol.

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Nicnak

Ok thanks

ive just gone up to the maximum dose of 10mg so when I go back and it hadn't gone down significantly they will then add another med to the ramipril so hopefully this will be a beta blocker 

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Felina

@Nicnak, I believe you can specifically ask your physician for Propranolol for occasional use for anxiety. From what I gather, it's an accepted use of the drug (and edited to add, that's what Chuck said above as well). I ordered mine from River because I don't currently have a primary care doc, so it was easier to just order online. 

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Ne1
On 8/9/2016 at 0:45 AM, joesixpack said:

I've read that you can get too much calcium too and once it starts gathering in the wrong places, it's very difficult to get rid of. 

Yep, you're right. Too much calcium can lead to (among other things) kidney stones. And some of those "other things" can be quite serious! 

On 8/9/2016 at 8:35 PM, Felina said:

This was a pretty mild event for me, so I took 5 mgs an hour before. I can't believe how well it works! All the racing heartbeats, etc I associate with stage fright completely dissipated. I was in control the entire time. And afterwards I felt--I am not sure of the words to use--I felt sane.  Completely normal. I didn't feel drugged or tired.

So cool that it worked so well, and congrats on dealing sanely with your first public speaking experience! :) My doc also prescribed propanolol between 10 and 30 mg/day. It doesn't seem to help with my chronic anxiety, but I have taken it for situational anxiety, the kind you describe, with the heart racing, etc. and it was great. My pDoc told me that she does have some clients who take it every day for chronic anxiety. I've never tried it that way, and I'm taking quite enough meds as it is! HA! 

On 8/10/2016 at 6:25 AM, Nicnak said:

I'm on 10mg of ramipril for high blood pressure,is this the same sort of thing because it does nothing for my social anxiety 

Ramipril isn't a beta blocker. It does have some anxiety lowering benefits, but maybe not as much? I don't know. What I do know is that we had a dog who was super-nervous about the vet, so we gave him an ACE inhibitor (which is what ramipril is) to calm him down. :) Didn't really work. We switched to Xanax. Even dogs like Xanax. ;) 

On 8/10/2016 at 6:45 AM, Nicnak said:

ive just gone up to the maximum dose of 10mg so when I go back and it hadn't gone down significantly they will then add another med to the ramipril so hopefully this will be a beta blocker 

Just make sure you talk to your doc before you take propanolol (or any blood pressure med) if you're already being treated for blood pressure problems. It lowers your blood pressure, obviously, so can be hinky for people who have low BP or are taking BP medicine at the same time. 

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Ne1
7 hours ago, joesixpack said:

How did you figure out the dosing, Felina? 

I'm not Felina. Obviously. 

Start low and slow. I think Felina took 5mg. My pDoc prescribed 10-30mg, and I have pretty low blood pressure. I'm also pretty good at fainting, in general. I've had it happen before with a different med that lowers BP.  (I would have been en vogue back when women wore corsets, couldn't breath and passed out all the time! xD ) 

It's especially important if you have low blood pressure and/or are being treated for high blood pressure already. If your blood pressure drops, it won't be dramatic, you'll feel some lightheadedness, some wonkiness in general, and you might, if you've taken too much and it drops too far, faint. So never ever take it for the first time when you're under pressure or operating machinery that might hurt you. Like an electric can opener. ;) 

EDIT: Just in case this comes up, I am not a medical professional and a dramatic drop in blood pressure can have very serious repercussions. If you have other health problems, it'd be very wise to talk to your doctor first. Doctors often prescribe, in the normal course of business, propanolol for situational anxiety. It would not be difficult at all to get a prescription from a GP. 

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Felina
8 hours ago, joesixpack said:

How did you figure out the dosing, Felina? 

I went on the advice of my sister, who also takes propranalol for stage fright. 5 mgs is a very small dose, and it worked perfectly for me.

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guardian
On 7/30/2016 at 7:55 AM, Ne1 said:

Um, that's a whole lot of vitamin D!!! The RDA is only 600. The article suggests that 1800 IU is a better standard, not 15,000 IU! lol

Vitamin D is toxic, and stored in fat, so you can actually over do it. I read some research about it and they were testing 50,000 IU, so not something to be overly concerned about, but keep it in mind. 

Also, it should be taken with calcium. Vitamin D can't be utilized without calcium. 

Vitamin D is included in a regular blood test (at least here in the states) so you can look at the results of your last (or next) physical and find out if you're low. 

