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  1. #1
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    My experiences with Naltrexone - your suggestions for baclofen?

    Hi -

    Just stumbled across this forum as I'm considering baclofen. I've spent hours reading already - here and elsewhere - and figured the last step was to distill my story into a couple paragraphs and see if anyone happens to reply with relevant advice!

    I've been fighting generalized anxiety my whole life. I was buying Kava Kava supplements before I ever got drunk. Started drinking in HS... drinking made me fun, and no anxiety, fyeah! And while I'm a lightweight at every drug at first - I build up a tolerance quicker than anyone I know. Which meant the amount needed to fight social anxiety in a hip college bar got way too high. I became a blackout drinker. Throughout my 20s, I typically drank only 2 nights per week (although sometimes it was just a 48 hour bender), but an absurd amount... with absurd behavior. Hangover Sunday.. eventually I learned a Xanax really helps with withdrawal symptoms.. and back to normal Monday. I thought it was "normalish" and under control. That fantasy came to an end during a very difficult divorce. I found the Sinclair Method and started taking Naltrexone. I sadly don't have the brand, dosage, etc. information but I don't recall a significant step-up period. I just took 1 pill, every day, around 5pm.

    At first Naltrexone was a game changer. I still drank every weekend but in lesser amounts and with far fewer blackouts (and no hangovers). I don't remember a lot of side effects, but honestly I was pretty much in full-on-mental-breakdown from the divorce so it's hard to say what's what back then. I do remember that it worked very well... until it didn't. As the months wore on, I started drinking to my previous levels. I also remember that I started taking it when I woke up instead of 5pm - it still prevented the hangovers, but not the blackouts - so that may be partially my fault.

    I eventually quit taking Naltrexone and have been riding the self-moderation train since... and by moderation I mean spacing it out. Instead of drinking a gallon of vodka in one or two nights each week, I generally drink just enough to be a little hungover every night. But it's still not the life I want to live. I went back to Naltrexone and wasn't able to tolerate the side effects - I don't know if it is the supplier (I've moved abroad) or the dosage or a physiological change but I was a zombie for about two months and just gave it up. A few ups and downs on that self-moderation train since and here I am asking about baclofen. From what I've read, it seems both better suited to anxiety-alcoholism comorbidity and for moderate daily drinkers anyway. Thoughts?

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  3. #2
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    Re: My experiences with Naltrexone - your suggestions for baclofen?

    Hello @rdm137

    Welcome. Thank you for sharing your story. I am only 6 months down the line from you - started building up baclofen around September, after years of reading blogs like this, going to moderation management and thinking I was a hero because I didn't drink on the nights of my MM meeting, blah blah blah. So, I will chat on for a bit in response to your post and hopefully answer some of your questions.

    Way back in the mists of time, when Ameisen was fresh news and this forum all of a fluster, the baclofen journey was a common story. Thank goodness it was. Thanks to @Cassander , @Baclofenman , @_serenity_ on this amazing site, we can find out about the possibilities of this medication. Hats off ladies and/or gentlemen.

    A few posts below this one you'll see my 'baclofen journey' thread. It links to the basic starting points to doing the baclofen route safely. And you're a smart guy - there's a ton of plausible research and experiences to learn from.

    You report a generalised anxiety. I think so many of us have it. Mine is searing, sometimes all consuming. If you track back the stories in the loooong thread started by Cassander, you'll see so many people talking about the role of baclofen in winding back the inner motor, the agitation, the 'watch's movement' (the German for a watch's movement is 'Unruhe' - uncalm). Ameisen, the doctor who first publicised this drug, talked through how and why it starts to... sooth. Bring space for breath and thought.

    That too happened to me (though I'm still antsy, niggly, irritable - there isn't a medication for being an arsehole). (Except booze - I'm a nicer person drunk.) (Except 99% of my drunk moments were on my own.)

    Baclofen does not calm like benzos do. Nor would you want it to. The risks are too great - legal, automotive, addictive, psychiatric... Bit by bit, baclofen feels like it allows the din to diminish. The din of anxiety (which is a trivial word for a serious situation; when people say they are anxious because they have a meeting, I use my immense self control not to quote Nietzsche at them. Sometimes.) is still there. But it's like hearing it in the open air, instead of a tunnel. You have choices. You're not just running, trying to find the end of the tunnel.

    Baclofen takes some serious planning and effort. You have to build up the dosage slowly, and the side-effects are unpleasant (though some have no side effects). I really struggled with them. I had sudden strikes of tiredness that were scary - that side effect is common. (For some, particularly on the French site, baclofene.com, they complain of insomnia - that seems less common in other cultures.) I nearly shat myself a few times (learnt to have imodium at hand when upping the dose), but Baclofenman reports straining at stool so hard that he felt he could look any mother in a delivery room in the eye. But...they do pass. They do go away. In most reports, they go away completely - when you level off. But if you're the sort of person who reads up on the side effects of medicines and then thinks they've got glaucoma, stomach cancer and diabetes when they get a cold two days after starting the meds, this is not for you.

    I don't think drunks fall into that category often. We gulp pints of a drug with horrific side effects, and smile through work the next day sucking mints, singing 'It's five o'clock somewhere' in our heads. But with baclofen, you have to keep increasing the dose again...and again...and again... and repeating the loop of side effects again...and again... and again. You can, however, keep on drinking. Hurrah! You'll start to drink less and less, sort of instinctively. And then, eventually, you'll stop. But that could be on 300mg a day! Which is a looooootttt.

