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First off, I know that drinking alcohol & taking psych medications is not good or recommended (like "flushing meds down the toilet"). Some meds have very strong warnings against. I'd like now to limit to 1 only which is tough. Anyone have suggestion on how to enforce myself to do this - like a string on my finger or something?)

I had 2 1/2 glasses of nice wine with dinner (Valentine's Day date). I just started taking Abilify 2 weeks ago & I've been on Lamictal for 6 months. I do not drink frequently or excessively (up to 2-3 watery beers or glasses of white wine per week).  I always drink plenty of water, but my tolerance has immediately been cut in half!! I don't think I can drink more than 1 glass at all now, without a hangover: severe dizziness, headache, dehydration for hours the next day.

Is this more of a common side effect from Abilify or Lamictal? I know Lamictal makes me more dehydrated. I have been on all the SSRIs/SNRI's in the past, and those did not have ill effects with alcohol. I know I should not drink alcohol at all, but I am human and would like to have a drink socially with friends or my partner sometimes.

Edited by Blahblah
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6 hours ago, notloki said:

I think your body is making it clear you should not drink.

I totally agree with you. Since I'm having some early side effects from Abilify though, I might not be able to stay on it. I'm asking if anyone has also had the above effect when taking Abilify? I didn't have as much issue with Lamictal.

I want to cut down to 1 drink (or less) per week. I'm seeking some good tips here on how to cut back (almost completely) from alcohol. I am not an alcoholic and I don't consider 2 drinks per week to be excessive (but your right, at the moment its not sitting well with me or the meds). I don't think AA is an option for me. I'd love to hear some tips/tricks from others?

I do drink a ton of seltzer water, I avoid going to bars, I never drink any hard liquor at all... but enjoying a glass of wine with dinner or at a show once in awhile, I believe, is a healthy stress release and enjoyment in life. Also, some research indicates that 1 glass of red wine (periodically) can possibly extend your life.

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Since I've been on Abilify, I really only drink on New Year's and then it is just cheap champagne (low alcohol). I have not noticed the effect you are describing, though since being on my cocktail (not just Abiify) I have noticed that I don't like the way alcohol makes me feel. Basically, as notloki said, don't drink on any psych med because the results can be unpredictable and not what you would like.

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I don't take the same meds but I broke the no drinking rule because it was (really) a glass of beer and how can that be a problem.   So I slid out of my seat at the restaurant under the table (No kidding) pulled myself up and decided my GDoc wasn't kidding when she said, "No drinking"   I had no idea it would have such a strong effect but I've just put aside the booze as a bad bad idea.  I would say that other then a short period when I was quite young and friends and were getting out of control (And the legal age was 18) I've been a "Glass of wine" type of drinker at family events - that type of thing.  But not now.   If it helps just remember (be honest) most booze tastes awful.   ha!

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3 hours ago, HAL9000 said:

I would say that other then a short period when I was quite young and friends and were getting out of control (And the legal age was 18) I've been a "Glass of wine" type of drinker at family events - that type of thing.  But not now.   If it helps just remember (be honest) most booze tastes awful.   ha!

That's a great healthy habit and good that you don't actually enjoy alcohol either. I was hoping to hear from more people here that were regular drinkers (say, for like 20 years), who enjoyed drinking/socializing and then stopped cold turkey (everything) after starting meds. I would love to hear some tips (not necessarily from ex-alcoholics or anything) just regular people here that enjoy drinking & have been regular drinkers/partiers for decades and then were able to stop completely. What worked best for you???

Like I mentioned, I WANT to cut down to nothing (I have cut back to 2-3 drinks per week), but I can't seem to do it!! No matter whether I have bad effects the next day - I quickly forget about the bad effects.  I actually really like the taste of alcohol, I find it near impossible to go out to social gatherings in the evenings without having 1 drink minimum. Certain foods (burgers, sushi, etc) I can't eat without a beer (sounds silly but true for me). I do try to do many other activities that don't center around alcohol, however, there are so many fun restaurants, dinner gatherings, BBQ's, social meetups, parties, etc. I don't always get hangovers, so that isn't enough of a deterrent right now :-(

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If you are having just a few drinks per week, then you are not physically addicted to the alcohol so cutting back is a matter of relearning and reassociating. So in your example, you have to relearn how to eat a hamburger with some other drink so that you will no longer associate hamburger and beer. It's tough but it can be done. I used to drink quite a lot but I gave it up when I got on my med cocktail. I had to quit doing the things I used to do when I would drink. Eventually, I was able to relearn and reassociate and now I no longer even want alcohol. But, yeah, it's tough at first.

