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Old 07-01-2011, 09:54 PM
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Default Baclofen and Anxiety

Welcome!

As many of you know, baclofen therapy for alcoholism is largely the result of Dr Olivier Ameisen's self-experiment to explore finding a cure for his alcoholism. His findings are reported in his book "The End of My Addiction."

One of the most compelling discoveries Dr Ameisen made in his baclofen self-experiment was that baclofen not only left him indifferent to alcohol, it also relieved his underlying, long term generalized anxiety. Dr Ameisen has said, "In Alcoholics Anonymous I constantly heard people say that they suffered all their lives from physical and/or emotional “dis-ease,” because of anxiety, depression, or a similar disorder, and that drinking was the only thing that helped. From my early childhood I experienced the same kind of underlying dysphoria, to put it in medical jargon, because of chronic anxiety. In my teenage years and adulthood, the anxiety frequently escalated into crippling panic attacks. None of the medications I was prescribed for these problems helped much, and I turned to alcohol as a tranquilizer, especially in stressful social situations. For quite a while I was a moderate social drinker, but eventually I plunged into full-blown alcoholism. Baclofen has been so helpful to me because it has resolved my pre-existing anxiety as well as my alcoholism. Again, it can likely do this because the same neurotransmitters that are involved in addictive and compulsive behaviors are also involved in anxiety and depression."

This thread is mostly for newcomers and lurkers wondering about how baclofen might work for them, especially if they have chronic anxiety and drink too much. The thread collects summaries of observations that have been made about alcoholism, anxiety and baclofen in this and other forums. Not everyone who comes here self reports anxiety, but many do. Of those with anxiety, many find relief not only from alcohol craving but also from underlying anxiety with baclofen.

Some, however, do not experience relief from anxiety during titration. Some experience relief from anxiety at lower doses and find it recurs at higher doses. For some anxiety during titration seems to be transitory. Others report continuing bouts with anxiety after the switch and on maintenance doses. There is still much to be learned.

My hope is that this compilation and the posts below will be especially helpful to visitors who may recognize anxiety issues in these stories similar to ones which they may be having and may find comfort and possibly solutions from the experiences of those who have gone before.

Read through this post (#1) if you are interested. The summaries are continued at posts ##25 and 146 on this "Baclofen and Anxiety" thread. And there is plenty of interesting stuff on the subject interspersed throughout the thread.

I also strongly encourage members who experience changes in their anxiety levels while taking baclofen to post on this thread. While titrating up, many people experience anxiety. This anxiety may be a result of titrating up (therefore, a side effect) or it may be a by-product of other conditions and complications, including taking other medications while on bac as well as continuing to drink while going up. Or the anxiety may be independent and unrelated to a course of baclofen or other medications. Life can be stressful! I have tried to include all stories which reference anxiety, including some where baclofen may not have helped alleviate anxiety.

I have edited some of the reports to fit within this forum's posting size restrictions. There is also an interesting discussion of baclofen and anxiety at Did Bac relieve anxiety or Al cravings first?.

(Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor and you should always (attempt to) discuss baclofen treatment with your doctor).

Here we go!



1. Lady Lush
June 23, 2011
My Way Out

[…] I have/had terrible anxiety before Bac. Ad's, Ativan, Zanax, etc. Nothing helped. From the first day I felt relief with Baclofen...I think maybe in my case it was not the cravings but the relief of anxiety. I no longer "needed" a drink to function, mingle, co-exist, whatever we consider the underlying factor for drinking in excess. A day lead into days, a week, and a full month (almost) not needing a drink to be me! […]

June 23, 2011

No, I drank, (in the beginning), but the anxiety was/is gone. I don't fret about crap anymore. I don't know really how to put it in perspective.I know now, I do not need alcohol or anything else to calm me down. I had a meeting today; I was on the top of my game. No fear, no nothing. I hope to someone this makes sense! My life has never been better!...

