Worried about brain damage possibility

Posted , 4 users are following.

I've been ill for 5 weeks. I've been ill ever since I had far too much alcohol in a night (3 bottles of wine). I'm a 19 year old from UK. The first few days after the binge drinking felt like a ordinary hangover, I thought it would get better and pass. To this date, 5 weeks later I still have lightheadedness/loss of balance. I notice it when I'm walking, I feel very unsteady. I've also got muscle weakness, short term memory trouble and occasionally a sore feeling at the back of my neck.

I feel I'm getting worse, as the memory problems and the muscle weakness are more recent. I haven't had any alcohol since that night of binge drinking. I thought coming off the alcohol would help my diarrhea but it has remained the same. The symptoms I have told except the neck pain are 24/7, they never end. The unsteady balance/lightheadedness has been there constantly since the beginning.

At first the doctors said it was alcohol withdrawal. I've been up A & E several times and they haven't found anything wrong, but they haven't done a head scan which I believe is the most important test. More recently, my GP has said it is down to stress and that I should load myself full of antidepressants. I'm convinced the doctors don't take me seriously as they have on record that I suffer from anxiety and depression. I have a feeling they think I'm exagerrating it. Overall, I've never been this ill for this length of time before, and I'm not exagerrating it.

I'm not sure if it's because the binge drinking has restricted blood flow to my brain, or if its a brain tumour or swelling, or whether its just stress. I don't know what to believe, as the doctors aren't taking me seriously. I also find it too much of a coincidence for myself to be ill for such a long period of time after binge drinking, if all it is is stress. I've been depressed for many years, sometimes more than other times but I have been depressed for a long time. I desperately want a head scan to rule out brain damage.

On the tablet side of things, I don't want to take further tablets as I've been on antidepressants constantly ever since I was 13 (I'm 19 now). I'm worried the tablets have caused improper development and I don't want them to cause further permanent side effects. The tablets haven't done me any good in the long term, I was more depressed at 18 after five years of taking antidepressants then I was at 12 and 13.

The antidepressants did do me some good up until I was 15 or 16, but since then it has been a general decline in mood; even though I did increase my dose when I was 17 to two fluoxetine pills and 15mg of mirtazapine. Before it was sertraline. By late last year I was as depressed as I was when I was 16, 17 and I came off the fluoxetine. I didn't notice any withdrawal symptoms in the following months. I'm gradually coming off the mirtazapine, starting 3 weeks ago. It isn't mirtazapine withdrawal which is causing me to feel unwell as I was ill before I started the mirtazapine withdrawal. I'm not sure whether to follow the doctor's advice and go back on mirtazapine and risk having further possible side changes to my brain and side effects.

I'm concerned that if its stress that's causing the loss of balance, muscle weakness and memory issues, I'll have brain damage or just generally worsened health. I feel hopeless, I can't seem to get a head scan done and I'm beginning to doubt I can actually help myself. If I have a brain problem, I'm going to get brain damage. From my point of view if I'm very stressed which I am, I'm probably going to get brain damage and if I go on tablets all my life, that'll probably cause detrimental changes to my brain.

Please help. I'm lost as to what to do as there doesn't seem to be a way out of this mess.

 

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    If the dics say nothing is physically wrong, then there is nothing wrong. It probably is anxiety, so stay off Google and ask for treatment for anxiety. If you don't want pills then therapy is there. And stop punishing your body by binge drinking,it won't do you an ounce of good.
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  • Posted

    @jmcg2014, Well I have stopped drinking completely since I've been ill. Haven't even had one alcoholic beverage since that night. The lack of alcohol may contribute to my anxiety as I wasn't as anxious before when I was drinking. I have tried hypnotherapy before, that didn't really work. I have been offered cognitive behavioural therapy but the doctor said it doesn't work as well if you're very depressed as well as paranoid/anxious. It's probably worth a try though.
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  • Posted

    alcohol can make changes to your brain chemistry so it could be the withdrawal process. Drugs are thoroughly tested before going to market so there should be a minimum risk of further damage to your brain. I am pleased you are off the alcohol for the moment but you should listen to your Dr otherwise you  will be having withdrawal symptoms from the anti depressants as well making you feel worse.

    rich

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  • Posted

    trust yourself, you already know the next thing to do. Get an MRI. This will reveal whether or not brain tissue has been damaged. Get a doctor to authorize this test. If tissue has been damaged, then get the appropriate treatment. If not, then at least you know your brain is ok.
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    • Posted