    You need to ensure you have enough of the stuff to titrate back down, should your supply dwindle. You don't want to go cold turkey.

    I've never heard or read of anyone becoming tolerant to this drug, or escalating its use. All the scientific literature on baclofen says it is not abusable and tolerance does not build. It is pharmacologically similar to phenebut, but has none of the horrific escalation scenarios associated with it. It is very unlike alcohol or benzos - though both of those drugs do target the same 'systems' of GABA activities. But baclofen is like a rifle, while benzos and booze are like a gatling gun.

    I'm not an expert, and I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm jealous you're still drinking. I miss it. But we all know it has to stop. Baclofen seems to work for so many to accept that the clamour and din will always be there, but we don't have to stay in the tunnel to listen to it. It's much easier to bear if you find your way out.

    George Smiley
    Last edited by georgesmiley; March 5th, 2021 at 04:14 PM.

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  5. #3
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    Re: My experiences with Naltrexone - your suggestions for baclofen?

    Hi all. I'm starting on Baclofen tomorrow. It took a few weeks to get enough of it here that I can get started. I will of course need to order more as I titrate up. Good to see that maybe this forum will be active again.

    I don't want to get off topic too much, but interesting that Phenibut was mentioned. I've been taking that to try to help with my anxiety. It's some weird stuff. When I first got it, I had been drinking all day and decided to take a gram of it. DO NOT do that. So I would up out of it for about a day and really bad nausea for almost 3 days. After that I took 250mg each day, which sometimes gives a little euphoria, but does seem to give a little anxiety relief. It seems the therapeutic dosage for that are between 500-1000mg. But you do have to titrate up on that or you will get nasty nausea. Not sure about taking it while taking Baclofen, so need to read up on that.

    Anyway, back on topic. So I will start tomorrow on the Baclofen and see if I can get to at least cutting way back on alcohol. I no longer do anything except work and then drink. That's every day. I stopped driving, I can't because I always have a BAC that is too much to be driving around. I am sort of apprehensive of the side effects, day time sleepiness and nausea are not good, but compared to the bad effects of alcohol, I think it is worth it and I'll just try to fight through it. Even reducing my drinking enough to have a life again sounds wonderful. And the weight gain from the beer, sigh...

  6. #4
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    Re: My experiences with Naltrexone - your suggestions for baclofen?

    Quote Originally Posted by rdm137 View Post
    Hi -

    Just stumbled across this forum as I'm considering baclofen. I've spent hours reading already - here and elsewhere - and figured the last step was to distill my story into a couple paragraphs and see if anyone happens to reply with relevant advice!

    I've been fighting generalized anxiety my whole life. I was buying Kava Kava supplements before I ever got drunk. Started drinking in HS... drinking made me fun, and no anxiety, fyeah! And while I'm a lightweight at every drug at first - I build up a tolerance quicker than anyone I know. Which meant the amount needed to fight social anxiety in a hip college bar got way too high. I became a blackout drinker. Throughout my 20s, I typically drank only 2 nights per week (although sometimes it was just a 48 hour bender), but an absurd amount... with absurd behavior. Hangover Sunday.. eventually I learned a Xanax really helps with withdrawal symptoms.. and back to normal Monday. I thought it was "normalish" and under control. That fantasy came to an end during a very difficult divorce. I found the Sinclair Method and started taking Naltrexone. I sadly don't have the brand, dosage, etc. information but I don't recall a significant step-up period. I just took 1 pill, every day, around 5pm.

    At first Naltrexone was a game changer. I still drank every weekend but in lesser amounts and with far fewer blackouts (and no hangovers). I don't remember a lot of side effects, but honestly I was pretty much in full-on-mental-breakdown from the divorce so it's hard to say what's what back then. I do remember that it worked very well... until it didn't. As the months wore on, I started drinking to my previous levels. I also remember that I started taking it when I woke up instead of 5pm - it still prevented the hangovers, but not the blackouts - so that may be partially my fault.

    I eventually quit taking Naltrexone and have been riding the self-moderation train since... and by moderation I mean spacing it out. Instead of drinking a gallon of vodka in one or two nights each week, I generally drink just enough to be a little hungover every night. But it's still not the life I want to live. I went back to Naltrexone and wasn't able to tolerate the side effects - I don't know if it is the supplier (I've moved abroad) or the dosage or a physiological change but I was a zombie for about two months and just gave it up. A few ups and downs on that self-moderation train since and here I am asking about baclofen. From what I've read, it seems both better suited to anxiety-alcoholism comorbidity and for moderate daily drinkers anyway. Thoughts?
    Hi, I of course don't have any advice yet, but since I'm going to get started now on the Baclofen, I'll be around here and will provide feedback on my own experience. There's a guide here on how to take it and titrate up, I'm looking for it right now...

    Kava Kava is really some nasty stuff, lol, I mean the taste.

    The Naltrexone, I have no experience, but from what I read, it sounds like it makes alcohol affect you less? I laughed that one off as that would just make me drink more until I get the effect I want. I could easily put down 30 beers if that's what it takes, and get even fatter you know?

    Baclofen does seem like the best fit for me. For one, it seems to have the effect of making you drink less over time, which is of course the goal, and also helps with anxiety without making you high and apparently no tendency to try to combine the drugs to get more euphoria. So I'm going to focus on that.

  7. #5
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    Re: My experiences with Naltrexone - your suggestions for baclofen?

    Hi @rdm137 ,

    How're you getting on?

    Making progress?

    George

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