I have been an alcoholic for sixteen years and have begged on countless occasions to be sent to rehab. I was treated as insane to even think this could be a possibility. (Why is it impossible to get into rehab? Or is this just the case in Scotland?) Every time I went to my GP to ask for help, I was sent home with Librium for an at home detox on my own. The most I was finally offered, (after twelve years), was six days in an Edinburgh Mental Health Hospital, but once again, a short course of Librium was the treatment. (Two weeks this time, one week on previous occasions.)
I recently came across an article in a newspaper about Olivier Ameisen's work with Baclofen and asked my new CPN, (I haven't had a CPN in years), if there was any way I could try the drug. Incredibly, she said she knew what I was talking about and that there was one doctor in my county who was allowed to prescribe the drug for alcoholism. My CPN duly referred me to this doctor, who arranged for me to go into the same hospital as before, but this time to be treated with Baclofen. That was at Christmas last year and I have been sober ever since.
I must point out, however, two interesting features of my treatment. One is that I have been treated with a very low dose - 30mg daily, taken in 10mg doses at 8am, 1pm and 10pm. This low dosage has worked for me, but I can't help feeling that it would be better to start at a higher dose and gradually reduce, rather than start at such a low dose and risk it not working, thus running the risk of it failing and then being dismissed as ineffective.
Secondly, I found that the bedtime dose brought on a mild, (relatively), asthma attack every night. I have been diagnosed with asthma, bronchitis and the beginnings of emphysema, but apart from one full blown asthma attack, I have never felt that I suffer from these illnesses - no trouble breathing, no coughing fits, etc., but these bedtime attacks had me scared to go to bed. Once I tied them in to the Baclofen, I stopped taking the evening dose and took it instead at 4.30pm. This seemed like a much more appropriate time to take it anyway, as this would have been my critical time of day to start drinking. The asthma attacks stopped, but my breathing in general is affected in a way that wasn't the case before. So I would warn anyone who is prescribing, or being prescribed, Baclofen, that they should take into consideration any lung conditions, and not take Baclofen before going to bed. However, if you don’t have lung problems, taking it at bedtime knocks you out, thus eliminating that dreaded insomnia.
Another point I'd like to mention, which may be an indicator of whether or not Baclofen will work for you, is the fact that I was a lone drinker at home. I would like to know if the other people it works for were also lone drinkers. I wonder if it would work for people who enjoy drinking socially, in the pub, having a laugh with their alcoholic friends. This line of inquiry could reveal some interesting results.
One last thing: my alcohol doctor who prescribed the Baclofen in the first place; a hospital consultant; a psychologist and an occupational therapist have all said to me that it is me who is doing it, not the Baclofen. In other words, all of them, including the very person who prescribed it, are saying, indirectly, that Baclofen for alcoholism works as a placebo! They clearly don’t know me, or they would know that I am an utter sceptic and that I don’t believe anything works until it proves to me that it does. To summarise, Baclofen for alcoholism has transformed my life and I would be willing to put up with almost any side-effects to achieve this abstinence which I have craved for sixteen years and for which the only treatment I have received in all these years has been Librium. I’d recommend it to everyone. No, make it compulsory!