diet

Multiple Sclerosis and Alcohol --Do they Mix?

Merely Me Health Guide August 09, 2009
  • Shortly after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I began to research on the internet for information about this disease.  I happened to stumble upon a story of a young man who talked about how drinking several beers would cause him to be "hammered" much more quickly than before.  Soon...

24 Comments
  • Anonymous
    Sebastian
    Apr. 16, 2014

    I'm 27 and was diagnosed with RRMS a few months ago. Still trying to understand exactly how this condition affects my body in particular, but I have had definite signs that alcohol makes the old symptoms come back. Not only is it difficult to walk straight when you're drunk, it now also teams up with the symptoms of losing control in my right side, so I end...

    RHMLucky777

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    I'm 27 and was diagnosed with RRMS a few months ago. Still trying to understand exactly how this condition affects my body in particular, but I have had definite signs that alcohol makes the old symptoms come back. Not only is it difficult to walk straight when you're drunk, it now also teams up with the symptoms of losing control in my right side, so I end up having to drag my right leg around the dance floor. So, bottom line: no excessive drinking and especially, no drinking and dancing for me!

  • Anonymous
    Barbra
    Jan. 21, 2014

    I'm 29. Had my first relapse in Oct 2012. Prior to be diagnosed in Feb 2013 (been told to have 90% of chances to be diagnosed with ms). Ever since on Swansk and Budwig died so I'm keping cool. Actually never better. 
    Alcohol makes me a SUPERWOMAN! I see no difference in now and 10 yrs back when having any alcohol. However one too many opens doors to another...

    RHMLucky777

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    I'm 29. Had my first relapse in Oct 2012. Prior to be diagnosed in Feb 2013 (been told to have 90% of chances to be diagnosed with ms). Ever since on Swansk and Budwig died so I'm keping cool. Actually never better. 
    Alcohol makes me a SUPERWOMAN! I see no difference in now and 10 yrs back when having any alcohol. However one too many opens doors to another mind of some sorfts. Neither me or noone elso noitices I'm drunk and I am concious of what I'm doing like I'm not drunk but it feelis like I acquire another personality... this has never happened to me before my first relapse. Guess these could be the nerological changes on brain...? Scary.

  • Anonymous
    ShakyJoe
    Aug. 23, 2013
    When I am having a "bad" day with MS I don't feel in control of my symptoms at all. When I drink "probably too much" I feel the symptoms of Bering drunk instead/along with my MS. It helps me to feel in control of my body. Also, it makes me feel like I fit in as I'm not the only person stumbling around the bar. Funny story: having a really bad day (no control...
    RHMLucky777
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    When I am having a "bad" day with MS I don't feel in control of my symptoms at all. When I drink "probably too much" I feel the symptoms of Bering drunk instead/along with my MS. It helps me to feel in control of my body. Also, it makes me feel like I fit in as I'm not the only person stumbling around the bar. Funny story: having a really bad day (no control over my right leg, slured speach and having one of my vertago bouts) I was told I was to drunk to enter the bar. Cheers,
  • nitaracer
    Jul. 31, 2013

    I was diagnosed in1999.  Never really drink much then but I have used alchol for over 6 years more as a distraction from reality but mostly it helps my pain and electrical shock feeling throughout my body.  I take no prescriptions as of febuary.  My choise was to take my chances without meds that dibiliated me sinsless and as  close to normal...

    RHMLucky777

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    I was diagnosed in1999.  Never really drink much then but I have used alchol for over 6 years more as a distraction from reality but mostly it helps my pain and electrical shock feeling throughout my body.  I take no prescriptions as of febuary.  My choise was to take my chances without meds that dibiliated me sinsless and as  close to normal as posible.  Most rubdo not agree but it is better than the meds prescribed to me.  I use meditation diet and will soon start taken vitimins.  I have use medical marijuana but it causes anxiety or laziness depending on the cbds or thc content.  I will continue until I find a better way.

