Interesting--alcohol use note

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by GoingNorth, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I am not normally a drinker. Problems with alcohol run in my family with both my mother and sister having been in recovery for a long time. I came very close to crawling into a bottle myself for the first few months after husband died.

    I quit when I realized that the drink before bed to help me sleep had turned into three drinks, basically.

    Since that time, I only drink at family holidays and get togethers with friends and that not always. I might have a beer or two with dinner or a glass of wine on religious holidays.

    My last visit to friends and family spanned a religious holiday dinner and a get together for a few days with friends after the holiday. At the holiday dinner I had a couple of glasses of kosher wine (usually strong stuff because of how it's made). A couple of days later I went out to a mexican restaurant known not only for good food, but for making a fabulous margarita.

    I love margaritas and I didn't have to drive, so I had two of them.

    Here's what I noticed. I woke up the next day after my week-long "binge" and was horribly depressed, crabby, irritable, wanted to snap people's heads off, etc.

    Now, I'm bipolar, I do get depressed and nasty and all of that, but I don't just wake up like that out of the blue. I "slide" into a down cycle over a period of time.

    I did get out of that after a few days; I guess once the alcohol finally cleared out of my system, but now I'm bordering on hypomanic and have a call into my psychiatrist about it.

    All of this is to advise you that alcohol might be a real issue with you or your bipolar kids, and it doesn't take everyday drinking or the consumption of huge amounts to cause changes in mental health/behavior.

    I didn't consume any more alcohol than many people do "normally". My intake was hardly high enough to be "flagged" by a medical professional, and could hardly be classified as a "binge".

    I honestly believe that bi-polar people (and those with other MH issues) do not process alcohol normally. I also believe that younger people (adolescents) who already have brain chemistry differences from older adults, are more sensitive to the bad effects of alcohol.

    Me? I've learned my lesson. It's no hardship to not take the occasional drink. I don't like who I turn into when I've had a couple of drinks.

  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think some people's threshold, or tolerance, for alcohol is different than others. And there is a pretty strong theory that alcholics' brain chemistry is a little different- or at least alcohol changes effects their brain chemistry differently (which is part of the reason many consider it a disease). I'm not suggesting you are an alcoholic by any means- but if it runs in your family you might have inherited the way it effects you. in my humble opinion, this can happen whether or not there is other MI involved but I agree that it can complicate or trigger things if MI is there.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I believe that my exh is likely BiPolar (BP). He's never been able to handle alcohol. One drink and he's hugging the porcelain god, no lie. We went to a wedding once and he was in the wedding party. Well, he had ONE mimosa in the limo and he passed out in the bathroom at the reception hall. It took 3 of us to get him out and we had to find a stand in for him at the reception. Very embarrassing. Pot, however, helps him stay his level of 'normal'.

    difficult child is the same EXACT way. Girl can't have more than one beer or she's done for. However, she can slowly drink one or two glasses of wine and she's fine. Thankfully, she doesn't drink much and understands how she reacts.

    easy child has a hollow leg. Holds her liquor quite well, that skinny little peanut. BUT, she also is not a drinker, thankfully. When she does drink, you don't know it until she is already past the point of no return, which is maybe once every other year.

    I used to be able to drink wine and cocktails without any problem. I always tempered my alcohol consumption by drinking water too. Now I can only have about 1-2 glasses of wine and then I have to stop or I can't sleep and have trouble in the morning. No great loss for me. My BiPolar (BP) sister is also a raging alcoholic and she's a mess. I hate being around her when she's drinking.

    And as you know, H hasn't had any alcohol (except my rum balls) in over 3 years. He cannot drink. He was always the friendliest and happiest drunk anyone knew, but he also gets stupid and can't stop once he's past the 3 drink mark.

    I agree that people with BiPolar (BP) may process alcohol differently than others; I have heard that before. I have a friend whose H is BiPolar (BP) (very bad) and the one thing his Dr told him time and time again was he just couldn't consume alcohol - EVER. He said to treat it like an allergy and so he has. He hasn't drank in nearly 20 years.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Yeah. Both of my "little binges" occurred during/after a full meal. I didn't feel like I really got tipsy, but the alcohol sure made me feel lousy mood-wise. I didn't have any desire to drink more or drink again the night immediately after.

    It took the second time for me to draw the connection and realize that the alcohol had that effect on me.

    I've never been able to do the four glasses of wine for the blessings at the Passover meal, I'd have been worshipping at the altar of the porcelain goddess for sure, sipping is actually OK.

    I grew up drinking small amts of wine at holidays and the like and never thought twice about it.

