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BANGKOK 21 July 2019 19:37

Dagnabbit

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About Dagnabbit

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  1. I would like to give my experiences with Disulfiram and Naltrexone. This may help anyone hoping to incorporate either drug into their arsenal against the demon drink. Disulfiram aka Antabuse - This is an interesting drug. It is supposed to make you feel terrible when you drink and indeed the side effects are at best embarrassing and uncomfortable. When I first took disulfiram, I was quite scared at the prospect of falling off the wagon. Very scared of the physical effects of drinking on the drug. This of course, is what makes the drug so effective - there is a fear of drinking. As anyone with a drinking problem knows, you are in a constant state of inner turmoil both not wanting to drink and at the same time your mind is throwing excuses at you to have a drink. There's a sort of inner dialog/argument that comes about close to 'drinking time' where you are convincing yourself (against your better judgement) to have a drink. One of the amazing things about disulfiram for me was this inner dialog stopped completely after the first pill. There was simply no point to that inner discussion because the decision to take a drink had been effectively taken out of my hands. The discussion simply never got started in the first place. Disulfiram is cheap and readily available here under the name "Chronol". About 2 weeks after starting I decided to have a drink and study the effects. This is actually something my doctor recommended. After 1 pint, I felt OK but noticed my hands were red. Half way through the second, I could feel my face flushing. I went to the toilet and found my face was red as a beetroot as was my chest. I had a slight headache and it was somewhat difficult to breathe. The effects were nowhere near as bad as I read on line though. I took 1 pill on day 1 and a quarter of a pill every day for 30 days and managed to go straight 30 days without a drink. By the end of 30 days, most of the urge to drink had gone, I just didn't have that tug any more. At that point, I stopped the disulfiram (after all, it does effect your liver). Somehow I eventually fell back into drinking but if I wanted a week off I'd pop a 500mg Disulfiram on Monday and know that I could not drink for 7 days. Then it somehow became 5 days. In effect what was happening is that somehow I was becoming somewhat immune to the effects. I think partly, I was just one of those for whom the effects weren't that strong right from the start. I knew this wasn't the way to go - I could control my drinking with the drug but taking a drug that effects your liver AND drinking at the weekends wasn't the smartest thing. So my conclusion is that this COULD be the answer for some people (along with therapy of some sort) and certainly when you first start, it is amazing to have the decision to drink taken away from you. I think I just wasn't disciplined enough for it. Naltrexone/Revia - This drug takes a completely different approach. You take it before you drink. You do not attempt to drink less at all. The effects are very subtle. The first time I drank with it, I noticed very little difference. Many of the effects of drinking are still there but 'something' is missing. That something is hard to put your finger on though. The best way to explain it - when I get my first beer, it always takes me back to that thirst quenching beer on a UK summer afternoon with friends, a really uplifting experience. It's that first beer buzz that sort of peaks at beer 3 or 4 (pints that is). That is missing. You can still feel drunk - your motor skills are still impacted but that "first beer buzz" is absent. The first time, I carried on drinking as normal and enjoyed many of the effects. I think this was mostly through habit though. After a few months, I found myself simply not having any more after 2 or 3 beers. Then it became 2 beers. I was drinking to be social but not getting the urge to continue. I still enjoyed the taste of a real ale but found I could stop. I stopped ordering beers to go at hometime and I found I'd not raid the wife's Hoeegarden when I got home either. I'm now at the point where I will drink socially but if (for example) I go out for lunch on my own, I no longer order a beer. The urge has gone. This did take a few months to happen and during that time I was not convinced it was working. I still had urges, a deeply ingrained habit but over time it faded away. Revia is a much more expensive drug and it's not something you can just go to a pharmacy and ask for here. It is less harmful on the liver than disulfiram. You need to take it 1 hour before drinking and there is no point in taking it if you are not drinking. It is something I just carry in my wallet 'just in case' now. The backdrop to all of this is that I was seeing somebody once a week too. So I didn't just go out and self-treat, although the therapist I was seeing could not prescribe and I did have to source the meds myself. Not something I would advise but I did it because I didn't want 'alcoholic' on my medical record. I think disufiram is an interesting tool in the toolbox but ultimately it does nothing to address the actual addiction. It's sort of "willpower in a pill". I think the fact the side effects were really not that strong in my case made it something I could prety much 'cheat' on. And cheat I did. Revia on the other hand suppresses some of the effects of alcohol and specifically the ones that cause addiction. I just found it a better option for me personally. Anyway - I hope this helps.
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