  • Anonymous
    wcitrn
    Mar. 27, 2013

    My wife has MS.

    She is on Interferon Beta injections and she is also taking Lyrica.

    She has a tendancy to drink without knowing when to stop. Most times she will drink until she gets to the point of passing out. Because it is not a daily thing, she says it is not a problem.

    She also tells me that the alcohol makes the pain in her legs go away.

    There is however...

    RHMLucky777

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    My wife has MS.

    She is on Interferon Beta injections and she is also taking Lyrica.

    She has a tendancy to drink without knowing when to stop. Most times she will drink until she gets to the point of passing out. Because it is not a daily thing, she says it is not a problem.

    She also tells me that the alcohol makes the pain in her legs go away.

    There is however a problem. The alcohol gets to her a lot quicker and I think that the reaction with the Lyrica makes her a nasty person to deal with. 

    I have come to the point where I avoid social gatherings like the plague in order to avoid this because it is impacting on our relationship.

    Alcohol is not the answer to this illness. looking after yourself as much as possible and trying to live with the condition instead of fighting it, is! if you abuse your body to try to hide the symptoms, you are giving the illness the upper hand. 

  • Dana
    Dec. 16, 2012
    I have found that when I have more than 2-3 drinks I fall and cannot get up!! You would think I would stop drinking but...... Don't and pray I stop before I really hurt myself!
  • Anonymous
    Christopher
    Oct. 27, 2011

    Hi.

     

    I have talked this over with more than a few doctors (including neurologists and at least one immunologist) because I was concerned about my prior history with problem drinking.  According to all the information I've learned so far, the risks outweigh the benefits.  My primary neurologist (who is also an immunologist) told me that it is...

    RHMLucky777

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    Hi.

     

    I have talked this over with more than a few doctors (including neurologists and at least one immunologist) because I was concerned about my prior history with problem drinking.  According to all the information I've learned so far, the risks outweigh the benefits.  My primary neurologist (who is also an immunologist) told me that it is very possible that the drinking contributed to my developing MS although it is NOT the cause of it... that would be genetic.  Due to supressing the immune system, malnutrition and inflammation caused by alcohol (alcohol is a solvent, by the way) my body was primed for MS to develop.  This isn't the case for everyone, but then again who would want to take that gamble.  Any use of alcohol after being diagnosed with MS is just a bad idea... period.  It is a good idea to talk it over with your doctor, but that is like talking over the risks/benefits of skydiving, boxing, unprotected sex or any other risky behavior.  The whole "benefits" thing is purely based on statistics and none of us are statistics (statistics is not even math). 

     

    Do your own research but alcohol is still classified as a RISK.  So ask yourself, "do I want to take that risk, or can I really do without it?"

  • Anonymous
    Patrick
    Aug. 24, 2011

    I was dx in 2001, Had a rough time...the neuro who told me was more interested about his new office furniture than me..needless to say I vented my anger/frustration and everything else thru a bottle. As time has gone by I have come to grips with this crap. Reduced my consumption. New symptoms have developed over the years and so has my reaction to alcohol....

    RHMLucky777

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    I was dx in 2001, Had a rough time...the neuro who told me was more interested about his new office furniture than me..needless to say I vented my anger/frustration and everything else thru a bottle. As time has gone by I have come to grips with this crap. Reduced my consumption. New symptoms have developed over the years and so has my reaction to alcohol. At first, no big deal. Now only two or three will affect me greatly. In addition, the next day I am trashed. I feel like a truck hit me, rigt leg drags, shakes and the list goes on. Needless to say I don't drink very often these days...Patrick

     

  • Anonymous
    PJALLAN
    Dec. 09, 2010

    I heard that if you drink alcohol, the liver processes the aclohol at a much slower rate if you have MS. Is this true? For example, if an MSer drinks one standard drink an hour for four hours, at the en of the 4th hour, the BAL comes back as if the MSer had 3-4 drinks in the last hour. How do I find out more information on this?