June 24, 2011

Anxiety causes so much depreciation in every aspect of our life. It was the sword I could not fight. Baclofen is the ONLY thing ever that helped me. ... I do not work for the drug companies as someone PM'd me. I am here to say take the damn pill. It is REAL, and it works. My life is MY life again. Words can not express the gratitude I have for Dr. O discovering this. And sticking with it, and writing his book.

June 30, 2011

…It was/is a blessing to me where the anxiety came in. I went to the hospital 3 times to learn it was only anxiety (panic attacks). ... I have been on multiple drugs to aleve the anxiety and nothing, absolutely nothing, has helped me but Baclofen. The meetings at work are the best! I use to be afraid to talk but now I have the room. I can not tell you in common words what this has done for my life and myself at the work place. ...

July 2, 2011

…I noticed relief from anxiety almost immediately. I found it really kick in at 30 and up. I was cruising until I got to 180; the somnolence and lack of sleep at night was overwhelming to me. I also want to say: That these 2 se's are a KNOWN side effect of Baclofen. And I knew that from the get-go. …I went down to around 120 (give or take 20) and I found my place.

July 8, 2011

Please keep talking about this magnificent benefit of Baclofen. I have never been the same after my first week of taking it. I use to lose sleep for nights when I had to do a presentation at work or talk in front of a group of people. The shaking and anxiety made me feel like I would die or pass out at any second. It just doesn't happen anymore. I had to always drink before going out or to a party; I just don't need to anymore. And when I couldn't drink (work) I had to be zoned out on Ativan or Xanax. Honest to God, those drugs don't even hold a candle to Baclofen when it comes to anxiety. NOTHING works like Baclofen. It has changed my life completely!

July 29, 2011

I had a meeting today. I had to do everything on the board. I had adversity that in the past would have made me pass the baton (sp?). I never let up. It is the Baclofen that gives me the strength I never had. I won once again. Anxiety killed me. Baclofen wins that fight hands down.

2. Facade
June 24 2011
My Way Out

[…] I too suffered from anxiety attacks for as long as I can remember (even as a child as young as 6). ...I have always felt that the world was like a ...well like [a] television set with the volume on max and no off switch. Bac has become my remote control (ok, so this is a really lame, horrendous analogy but I can't think of a better one to describe what I felt). A month into bac and I have not had a single attack, the TV has been muted and I feel at peace. It does make me angry though. When I think of all the shrinks and all the meds I have seen and taken over the past 20 years and that all I needed was this little white tablet (which I prescribed and ordered for myself over the internet!). Bac had a profound effect on my life in so many ways... I honestly could not imagine life without it at this stage.

3. Ne/Neva Eva
December 12, 2010
My Way Out

[…] I don’t want to descend into trivial anecdotes, but I have to share that I used to spend a good part of my day, pre-bac and at the low doses, with a lot of anxiety and I didn’t know it. High-strung and skittish are two fairly accurate adjectives. I don’t know exactly when that changed, but things that used to send me into a heart-racing, face-flushing tizzy just don’t faze me. For all the years of therapy and AA and introspection and self-help books, I never knew I was prone to anxiety. And now it’s gone. Amazing. […]

June 24, 2011

I didn't know I had anxiety, either. That's not what I would call it, either. For me it's a little more like the volume/remote analogy. (nice one, thanks.) But it's more that I think I internalized everything. Meaning that if there was a tv show about something sad, I was overwhelmed. hmmm. No that's not quite it. I'll have to come bac to it. ... It's what OA suggested ...I would completely agree with the theory, and would take it a step further and suggest that managing the anxiety has a lot to do with managing bac. And vice versa. Which might explain why we have so many varied switch doses and responses. ... Nine months ago, I would've rated my anxiety level at very low. Not realizing that jumping like a startled cat every time there was a loud noise or an unexpected person walked into the room was anxiety. Who knew? I'm just eternally grateful that it's gone too. Woop woop.

