Does overcoming addiction really depend on a person’s decision and willpower to do so?

For decades, we’ve been fed a lie as to the role willpower plays in the recovery of an addiction whether it be drugs or alcohol. This ongoing fallacy finds it’s roots in a human trait that is deceptively simple to describe.

Someone once said,“If you repeat a lie enough times, people will believe it’s true”. The most popular source of this sentence seems to be Joseph Goebbels who was Adolf Hitler’s propaganda officer. Not unlike many other war mongers throughout history, he understood how easy it is to deceive an uncritical mind.

The idea behind this is that most people just don’t bother looking for the truth and readily accept any information as long as it “sounds” credible. By the looks of what I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter lately, this bad habit has been around for a long time.

“Where is he going with this I can hear you say?”

Here it is. I read a very interesting article in Scientific American on addictions and the different therapies that are available to treat them. After reading it, I was able to better understand why addiction treatment and particularly the treatment of alcoholism havn’t really evolved in the past fifty years. Maybe it’s time we looked outside the box for better ways to cure alcoholism; an illness that has accepted as being incurable for too long…

Does overcoming addiction really depend on a person’s decision and willpower to do so?
It’s a complete myth. And it’s one of the myths that has to be dispelled. One of the presumed tragedies of Amy Winehouse,—if this turns out to be related to drug and alcohol use—is that she didn’t want to go to rehab. But rehab might not have been necessary. Maybe medical treatment from a personal doctor would have been an option.

The key to addiction treatment is that anyone who wants treatment gets effective treatment. And it doesn’t depend on any power—higher power, lower power, willpower. It takes the level of compliance of anyone going to a doctor to get checked out.

When people realize it might be possible to get treatment without superhuman power, maybe it will make people want to seek treatment. It’s a message of hope…

Read the full article here.


Lately, I’ve been playing with the idea of creating a post titled WHAT’S THE SUCCESS RATE OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS? I could have cited statistics from different credible sources but none of those would have had the same impact as listening to Dr. Lance Dodes author of The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry. Dr. Dodes had already been mentioned in this post The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous

In this interview with Tom Woods, doctor Dodes gives us a rare insight as to how A.A. has become a standard in the treatment of Alcoholism not just in North America but also in many other places in the world. He also explains why A.A.’s success rate is so dismal (5 to 8%), and why it’s mythical reputation still endures today.

Just to show you how well the dogma of Alcoholics Anonymous is entrenched in our collective subconscious, I’ve stopped counting the number of times I’ve been ejected from forums just for suggesting that Baclofen could represent part of the solution. I guess some people would rather listen to a comforting fallacy than an inconvenient truth (thanks Al Gore) 🙂

As you will hear, Dr. Dodes doesn’t spare other traditional therapies that offer results very similar to A.A. but since most are private organizations, they have no interest in publishing meager results that would directly impact their bottom line.

Happy listening,



My adventures with Baclofen Part 5

My adventures with Baclofen

Part 5

I got a question from Leigh today who wanted to know where I was in terms of Baclofen and alcohol consumption. That same question was on my mind last week since I intended to post on that subject later this month.

I went through a pretty rough patch last fall after my brother died tragically. After taking care of the funeral arrangements, I had to settle the estate. Man, what a royal shit ride that’s been… You think you know someone until there’s money involved and you see that the people who barely spoke to him before he died suddenly realize how great he was after all.

Up until January, it seemed nothing would ever get back to normal. I was at 70mg of Baclofen per day and firmly resolved not to go any lower to make sure I didn’t go back to any kind of heavy drinking. The psychological help I got from professionals and especially the support of my dear wife, pulled me through to the new year in relatively good shape.

All the while I would drink almost every day but never more than two drinks at a time. Any more than that would induce a discomfort; I had lost the appreciation I used to have for being inebriated.