    I guess I'll just join the younger set with the Kosher grape juice LoL...and stay the heck away from the margaritas, both they and Kosher wine are just lethal. Margaritas contain nearly two shots of alcohol and some Kosher wines are 15% alcohol. That means that a standard glass of wine is like drinking two cans of beer.

    Sigh...I do like single malt Scotch whiskey, too, but that's not only expensive but gives me horrible headaches...I guess my brain/body have overrulled my genes. I'm just glad that I realized where things were going right after husband died and was able to catch it in time.

    THAT was definitely self-medicating and what I needed was proper medications and therapy
  5. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Margaritas have a lot of sugar, too. Next time, you feel like having a drink or two, you would probably be better off with a glass of wine (maybe not the Kosher stuff).

    I notice when I have sugary drinks, even though I might not get tipsy, I still feel like I have a slight hangover....not the headache, but the joint aches and crabby feeling.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I have to be careful about when I have my occasional glass of wine or mixed drink. If I'm out with friends having a good time, or it's just husband and I, no problem. But if I have a glass of wine with dinner and then have to deal with difficult child's, I become extremely irritable and have absolutely zero tolerance for gfgness. And I do notice that my mood is down the following day, regardless of difficult children or not.

    It is a depressant, and if you tend toward depressiveness anyway it will only serve to magnify those issues.

    Most of the people in my family who were alcoholics did so to ease their anxiety. I can see how it would be easy to slip into that...
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Loth, I hadn't thought about the sugar factor in those mixed drinks I love so much. Not that I drank all that much, but now that I'm diabetic, it's even rarer. Maybe a glass of wine with dinner, and I don't have the headaches etc. after that. Hmmm...something to think about.
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Loth - the sugar - be careful with that. I have my own little story to add...

    One night last September I went up to BFF's. No kids, just him, his wife and another friend. H (wife) got really drunk. J (friend) was pretty far gone. BFF was doing shots - I had one bottle of Smirnoff Ice and half a shot (don't really like Southern Comfort). Over about 4 hours. I can't say how drunk he was, but more so than I was. I was probably legal to drive, but I don't drive when I drink - because I have a very low tolerance and when I'm flat out drunk I'm probably very close to the legal limit. I also cannot stop after a couple of drinks. So I don't drink much.

    I was the most sober person there. Swear it. Learned a long time ago not to get blackout-plastered.

    Two days later, BFF was borderline suicidal and was almost checked into a hospital for suicidal ideation. It was not a good scene. Of course, this is the same day Onyxx bit a teacher, so I could not be there for them - husband was at work. Drove me nuts all evening. Fortunately H kept me updated via text messages.

    FFWD to mid November - BFF is diagnosed bipolar.

    I think you have a very, very good point. Going to show this post to BFF and H. Keep in mind that this man has a plethora of health issues as well - high blood pressure, cholesterol and is an insulin-dependent diabetic. Add all those to alcohol - whew. He thinks he's an alcoholic - I think there's more or less to it than that. However, the sugar he ingested could have had a bit to do with it as well. I don't know.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I don't think it was the sugar in the cocktails. Beer is very low in sugar, even the heavy imported stuff I like, and it had the same effect on me. in my opinion, it was definitely the alcohol.
  10. MyFriendKita

    MyFriendKita Member

    I think more people, especially some of our kids, should be aware of the relationship between alcohol, depression, and suicide, especially in people who already have some kind of mood disorder. One of my son's friends had gotten drunk a few times and threatened to kill himself, and of course, no one took him seriously, because he never acted on his threats. They all figured it was just the alcohol talking. Last fall he did the same thing, only he got hold of a gun that time and he did kill himself. My son even said before it happened that S wouldn't do it, he just wanted everyone to feel sorry for him. I can't be sure, of course, but I firmly believe that had he not been drinking, he might still have been suicidal, but I think he would have been able to ask for help. in my humble opinion, the alcohol added into the situation increased his depression and decreased his impulse control.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Your personal insight is profoundly mature and by talking about it, surely you can help others.

    Received this today and thought it was good:

    Celebrate: To observe an occasion with appropriate ceremonies of respect, festivity, and rejoicing.
    --The American Heritage Dictionary

    New Year's Eve marks the end of one year and the beginning of another. In the old days of our using, we used this day as an excuse to drink, use drugs, and act wild and crazy. We did not really think about honoring the year that was ending or about welcoming the new year.

    Some recovering folks spend this evening with their families, playing games, watching videos, and sharing plans for the coming year. Other recovering folks invite recovering friends over for supper or go to a special Twelve Step meeting or a sober dance. Some attend special religious services, perhaps at a church, synagogue, mosque, or sweat lodge.

