Back on Campral

Posted , 8 users are following.

Since Christmas I've noticed that the amount of alcohol I've been consuming has increased.

Ive not been drinking alone or in secret. However the number of social occasions I've been to has increased greatly.  Special birthdays, weddings, wedding anniversaries, christenings etc keep coming up.

My husband will be retiring in a few weeks, so there will be more celebrations, weekends away, trips abroad, all occasions where I would drink.  

Although he will be retiring from local government, we're both considering him doing some consultancy work abroad on as little or as much as he wants basis.

I've spoken before about the problems I had with him working away. However now the kids are grown up, i would go with him,

This would involve so many situations where alcohol is free and easy, particularly where wifes/parteners are involved. 'The ladies that lunch' brigade, although not my cup of tea!, all drink like fishes morning till night. I have no intention of getting back to where I was before, but I know myself and admit I would probably throw myself right into the fun and party lifestyle, merely to pass time and avoid boredom.

So with all that's going on in my life at the moment and months ahead, I've decided to go back to taking campral again. My gp (also a family friend) fully agrees with me and was happy prescribing it. Thank goodness he didn't fob me off with ARCs again. He said it was a waste of time.

My only worry is that alcohol still, to a certain degree, controls my life, which makes me feel weak. Trying to feel positive that ive acted now, rather than later.

Started campral again today and know that not drinking won't be hard.

 

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  • Posted

    Is it that easy on campral as my husband has actually been sober for 3 months now but I know he struggles.
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    • Posted

      In my experience, it will only work if the person does not have one drink on it. If they have a sneaky couple of pints once or twice a week on the way back from work, that is enough to stop it working.
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    • Posted

      He truly hasn't had a drink but he won't get campral from local alcohol services as they said he's not an alcoholic because he had a job and a mortgage (seriously!!!)....not that he has a job now

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    • Posted

      I've taken campral before and it worked well. As RHGB has pointed out, it only works if you don't drink at all and you take the 6 tablets daily.

      The first 5 days were the worst, then it kicked in. You actually forget about craving for a drink. In my experience the craving disappears, then before you know it, you've gone hours then days without thinking about alcohol.

      Yes in the past I'd gone months without a drink, but like your husband it was a struggle. I constantly thought about drinking, avoided social situations where alcohol was involved. The temptation was too great. Campral alters the thought process in the brain, therefore no cravings.

      RHGB will, I'm sure, explain in more detail. It worked for him too

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    • Posted

      Yep, quite normal. I went to one ARC who were more than unhelpful. I complained to their director in London, who was actually a decent person. In the end, I went  to another branch and got the medication I wanted, but the support was painful. Not that I needed it, but I had to go through the motions if I wanted to keep getting a prescription.
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    • Posted

      Oops wrong answer to wrong person. Correct one below.

      Campral doesn't work for everybody, I'm sure the reason it doesn't is psychological. Meaning that what is driving your husband towards alcohol is not being addressed.

      I keep meaning to research why some people find that Campral does not work. I will probably come back with some questions tomorrow, to try and understand it better.

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    • Posted

      Most of the people in ARCs, seem to be untrained and not able to deviate from a standard mantra that they are given.

      ARCs seem more into drugs, they deal with alcohol because it is part of their funding agreement.

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  • Posted

    You are a jammy dodger in that your GP will just prescribe it to you.

    My GP surgery (I am assigned to two doctors because I'm in the 'at risk' top 2%) knows I was in hospital for liver failure/stroke. Knows that my local ARC, don't have the first clue and in email communications has told me that she can understand my frustration. But still, they would refuse tomorrow to prescribe Campral to me, which has virtually zero side effects and no addiction problems.

    The only saving grace, is that I found an online pharmacy that supplies the Merck Serono, which is exactly the same as is prescribed on the UK, but it does cost £120 a month. But I would love to have a GP, that if I needed to have another course, would prescribe it to me.