I was supposed to go spend a week in the Dominican Republic in March and decided I would take care of this problem once and for all. By the end of February, I had gone back to 180mg of Baclofen per day and once again, my faithful friend indifference, was waiting for me. This time, I decided to stay at this dosage for a longer period and went a full month without a drink.

My trip was cancelled for family reasons but my determination held steadfast and by the end of April, I had reduced to 40mg per day. By then, I had started to have an occasional drink with a good meal on weekends but still no inclination to go past what is considered to be safe levels.

I stayed at 40 mg until the beginning of June when I began to forget to take the medication. To me, this was a sure sign that I no longer needed it and I was right. Three months later, I’m still enjoying a good glass of wine on the weekends and have no urge to go back to what could be considered moderate drinking.

Am I cured,can I say for sure I’m no longer an alcoholic? I don’t know but my first reaction would be to answer yes since I don’t know of anyone having gone through A.A. of other traditional therapies who can aspire to drinking reasonably. Maybe they’re out there but I don’t know of any. On the other hand, I know of thousands of people who, thanks to Baclofen, have a normal rapport to alcohol.

The beauty of Baclofen is that it allows each person to decide for themselves. With Baclofen, there is no predefined mold into which everyone has to fit.


Parts  12345






Baclofen studies; results are in!!!

The results of several studies on Baclofen have been released. I could have rehashed everything that has been written about the subject but in all honesty, I thought it would be better to simply direct you to the site of Dr. Amanda Stafford of Royal Perth hospital in Australia. The resume she made of that day is not only concise and easily understood but it also reflects the opinion of someone who truly cares about her patient’s well being and is very active in the promotion of this extraordinary medication in the treatment of of alcoholism. Bravo Dr. Stafford!

The new baclofen for alcoholism treatment studies were unveiled on Saturday 3rd September 2016 in Berlin at the World Congress for Alcohol and Alcoholism. It was a packed session as this was the most interesting news of the Congress…

Evidence as to the efficiency of Baclofen in the treatment of alcoholism

It’s hard to argue with facts and when it comes to treating alcoholism with Baclofen, it’s sometimes difficult to tell if the information is credible. This state of affairs has seen recent debates heat up to the point of creating more confusion then initially intended. At the end of the day what stands out in my opinion, is the overwhelming evidence that points to it’s efficiency despite the better efforts of big lobbies who would rather see this issue slip into oblivion.

Having been in business for many years, I completely understand their position. Name one, just one company that wants to deal with a greatly advantaged competitor that directly jeopardizes their bottom line? Where talking about billions of dollars here folks and thousands of jobs that could disappear in just a few years.

And for what? For the sake of saving lives, hundred of thousands in America alone over the next couple of years. This is exactly the kind of threat Baclofen represents for the pharmacological and rehab industries.

As you read these lines, corporate interests stand in the way of national health interests and in the end you and I end up footing the bill for the billions of dollars that are lost every year because of alcoholism.

Whether it’s in the form of government prevention and treatment programs, lost productivity, health care costs, social disruption that effects millions of families not to mention the impacts of this illness on the judicial system, you and I are paying for the dividends that end up in the pockets of the share holders that drive the “alcohol abuse industry”

I’ve seen first hand the havoc this curable illness can cause and I’ve also witnessed the liberation that Baclofen can provide. And all this for a few dollars a week, given the right motivation.

That’s why I created this blog, so others may also have a good shot at recapturing that precious state of normality that makes life so much more interesting. That precious state of normality that in many cases may be life saving.

Here’s another piece of evidence that always makes me smile whenever someone says “But how do you know it really works?”

Clinical Case Study ARTICLE

Front. Psychiatry, 10 October 2014 |

The use of very high-doses of baclofen for the treatment of alcohol-dependence: a case series

  • Groupe Hospitalier Paul-Guiraud, Villejuif, France

Baclofen, particularly high-dose baclofen, has recently emerged as a treatment of major interest for alcohol-dependence. However, baclofen has many potentially dangerous side effects, and the maximal dose of baclofen that may be used is a matter of discussion. Here, the author analyses the medical charts of the last 100 patients seen in his clinic, 17 of whom have been taking a very high dose of baclofen, which is to say, more than 300 mg/day. The analysis of the charts shows that the very high-doses baclofen were justified in almost all the cases. Side effects are analyzed.


