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The End of my Addiction

Does baclofen work for "spree"/"binge" drinkers?


NewEra
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Hi all.  I was wondering; in looking at a lot of the research, it measures clients in the sample by "drinks per day."  This implies a bit that people drink everyday.

The problem for me is I am not a daily drinker.  I am a "binge drinker" or a "spree drinker" where I will go months without a drink and then go on a severe bender for 5 days to 2 weeks.  The consumption quickly becomes out of control and leaves me utterly functionless.  Following the bender I will return to sobriety for a while only to end up in another severe binge a couple months later again.  Does anyone know if baclofen works for "spree drinkers" like me or is it more effective for daily drinkers?

Thanks!

Edited by NewEra
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Hi @NewEra!

I am curious: what precedes your binges? Did you previously drink on a more regular basis, and now you are trying to control your drinking? Are there anxiety issues that precede the binges?

The reason I ask is because i think that baclofen can help pretty much anyone who suffers from alcoholic cravings. Your situation is a little unusual, but I don't know your whole story.

In any event, baclofen can most likely help. It helps with chronic anxiety once you hit a certain dosage (I think mine became much more in control after I hit 60-80 mgs/day). You have nothing to lose, so if you are in a place of (current) sobriety it would most likely be helpful to start low and titrate up to a place in which you don't feel the need to go off on those binges.

I don't know if that helps or not, but then I don't know a lot about your current situation. Please keep posting, asking questions etc! We will be here to help you every step of the way. Take care.

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Thank you for your response Felina.

My case may be a bit complex.  I do not consider myself to have a significantly high level of general anxiety.  However, I have a bit of a stutter and there is a lot of anxiety which peaks in situations which require a lot of interaction.  This anxiety which can be exhausting is certainly a heavily contributing factor to my relapses in my opinion. It sounds as though baclofen, once you hit your dose, is effective in reducing a general and chronically present anxiety.  However, my anxiety peaks and valleys situationally based on stuttering related anxiety.

In addition, I find it difficult to imagine that even if I did not have an alcohol craving per say, I would not be tempted to go out for drinks with a girl I just met etc or other example scenarios.  Is the indifference to drink present even in situations like these?

My relapses certainly interact with the above scenarios especially the stuttering and the related anxieties.

To give more info, my drinking career has taken on different forms.  There were years where I could drink at night and be relatively functional the following day.  However, slowly over the years, the percentage of times my drinking results in a complete and utter binge has increased basically to 100% of the time.

Thanks again for any info.

Edited by NewEra
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So from what you are saying it sounds more like social anxiety than generalized anxiety. Does that sound right?

I STILL (ugh), years later, suffer from social anxiety. Not in the "racing heart, 'I'm going to die'" way, but more in the "severe social awkwardness" sort of way (sometimes that does escalate to the racing heart situation though). I have recently started taking beta blockers (propranalol) for those situations and it helps tremedously. It takes away all the severe physical reactions so you feel completely normal. It's great for public speaking/stage fright.

7 minutes ago, NewEra said:

In addition, I find it difficult to imagine that even if I did not have an alcohol craving per say, I would not be tempted to go out for drinks with a girl I just met etc or other example scenarios.  Is the indifference to drink present even in situations like these?

Depends on where you are in your baclofen dosage. If you have titrated up to a "switch dose" you may well be utterly uninterested in alcohol. For me, at my switch dose, alcohol was beyond disgusting and I physically could not drink, my body would not allow it. I didn't stay at that dosage very long. For for most people, if they are past the switch point, they can still drink some. I don't recommend pushing your tolerance very much, as that can lead to relapse and "drinking through your switch."

 

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NewEra,  Olivier Ameisen, the author of The End of My Addiction, the book which first described the use of baclofen for alcoholism was a binge drinker just like you!  And it worked for him - you could try reading his book, it's an easy read & quite fascinating.

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Thanks for the responses.

As a binge drinker, like I said, I can have relatively long periods of sobriety which just end up in a completely destructive binge that throws my life completely off track.  As a person who gets periods of sobriety, during those times, I am often at a place of indifference to alcohol.  This makes it hard to determine when I have hit my "switch."  Any suggestions?

Also, what have most of you done to find a doctor who is willing to prescribe baclofen in the appropriate way?

My doc was only willing to go up to 120 mg which I have been on for about 10 months and have had 3 relapses.  Obviously, if baclofen is going to work for me, I would have to go up in dosage but it's hard to find a doc willing.

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I've only heard of a couple of doctors who go high dose.  My doc is completely onboard, knows how much I take, but won't go above 120mg and knows I supplement and from where.  In the research section of this forum, there is information on how to order additional Bac.  What state are you in?  @Jetsman32 just found a doc who prescribed HDB.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi @NewEra I am a binge drinker as well. Although I think mine was a bit more severe. I would drink every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and always get totally bombed. I would even wake up take a shot to get rid of the anxiety. Some weeks there were more days than those I listed above. My binge drinking started a lot like yours but over time and with the stress-ors of life it gets worse.

I am now on 310mgs of Baclofen per day and am indifferent. I literally max out at 4 beers when I do drink. I usually have to force the  4th one down. After that (and later that evening) I have no desire to drink anymore. There are some days/events where one beer is all I'll have and not want anymore. I used to be the guy that if I had one beer at dinner I HAD to pick up a 12 pack on the ride home. 

Just recently I had a full case of Coors Light in my house left over for a party and I didn't touch a single one for over a week. I just had no desire to do so.

In short- Baclofen might be the perfect solution for you. I never wanted total sobriety- I just wanted to drink like "normal people" (don't ever say that in an AA meeting by the way). Now I have that and more. Not only do I not want to drink more but most of the time I have no desire to even have the first one.

I agree with @Molly78 you should definitely read Dr. Amiesiens book. You can pick it up on Amazon dirt cheap- like $2.50. It really is an easy read and although he is a Doctor it is still very relate-able. I whipped through the whole book in a weekend and it gave me all the fuel I needed to give Baclofen a shot. I still find myself referring back to it sometimes If I have a question.

As @Mom2JTx3 asked- what state are you in? I'm in SC and just found a doctor that will prescribe Baclfoen. 

Best of luck to you and if you ever have questions feel free to IM me anytime.

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  • 6 months later...

Are you sure that you dont have a cycling mood disorder because your drinking pattern fits one? If bac doesnt work out for you you could try sertraline. I am on it and it helped me with my anxiety.

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My opinion: yes bac does work for binge drinkers. The question is then if the day-to-day side effects are worth it. Never know until you try, I suppose.

Also it would be a little difficult to know when you're at the right dose, other than the next trigger just never comes.

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