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Anyone know how alcohol drinking affects TMS?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Stormshadow, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. Stormshadow

    Stormshadow Peer Supporter

    I was wondering this because sometimes I'll have a couple of drinks to help cope and I know right off the bat that that is not a good strategy for coping or relaxing. However, I do notice that my pain is typically worse the next day and was wondering if it had anything to do with the affect alcohol might have on the oxygen deprivation caused by TMS. Meaning does it make it worse because you may be dehydrated or whatever. Any thoughts? Also thought the same thing about caffeine.
  2. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi Stromshadow

    That's a very good question. I don't know if there is a "right" answer to this one, I'll just share my thoughts on it. It's a bit long, so bear with me.

    My TMS started with frequent migraines, which then led to fibro, fuelled by the nocebo effect of all the "expert" medical treatment I recieved. My neurologist gave me a long list of foods to avoid, so as not to aggravate my "overactive" brain. I was supposed to avoid caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, carbonated drinks, citrus fruit, dairy, tomatoes, egg plant, and on and on.............

    This was great for my TMS, it was something else to take my thinking away from my emotions, I could obsess about food now, as well as pain ! He'd given me a great list of new triggers for pain too. As far as I knew none of the foods on the list had ever caused a migraine, but he insisted it would help me if I stopped eating them.

    This, added to all the physical restrictions TMS had put on me, meant I was now under it's total control...............great.

    When I hit rock bottom, before I found out about TMS, I decided that my life had shrunk so far away from how it used to be, it was unlivable. I found myself in a very dark place. For the first time, I instead of being terrified I felt defiant, I would get my life back or die trying.

    I decided to break some of the rules I had imposed on myself, food restriction being one of them. I gradually reintroduced the "banned" foods one at a time and................... nothing happened ! My first victory :smuggrin:. Perhaps if I had "believed" eating chocolate would "set me off", it would have, but I had convinced myself it was a load of nonsense, so my brain didn't bother trying to trick me.

    I was cautious about reintroducing alcohol and waited until I felt significantly recovered before I tried a small glass of wine, since a major part of my TMS was chronic headaches, I certainly didn't feel I could handle a hangover. I was absolutely fine. I still only drink maybe a couple of glasses of wine at weekends, but that's more a general healthy choice, nothing to do with TMS. I never went back to drinking caffeine, but again I'm not afraid of it, I just don't need it.

    We all know what physical effects alcohol has on the body, but I wouldn't expect increased TMS pain to be one of them. IT'S EMOTIONAL, NOT PHYSICAL. It's probably just acting as a trigger, you're wondering if it will make you worse, so it does.

    You're absolutely right that drinking is a total no-no as a copying strategy, it's just a potentially dangerous crutch. Drinking because you need the relaxing effect, is totally different from enjoying a good wine with a nice dinner.

    I've always eaten a healthy diet, but since starting TMS healing I've changed the way I look at myself, mind, body and spirit are indivisible, so I take greater care of myself as a "whole" now.

    My advice would be to maybe ditch the alcohol for now, until you feel you don't "need" it.

    I hope I have been of some help to you.

    Much love & blessings :happy:
    Ellen likes this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Doctors say a glass or two of wine, especially red, is good for our health.
    It relaxes our mind and that can relax our body. I'd stay away from hard liquor if possible,
    not that it increases TMS because I doubt it does. It's just not healthy.

    I don't think we need to cut out anything in our diet, just eat it moderately or occasionally.
    And drink 8 glass of water a day, if you remember to.

    Caffeine makes me jittery, so I do avoid that.
  4. Stormshadow

    Stormshadow Peer Supporter

    Yeah I think I need to cut down on the caffeine. I feel like certain symptoms amplify with that. I have cut back quite a bit and don't have caffeeine in the afternoons anymore, woudl be great to cut it out entirely but I'm not sure how feasible that is and then that will create more headaches of withdrawal for me to worrya bout.
  5. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    TMS is not about NUTRITION. If you feel good about yourself because you feel you live a healthy lifestyle, it will boost your confidence and give you energy to deal with emotional issues and not repressing them. TMS symptoms are created when the subconscious reservoir of rage is filled to over-flowing from the buildup of repressed emotions that are culturally unacceptable to discuss or act on. Exercise will help discharge some of the energy before it blows out in the form of a psychosomatic/TMS symptom or a culturally unacceptable anger.

    Dr. Sarno says it's OK to curl-up with a good book and some wine.
    Bodhigirl, Mermaid and Ellen like this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    But just a glass or two of wine, not the whole bottle. haha.