High-dose baclofen has been shown to produce a remarkable state of indifference toward alcohol (1). However, the question of the upper limit of baclofen dosage that may be reached is a matter of discussion. Drug summaries recommend not exceeding the daily dose of 75–80 mg (75–80 mg/day) (2, 3) although long-term studies have shown that doses exceeding 250 or 300 mg/day are often necessary to produce a state of complete indifference to alcohol (4, 5). Recently, the French Health Safety Agency released a recommendation allowing for the prescription of baclofen to be given up to 300 mg/day, but not beyond, for the treatment of alcohol dependence (French Ministerial decree of June 13, 2014).

The present report is an analysis of the author’s medical charts of patients taking, or having taken, very high doses of baclofen, i.e., more than 300 mg/day for the treatment of their alcohol dependence. Since 2008, the author has prescribed baclofen to approximately 600 alcohol-dependent patients. The charts of the last 100 patients, followed for at least 6 months, were reviewed. At the time of the review (July 2014), all the patients except one (see Patient-14 below) were under the care of the author (last visit posterior to May 2014). Among the 100 charts, it appeared that 17 patients have been taking doses of baclofen superior to 300 mg/day at 1 time or another during their treatment (7 other patients reached the dose of 300 mg/day without exceeding it). This means that, according to this cohort, 17% of alcohol-dependent patients need more than 300 mg/day of baclofen for their treatment (and nearly one in four needs at least 300 mg/day).

The treatment was conducted similarly for all patients; doses were progressively increased (one additional 10 mg-tablet every 3 days) until a state of indifference toward alcohol (suppression of craving) was reached. After reaching a dose of 120–150 mg/day, if these doses were ineffective, or not sufficiently effective, patients were asked to actively participate in the dose increase. They were told that, unless they have no unbearable side effects, they must continue to increase the dose of baclofen, with no given limit of dosage, as long as they have episodes of craving for alcohol. In case of unbearable, or difficult to bear, side effects, they were told to slow the progression of the increase, or to decrease the dose until the side effect either disappears or becomes bearable, and then once again increase the dose, possibly much more slowly (one tablet, or a half-tablet, every week or 10 days, or possibly even more slowly). Patients were thereby trained to manage by themselves the increase of the doses according to a principle of self-involvement in the management of their treatment, while always under strict medical control (monthly visits, phone call to the author whenever necessary).


In previous reports of clinical cases of baclofen in alcohol-dependence patients were always treated with doses beneath 300 mg/day (1, 68).

Clinical cases

Clinical cases are presented below (see also Table 1). Patients are classified according the length of their follow-up, from the longest to the shortest. Side effects will be considered in a separate paragraph in the Section “Discussion.”


www.frontiersin.orgTable 1. Digest of cases.


Patient-1 (Pt1) is a 58-year-old healthy farmer drinking approximately three or four bottles of wine per day (he denied drinking, hiding bottles in the bush). He was brought in our clinic by his family, and did not seem to be very motivated to stop drinking. He was forced to take the baclofen treatment, given authoritatively by his wife, and rapidly drank much less (at 120 mg/day), but nevertheless continued to drink to excess (on the sly), as evidenced by biological measures. He stopped drinking at 210 mg/day (normalization of hepatic enzymes). After a year or two, he decided he was cured, stopped baclofen, and relapsed a few months later. Baclofen was restarted but the dose of 210 mg was insufficient. Doses were then increased (in large part driven by his daughter who was a pharmacist) and he was taking 360 mg/day at the time of his last visit (June 2014). According to the family, he has no craving at all, not drinking even when he is offered a glass of wine.