Also, use rewards. What it is that you like better than drinking? Reward yourself when you successfully don't drink.

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Don't get me wrong when I was younger I was like...   Olympic class drinker but I never drank anything for its flavour.  It was macho stuff to not let half a bottle of (expensive) scotch make me "drunk" and that type of genius type of thing.  When I went on meds and felt sloppy drunk after one beer?  I was probably embarrassed out of drinking.  I guess I misspoke about drink tasting bad.  I had a friend (A true drunk) keep showing up with lemonade flavored vodka or choc malt whatever.  I think God made booze taste the way it does to remind us not to drink too much HA.   I think the other thing is I don't like to be "controlled"  I would be the animal in the cage pacing back and forth looking for a chance to jump out.   Thus hard core drugs (or even drinking to excess) and feeling a need to do that?   Anti appeals to me. 

On the other hand I tend to do what I'm told when GDoc tells me something.  I've been surprised more then once at her knowledge.   I kept underestimating her for years because of some experiences with other doctors who....  Well the less said the better.  I'm not sure what combines with what to make Booze 10x on meds but its really not good.  And I think its a depressant which I need NO more of.

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13 hours ago, jt07 said:

If you are having just a few drinks per week, then you are not physically addicted to the alcohol, so cutting back is a matter of relearning and reassociating. So in your example, you have to relearn how to eat a hamburger with some other drink so that you will no longer associate hamburger and beer. It's tough but it can be done. I used to drink quite a lot but I gave it up when I got on my med cocktail. I had to quit doing the things I used to do when I would drink. Eventually, I was able to relearn and reassociate and now I no longer even want alcohol. But, yeah, it's tough at first.

Also, use rewards. What it is that you like better than drinking? Reward yourself when you successfully don't drink.

This is true (in bold). I have to "Just Do It"  Maybe if i can make myself cut it out totally for a month, I will eventually stop enjoying the taste of it? With the foods like hamburgers & sushi - I hate drinking water. I drink water all day long. Juice does not mix well either with most dinner foods. I hate Soda, it is chock full of sugar (sugar is really really bad for you also...I suppose there is Coke Zero, but that just has chemicals instead of the sugar!)

A huge problem here is social pressure. When I go out socially, people look at me strange when I say I don't drink (I feel like they must assume I'm an ex-alcoholic or pregnant) Friends will urge me several times to "just have one Beer" They buy rounds and put it in front of me....Then I go to weddings or events and the waiter keeps filling my wine glass and I don't realize I've actually had 4 glasses!!! Heck even my spouse always gets several drinks when we go out on dates to dinner and asks me if I want one. I simply can't seem to resist the pressure every time, unless I just do not go out at all.

If I isolate, I do not go anywhere that triggers drinking and I do not come into contact with drinkers. But this is punishment and just reinforces that i am denying myself. I don't know what else to do at night...I am anhedonic and don't have hobbies or things that are "rewarding" to me. I go to the gym everyday, so working out again at night is not an option. I don't like going to movies, I don't care for TV. I need to go out and socialize/ go to meetups at night which almost always center around drinking.

Edited by Blahblah
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  • 2 months later...

Cutting it out totally for a month is probably a good way to "reset" your habits.  As far as people getting on your case for not drinking, try telling them you're taking a "detox month."  I've done it, and I've had friends who've done it, and usually people just say "oh," and then "maybe I should try that sometime" in response.  If they persist, ask why they care so much.  If they're relentless and you feel comfortable being a little confrontational, maybe mention that alcoholics are often uncomfortable being around people who aren't drinking and tend to encourage peers to drink more so that they feel "normal."  That should shut them up quick.

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