PoTs and Alcohol
Drinking alcohol dehydrates anyone, even if they’re perfectly well, so how does alcohol and PoTs react together? Heres the answer…
But there are some tips that can ensure your safety when living with PoTs if you do like the odd alcoholic drink. But for many PoTs sufferers we are completely intolerant to alcohol.
*I’m not giving anyone professional advice on this post, I am not medically trained nor am I a professional within the PoTs field. But I am someone who lives with PoTs and I’m someone who every now and then does like to have a cocktail or some alcohol. Although this wasn’t always the case pre-diagnosis, as I will explain later on in the post. I usually class the issue with alcohol, for me, as a ‘social situation‘, meaning that when out with friends for food it ends 9 times out of 10 in a bottle of wine being ordered to gab over, or having a few glasses of something alcoholic while discussing how everyone from school has changed. If I could have it my way, I’d turn away from alcohol 10 times out of 10, but when you’re young and see everyone else having fun, sometimes it’s just easier to follow suit. This is my experience with PoTs and alcohol, again I’m not telling anyone in any way what so ever to follow my advice or experience but it’s here as a guideline. Enjoy reading. *
Many people think I’m crazy when I say I still occasionally drink, the keyword here though, is occasionally. I can’t just sit down and have a glass of wine on a saturday night without it ending in severe stomach ache. If I’m going out to a club with friends when I’m in my ‘feeling good‘ periods I feel like half the time I can’t not drink. But how does it make you feel the day after? horrible. Absolutely horrible. Sometimes I can get away with it, but most of the time I’ll pay the price one way or another for having something alcoholic. But at age 20 also, when catching up with friends, of course I want to join in with the cocktails and boozy drinks.
Here’s the issue. I’m still young, heck, very young, but my body makes me feel like I’m so old.
Half of me never wants to drink an alcoholic drink ever again, but the other half of me imagines cocktails on the beach when i’m abroad or having a few glasses of wine as a catch up with my friends to escape my reality. But for me, if I do choose to drink now-a-days, I end up in a bad situation which is having to stop pain-relief for 24 hours so I have no bad side-effects from the alcohol. Before I started hard-core painkillers, I used to pop your usual over the counter meds or just wouldn’t bother treating it and managed to ride it out one way or another, this was also when I was at University. So usually when going out drinking I had no extra ‘side-effects‘ that I get now. In my mind this is either because of no hard-core pain medication being in my system or my PoTs wasn’t as severe then, or both.
Pain Medication and Alcohol
Pain medication is always going to be a tricky thing to tackle when you’re in chronic, debilitating pain. From 17-19 my chronic pain ‘flared’ up, then went. I could go weeks without any sort of ‘relapse’ in my pain. Now I know not everyone with PoTs takes pain medication, but a lot of us take some sort of prescription drug.
Going back to my University days, I’ve always been amazed at how well my body adjusted at 18 to drink. I would end up wiped out for days after and would feel like I had the flu if I drank too much, to me back then this was a ‘hangover‘, now I know it was due to my symptoms and my illnesses not coping well with the extra dehydration and ‘poison‘ going into my body on a regular basis. But now I’m on pain medication, I’ve drank and not even thought about it until the day after, or as soon as the vomit appears.
You see, any ‘regular‘ Joe Bloggs wouldn’t have to worry too much about the after effects of alcohol, besides maybe a sore head and a bit of a dry mouth, but i’ve always suffered bad ‘after effects‘ and since drinking whilst taking medication (again, without thinking) things can take an early turn for the worst.
Without sounding dramatic, the worst side effect is death. So, yep. Remember that. But from person experience usually you will end up feeling ‘pissed’ very easily, your stomach won’t react very well, you’ll more than likely end up chucking up everywhere, feeling dizzy, feeling vague and it just is not a good mix. To those of you who love a good sesh, this may sound fun. But trust me, it is not. I do not recommend you do this on purpose. If you do, you’re stupid.
Bottom line is. If you’re on pain medication, don’t mix it with alcohol. Leave it well alone for 24 hours if you plan to drink at an event. If you don’t want a bad experience I’d advice you leave your medication well alone. So it’s your choice. Take pain medication or don’t. What i’ve found out recently is it’s better 95% of the time to take the medication and leave the booze alone. Your body will thank you for it.
Nobody wants to feel like the ‘boring’ one of the group, granted. But as my Mother used to always say when I was growing up “if you feel peer pressured into anything they aren’t your real friends”. So surely your friends will understand you not wanting or being able to drink if they’re real friends, right? Usually. Some real friends still can make you feel pressured, not by anything they say, but just by sitting there getting more drunk while you stay perfectly sober. If this happens every single time you go out then that isn’t fair on you, and it feels like there’s a little voice in your mind telling you to do the same and have fun.
Again, remember, it is your choice whether or not you wish to drink whilst being a PoTs sufferer, or if you’re on medication. But I understand that feeling of ‘pressure’. Personally the only way I have resolved this ‘pressure’ is to cut myself from friends that really do purposely add the pressure, take myself out of a drinking environment and go and do something different with friends, or choose to drink but don’t make it a regular event. That way friends will automatically presume you’ll be having a soft drink. Even if you have the odd cocktail, remember, drinking water in-between drinks will keep your fluids up.
Remember, you don’t always have to drink to have a good time. Its true. The occasions I drink are when I feel in control of my symptoms and when I feel like I can drink. I will also lay off my pain medications. This is not often, but with chronic illnesses it’s all about learning what you can and can’t do, and finding your pace and your happy medium.