Patient-2 (Pt2) is a 28-year-old salesman drinking one to two bottles of whiskey per day (4–8 20 cc whiskey flasks), and a variable number of beers. He is emotionally very unstable, impulsive, abuses cannabis, and has a long history of anxiety and depression for which he has previously been treated but he was taking no psychotropic medications (except benzodiazepines) when baclofen was started. The road to abstinence with baclofen turned out to be very long and chaotic, with nearly 4 years of ups and downs. Baclofen was initially very effective; he stopped drinking completely at 120 mg/day but started drinking again after a month or two, beer only. He later turned to sparkling wine for several months. He alternated periods of sobriety, periods of moderate drinking (one bottle of sparkling wine or some beer) and short episodes of massive drinking during the following years. He acknowledged that baclofen greatly reduces his craving, and he has progressively increased it over the years, reaching the dose of 320 mg during some months in 2013. But his daily treatment compliance was irregular (often off-schedule). He is now (June 2014) taking 300 mg/day regularly, he says, and drinks an average of two or three beers per day. He is still impulsive and equally emotionally unstable and is still cannabis-dependent (although his consumption of cannabis has substantially decreased).


Patient-3 (Pt3) is 59-year-old woman referred for an intractable alcoholism (4 bottles of white wine per day) associated with a fronto-temporal dementia. The dementia was labeled idiopathic by her neurologist, independent of the alcoholism. She is treated by clomipramine and donepezil. Baclofen was considered by the family as a last-resort attempt. Increasing baclofen doses proved to be extremely difficult due to the massive memory problems of the patient and to insufficient surveillance of treatment administration by the (very busy) family. It took 2 years to reach the dose of 400 mg/day (thanks to an ancillary worker who was hired by the family to accompany the patient and control her treatment observance). At that dose, the patient suddenly stopped drinking, showing a total indifference toward alcohol. Two years later, she is still sober (ritually filling at dinner time a glass of wine, which she does not finish), and has recovered fairly good memory capacities (the diagnosis of idiopathic dementia has been abandoned).


Patient-4 (Pt4) is 32-year-old technician drinking one bottle of rum every day. He suffers from a severe anxiety disorder, with agoraphobia and emotional instability (treated with an antidepressant and an atypical antipsychotic). He became almost completely abstinent at 200 mg/day (although not completely indifferent to alcohol), but had episodes of relapse due to stress and instability (mainly in relation to conflicts in the workplace, a divorce and concomitant painful somatic illness). He shifted from rum to beer, and increased baclofen doses at each relapse, reaching the dose of 520 mg/day. He is presently stabilized at 320 mg/day, does not drink and says he has no craving, although still having brief episodes of massive alcoholization (an average of one every 2 months), when he drinks an entire bottle of rum and/or other drinks over 1 or 2 days.


Patient-5 (Pt5) is 32-year-old unemployed artist-painter drinking an average of three bottles of wine and 1 l of beer per day. He has a long history of untreated anxiety and depression. He takes no medications except occasional benzodiazepines. Alcohol has an obvious anxiolytic and antidepressant function for him, and his real desire to stop drinking was questionable when he started baclofen. His craving for alcohol and alcohol consumption significantly decreased (one bottle of wine, no more beer) at a relatively low dose of baclofen (150 mg/day). However, partly due to stressful life events, he progressively relapsed and slowly resumed his previous drinking habits, taking less and less baclofen until a complete stop that lasted several months. He then restarted baclofen, acknowledging that although baclofen greatly decreases his craving, it is, however, ineffective in completely suppressing his compulsive rituals in drinking. He slowly and irregularly increased baclofen up to 400 mg/day, remaining at that dose for approximately 2 months, still drinking to excess (one to two bottles of wine per day), after what he decreased the dose of baclofen down to 250 mg/day, which he is still taking, not very regularly, still drinking an average of 1.5 bottle per day.


