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  • Dizziness, ear probs, related to alcohol/drug use?

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    Old 03-05-2006, 06:38 AM   #1
    Bikebabe
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    Dizziness, ear probs, related to alcohol/drug use?

    It all started about 2 1/2 years ago for me. I went to a 4 day biker party, it was very hot weather, rode on spinny fairground rides, drunk copious amounts of alcohol and dabbled with ecstacy and smoked cannabis. 2 days after I returned home I had this terrible vertigo, nausea and ill feeling, I had to lie completely still and sleep for most of the time to stop the room spinning. The doctor was called and diagnosed me with viral labyrinthitis, fortunately this only lasted a maximum of 2 weeks and I was completely back to normal. Until....1 year later, went to another party, partied for 3 days solid, rode on spinny fairground rides again, drunk loads of alcohol and on return, 2 days later, BANG, it was there again but a little milder this time round. It lasted about 10 days this time and then I was completely recovered. The doctor put it down to the fairground rides and said I must have a sensitive inner ear and not to go on any more rides. Xmas 2005 I did the usual Christmas festivities, drinking alcohol most days and enjoying myself, especially New Years Eve when I was out until 6 in the morning the next day. I had the typical hangover for a couple of days, and then the dizziness started again, this time with headaches, fullness in the ears, general malaise and cold like symptoms. The dizziness/disorientated feeling was constant, I had vision problems - little black flecks in the eyes when moving them, stiffness behind the eyes, heavy head, lightheadedness and then the anxiety and depression started. I was convinced I must have a brain tumour or something like that but the doctor examined me and said I had sinusitis because I had fluid in my right ear, and dullness and lack of light response in the ear canals. She prescribed me doxycycline antibiotics and nasofan nasal spray and said it could take time. I just felt so rotten all over, totally weak in the mornings, hardly able to lift my arms and legs, aching muscles, neck and back and this went on for about 6 weeks. Now, 9 weeks later I have milder symptoms but they are still there. The headaches and weakness have gone but I have mild dizziness pretty much most of the time and occasionally stiffness behind the eyes, I have a stiff neck and aching back, and a general unwell feeling, i have the "brain fog" that everyone describes, crackling in my right ear when I swallow, a heartbeat like sound in my left ear when I wake in the morning and I now seem to have some sort of cold which is making matters worse. I have been to the doctor every week because I have been so worried about what might be wrong with me. I have never been ill for more than 2 weeks and it is SCARY being ill for this long. Doc says I stil have slight dullness in the ears and fluid but it is getting better - slowly. I have been refered to an ENT because the problems have been there for so long and she thinks I have vestibular neuritis but I have to wait 4 months to find out what actuall is wrong with me! The doctor is kind and understanding but she thinks I am paranoid and has prescribed me with prozac for the anxiety and depression and wants me to see a counsellor because of the paranoia about what is wrong with me - you see every week I go in there with a new deadly illness I have found off the internet I think I have! I have had in depth blood tests and all is well except I appear to have been fighting a "mild virus" since January as both blood tests 2 months apart have shown a slightly increased white cell count. I am convinced I have done some sort of damage to my brain because of taking the ecstacy, as the problems always seemed to happen a couple of days after I had done this, I now blame myself and am so worried! I would like to add that I havent taken anything or smoked pot or drank any alcohol since new year and will not be touching the drugs ever again. I need some reassurance! Has anyone else got a similar story to mine?

     
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    Old 03-05-2006, 08:47 AM   #2
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    Re: Dizziness, ear probs, related to alcohol/drug use?

    I have feeling all the partying you did sent you into a decompensation period. The first time you had this, you were very lucky to recover in 2 weeks. It takes months and months for some people to feel better. It could by viral labs that did some damage to your inner ear the first time you had it. Your brain learned to adjust to the bad signals, and now everytime you party too hard, your brain loses it's ability to adjust to the bad signals it gets from your ears.

    I'd get an ENG test done and see what's going on in your inner ears. Alcohol is a big decompensation factor and I'm sure drugs can be as well. Try to stay clear of those things. If you want to have a beer drink in moderation and don't get drunk. Try not to freak out and think you have a million different illnesses. I know it's hard, but it will only make you feel worse. If you had something really severe, I'm sure your dr. would have figured it out by now. My only question is, did you tell your doctor about the drug use, or only the alcohol? I'm not sure what kind of an effect the ectsasy may have had.

    Good luck,
    Joy

     
    Old 03-05-2006, 11:15 AM   #3
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    Re: Dizziness, ear probs, related to alcohol/drug use?