    • Michael
      Oct. 27, 2011

      No, that is not true.  Multiple sclerosis does not affect metabolism--the medications might but not the disease.

  • Anonymous
    j
    Sep. 29, 2010

    Every source I have consulted recommends no more than one drink per HOUR, not half hour.  Thanks for sharing your research.

  • Angi
    Apr. 29, 2010

    My husband has been diagnosed with MS for five and a half years now.  We have been married for six and a half and he was diagnosed on our one year anniversary.  We have always been social drinkers but I began to notice a change after the diagnosis.  It may have began before but it has progressively gotten worse over the past few years. ...

    RHMLucky777

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    My husband has been diagnosed with MS for five and a half years now.  We have been married for six and a half and he was diagnosed on our one year anniversary.  We have always been social drinkers but I began to notice a change after the diagnosis.  It may have began before but it has progressively gotten worse over the past few years.  Sometimes he gets drunk off a couple of beers but other times he does not, the thing that has happened most often is that he does not stop drinking after those few beers.  He has recently been known to stay up until all hours of the night getting plastered, then he will go to sleep for a few hours and then wake up and begin again.  He also secludes himself when he does this to his workshop in the backyard.  He is a fairly healthy MS patient with very few signs and symptoms of the disease as of yet, but when he drinks heavily (or sometimes not so heavily) the disease is very apparent.  I have tried begging him to get help but he is very adament that their is no problem.  I have asked his family for help and they turned it on me saying if I were not so busy and had more time for him, he would have no reason to drink! I have had our pastor and some church friends talk with him, to no avail. I called his doctor and was told that unless he asks for help himself there was nothing they could do. I feel that I am out of options and am desperate for some help. He doesn't drink every day or even every week, but just when I become comfortable with the fact that he is over this, he breaks out the alcohol and we are right back where we started.  As I read your article I was comforted by the fact that this may be occuring elsewhere and not just to us, not that I would wish this on any one else, but that my suspicions that the disease itself may be precipitating his behavior are more justified. I hope to read other posts and hear others input into your article and I hope that someone reding this may have an answer for me.

    • Ann
      Ann
      Jul. 07, 2011

      unfortunately, a person can get other illnesses while they have MS. Cancer, arthritis, colitis, you name it....Alcoholism is a disease too. MS may make a person want to escape into drinking or drugs and it may or may not make symptoms or the disease worse...I don't think this has been studied....there is some evidence of medical marijuana helping....Some MS...

      RHMLucky777

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      unfortunately, a person can get other illnesses while they have MS. Cancer, arthritis, colitis, you name it....Alcoholism is a disease too. MS may make a person want to escape into drinking or drugs and it may or may not make symptoms or the disease worse...I don't think this has been studied....there is some evidence of medical marijuana helping....Some MS sufferers become addicted to alcohol, and prescribed drugs as well...

       

       it sounds like your husband could be on his way to being an alcoholic. Drinking all nite long by himself is not a good sign...He may need to go to AA....if he wont go, you can go to Al-Anon, for family members and learn about what you are dealing with...Alcoholism is a destructive disease and so is MS in a different way...He (and you) will have to work on both...

  • stormy
    Mar. 30, 2010

    Ok, I am a newly diagnosed MS person. I used to love kicking back and having a few beers to drink on the weekends except I have been experiencing things that scare the tar out of me. After 5 beers I am pretty much not myself. I remember NOTHING. Not even a little glitch. My husband fills me in when I wake up and its NOT PRETTY!!! I could not believe it. This...

    RHMLucky777

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    Ok, I am a newly diagnosed MS person. I used to love kicking back and having a few beers to drink on the weekends except I have been experiencing things that scare the tar out of me. After 5 beers I am pretty much not myself. I remember NOTHING. Not even a little glitch. My husband fills me in when I wake up and its NOT PRETTY!!! I could not believe it. This was weird because I had never had that issue before.