Patient-6 (Pt6) is a 38-year-old Human Resources assistant drinking half a bottle of gin and a bottle of wine every day. She is healthy and takes no medications. She stopped drinking at the dose of 240 mg/day of baclofen. But 2–3 months later, she started to drink moderate doses of alcohol again and increased the baclofen dose to 270 mg/day. She remained 2.5 years taking this dose very regularly and was almost always sober, but she had more and more often moments of craving when coming home from work in the evening and got into a habit of adding three more tablets to the evening dose, and after a while she added another three tablets. She is now taking baclofen 330 mg/day, very regularly. She is sober and has no craving.


Patient-7 (Pt7) is a 30-year-old commercial employee drinking one or more bottle of rum every day. He suffers from panic attacks (no treatment, except benzodiazepines). He immediately appreciated baclofen, finding that it gave him a feeling of euphoria with a marked decrease in anxiety. He rapidly stopped drinking during the week but continued to drink with friends during the weekend. After a few months, while he was regularly taking 200 mg/day, he started drinking again, as before, during the week. He then progressively increased baclofen up to 400 mg/day and stopped drinking during the week though continuing to drink during the weekend (more as a routine than because of a craving). He is now stabilized at 300 mg/day, does not drink during week days (no craving), but still drinks during the weekend (a bottle of rum or whiskey for the 2 days), and often decreases the dose of baclofen during the weekend “to facilitate drinking” he says. (The decrease of baclofen is often accompanied by a baclofen withdrawal syndrome, marked by sweats, anxiety, shaking, and itching – an unusual syndrome during baclofen partial withdrawal).


Patient-8 (Pt8) is a 44-year-old city hall employee, drinking an average of 5 l of beer every day and a variable quantity of wine. He has a long history of depression and suicide attempts, detox cures and psychotropic treatments. At the beginning of baclofen treatment, he was taking an antidepressant and several anxiolytics. Baclofen dose increase was slowed by the occurrence of many difficult to bear side effects. He started decreasing alcohol consumption at 200 mg/day. At 250 mg/day, he had almost no more craving, but continued compulsively to drink during what he called his “evening rituals”: one beer and two to four glasses of wine. This “ritual” consumption lasted 18 months, during which the patient was regularly taking 250 mg/day of baclofen after which, following certain life events, he decided to stop drinking completely, and on his own initiative increased baclofen to this end. He reached the dose of 420 mg/day, at which he stopped drinking completely. He then decreased the dose to 400 mg/day and is still at that dose in July 2014, still sober.


Patient-9 (Pt9) is a 43-year-old invalid man, drinking one bottle of whiskey per day, always in the evening. He has a history of bipolar disorder (treated by depakine + olanzapine + escitalopram + several benzodiazepines), and is a former cocaine and cannabis addict. Baclofen was progressively increased up to 300 mg/day without any effect. Above this dose, Pt9 began to progressively decrease drinking and to change his drinking habits, shifting from whiskey to rosé wine, which he began at noon. At 350 mg/day he drank an average of 1.5 bottle of wine, at 440 mg/day a half bottle, and at 480 mg/day (eleventh month of treatment), only two glasses. Seven months later, he was still taking 480 mg/day, was sober, but said he still has frequent episodes of craving. He nevertheless started to decrease the dose of baclofen and, at 200 mg/day, had a long period of relapse for which he needed to be hospitalized. After that, he again increased baclofen progressively, up to 400 mg/day. He now takes 390 mg/day (June 2014), and drinks an average of two glasses of wine per day. He feels very well, and plans to take up volunteer work.


Patient-10 (Pt10) is a 57-year-old pharmacy technician drinking three bottles of wine per day. He is in good health and takes no medications. The dose of baclofen was progressively increased up to 320 mg/day over 7 months, without incident, and the consumption of alcohol decreased by more than two thirds (daily amount between ½ and 1 bottle per day), with a craving notably reduced but still present. The length of treatment, 7 months, is probably insufficient, and it is expected that a further dose increase will allow the achievement of a complete suppression of craving.