    Hello Joy, thank you for your reply to my post. Yes, I did tell the doctor about the drugs and she doesnt think that they are the actual cause (she said the main danger is at the time of taking them) but apparently dehydration and caffiene can exacerbate inner ear problems and that could be a reasonable explanation, who knows what substances they put in ecstasy tabs, I have a feeling there is caffiene in there amongst other things and we all know that the pills dehydrate you. I am 100% off the drugs and will NEVER take them again, I have really learnt my lesson from this one, albeit a very hard one - lets just hope I havent done any permanent damage.

     
    Old 03-05-2006, 02:18 PM   #4
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    Re: Dizziness, ear probs, related to alcohol/drug use?

    Hi Bikebabe,

    Welcome to the board. I totally agree with Joy. It sounds like decompensation. Just before Christmas I was feeling totally fine and then went to my father's place in New Zealand where I was drinking, smoking (cigarettes) and drinking coffee again, not to mention driving in fast cars on winding roads. Wammo...I got slugged with some decomp in a big way. I am only now recovering.

    Don't worry about other illnesses. As Joy said, the doc would have picked it up. Worrying about it will make the condition far worse. It's par for the course - start stressing and it can prolong the decomp. I've been there a few times. I would really doubt the Es had anything to do with this other than drop your serotonin levels for a day or two afterwards and make you susceptible to decomp. Think you'll have to hang up your ecstacy jacket for good and go easy on the alcohol in the future.

    Check out the top post "sticky" and watch the videos (second link down) on decompensation. It will help you to understand what this is and you'll feel a lot better.

    Best....Scott

     
    Old 03-05-2006, 02:58 PM   #5
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    Re: Dizziness, ear probs, related to alcohol/drug use?

    Hello,

    Just to second what has already been said. Sounds like you have had a recurrence of the Vestibular neuritis and it will take time to get well. Put the other thoughts out of your mind, it will just make your ear problems worse. Drugs and alcohol will exacerbate an underlying ear disorder, I no longer drink as I know it will make me dizzy.

    Don't beat yourself up. You went out and had a good time, people do it all the time, you just happen to have an inner ear disorder and it stirred that up. You weren't to know. You will get better it just can take a while.

    best,
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    Old 03-05-2006, 03:50 PM   #6
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    Re: Dizziness, ear probs, related to alcohol/drug use?

    While VN sounds like a reasonable possibility, it sounds more like a migraine syndrome to me.

    Reason being:
    - Episodes of vertigo triggered by prior motion. I get this.. if I play a computer game or drive a go-kart or anything else that is pretty intense on the vestibular system, I have episodes of rotational vertigo and migraine headache within a day or so after.
    - Alcohol is a common preticipant of vertigo in migraine syndromes like benign recurrent vertigo.
    - The black lines and dots in your vision are reported by others (and myself) who clearly have migraine. These can't be explained by VN. Some have suggested these might be floaters - but they are clearly neurological as they disappear during periods of remission.
    - I'm not convinced that peripheral disorders cause headaches. The IHS puts out a criteria for diagnosis of migraine headaches - it would be worth reading this and seeing if your headaches are migraine or not.

    Adam

     
    Old 03-06-2006, 05:55 AM   #7
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    Re: Dizziness, ear probs, related to alcohol/drug use?

    Hi Adam, thanks for your comments. I experience the worst dysequilibrium/ vision problems when I am looking at a computer screen or having to concentrate on someone for more than a minute or so, ie. having a conversation and looking directly at them. The vision problems are as if my eyes are stiff and cant focus properly on 1 thing without moving from side to side, sometimes when I am walking the floor looks as if it is moving slightly and I feel slightly off balance. i dont really suffer from headaches anymore but I have this "heavy head" feeling and find that taking decongestants or flu rememdies improves both the vision and the foggy head. Previously, before I had any of these problems I had what the doc described as "focal migraine" from time to time where I would get like a ribbon of flashing light in the side of one eye and I found that sitting in the dark and relaxing made that go away. It wasnt a frequent occurence, only usually when I was stressed or overworked. I dont really get that now.

    I decided to experiment on Saturday and went out and had 3 glasses of wine spritzers, to see if the alcohol made my condition worse (as I hadnt had a drink for over 2 months) and although I didnt get really drunk, just tipsy and merry I was really suffering the day after as if I had been partying all night. i went to the supermarket and had a really bad time of it - my head felt all floaty and I had trouble walking in a straight line, so that proves that alcohol is not a good idea and i wont be doing that again for a while!

    Fortunately for me though, my problem doesnt appear to be as serious as others and I have managed somehow to still go to work and try to live life normally (albeit the odd day off this year) and I would like to say I really cant imagine how hard it must be for those of you who have serious problems and cant function in your every day lives - my heart goes out to you and I really do hope that you find the light at the end of the tunnel, which I am sure you will.

     
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