November 26, 2011

Yep. On HDB I felt increased anxiety. Greatly increased. I'll spare you the dime-store hypotheses and just say that I think the research will (eventually) back this conundrum up. HDB is a different animal than low dose bac.
I tried to remember that I was taking care of a big bad beastly disease, but it doesn't make it better in the moment, much. ... I think it's dose dependent, but I kind of remember feeling a little OCD and anxious for a long time, so I can't be sure.

November 30, 2011

The anxiety of HDB passes. For me, when I went down after reaching indifference. Which I did about a minute and a half after reaching indifference! But then the relief is palpable. Not only from the effects of HDB, but from the persistent nagging of "anxiety" that ruled my life up until that point. Lots of others found anxiety relief at lower doses. Most maybe. I didn't. I had terrible side effects at the low doses, in no small part because I jumped around all over the place with how, when, and how much I took. But also because bac and I simply didn't mix. I hated the stuff. Every minute of every day. I hated being a slave to booze even more. My life was going down the bottle and I didn't want to live through that again. I'd done it several times already. So I took the damn pills with my eyes on the goal, mostly against my better judgement. That had not been very reliable in the past, anyway. I was continuously inspired and encouraged by the people here, so I kept on. I figured that I'd give it two months, and only take 140mg. That kept increasing until 4 months later I was taking 340mg and I didn't want to drink anymore. At all. woop! And now my "anxiety", that perpetual and persistent discomfort that swallowed my good thoughts and best intentions and ability to be comfortable, is gone. I don't take bac for the booze anymore. I take it because I don't dislike living in my own skin and mind. FTR, stress and anxiety are two different things altogether. Life is stressful. So? That's...life. I'm really, really glad I can meet it on my terms now. When I feel anxiety, I know that the beast is in the house (or mind). And that I better do something about it quickly. It's rare enough that I can recognize it and address it and move on. Pretty cool, huh?

4. Billyb
September 2, 2009
My Way Out

Baclofen is great for anxiety. I find it to be as effective as valium and other benzos, but without the euphoria and the buzz, and without the potential for abuse ...

5. Anna B
September 2, 2009
My Way Out

…btw, like everyone else here, baclofen has completely gotten rid of my anxiety and I've been on every anxiety med out there...

6. Beaches
September 3, 2009
My Way Out

…I was on bac a bit ago and went off now am back on and I can clearly see the immediate difference in my anxiety levels. I was beginning to have the strangest anxiety symptoms, now all is mellow ...

7. NickUK
September 9, 2009
My Way Out

[…]I will be using baclofen for both cravings and anxiety but for me I think my anxiety is very much linked to my drinking and I crave alcohol so much more when I am anxious. ... I would be really interested to hear the dose peoples anxiety reduced, from what I have read it seems the anxiety is the first to go with the cravings at a higher dose.[…]

8. Cowgal
December 31, 2009
My Way Out

I agree w/ most here, the first thing I noticed was the anxiety was gone immediately before I even quit drinking, but it made quitting drinking even easier!!!

9. Androcles
April 9, 2010
My Way Out

This thread about baclofen and anxiety encourages me so much, as my partner has suffered with anxiety-related alcohol dependence for so long. We read Dr. [A's] book, and his description of his life-long anxiety matched hers almost exactly--it was uncanny. It was the first time we'd ever heard another person describe his struggle with anxiety and alcoholism that way…

10. Third Man
February 11, 2010
My Way Out

[Does Baclofen eliminate anxiety?] I personally can say yes most definitely. And like Dr. A, I felt the anti-anxiety effects almost immediately. I hesitate to say this, but for me at times the anti-anxiety seems to have the potential to limit [my] excitement levels even. But not to an extent that I mind, in fact it has helped [immensely] with my drinking and I think it has a lot to do with smoothing out the anxiety/excitement polarities I reached before taking it...