I think I've now posted all I know about supplements! :) 

I'm sure the conversation has moved on since, but I have relevant information regarding D supplementation if anyone is still interested. I'm on HSA and needed to pay out of pocket to have my D levels tested. I was taking 15,000 IUs for 2 months before I had decent blood levels. I'm dark-skinned and tan easily (for an Anglo) and I live in the upper mid-west, but this was my experience. The darker your skin, the more sunlight (or supplemental vitamin D) you require. However, I doubt that I would need 3x as much sun as someone who only requires 5,000 IUs to get into a healthy range, so I think a lot of this has to do with the ability of the liver to deal with fat-soluble vitamins. Mine might be somewhat impaired, for reasons we can all relate. People also probably have varying innate abilities to process supplemental vitamin D. I now only take it in the winter, and only 5,000 IUs (I tan, and my elderly parents live in the South US - - I visit 2x/month), so I'm reasonably confident that I'm not overdoing it. Even when I was in range, honestly, I didn't feel any better. I got nothing from it in terms of alleviation of anxiety, depression, etc. The only time that "vitamin D" seems to benefit me is when I am outside, during the day, with the sun on my skin, whether summer or winter -- and you get jack from the sun in winter. I always had anxiety, but never had a panic attack until I sat my ass behind a desk and forsook the sun for weeks on end. I think ideally one should just get outside. If you are doing it for health benefits, you should probably have blood drawn to see if you are taking enough or too much. D is required for calcium absorption, so there is a nutritional case for supplementing if you can't get outside. Along with D, vitamin K is one of the toughest to get through diet (unless you juice kale, blech), but is often overlooked. K is the next thing you are going to learn about when you go down the vitamin D rabbit-hole, so I figure I'll save anyone who reads this some time. 

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phoenix

I have low blood pressure, so propanolol doesn't mix well!

I do use high dose vitamin D, it's been proven for use in athletes, and also various other benefits. A sports nutritionist told me the low dose usual tablets are not high enough. I take 1800 ius (?) once or twice a day. I am however a fairly highish level athlete putting my body through a lot, when I'm off season I probably take less supplements/vits than my fairly sedate, much older husband. I eat a lot of vegetables and hope I get most of what I need from those, as well as single ingredient foods (unprocessed diet).

 

Yes Guardian you are correct, fair skinned especially red heads (which I am) are much better at converting UV light into vit D.

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Jetsman32

Hi- I hope everyone is doing ok. I go back to see my surgeon today. I'm still having sciatica pain in my right leg- not as severe as before but definitely still there. I've heard the nerve is the last thing to heal but it's been 3 weeks- heal already!

Anyway, I decided today was the day to start turning my health around. This time last year I weighed between 190-195 and had just run a Spartan Race. At the beginning of 2015 I was 240lbs. Over the course of 11 months I lost 45-50lbs and was in the best shape of my life. I was lifting and running like crazy. That's when my back and shoulder went out.

This morning for the first time in a long time I weighed in. I am at 222.6. I feel utterly disgusting. Today is my first day back on intermittent fasting. I'm doing the 16/8 plan. Basically I eat my last meal by 8pm and fast until 12 or 1pm the next day (16-17 hour fast- no calories at all). At 12 or 1 I have a protein shake and a piece of fruit and then a healthy dinner. Rinse and repeat. It was with that system last year that I lost all of that weight. 

Although I'm still limited physically (I'll find out what I can do from the surgeon today) at a minimum I'm going to start walking my dogs at least 2 miles per day. If the doctor gives me the go-ahead I'm going to start swimming in the morning and doing some light weight lifting. Although this time I'm taking it slow- slow and steady wins the race!  My goal is to be at 200lbs by my birthday in February. My biggest downfall has been chocolate. I think that has something to do with the Gabapentin I'm taking for the nerve pain. I've read it makes you hungry. I'll muscle through it though.

I'm also going to start taking all of my vitamins again- Vitamin D,B along with my Garcina and Green Tea Extract. I was in SUCH a good place this time last year and I'm going to do everything I have to in order to get back there. Wish me luck!

Edited by Jetsman32
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SKendall

Hi healthy ones!  I realize I am highly suggestive toward vits and supplements and that is why my cart at iHerb was $120.00 today.  I've ordered liver support because after a year (since my accident) of taking large doses of tylenol daily, I am getting liver twinges.  Does anyone have any experience with this?  Also b/c I received a brain injury I've been struggling with memory.  Anybody tried modanifil?

 

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Molly78

I've used modafinil intermittently for some time.  Not sure it helps with memory.  For me, it helped with motivation, that sluggish, can't be bothered feeling.  At first, a couple of years ago it also gave me a bit of a high,a definite mood boost for the first few hours of the day.  That has now vanished - along with the highs that you get from alcohol & opiates (by which I mean the kind you can buy OTC like codeine).  This has happened as I have been taking bac long term, over the past 3 years, currently 160 mg daily (80 at 8-9 am, 80 around lunchtime).  It still gives me a bit of help with boring paperwork if I take it when I wake up & get going on the task soon afterwards.

The downside is that it really messes with my sleep.  One day on modafinil & I can offset that with extra supplements like 5-HT or L-tryptophan in high doses, but certainly can't take it more than twice a week as the effect is cumulative because it's half life is 15 hours.

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EraserHead

I realize I am pretty late to the party on this one, so allow me to commence by ingratiating myself and saying that it's fantastic to read these posts from such a smart bunch of people, who not only know where to put their commas and apostrophes, but care about all these issues that are dear to my own heart! So, good on ya....