    Stormshadow, maybe wean yourself off caffeine by drinking some decaffe tea such as herbal teas.
    I like chamomile and remember my mother drinking it to relieve her migraine headaches.

    Caffeine is too stimulating for a lot of people. Many need a morning cup of coffee to get them "going."
    I never needed that. Looking forward to a productive, happy day was always enough for me and still is.
    And knowing that no matter what problems or stresses arise, my TMS knowledge and relaxation techniques
    will get me through anything.
  7. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    You're right TT. That's exactly what I was trying to convey, too much attention to diet is just another distraction. Eat drink & be merry ! ;)
    Ellen likes this.
  8. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    For those who have alcoholics in their family - please share for I don't know who these people are in the forum

    Characteristics and Personalities of Adults Who Grew Up with Alcoholism in the Home
    [​IMG]Children who grew up in an alcoholic home develop similar personality traits and characteristics. Dr. Janet Woititz published her national bestselling book, Adult Children of Alcoholics in 1983. In it she outlined 13 characteristics of adult children of alcoholics but also applied these same characteristics to those who grew up in households where other compulsive behaviours are present such as gambling, drug abuse or overeating. Adult children who experienced chronic illness, strict religious attitudes, foster care and other dysfunctions, also identified with the characteristis, Woititz says.

    Characteristics and Personality Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic:

    Fear of losing control.

    Adult children of alcoholics maintain control over their behaviour and feelings. They also try to control the behaviour and feelings of others. They do this because they are afraid not because they want to hurt themselves or others. They fear that if they relinquish control their lives will get worse, and they can become very anxious when they are not able to control a situation.

    Fear of Emotions or Feelings

    Adult children of alcoholics tend to bury their feelings (particularly anger and sadness) since childhood and are not able to feel or express emotions easily. Ultimately they fear all powerful emotions and even fear positive emotions like fun and joy.

    Avoid conflict

    Adult children of alcoholics have a fear of people who are in authority, people who are angry, and do not take personal criticism very well. Often they misinterpret assertiveness for anger. Therefore, they are constantly seeking approval of others whilst losing their identities in the process. Frequently they isolate themselves.

    A high burden of responsibility and constant approval seeking

    Adult children of alcoholics are oversensitive to the needs of others. Their self-esteem comes from others’ judgments of them, thus having the compulsive need to be perfectionists and be accepted.

    An inability to relax and have fun.

    Adult children of alcoholics cannot have fun because it is stressful, especially when others are watching. The child inside is frightened, and in an effort to appear perfect, exercises strict self-control.

    Harsh self-criticism and low self esteem

    Adult children of alcoholics are weighed down with a very low sense of self-esteem and respect, no matter how competent they may be.


    Whenever adult children of alcoholics feel threatened, they tend to deny that which provoke their fears.

    Difficulties with intimacy

    Adult children of alcoholics fear intimacy because it makes them feel that they lost control. They have difficulties expressing their needs and consequently have problems with their sexuality, and repeat relationship patterns.

    Develop a victim mentality

    Adult children of alcoholics may either be passive or aggressive victims, and are often attracted to others like them whether in friendships, career and love relationships.

    Adopting compulsive behaviour

    Adult children of alcoholics may eat compulsively or become workaholics. They may become addicted and co-dependent in a relationship, or behave compulsively in other ways. Sadly, they may abuse alcohol and become alcoholics like their parent(s).

    More comfortable living in chaos or drama than in peace

    Adult children of alcoholics become addicted to chaos and drama, which gives them their adrenaline fix and feelings of power and control.

    The tendency to confuse love with pity.

    Adult children of alcoholics are often in relationships with people they can rescue.

    Abandonment issues

    Adult children of alcoholics will do anything to save a relationship, rather than face the pain of abandonment even if the relationship is unhealthy.

    Tendency to see everything and everyone in extremes, when under pressure

    Physical illness

    Adult children of alcoholics are highly susceptible to stress-related illnesses.

    Suffering from an accumulation of grief.

    Adult children of alcoholics are frequently depressed. Losses experienced during their childhood were often never grieved for because the alcoholic family doesn’t tolerate intense uncomfortable feelings.

    Overreaction to outside changes

    Adult children of alcoholics remain hyper vigilant, constantly scanning their surroundings for potential catastrophes.

    Adult Children of Alcoholics Attracted to Compulsive Personalities

    Many lose themselves in their relationship with others and sometimes find themselves attracted to alcoholics or other compulsive personalities - such as workaholics. They are generally attracted to those who are emotionally unavailable.
    Adult children sometimes like to be the “rescuer” and will form relationships with others who need their help, to the extent of neglecting their own needs. What happens is that they place the focus on the needs of someone else whilst not having to examine their own difficulties and shortcomings.

