I'm 1 month abstinent, with campral & learning cbt tools & strategies through Smart recovery

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I'm in a bit of a quandary, basically I've been drinking heavily every night for approx 15 years. About a year ago, I realised, with my gp's persuasion that I had to do something, instead of just thinking about it. So have been attending my local alcohol unit for over a year every fortnight, trained professionals & peers also run a smart recovery group, which I wasn't keen on attending as I thought it would be just another form of AA, which is not for me, on so many levels, but that's a different story. Smart is just cbt, no labels, no faith or higher power, it works for me, and I can attend meetings anonymously online, which I really like, but we are all different. It's taken a while for everything to start falling into place for me, I tried moderation, not drinking through the week etc, but I found I wasn't ever free from the hold alcohol had over me, and even though I wasn't consuming alcohol, I was still thinking about it, and constantly having an internal battle in my head. I just didn't seem able to go a weekend without having a drink, and this was really getting me anxious. As per the normal, my gp had never heard of TSM, and even though I presented him with the nice guidelines and all relevant paperwork for prescribing Nalmafene, I was told I would have to speak to my alcohol worker about it, which I did, but she couldn't prescribe it and said I would need an appointment with the head of the unit, which takes months. Anyway in the meantime my own gp agreed to try me on Campral as I had been sober for over a week and was determined and desperate to keep it going. It really seems to have made a massive difference to me, it's been a month now since I've had a drink, and the smart online meetings keep me focused and motivated. Anyway today was my long awaited appointment with the head doctor, and he has recommended Nalmafene be prescribed to me as an additional back up, but I should also stick with the Campral as it seems to be working. I am now really worried that I will somehow in my moments of cravings and my twisted thinking, use this as an excuse to have a drink, instead of using coping strategies that I've been learning to abstain. I'm worried that I'll actually set myself back, if this makes sense. Has anyone else been prescribed Nalmafene as a back up to abstinence while using Campral, or have any advice. Thanks X 

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  • Posted

    I havent tried campral and dont know how to get it or Nalmafene, i have had a lifetime of drink but over the last 4 years my consumption has increased (daily 8/10 units vodka or whisky ) i have suferred withdrawal, relatvely mild discomfort headaches, poor sleep generally agitated most days.

    I told my gp but he didnt prescribe any medication, although i told him i was contemplating going COLD TURKEY he seemed to think my consumpition didnt constitute a risk associated with full withdrawl

    I have managed 16 days now but still get withdrawal symptems late afternoon, how long until they subside disappear im becoming a little panicky

    may go back to doc but sure how sympathetic they are

     

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    • Posted

      A huge well done on 16 days. I was told that the cravings grow smaller, the more you ignore them, but it's still very early days for me. I was also told to look out for paws (post accute withdrawal syndrome) which I think can last for quite a while afterwards, and it's just your brain recovering at its own pace, I was advised to see them as a positive, rather than resenting them. As far as treatment goes, I think a lot depends on your own gp. It's definitely worth going to see him and asking for a referal to your local alcohol specialists. I think you know yourself how much of a problem alcohol is in your own life, don't let your gp downplay it. Also look on the internet for as much info as possible, so your clued up on what you think may suit you treatment wise, and you can ask your doctor for it. Good luck x

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the advice, i have tried my designated local alcohol specialists but i am not happy with my allocated specialist, i guess its early days but i had hoped to feel better than this after this long.  Is my brain/body re adjusting 50 years of drinking is a long time, its now or never

      x

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    • Posted

      well done for trying to stop after so many years of drinking. Withdrawal symptoms can carry on for some time and do not forget that your body is used to alchohol for so many year!! Best of luck. Robin
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    • Posted

      Welcome to the world of ARCs!! I've yet to find anyone who has a good word to say about them. I can really empathise with you about being unhappy with your allocated 'specialist'  I've found this forum provides far better advice and help than the ARCs.

      ive used campral with success, it's an anti craving drug. Others here have had success with nalmafene. The problem is often getting a prescription for them. Often the first point of call would be your gp referring you or telling you to go to an ARC. Often they won't of heard of these drugs. Some of the ones who have refer you back to your gp to prescribe, who then says ARC will prescribe. It's a nightmare going backwards and forwards.

      well done on 16 sober days. It will get better and some days better than others.

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    • Posted

      "I was also told to look out for paws (post accute withdrawal syndrome) which I think can last for quite a while afterwards"

      PAWS can easily last for a year afterwards and is not generally understood either by people in the medical profession or those suffering the effects.

      Anhedonia is a real problem for people coming off alcohol (and I presume drugs but I have no experience of that). Google (I can't post links) the word and when you get down to the alcohol rehab link on the first page, click and this describes it well.

      Let me provide a very rough example. You switch the TV on to Jeremy Kyle, after a bottle of wine. You laugh at the woman who looks like she has a pig ring through her nose and pregnant. Then you see her rat boy boyfriend and you laugh at the horror of it all. You find it funny.

