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The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Dec 04, 2011 - 0 comments

I’ve taken a long break from being active on this forum, yet still have checked in from time to time to see how people are doing and watching for any new developments.

In November of 2010, I went to a neurologist at Yale New Haven for a second opinion. His observation was that I had evidence of cerebellar atrophy which he attributed to chronic alcoholism. I had been drinking more than I should have been and accepted this diagnosis.

I stopped drinking and am now in the process of tapering from Klonopin/clonazepam, which was prescribed by a neurologist back in 2003 for vertigo and dizziness. While my neurological symptoms started before being put on benzodiazepines, long term use of this class of drugs can lead to neurological symptoms. I am disheartened with the response, or more aptly, the lack of response by the number of doctors that I have seen over the years, none of whom questioned why I was on benzos or for how long. These meds are highly addictive and should only be used short term (two weeks) as they shut down the GABA receptors (class of receptors that respond to the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate central nervous system). IMO, I never should have been on this medication for this long.
If you thought that neurologists were fun to deal with, try psychiatrists for a change. I started to see one to help me get off the benzos and am dropping this guy like a hot potato. He is patronizing and I have been unable to get him to collaborate with me in setting up a plan to taper. He’s the boss…seems like he wants his 10 minutes to write a scrip (without refills) and get me out of his hair until the next appointment 30 days later where he can get paid a hefty fee for ten minutes time of “work”.
I’ve been fortunate this past year to have some relatively long quiet spells, but am now back in the throes of neurological symptoms. Like others in LimboLand, I am frustrated by having to go through all of this without a diagnosis. I’m also frustrated by the medical profession as a whole and find myself going back to questioning their judgment in terms of tests and diagnosis or absence of one.
I’m not sure why so many of us have this kernel of trust in doctors, however small. I did accept the second opinion of the neurologist who said that my brain has shrunk from booze. Now I’m doubting him, as I read about Quiz, with her own experience with brain atrophy before lesions appeared. None of the radiologists’ reports indicated any atrophy, which is something that I will have to specifically address when another MRI is done. I also came across an article online on the NINDS Cerebellar Degeneration Information Page which includes MS as an associated disease.
As I write, I am having difficulty with my vision, which has been one of my recurring symptoms. While I have mentioned this to both neurologists and ophthalmologists over the years, no exams or tests have been done to determine whether or not this is optic neuritis. If it were optic neuritis, would that clinch a diagnosis of MS? Who knows?

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