Alcoholism and Multiple Sclerosis
Alcohol causes changes in the central nervous system and organs of the body. For those with MS, side effects may even be worsened than for those who do not have MS. Some with MS report that after only one drink their neurological systems (imbalance and lack of coordination) actually get worse for a time. Depressing the central nervous system is one effect, but alcohol may also create an additive effect with some of your medications you are currently taking for MS.
Alcoholism And MS
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms of MS are different for many people and can happen randomly. You can also experience many different symptoms such as: blurry vision, loss of balance, fatigue, lack of or poor coordination, slurred speech, numbness, memory problems, tremors, bladder dysfunction, paralysis, blindness, and more.
Having these symptoms without alcohol in your system is troubling enough. Just imagine what could happen if alcohol is in the mix with MS. These symptoms and many others are worsened with alcoholism, as mentioned above. Drinking alcohol is discouraged with those who have MS because it can also worsen coordination and can cause even more slurred speech.
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If you are a chronic alcohol abuser and you have MS, you can experience: tingling sensations and loss of feeling, numbness, tremors, damage of the liver, stomach and other organs, dementia, and again a lack of coordination. Even if alcohol is used acutely (which is not encouraged at all), if you have MS, you can still experience lack of coordination, imbalance, impaired thoughts and judgements, and also slurred speech. You can never be quite sure how your body will react to alcohol if you have MS.
If you have MS and are curious about how you may react to alcohol, the best thing to do is to not drink any type of alcohol. The symptoms and side effects of drinking alcohol with MS are serious. Since you may already be feeling some or many symptoms from MS, why would you want to make the problem worse by adding alcohol? Choosing to live a sober lifestyle if you have MS, is a good way to be a happier and healthier person overall.
Drinking To Excess And MS
A study was conducted that observed 140 patients with MS. In this study, the researchers already took into account that for those with MS, you are at an increased risk for mood disorders and suicidal thoughts. Mood disorders and suicidal thoughts are already linked to alcohol abuse in individuals that do not have MS. In the study, the researchers wanted to find out if there was a link between mood and anxiety disorders with problem drinking among those with MS.
The results gave many insights. It was found that 1 in 6 people with MS will drink to excess over their lifetimes. The patients with histories of problematic drinking showed increased likelihood of having anxiety throughout their lifetimes but mood disorders were not prevalent. The researchers also found that there was a huge link between suicidal thoughts and excess drinking, abuse of other substances, and a family history of mental illness for those with MS. The study also found that one way to help clinicians determine if an MS patient has problematic drinking patterns is to also look into whether there is family history of mental illness and anxiety.
Many of those diagnosed with MS may turn to alcohol because their illness is overwhelming to them and they have no other ways to cope. But drinking alcohol with MS is not going to alleviate your problems and it will only make them worse. There are other ways to cope and you should seek professional help. Your health and happiness should be a top priority.
Those with MS who drink because they feel the need to “enjoy life”, are not addressing their emotions about the disease in a positive way, and need to find better coping mechanisms. There are many other ways that one can enjoy life without sacrificing their health and mental well-being. Depression is also linked to those with MS, so if you know of someone who has MS that is struggling, seek help for them today. They may not recognize (or be willing to admit) they have an alcohol problem, or they may be so depressed that they simply cannot see their alcoholic behaviors as being detrimental.