11. Beatle
February 13, 2010
My Way Out

Yes, for me, baclofen "cured" -- well, "alleviated" is a better term -- my anxiety. I believe, as part and parcel of that, it has made me able to handle my alcohol issues. Drugs have never worked for me. I don't believe in drugs. Baclofen is not really a drug, as it mimics a neurotransmitter found in all mammals -- but it still has potent effects. I guess the short answer (which I never manage to give) is: YES

February 14, 2010

…For those of us with major anxiety issues, baclofen also appears to be helpful.


May 30, 2010

... Baclofen at low doses has helped me the most for anxiety. ...

12. Seeking Serenity
February 3 2011
My Way Out

The "lows" stopped for the most part once I stopped drinking as heavily. And bac has pretty much eliminated the mania and anxiety--I talk at a normal pace, and I don't have the racing thoughts anymore. I truly believe that the mania was just caused by my underlying anxiety disorder--the same one that led me to the AL in the first place.

July 2, 2011

Baclofen totally eliminated my chronic anxiety. It happened for me well before I hit my switch. It was miraculous! For as long as I can remember, I suffered from racing thoughts, manic spells, periods in which I talked so fast that nobody could understand what I was saying. I woke up early in the morning worrying about anything and everything. I had a hard time sleeping. Baclofen took care of that. And unlike xanax, ativan, etc. it didn't just mask the underlying anxiety, it completely cured it. I still have situational anxiety (do I ever get that now with my job!) but the pointless, chronic anxiety is gone forever. When I say that baclofen doesn't "mask" it, I mean that if I get anxious about something now, the last thing I want to do is take more baclofen, because it wouldn't work. But I talk at a normal rate now. My early-morning worrying sessions are gone. I don't have the racing thoughts, the road rage, or the all-encompassing freak-outs when things DO stress me out. It was like someone took an eraser and just wiped that part of me out. I found it miraculous and still do. I have a terribly stressful job and I can't even begin to imagine how I'd have coped before baclofen. I'd have surely walked out in a huff several times over. I have no panic attacks, nothing. I believe that baclofen should be the first line of defense for people with chronic anxiety, even if they don't have a substance abuse problem. This stuff is powerful. Several people have told me that I seem like a whole different person.


13. Ogel
February 3 2011
My Way Out

I found, after I stopped drinking that I had several anxiety like conditions and baclofen has sorted them out.


14. Paars
February 27, 2011
(Baclofen Forum)

Having a general anxiety disorder and Social phobia, which increased over the years. I lost my girlfriend because of that. I dropped out of my study, I wouldn't go outside at all. Unless very drunk. At one point it was so bad I wouldn't even dare posting in online forums. Scared of the reactions, of every possible mistype. Now with Baclofen, these problems have vanished. And I'm working hard to rebuild the smoking pile of crap that has been my life up until I started taking Baclofen. I'm not there yet, but I will be!




Pls go to post #25 and #146 on this thread for additional reports. (although post #s change when people delete)

Last edited by Cassander; 02-25-2013 at 10:28 AM.. Reason: update
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:17 PM
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Hi, Cassander. I'm seeking_serenity from your post. Baclofen totally eliminated my chronic anxiety. It happened for me well before I hit my switch. It was miraculous! For as long as I can remember, I suffered from racing thoughts, manic spells, periods in which I talked so fast that nobody could understand what I was saying. I woke up early in the morning worrying about anything and everything. I had a hard time sleeping.

Baclofen took care of that. And unlike xanax, ativan, etc. it didn't just mask the underlying anxiety, it completely cured it. I still have situational anxiety (do I ever get that now with my job!) but the pointless, chronic anxiety is gone forever. When I say that baclofen doesn't "mask" it, I mean that if I get anxious about something now, the last thing I want to do is take more baclofen, because it wouldn't work. But I talk at a normal rate now. My early-morning worrying sessions are gone. I don't have the racing thoughts, the road rage, or the all-encompassing freak-outs when things DO stress me out. It was like someone took an eraser and just wiped that part of me out. I found it miraculous and still do. I have a terribly stressful job and I can't even begin to imagine how I'd have coped before baclofen. I'd have surely walked out in a huff several times over. I have no panic attacks, nothing.