     

    Now the WORST part. The day after drinking I feel like HELL. Its horrible. I cannot talk without trying to push the words out. I stumble so bad I want to cry and then I do LOL. The whole day is shot. I am overwhelmed with unable to think and speak normally. The day after this, I am back to normal and feel great. So my answer is, it may have been fun drinking a few but not anymore.

  • Anonymous
    braeun6
    Aug. 26, 2009

    I am 35 and was diagnosed with MS in Jan 2007.  Symptoms started back in 2004 so I guess I'm 5+ years into it.  I drink regularly and sometimes just over what I should.  I don't have mobility or coordination symptoms.  Mine are all sensory.  Early on, before I was diagnosed (when the symptons were at their worst) I found...

    RHMLucky777

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    I am 35 and was diagnosed with MS in Jan 2007.  Symptoms started back in 2004 so I guess I'm 5+ years into it.  I drink regularly and sometimes just over what I should.  I don't have mobility or coordination symptoms.  Mine are all sensory.  Early on, before I was diagnosed (when the symptons were at their worst) I found that drinking really exacerbated my symptoms (especially when I would lower my head- it was like electricity down my legs).  I thought it was from sitting on the bar stool too long! HA! 

     

    Today I still find that after even one drink, my legs and feet get prickly. But more than the booze, what really seems to get things flared up is when I'm out late and don't get enough sleep.  I get home and lie in bed and my whole body gets that buzzing tingling feeling.  Scary stuff.

    • Anonymous
      me_here
      Feb. 23, 2010

      This sounds exactly like me. I don't have many coordination issues so drinking doesn't worsen them. Sometimes drinking does nothing negative. Other times the sensory problems are exactly as you describe; an awful buzzing everywhere. I loathe the feeling. On the flip side, I have muscle spasticity and a few drinks alleviate this acting as a muscle relaxer and...

      RHMLucky777

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      This sounds exactly like me. I don't have many coordination issues so drinking doesn't worsen them. Sometimes drinking does nothing negative. Other times the sensory problems are exactly as you describe; an awful buzzing everywhere. I loathe the feeling. On the flip side, I have muscle spasticity and a few drinks alleviate this acting as a muscle relaxer and can be a welcome pain reliever.  But I think it is important for everyone to know their medication and make the proper choices based on those, their symptoms and the effects. Also, it is tempting to self medicate with alcohol; which can lead to addictive problems. My mother was progressive MS and she did a lot of medicating with alcohol and then marijuana and then on to other drugs. Instead of having disabling MS she had disabling MS, alcoholism and drug addiction.

  • Me - Jen
    Aug. 15, 2009

    I noticed before I was diagnosed, that for some reason I was feeling off balance after much over 1 glass of wine.  I now stick to one glass or something with a lower alchohol or none at all. 

  • Maris B. Mohr
    Aug. 13, 2009

    This is a touchy subject for me. I simply enjoy drinking wine. For me it's the perfect thing to drink with dinner. A few years ago my husband's cholesterol started rising. After reading many articles about how good drinking red wine is for keeping cholesterol down, we started drinking a bottle every evening for dinner.

     

    Enter MS and treatments. The wine...

    RHMLucky777

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    This is a touchy subject for me. I simply enjoy drinking wine. For me it's the perfect thing to drink with dinner. A few years ago my husband's cholesterol started rising. After reading many articles about how good drinking red wine is for keeping cholesterol down, we started drinking a bottle every evening for dinner.

     

    Enter MS and treatments. The wine never interfered with anything until I had been on Betaferon for a few years and my WBC dropped drastically. They sent me to a liver specialist and he agreed that the Beta-f was the cause.

     

    Pass another 3 or 4 (don't remember - lol) years and my gp is hysterical about my WBC. Now I'm on a lower amount of wine. I drink about 1 glass on regular nights, but more on weekends and holidays. This is my second week. I'll wait another week or 2 and then do my blood counts again.