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    • Posted

      I know where you are coming from RHGB..tried to get Campral for my daughter,GP said she couldn't prescibe as it had to come from local Drugs Advisory Service.  Drugs Advisory Service cancelled her appointment as she wasn't actively drinking. As you said, GP "understood my frustration" which was a great help!

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    • Posted

      Yes I know I'm lucky. Think it might be a case of who you know, rather than what you know (am sure you get my drift!)

      However, I'd have paid for it if I had to. No way would I go down the arc route. I'm just mad with myself really that I'm going backwards and don't want to.

      Celebrations on Saturday were great, until I realised I'd actually had a bottle of wine, plus drinks before and brandy coffee. Felt fine, just slightly lightheaded, no hangover next day. My daughter was in bed all the next day. One son and daughter in law had to cancel arrangements for the next day. Husband felt rough and sick and I went to the gym!

      I presume I've a high tolerance level. Hence the return to campral. Will just go without again.

      Proof that the weakness is still there. Is social drinking worth it? Yes if you watch it, no if you bury your head in the sand.

      Dont get me wrong, no secret drinking, no cravings, no hair of the dog. Just concerned over the amount I can put away without any side effects.

      Got home about midnight, marked a load of exam papers and went to bed at 3am. Spent yesterday checking I'd marked properly and I had

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    • Posted

      My understanding  is that a gp can prescribe campral. However by prescribing it, they are taking responsibility for the patient themselves. This is the main reason many gps won't prescribe it. They can prescribe but are not willing to, rather than they can't prescribe it. That's the explanation my gp gave me today

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    • Posted

      Yep, quite normal. I went to one ARC who were more than unhelpful. I complained to their director in London, who was actually a decent person. In the end, I went  to another branch and got the medication I wanted, but the support was painful. Not that I needed it, but I had to go through the motions if I wanted to keep getting a prescription.

      Now, the case workers at ARCs are not medically qualified and are not therefore qualified to make decisions on whether a medication is suitable or not, but they often do.

      It is your right to see the doctor and Joanna (who posts here) can sum it up better than I and also PM you (or email) a template to give them that explains why they must let you/your husband see a doctor.

      Don't give up, please come back to the thread, Joanna will probably see my post and answer, if not, I'll give her a nudge.

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    • Posted

      Nothing wrong with taking some time out and realising the danger zones, that may be heading up on the horizon. It's when you ignore the warning signs that it becomes a problem.

      Not a dig at you, but most people don't get the support from their GP to help them out.

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    • Posted

      Yep, too right, I realise that. 

      ?Ive had conversations with him before about ARCs and my experience of them. The main one being "what the hell is the point of keeping a drink diary!"

      ?The support worker assigned to me was younger than my youngest. I asked her what qualifications she'd got and was told NVQ Level 2 in Social Care!! My daughter got that at 16, hardly inspiring.

      ?I then asked to see someone more senior, waste of time again. She'd never heard of campral and said "is it a bit like Antabuse?"

      So yes, I do sympathise with people wanting meds, and the backwards and forwards with gps and ARCs. I remember your epic journey to get campral and the lengths you went to.

      I think the time out will do me good and also a reminder to keep things under control. 

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Liz

      RHGB has given you excellent advice regarding getting campral for your daughter. If you look back at his posts, you'll see the lengths he had to go to get campral. It shows how determined he was and wasn't put off. He just kept trying every available route to get it.

      You may have been in contact with him via pm, in which case ignore my post.

      I know I'm lucky having a gp who will prescribe campral, but please come back and let us try to help. It was 100% successful for me and RHGB.

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    • Posted

      Sorry for delayed reply. I am following thread. The problem which I think other people may relate to is when you are trying to help someone close to you, in this case my daughter, you are never sure whether you are following what they want or what you want.  I gave up pursuing the Campral as she seemed to be doing great after a detox and wasn't that interested herself.   Now after nine weeks she has relapsed and started on Naltrexone which we got from abroad.  Only a few days in so far. If I had a pound for everytime someone tells me "You can't do it for them" I'd be rich..I do understand that but what else can you do?  She is definitely very committed to wanting the problem to go away but as depression and anxiety are part of the problem she is scared to be without alcohol.