Patient-11 (Pt11) is a 52-year-old bricklayer (on sick leave for the last 2 years) drinking 4–5 l of beer (7.5°) per day. He is also a cannabis addict and suffers from depression (taking paroxetine over the last 5 years). His craving was almost completely suppressed at 200 mg/day but there remained strong rituals of drinking that made him continue to drink despite an obvious lack of interest for alcohol. He spontaneously increased progressively the doses up to 420 mg, and stopped drinking completely at that dose, but his personal attending physician told him that the dose was too high and potentially dangerous (despite an almost complete absence of side effects) and so he decreased the dose. He is now taking 300 mg/day and drinks an average of 1 l of beer per day. He returned to work and takes no more paroxetine.


Patient-12 (Pt12) is a 50-year-old insurance employee drinking a bottle of pastis (a 45° beverage close relative of absinth) every day. He is in good health and takes no medications. Baclofen increase proved to be very difficult because of the occurrence of a number of unbearable side effects at relatively low doses of treatment. He nevertheless very courageously surmounted these effects and slowly increased the doses. The nature of side effects changed at higher doses (from delirium and serious behavioral disturbances to slowness, bizarre somatic sensations, sweating, and insomnia). The first sign of a decrease in drinking (280 mg/day) was that he began to drink more and more slowly, keeping the beverage several minutes in the mouth before swallowing (this is a rare, but not exceptional, effect of baclofen in alcoholics). He progressively decreased alcohol consumption but did not stop it, being strongly and compulsively attached to his evening drinking habits. The alcohol consumption nevertheless decreased with the increase of baclofen. At the last visit, the dose was 320 mg/day. He was still drinking approximately the third of a bottle of pastis every day, and he planned to continue to increase baclofen. Bromazepam was added to his treatment in August 2013, for insomnia, which he is still taking (and which is a great help).


Patient-13 (Pt13) is a 37-year-old supermarket manager drinking half a bottle of whiskey per day. He is in good health. Baclofen progressive increase was very slow due to the occurrence of many uncomfortable side effects. Baclofen was increased up to 300 mg/day without any effect on alcohol consumption or craving. Suppression of craving and alcohol consumption occurred abruptly at 350 mg/day. Pt13 takes all baclofen tablets at once in the morning before going to work (a very unusual way of proceeding, but Pt13 found this was the best for him). He took this dose for a month or two, then decreased it to 300 mg, then to 200 mg/day. In July 2014, he had no craving, was totally abstinent but progressively developed a worrying depression over the last months. Whereas he was taking no medication when baclofen was started, he is now taking escitalopram, alprazolam, and zopiclone.


Patient-14 (Pt14) is a 38-year-old salesman (unemployed) drinking an average of 5 l of beer per day. He drinks a little during the day but drinks massively at evening and night-time, away from home, with friends, compulsively until totally drunk. His wife is threatening him with divorce. He is very impulsive, suffers from a major anxiety disorder, and takes no medication. He increased progressively baclofen, and began to decrease drinking at 250 mg/day. At 360 mg/day (fourth month of treatment), he was not drinking more than two or three cans of beer. He suddenly decided (without medical advice) to increase baclofen rapidly until he reaches total abstinence. Total abstinence occurred at the dose of 630 mg/day. He remained at this dose for 1.5 months, despite medical injunctions to decrease the dose. He found a job and seemed extremely satisfied: “my wife is happy,” “my life has completely changed.” At the end of May 2014, he showed signs of an acute delirium, with agitation in the street and a facial hematoma, and was transported to an intensive care unit by a police emergency squad. He regained consciousness a few hours later, and left the unit against medical advice <24 h after admission. He has given no news since despite many attempts to reach him. He very likely stopped baclofen.