    The ending of the year is an important occasion to celebrate. We are alive, and we are on the path of recovery. It has been an important year!

    Today's Action

    I will use this night to honor the changes in my life. I will list ten good or important things that have happened this year. I will find time to talk about them with someone tonight as I celebrate. I will remember to have fun, to be sober, and to be safe.
  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Nomad, thank you for sharing that - it was a wonderful reminder.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    In our family it's also known as "talking to Ralph on the big white phone".

    What constitutes a binge? Some doctors call it a binge if you drink only occasionally and lightly, then one day you have a significantly greater amount. So by that definition, two drinks COULD be a binge... in which case, I binged last night, I had one and a half glasses of champagne. It means I'm going to have be very watchful of my diet for the next few days especially, because of the added calories I've taken on board.

    Actually, beer is quite high in calories. I don't drink the stuff so I can't say how it tastes, but it does contain some sugars, or it wouldn't be able to form the alcohol. When you drink it, that alcohol gets metabolised back into calories. However, it can lower blood sugar levels because of the complex way the liver responds to a combination of alcohol and blood sugar.

    So the picture here is complicated. From what i have been able to dig up, beer itself doesn't have any special properties not found also in other alcoholic beverages. I guess the stories arise because people in some countries (yeah, like Australia!) tend to drink beer more than other alcoholic beverages, and so when the research is done and the write-ups happen, the word "beer" gets used. Also, there is a wider range of beers more readily available in such places. Yes, there are low carb wines and low-alcohol wines, but they are harder to find, at least here in Australia, than their beer equivalent.

    If what you drink has a significantly different calorie/carb/sugar balance to what you normally ingest, then chances are, if you're susceptible to effects of such a change, you will feel the difference.

  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have to laugh here. On New years eve we went down into Jamies basement to watch the ball drop and toast each other. They had two bottles of cheap champagne to pour into cups. I got a small amount in mine...maybe half an ounce. Maybe. I took one sip, a small one. Then I took a sip of diet pepsi to finish the toast. I literally felt that No one believed me when I said I could feel that small amount of alcohol.
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Something else to add to the whole thing.

    NYE - Went to BFF & H's place. Between H & I, we drank one bottle of wine, and I had one glass of cheap champagne. I was definitely legal, but in no shape to drive anyway - feeling it.

    BUT - New Years Day - I was a mess.

    Alcohol is a depressant... And apparently that small bit neutralized my antidepressant.

    UGH. No more than one glass of wine for me again.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh gosh- AD's and alcohol (not even one beer) turned me into a time bomb.
  17. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I also find that at certain times I can feel even one sip of an alcoholic drink. I have migraines and they can be triggered by alcohol if there are other trigger factors present at the same time. When that happens, I can feel literally the first sip of wine or a drink; within a minute or so the migraine precursor symptoms start and I'm done.
  18. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I can feel that first sip or two also. I drink so seldom that when I do, it really hits me. I think the last time I had anything to drink was six or seven years ago when a group of us from work went to a comedy club in Nashville. We had dinner there and then I had one drink and maybe half of another one, very weak to start with and very diluted with the melted ice, just sipping on them all evening - and I still felt it. :tongue: No way would I drive, even with that little bit because I could feel it.

    I can honestly say that I have never been drunk in my life! Not even close. I'm just not a 'drinker'. Never liked the taste of any of it and it tears my stomach to ribbons. If all the breweries and distilleries burned down or went out of business, it would probably be years before I even noticed! I'm quite the oddity in my family - lots of alcoholics in the family tree.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I love tequila. Love margaritas. Found out not that long ago I love something called a mojita. I had a grape martini a few years ago that was good. I hear they have a watermelon one too that sounds good.

    I just dont think about drinking anymore. I had planned to have one mixed drink when I went to Cleveland. I forgot to order

    On very rare occasions I will order a drink when out. Just one. Sometimes I will order it virgin because I just like the drink.
  20. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    That's me too, Janet! Sometimes I'm thinking that the drink would be really good if it just didn't have that nasty alcohol twang to it! The only thing I can claim to half-way like the taste of is Southern Comfort and then just the slightest hint of it, not strong. Just a tiny bit of it in a drink tastes faintly like apricots or peaches.

    Of course this is all completely discounting that last week of my first semester in college when we all cashed in our meal tickets and lived off of sloe gin fizzes and little powdered sugar donuts for a week! :redface: But I was very young and very stupid then - what did I know! I did it because everybody else did it.