     

    To be honest, I'd rather change the Betaferon to some other treatment that's not so heavy on my liver.

     

    Feel good, with or without wine Wink,

    Maris

  • djax59
    Aug. 13, 2009

    yes i do have one of those t-shirts--it gets lots of comments--my son wants one that says -i don't have ms--i'm drunk---one guy at the bar where i was shooting pool asked where the p was(pms)  i also carry a card in my wallet that tells what symptoms i may have--slurred speech-unstable gait etc---when i was younger i drank, sometimes more than i should...

    RHMLucky777

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    yes i do have one of those t-shirts--it gets lots of comments--my son wants one that says -i don't have ms--i'm drunk---one guy at the bar where i was shooting pool asked where the p was(pms)  i also carry a card in my wallet that tells what symptoms i may have--slurred speech-unstable gait etc---when i was younger i drank, sometimes more than i should but the last time i tried a beer i was 'bout half way there before i'd finished half of it so i no longer drink--i figure it must be the meds so--i just say i can't drink and leave it at that

  • KJ
    KJ
    Aug. 10, 2009

    Hi Merely Me,

     

    I suffer from Essential Tremor/Intention Tremor. It's a well documented fact that small amounts (stress small) of alcohol help make essential tremor less noticeable. In my case I'll have a small glass of alcohol or a strong bottle of beer and be noticeably less shakey about four hours later. More than that and I may have less tremor in...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi Merely Me,

     

    I suffer from Essential Tremor/Intention Tremor. It's a well documented fact that small amounts (stress small) of alcohol help make essential tremor less noticeable. In my case I'll have a small glass of alcohol or a strong bottle of beer and be noticeably less shakey about four hours later. More than that and I may have less tremor in a few hours, but it will be even worse the next day.

     

    I also suffer from depression and alcohol is not good for me when I'm already down in the dumps. For that reason I haven't had much alcohol for the past few months. I actually had a pint o' Guinness with a meal this evening as a special treat and am a bit steadier than usual and will likely sleep better tonight than I have for awhile.

     

    Everything in moderation and never drink and drive.

     

    KJ

    • momdukes
      Aug. 11, 2009

      I personally think that it is an individual thingie.  As for me, I feel that I do not walk straight as it is so I do not need anything else to hinder me from walking any crooker, I have broken enough bones.  I also feel that it is an acquired taste, I never acquired the taste, I tried, it just never came, but Lord knows I triedYell.  So for me, flavored...

      RHMLucky777

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      I personally think that it is an individual thingie.  As for me, I feel that I do not walk straight as it is so I do not need anything else to hinder me from walking any crooker, I have broken enough bones.  I also feel that it is an acquired taste, I never acquired the taste, I tried, it just never came, but Lord knows I triedYell.  So for me, flavored water will have to do.  I have a bottle of wine on my kitchen table that is about six years old that a friend of mine gave me, she asked me was I ever going to open it and drink it, I told her yep, when I could walk straight.  So I am still waitingWink  Sherry/smomdukesKiss

  • francis56
    Aug. 10, 2009

    I think that drinking a few beers or wine or anything else depends on the individual. MS affects everyone different . What bothers me may not bother you. In my reading of many MS sites I find that there are not a lot of " standard " symptoms. Maybe so far I am lucky, but I will continue to have a few beers and enjoy it. I will not let MS controll me.

  • zell
    Aug. 10, 2009

    When I was first diagnosed I found having a glass or two of wine would help with my pain and anxiety. My Neuro recommended it. It prevented me from taking a lot of other medicines. 

  • Jeannette Elsner
    Aug. 10, 2009

    Hello,

     I find MS and alcohol to interact poorly on our behalf,unless a relatively minimal amount is taken in.Equilibrium difficulties are common with MS,thus,what is a small amount for a typical person,can prove to enhance any preexisting sensory and balance issues.