      I think now if she had been able to stay on the acamprosate she might not have relapsed and some research indicates it is good for anxiety too..but try telling that to the doctor! Have previousy been in touch with Joanna and she has been very helpful.  

      It's a journey!

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    • Posted

      Hi Vickylou

      Thanks for your reply.  I've just replied to RHGB about the difficulties of helping a relative with the problem and hope you can read my reply to him.

      Good luck with your struggle too!

       

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    • Posted

      Hi liz

      just reading through the campral posts and noticed you mention "had she been able to stay on the acamprosate she may not have relapsed" Just wondering why she stopped taking it. Who prescribed it previously? Won't they prescribe it again.

      I know you've heard it before, but surely your daughter should be researching campral herself, or doing it together. My husband would spend hours on the internet looking for anything that might have helped me, but being honest, I didn't really want to stop drinking then. So in reality nothing was going to work for me.

      However things change and it was campral that helped me get my life back.

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    • Posted

      Well, yes it is right that the person must want to do it for themselves, but many will have a far better chance with someone helping them along the way, it's called guidance and support.

      If I were an alcohol advisor (or whatever they are called) I would sit people down and explain, their issue with alcohol. There are three issues with alcohol addiction, physical, neurological and psychological.

      Not everyone suffers the physical addiction so much, but for the many who do, they need to be detoxed. This is because the brain is connected to the central nervous system. For example, if I said to you, touch the computer screen in front of you, your brain would send an electrical signal along the nerves to the muscles and your arm and hand would then reach out and touch the screen.

      Now, the brain has a brake and an accelerator. Alcohol acts as a brake, so the brain pushes down on the accelerator to compensate. Now when someone has become addicted to alcohol, when the brake (alcohol) is removed, the accelerator remains stuck for a few days. The brain is now out of balance/kilter and the CNS goes a bit haywire and involuntary instructions for movement are sent, hence the shakes or the body not working as it should, e.g. hard to walk. For a small minority, it can lead to fits and seizures, which can be fatal.

      When someone is in the detox stage or within a few weeks after, they go through the euphoria stage. This is a dangerous time for them, and it is usually when the medical profession lets them go, when they are most at risk. This period is like bliss, for probably in a long time, they have no alcohol in their system, they are getting their appetite back and finding they have more energy.

      Then we come on to the neurological stage, the second stage, the first stage is comming off alcohol, the second is staying off alcohol or at least getting it under control. Years of drinking alters the brain, for a daily drinker, probably the first thing that they think when they wake up in the morning, is when can I have a drink. Is it a weekend? It is, great I'll go and finish off that half bottle of wine downstairs. Your brain just does not think like a normal person, it constantly has alcohol on the brain.

      It is a daily battle, and one day, alcohol wins, it always does, it is relentless battle of attrition. Just to make it a bit more difficult, post alcohol withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) usually come into play as well, which is complex and the best short description is, that it is a form of depression - this is not a physical withdrawal, bent a mental one. This is why detox alone, never stops people drinking, only briefly. The brain has to be reset, to return it to how it used to be, before alcohol remoulded it.

      This is where Campral comes in, it resets the brain. Which allows the person to live life wihtout the constant thought of alcohol filling their thoughts. It doesn't work for everyone, but since it has virtually no side affects and no addiction, I cannot understand why the medical profession doesn't give (offer) it to everyone when they detox. It should be give at the same time as the detox, as it takes a week to kick in.

      This is where your daughter stumbled, as pretty much everyone else does, that doesn't get medication follow up after a detox. The naltrexone she is taking now, works in a similar way, but it retrains the brain that the reward (buzz) from alcohol is no longer there and therefore the association is broken. It is so important, that this second stage is followed. through from the first stage.