I believe that baclofen should be the first line of defense for people with chronic anxiety, even if they don't have a substance abuse problem. This stuff is powerful. Several people have told me that I seem like a whole different person.
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:21 PM
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Hi, Cassander.
I'll be back to share some of my thoughts when I have time if you still haven't found the answers you're looking for.
I just wanted to say that that is the most impressive list I have ever seen collated on MWO. Your son is one lucky man.
And welcome.

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Old 07-01-2011, 10:36 PM
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Default Cassander!!!!

Wonderful job Cassandar, if you look at my post today under my thread (look for "tit" in the title) you'll see I just posted about bac and my anxiety. I use xanax and bac, and what I've found is that I have to switch my dose up and down on either/both from time to time, but right now that, plus the miraculous cognitive therapy book Feeling Good are helping. And my new latest "cure all" manuka honey has calmed my stomach, and I think alot of my anxiety was circular with the stomach pain/ skin breakouts both which caused each other, but the pills and manuka helped. Taking xanax and bac didn't do it for me all the time, I have to say, the thinking patterns for me was part of it. Perhaps that's because I never could get to high doses for blood pressure reasons.
Thanks for compiling this, it's great.
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:20 AM
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Hi and welcome Cassander, I'm another one who has always suffered from anxiety, since my childhood days. A large part of mine has been social anxiety, but there has also been the chronic worrying and racing thoughts, aswell as adrenaline-type physical symptoms. I remember I would worry about upcoming things for weeks even while I was still at high school, and none of it improved with time.

For me antidepressants had no effect against anxiety, although a few did seem to reduce it initially, maybe because some have sedating antihistamine effects that last the first few days or longer. Benzodiazepines do work for me, and I still take them as needed, mainly Valium now instead of Xanax because I have found it helps me more, with fewer rebound problems in between doses or when lowering the dose. That is even when taking equivalent doses of the two. Valium's far longer duration of action, and accumulation when taken daily, make it quite different for me to Xanax.

Baclofen has also helped my anxiety. I have never taken bac right up to any switch level, simply because I stopped drinking by other means and am now mainly taking baclofen for anxiety and relief of a desire I have to use other drugs to get high (in the way I used alcohol). So far it has worked for both the anxiety and the cravings. I do feel I need to make other changes to my life and thinking, but this is becoming a lot easier now. I'm not sure how much of an antidepressant effect baclofen is having but being free of a lot of the other issues helps my mood, so that's a type of effect against depression.

I wish you and your son the very best. You have already done a great job helping him by coming here and researching what you have.
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:55 AM
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Cassander,

Glad you put this together. I believe I started it my thread as well.


LL
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:10 AM
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Cassander,

I already have my 22 year old on it. How long have you been 'lurking'. Have you or your son been on it to know the effectiveness on anxiety?
Just curious since you started a thread that probably should be based on evidence of fact.
just sayin'
Hope you find the responses helpful for your son.

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Old 07-02-2011, 02:15 AM
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Cassander,
I too have been on all kinds of meds for anxiety, none worked! So, now with the help of the people on this site, I am now going to start taking Bac. God I pray it works for me!
I just want to feel normal........
I will keep you posted!
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:01 AM
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cassander,
thank you so much for this thread. I almost lost 4 years of sobriety due to anxiety. this was just last week. I've lost most of the cue's and habits for drinking but I still get massive anxiety every once in awhile. crippling really.
I would encourage everyone to post the amount of BAC you were taking when your anxiety was lifted.
thanks all. grat.
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:57 AM
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Gratitude,

Thank God Cassander brought u Bac! Damn, I lost my praying man emoticon@


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