      You watch it without wine and then think, there is nothing funny about this, I used to find this amusing and now I find it boring. Everything can become boring that you used to know, and then you are tempted to drink, just to find life worth living again. It is just one of the many stages of dealing with alcohol. It doesn't effect everybody, but it does some.

      Just read the link about anhedonia and learn to love life again. It may not be an issue for you, but it is always good to be aware of it.

       

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  • Posted

    Campral works best iwthout the thought of nalfamene and as you have said, it will probably provide the excuse to start drinking.

    Nalfemene works well, but is very different to Campral. Either stick with the Campral or ditch it and go down the nalmefene route. Do not toy with playing about with both of them.

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    • Posted

      You are absolutely right. A few months ago I'd of bitten of my Drs hand for a Nalmafene prescription as I just didn't think I could manage abstinence for longer than a week or so, and it was mentally exhausting, hence I always seemed to lose motivation, when my mood was low. In desperation at not getting nalmafene, I asked for Campral instead. I wasn't convinced it would make much difference to me, that could be because I haven't really heard or found much patient experiences about it, but thought I'd nothing to lose from giving it a good try. A month down the line and I am really so pleased with it. It seems to have stopped the random thoughts I would have about alcohol, I don't have that inner voice in my head, which I never really realised were cravings/urges. There's no side effects for me, my sleep had improved so much, and I'm starting to feel free from the control alcohol had over me. I honestly don't think I'd be sober today without it. Don't get me wrong, it's not a magic pill, if you don't want to stop deep down, then nothing will work I believe. So common sense has kicked in, and I'm just going to carry on with the Campral as I have been doing. It works for me, so it would be daft for me to mess about with Nalmafene, especially when I'm so early into recovery. Thanks for replying to me, it has really helped and made me think

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  • Posted

    As someone who successfully used campral for 12 months, I fully agree with RHGBs post.

    When taken correctly, campral does what it says on the tin. It stops thoughts of drinking alcohol, so why take something which involves alcohol?

    I'm not medically trained, but logic suggests one or the other, not both.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Vicky, I've replied on RHGBs post. It's really encouraging to read that it was a success for you. Do you have any advice/tips on it, at the moment I'm just taking it a day at a time, and I don't even seem to have many thoughts at all about drinking, although I do randomly and it takes me by surprise, that's when I realise that I've gone a few days without alcohol crossing my mind. When you stopped taking it, did the cravings return at all, and are you completely abstinent now, or can you have an occasional drink, without it being an issue? Hope you don't mind the questions, it's just that I haven't found anyone that has taken it successfully.

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    • Posted

      Well, I took it, like Vicks, which is why I replied. Now don't get me wrong, nalmefene/naltrexone are good effective medications and for a lot of people, they work better than Campral.

      It works, not for everybody, but many people. And the way it works, as you have noticed, is you forget about alcohol. If someone has nalmefene sitting on the coffee table, it is a constant reminder to them of alcohol and goes against everything Campral is trying to do.

      If it stops working for you, then by all means go for nalmefene, but don't have it near you, reminding you of alcohol. There are a number of people here (including myself) that it has worked for. When you stop taking it (6-12 months recommended) it will be because it has done its job of resetting you mind, so that you are not thinking about alcohol all the time.

      As for drinking again, some can do it sensibly, many do not. If you are going to go down that route, you need to find a very good counsellor who can help you with the psychology side - which is almost non existent in the UK. People who drink for the sake of it, do it because of stress, anxiety, boredom, routine, - you get the picture. You have to learn to deal with/stop these triggers, otherwise you will find that you go back to your old ways.

      For now though, my best advice, forget everything to do with alcohol, just let it do its job. When the time comes nearer, then think about getting a good counsellor, but I have not found one yet. IMHO, you will get better advice here.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the info and advice. I'm happy being completely alcohol free for now, and having the control back. I'm having to learn new coping strategies to deal with stress, and other feelings that previously I would've dealt with by drinking, so that can only be a good thing, even if it is bloody challenging, but I'm working on it daily

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  • Posted

    I agree with both RHGB and Vickylou - both of which are extremely knowledgeable and have used campral successfully.

    Campral is working for you so far, so you should remain on that path to the natural conclusion of successful campral use.

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks Joanna for the advice. It completely confused me when my psychiatrist said I could have Nalmafene as an emergency back up. I think it's all down to a miss match of timings. I printed off the Nice guidelines, SMC briefing notes and other relevant paperwork that I found on the c3 Europe page, and sent it to him weeks ahead of my appointment. So I met with him yesterday, and he was impressed that I'd done my homework, and knew what I was talking about, so said yes he was happy to prescribe it for me, if I still wanted it, and that's what completely messed with my head. 

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