Alcohol and clusters

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Posted by Graham ( on April 24, 2000 at 12:30:19:

In Reply to: Can Alcohol prevent clusters? posted by Dave on April 23, 2000 at 22:31:10:

I suffered unknowingly from clusters for three and a half years. In all that time I continued to drink alcohol once or twice a week. Ninety percent of the time it would bring on a very strong attack lasting between 30 minutes to an hour. But as I got between 2-6 attacks a day I thought what the hell!!! After the alcohol-induced cluster I knew that I would definitely not get an attack again that night. If I drank enough alcohol, which I usually did, I would not get a single headache or shadow the next day. So, as I was a chronic sufferer (unknowingly), and never had a single days remission never mind a week, the only pain free days I got were after drinking alcohol the night before!

I did stop drinking alcohol for a month to see if it would reduce the frequency of attacks. It didnít - I just got them everyday all day. Therefore, I decided to carry on drinking, BUT only on nights out with friends or special occasions. I never drank the odd pint/bottle here and there or had a glass of wine with meals. That would have been painful and pointless! If I was going to drink it would be for a few hours or more. This would ensure that I consumed enough alcohol to be headache free all the next day.

Since my diagnosis, I am far more cautious with my drinking. At the moment my meds are working a treat and I can drink without any problems, though again I only drink if itís a night out with my mates, girlfriend or special occasion.

My advice, for what its worth is this:

Weigh up the pros and cons of drinking alcohol for yourself. I did suffer when I drank alcohol but the fact that it would stop up to six clusters the next day far outweighed the pain induced by the initial Ďalcohol triggeredí cluster. Therefore, as I only drank one or two nights a week, I decided to carry on drinking. If you only drink one or two nights a week and you can deal with any cluster it triggers, if it does at all, then personally I cannot see the harm in it (but I would say that, Iím English after all, and weekend drinking binges are an important part of English culture!!!!). A cluster free day, whether you are chronic or in an episodic cycle is a wonderful thing. If the alcohol triggers headaches that you canít handle then donít drink it.

Best Wishes


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