    Often, these adult children will acquire the characteristics of alcoholics, even if they never drink themselves. They can be in denial, develop poor coping strategies, have an inability to problem solve and form dysfunctional relationships.

    Adult Children of Alcoholics and Help

    Many adult children who grew up in a dysfunctional home have been deeply affected by their experiences and often seek counselling and professional treatment to help resolve these issues.

    SMART Recovery Family and Friends is a mutual support group that helps those who grew up in such an environment using Cognitive Behavioural and Rational Emotive Therapy.
  9. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Good article if you're a child of alcoholics--but just because you have a couple of drinks doesn't mean you're an alcoholic. Dr. Sarno said it was OK to have a glass or two of wine to help with the pain.
  10. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    You can have a couple of drinks per day and not be an alcoholic. The definition of an alcoholic is when you have one drink and then cannot control how many you have or what happens after that.
    I have a close family member who I believe has TMS. Even she has acknowledged it. Her issues are OCD, alcohol(ism), nervous blinking and chronic fatigue. I speak with her a lot and when something stresses her out or she has an argument with somebody she gets drunk. That's when I would say it's TMS.
    If you are enjoying life and being social a few drinks are totally fine.
    In terms of making your pain worse the next day it may be because you are anticipating it and your brain is taking you up on the offer. That would be the proper TMS answer.
    For me personally, I have migraines like the first commenter said. I can have a few drinks now but any more is asking for trouble. I just have a hard time with it and I always have. It may have to do with inflammation and blood sugar but it's something I'm working on. I don't want it to define me and I'm trying really hard to break my pattern of thinking that bad food = migraines. Same with caffeine. Not all people can metabolize these things and if our nervous system is already overloading then I think we should take it easy. I'm not sure other TMS'ers would agree though. They would say you can't get past your pain unless you completely let go of these thoughts.
  11. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Just chiming in. Alcohol greatly reduces my symptoms. Because I'm a hypochondriac, I usually avoid drinking much. I do have a hard time controlling the amount I drink when I do drink, because the alleviation of pain and anxiety is so exhilarating. I don't think that I'm, fundamentally, an alcoholic... it's just hard not to indulge relief when I'm not getting it from anywhere else. If I do have too many drinks, TMS is on maximum the following day. I don't think it's directly affecting oxygen levels, or that it has anything to do with nutrition... it's just that depression and anxiety are bad the day after. And, I'm usually angry those day-afters because it's usually by "mistake," not design/intention that I glugged down so many. And I go into hypochondriac mode, ruminating on all the 'damage' I must have done. It takes me about a week to get back to base line.
  12. TimmyH

    TimmyH Peer Supporter

    Alcohol was actually one of the reasons I realised it was tms. At one point I was quite fearful to have a few glasses of wine as I thought it flared up my symptoms like many people say. However one night I had a great night at a wedding, my first good night in a long long time, I drank, sat, even danced a little. These were all things that I hadn't been able to do for a long time. The next day I woke up expecting the worse, but I felt ok. No worse than I normally would on an average pain day, perhaps even better. This was my first moment where I thought that something non structural is going on here. If I had of done the things I'd done the night before sober I would have been worrying the whole time and woke up in agony. But this time I thought stuff it, I'm going to have a great time at this wedding and I just let go and did. Took me a while after this point to realise what it was but I know I've found my answer.

    I reckon if you are going to have a few drinks, have them. But have them and really enjoy them and know that it is not going to flare your symptoms up. It's the belief that a certain activity flares symptoms that actually causes the flare. Most people can remember a few occasions when they have had experiences like mine and the alcohol hasn't caused a problem. If you have a few drinks ever and you feel no worse the next day symptom wise, then alcohol is not contributing to your symptoms.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  13. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Nice discussion thread.
    A healthy lifestyle.
    For me that meant getting rid of alcohol and sugar, neither of which I can do in moderation. I used them as drugs to medicate tension but I was left with tension and a sense of self-loathing from either over-eating or over-drinking.
    I wish I were a moderate person with these substances. But I am not. The sensitivity and subsequent cravings are not worth trying to prove I can be moderate.
    I had to face my tension without these things. It's been 30 years without alcohol... And it's been so worth it! I miss nothing about it.
    Nobody can tell anyone what to eat or drink. We have to be honest with ourselves as to whether what we are eating or drinking is leaving us with two problems instead of easing one.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  14. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    A cup of hot milk relaxes me more than a beer or glass of wine.

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