      The third stage is psychology. Most people start drinking heavily for one of the following reasons; stress, anxiety, boredom or a combination of them. Quite often it starts with the first two but later on boredem often takes over. Life becomes dull and unbearable without alcohol. We need to understand what the trigger points are and avoid them. If we have too much time on our hands, then that must be filled or alcohol will find a way to fill it. If we always go to the pub on a Friday night, we need to do something else, because sitting at home won't cut it, our brain is likely to start drifting off thinking about the fun times had.

      That is a rough summary, it isn't a one size fits all, but it gives a fairly accurate description of the process needed and what the mind/body goes through with alcohol addiction. I think if people had it explained to them, so they understood it, were given the medication and then were given proper (by people who understand what alcohol does) support, we'd have far less of an alcohol problem in this country.

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    • Posted

      Oooooooh you should be an alcohol advisor, no I won't keep on at you!

      that is a brilliant description in laymans terms of AUD. if it was explained to people like that at ARCs, I'm certain we would find it easier to avoid relapsing. However the advisors I've seen wouldn't know or understand it themselves, so what chance have us drinkers got?

      I don't know why campral isn't automatically given alongside detox, or at least immediately after. Detox, from what I remember, was the easy bit, staying sober as you say is the hardest and is where campral should help.

      I don't know why the British seem to have to drink constantly. It's so obvious once you've been through security at an airport, who the brits are. There the ones drinking pints of lager, wine or anything alcoholic at any time, day and night. I've done it myself even a few weeks ago. Drinking 3 glasses of cava at 5am before a 7am flight.

      Go anywhere in Europe and it's usually (myself and husband included) the brits again in the bars drinking "dos cervezas" after 10.30 am.  We'd never entertain having a coffee or soft drink, just two large beers then walk for an hour and do the same. You see Europeans drinking expressos, iced jugs of water, smoothies, but hardly ever beer.

      Well Friday night is curry night for us. Normally a bottle of prosecco, OH about 5 pints of 'real ale' then across to the Indian for a curry and two pints of cobra. I have to be honest in that I did miss my prosecco initially, but soon forgot, enjoyed sitting outside with a jug of lime and soda! Really enjoyed my curry, it actually tasted better without alcohol!! Bumped into some friends (acquaintances really) ended up sharing a table with them. Talk about noise, they seemed so loud, as did most of the people there. Several waiters were getting a lot of hassle, why I had to hear what the 4 people behind us had done all week god only knows. Mobiles everywhere, pics of food, selfies galore. Lots of profiles will no doubt be updated, people checking in at the curry house, why anyone would be interested in a pic of my meal is beyond me. Yep, Facebook will be busy tonight haha. Friday night without alcohol, an eye opener. Still enjoyed it though, but the noise really irritated me and we went home straight home. No cheeky drinks in a wine bar after either.

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    • Posted

      Hi Vickylou..sorry for delayed reply.  My daughter was prescibed acamprosate when she was offered a home detox last year by our local alcohol community team.  The detox collapsed as she wasn't ready for it but we kept the medication though we were not supposed to. She started taking it after a successful private detox, and when it ran out they were not prepared to give her any more without an appointment with them which at that time was two months in the future.

      And yes I totally agree that she should be researching this herself, maybe my fault for doing it for her but she is great at doing things "tomorrow" and I am 73 and fed up with waiting!  

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    • Posted

      Thanks RHGB for your clear explanation...I feel I am getting more and more knowlegeable about the condition.  The third psychology stage is definitely where she is at the moment, she has such a mountain to climb to re-establish friendships, job prospects etc, worries about never finding a partner, losing me, it's fairly obvious that the attraction of forgetting it all with a drink is so strong.  So far a week into the Naltrexone and drinking more controlled, so I remain hopeful.

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