Patient-15 (Pt15) is a 29-year-old successful business manager drinking one bottle of whiskey per day, and often some other drinks. He is healthy and takes no medications. Detox cures and usual medications were ineffective. He escalated doses more rapidly than planned, became indifferent to alcohol at 250 mg/day, but deliberately increased the dose up to 400 mg/day (“to be on the safe side” he said), and then decreased the dose, maintaining it most often around 320 mg, sometimes higher (in case of stress), sometimes much lower (when he decides to “live it up” with friends). He is almost always sober and has no craving. This case is a typical case of successful self-management of the treatment.


Patient-16 (Pt16) is a 41-year-old salesman in a fashion boutique, drinking mostly beer (an average of 3 l/day), but also any kind of alcohol when accessible. He is also cannabis dependent, and occasionally takes cocaine. He is impulsive, very unstable emotionally, and often has severe fits of anger and aggressiveness. He appeared to be unable to increase progressively and regularly the doses of baclofen as prescribed. He increased baclofen very rapidly to 270 mg/day (“as Olivier Ameisen did” he said), then decreased it rapidly, increased once again the doses, reaching 310 mg/day for a short while. He says that baclofen has a stimulant effect on him, and makes him feel more placid and less aggressive. He sometimes seems to take baclofen as if it were a drug of abuse, but he also says that alprazolam or hypnotics make him “feel high.” After 6 months of more or less chaotic, but constant, baclofen treatment, he appears to have almost no craving for alcohol, drinks rarely (only when driven by friends), has substantially decreased cannabis, and has started a treatment for his tobacco dependence.


Patient-17 (Pt17) is a 31-year-old engineer drinking an average of 60 cc of whiskey or vodka per day. He suffers from depression (treated with paroxetine). Drinking progressively decreased with the increase of baclofen. He reached a complete suppression of craving at 310 mg/day. He had a brief relapse 2 months ago (sudden compulsive drinking of a flask of vodka, for no particular reason), and is totally sober since.


This retrospective analysis of medical charts shows that a substantial number of alcohol-dependent patients treated with baclofen need treatment doses superior to 300 mg/day (17% of the 100 cases). It is clear that if the doses of baclofen had been limited to 300 mg/day as recently recommended by the French Health Safety Agency, these patients would not have fully benefited from the craving–suppressing effects of baclofen.

The clinical vignettes show that the use of high-dose baclofen took place in many different contexts and situations, sometimes potentially inappropriate [family pressure (Pt1), or patient’s impulsivity (Pt14)], but in most cases the high-dose treatment was justified, resulting in very positive effects.

Side-effects occurred in all the patients except Pt4, who always denied any side effect (which one may doubt). Side effects were in general minor and benign. Almost all patients reported fatigue and/or insomnia. Insomnia was sometimes severe. Most of the patients had insomnia before baclofen, but baclofen itself induced or worsened insomnia in many of them (baclofen-induced insomnia was often improved by hypnotics but not always, however). Other benign side effects were nausea, dizziness, headache, pain in muscles and joints, motor instability, feeling of head crushing, feelings of electric discharges, decrease in vision, decrease in libido, aggressiveness, transient hypomania, paresthesias, tinnitus, sweats, cramps, spasms, dry throat. There were four cases of severe side effects: Pt8 was suffering from somnambulism (and falls during sleepwalking) long before treatment, but baclofen worsened his somnambulism, which became associated with nocturnal delirium, and 1 day Pt8 fell during an episode of sleepwalking and broke his ankle (at that time, baclofen dose was 370 mg/day, and he was drinking about 50 g of alcohol per day). Pt12 had a period of nocturnal delirium associated with bizarre stereotyped behavior during the day, and 1 day he woke up with paralyzed legs. The emergency physician suspected a stroke and he was hospitalized, but stood up normally a few hours later. All the investigations (cardiovascular, brain imaging) were normal (at that time, baclofen dose was 210 mg/day, and he was drinking more than 300 g of alcohol per day). Pt13 progressively developed a depressive state, which, although Pt13 has no suicidal thoughts, could be considered as a serious side effect (the direct relationship with baclofen is, however, disputable). Pt14, as described in the clinical vignette, took an unreasonable amount of baclofen, and 1 day presented a state of confusion and a facial hematoma and was hospitalized in an intensive care unit for that, but the precise circumstances of this severe side effect have not been elucidated.