I wanted to comment on two things mentioned here: Vitamin D, and, in a related sense, Dr. Ameisen's heart attack.

I am totally with @Ne1 and @SKendall on the Vitamin D train. I live in a place that doesn't get much sun year-round, and had my VitD checked in a blood test a few years ago. (They don't usually do it by default, but you can ask your doctor to add "25-Hydroxy Vit D" to your lipid panel, and for them it's just another box to check.) This will give you a pretty accurate idea of your vitD level. In my case, it was 33.3 ng/mL, which is pretty low. (I'm a big believer in measuring anything you can!)

Armed with that information, I started taking 7,500 IU per day (basically, 3 pills of this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00501MQ56 ). Seven months later I had it checked again, and it had shot up to 99, which is borderline-too-high. After that, dropped it down to 2 pills every morning for 5,000 IU, and that has kept me around 60 ng/mL, which is a good place to be by all accounts.

Aside from sleeping well (until the bac) and feeling good overall, I can tell you that since I started on the D, I have not had one cold or one flu, even when they are going all around the office with people blowing their noses and kids are coming home from school sick. Me, I might sneeze for a day or two, and then it's just gone. (But food-borne infections can still happen!)

Now, let's talk about calcium, which absolutely works in synergy with VitD, but can end up having detrimental effects, as @Ne1 mentioned, if you get too much in the wrong places (kidney, arteries, etc.). I won't go into too much detail, but there are 2 enzymes whose job it is to go around your body and pull calcium from where it isn't supposed to be and deliver it into your bones. For these enzymes to work, you absolutely need vitamin K-2 (usually in MK-7 form), which is only available in either (a) fermented foods; or (b) the fat of grass-fed animals. Or you can just get an MK-7 supplement. (If you want a lot of detail on this subject, I highly recommend this little book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D5TSMAS) Before I started taking it, I would go to the dentist every 6 months with calcium deposits behind my 2 lower front teeth, which he would assiduously and painfully scrape off each time. Now that never happens anymore....

Anyhow, relating this to Ameisen's heart attack, it's entirely possible for you to be skinny and otherwise healthy, with low LDL numbers, but still develop atherosclerosis due to calcium deposits in the arteries. There is a lot of great research finding that it's actually the LDL particle count ("LDL-P") that is predictive of heart disease events, not LDL Cholesterol (LDL-C), which is what your lipid panel reports. So you can appear quite healthy, have low LDL-C, but still have a high LDL-P, which is the silent killer. 

Think of it this way: You might have the same number of people driving down the highway each day. If each of those people is in their own car, you have greater likelihood of cars crashing into the railings and causing damage. But if that same number of people are traveling in buses, you get fewer collisions, and less damage. In this case, the "people" are the cholesterol and the cars & buses are the lipoproteins that carry them. So the number of people doesn't matter as much as the stuff they move around in. Anyhow, the best proxy to check your LDL particle count is "Apo B." Again, it's not usually part of the standard lipid panel, but if you ask for it, it's just another box for your doctor to check, and you get a much better idea of where you stand in terms of heart disease risk.

TL;DR: When you get your next blood panel, ask for 25-Hydroxy Vit D and Apo B. Then, take Vitamin D as needed, and Vitamin K-2 as MK-7!

Happy Sunday!

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Molly78

@EraserHead I don't know what your day job is, but you definitely have the potential for a career teaching medical students pharmacology!  I love the car/bus analogy!

I got prescribed Adcal (Vit D + Ca) by my GP when I went onto steroids for polymyalgia rheumatica a year ago.  I'm now off steroids but I plan to keep collecting the repeat scripts for Adcal at least until summer arrives, when I am out of doors a lot & can top up my vit D by natural means.  The NHS doesn't routinely measure your vit D status, even if you ask for it to be done, but I guess a lot of us in the northern hemisphere are low on vit D by the end of the winter.

I have also noticed that I haven't had a cold in the past 12 months, which is unusual for me.

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EraserHead
7 hours ago, Molly78 said:

I don't know what your day job is, but you definitely have the potential for a career teaching medical students pharmacology!  I love the car/bus analogy!

Thanks! But that would be the shortest teaching career ever, since I would get up and rattle off that analogy, and then... "Class dismissed!"

Now we know why Americans fight tooth-and-nail to keep their expensive and ridiculously complicated healthcare "system"... So we can check our D whenever we like! There are actually some online sources that will do it for you, if you have a burning desire to know. (I'm sure NHS doesn't routinely measure it because then they'd be compelled to hand out those scripts to the entire population.)

At any rate, I would keep getting those scripts even through the summer, if possible, since the UK is pretty far up there. (Unless you plan to spend summer in lower latitudes?) I was in London last summer and it was freezing the whole week I was there. I arrived 2 days after the Brexit vote, if you can recall the weather during those days....

But the not-getting-colds thing is amazing, isn't it? I used to get them all the time; like, several each winter. It's worth popping 2 pills a day just for that!

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