      That's bad advice for a health anxiety sufferer. If a Dr thought such tests were needed,they would arrange them, they don't need to be told by a patient, and wouldn't authorise them by request. Health anxiety tells us all kinds of things, the key is to NOT persue tests which a Dr doesn't see as necessary, it is to deal with the anxiety which makes us fixate on these things.
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    • Posted

      I disagree. She may have reason to suspect something new, due to the alcohol abuse and new symptoms. If she wants a test, let her get a test. It can do no harm, only good. It will at least tell her whether she has some new condition due to the alcohol issue, which based on her description, seems possible.
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    • Posted

      It seems nearly impossible to get a head scan done as the doctor keeps on turning me down and saying its stress. I live in the UK, so all health care is free which makes getting a MRI or CT scan done on request less likely due to cost. I believe they are dismissing me due to their own biased ignorance, they read on their computers that I've got depression and anxiety and think it's okay to just assume I have nothing wrong with me.

      I'm thinking of registering with a different GP surgery, perhaps they won't have such a one-sided opinion as they don't know me at all. It's already been over a month, I keep on thinking to myself when will I lose conciousness or have a stroke; whether its from the stress or the potential brain damage. Whether its stress or both stress and a brain problem that's causing it, the big deal is I'm suffering from stress and physical health problems. I'm a male not a female btw.

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    • Posted

      oops. sorry about getting your gender wrong, I'm just used to more girls with that name. Well don't freak out, you're not likely to die. I agree doctors can make assumptions, sometimes, they're only human. Just change your GP I guess. Good luck!
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    • Posted

      btw, even if you did get brain damage from that experience, I do not believe that it is likely to get worse on its own, and will probably improve over time. So don't panic and obviously avoid similar behavior in the future...
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    • Posted

      She has seen a Dr, drs know better than we do - we can't just say we think we have brain damage and expect a Dr to order brain scans when they have already used their skills as a Dr to judge there isn't any possibility
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    • Posted

      I'm.sorry but no GP will order a brain scan when there is no medical indications that you need one. Listen to your GP when they say it's anxiety and get better treatment for that. You need to understand how health anxiety works and stop chasing symptoms, I say this because I know what it's like. You also don't want to take a brain scan appointment away from some one who is in critical need of it

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    • Posted

      Sometimes doctors can be preoccupied and make mistakes, ect. Also different doctors often have different opinions. No harm in seeking a second opinion. If it helps someone deal with stress to know there is nothing wrong with them from a scan, that's thereaputic. In this case, there might actually be something wrong based on the description, as excessive alcohol really can cause brain damage, seems worth checking out to me. There's absolutely no harm in seeking a second opinion. Finally, there is no finite number of brainscans... this wouldn't be 'taking away' a scan from someone else. That's all I'm going so say about it. Best to you.
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  • Posted

    Hi Jamie,

    I feel for you, I really do. I woke up like this 12 months ago, all the same symptoms, it is with me 24/7, I get bad light aura too, head pressure, dizzyness, tight head, blurred vision, I have had every test going and an MRI (all clear), ears cleaned out, acunpuncture, Osteopath, changed diet, perfume....I too have suffered with Anxiety in the past but I do not take anything for it, I have a diagnosis from the neuro dr, its is called Silent Chronic Migraine, so a migraine but without the headache, I am waiting to see my GP to discuss a suitable tablet to take, but its pretty life changing :-(

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    • Posted

      It's been six weeks now and its continued to get worse. Now I have near constant knee buckling/giving way when I'm walking which makes walking difficult. I feel weaker than I did last week. I'm having bad luck getting an appointment with a different GP surgery, the earliest they can do is the 17th at the moment. And that's just half the problem, I may wait another week only to find that they ask me to take more tablets and not get better. It feels like I'm doomed, as its getting worse, appointments are few and far between and its proven to be very difficult to get a brain scan done. I can't even go to a private health centre and have a ct or head scan done there as they need gp approval as well; even though I pay for it. I'm concerned I may suffer a fate worse than death (severe brain damage) if I can't get this sorted out.

      I don't know why I was born really. I've haven't been happy since I was about 10 years old (19 now), I have no friends, no girlfriend, no job, no driving license, no independence and I have anxiety, ocd, depression and stress. And on top of all that I've been ill for six weeks, its getting worse and I feel a sense of dread, and no doctor has really helped me. So yeah, I've have had a bad life and if whatever I have wrong gets worse I'm probably going to die a worthless life which I wouldn't of had chance to set right.

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