Concluding Remarks

Baclofen treatment is for many alcoholic patients a long story and a long fight. The fight involves both the patient and the physician, and the notion of therapeutic alliance finds here all its meaning, as it is essential that the patient participates in the managing of the treatment under the control of the physician. To be effective, baclofen may need to be given at high or very high doses. An imposed limit to the dose of baclofen is a loss of the opportunity of being cured for many patients. Baclofen is not more dangerous at high doses than at low doses when the treatment is well supervised by the physician. Side effects, even severe side effects, can occur at any dose. Most of the time, difficult to bear side effects present at low doses will vanish or change in nature when the baclofen dose is increased. Therefore, on the condition of a good therapeutic alliance between the patient and the physician, baclofen should be prescribed with no imposed upper limit of dosage.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


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Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | CrossRef Full Text

8. Pastor A, Jones DM, Currie J. High-dose baclofen for treatment-resistant alcohol dependence. J Clin Psychopharmacol (2012) 32:266–8. doi:10.1097/JCP.0b013e31824929b2

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Keywords: alcoholism, addiction, treatment, side effect, abstinence

Citation: de Beaurepaire R (2014) The use of very high-doses of baclofen for the treatment of alcohol-dependence: a case series. Front. Psychiatry 5:143. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00143

Received: 28 July 2014; Paper pending published: 10 September 2014;
Accepted: 25 September 2014; Published online: 10 October 2014.

Edited by:

Alain Dervaux, Centre Hospitalier Sainte-Anne, France

Reviewed by:

Giovanni Martinotti, University G.d’Annunzio, Italy
Henriette Walter, University of Vienna, Austria

Copyright: © 2014 de Beaurepaire. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Renaud de Beaurepaire, Groupe Hospitalier Paul-Guiraud, 54 Avenue de la République – BP20065, Villejuif 94806, France e-mail:

Brain And Neurotransmitters

Since we’re on the subject, I thought I’d give you a couple of videos to help you understand what neurotransmitters do and how malfunctioning neurotransmitters can result in illnesses that can be cured or controlled using certain medications. Alcoholism is the result of such a malfunctioning and that’s why Baclofen is so effective. Compared to other drugs that claim to stop the cravings, Baclofen has proven to be the best and cheapest alternative. Another advantage of Baclofen is that it can be used in large doses for long periods which isn’t the case of the popular and much more expensive anti-craving drugs.

How Baclofen works


Looking through the Assisted Recovery Centers of Georgia, I found a nice slide of how Baclofen compensates a deficiency in the alcoholic’s brain. I thought you would appreciate it’s efficient simplicity.



The Science: How does Baclofen work?
Experts now acknowledge Dr Ameisen’s hypothesis that alcoholism is linked to a deficiency in GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), which is described as the brain’s natural valium. This natural tranquilliser helps us to relax and a deficiency leads to anxiety, muscular tension, insomnia and depression.

To deal with this, people who are deficient in GHB self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and progressively become dependent.

GABA works through two receptors, GABA A and GABA B. When a person drinks alcohol it will occupy the GABA A receptor, mimicking the GABA’s relaxant effect. When they stop drinking, they will feel anxious again.

When you take baclofen it stimulates the GABA B receptor, something only GHB does. Other medications will act only on the GABA A system but it seems the way to stop alcohol dependency lies with the receptor B.

Quick post on Baclofen

Hi everybody,

I got a question from Leigh who has a relative who suffers from alcoholism. I couldn’t help but empathize since I’ve been in the same rut as the person Leigh’s concerned with. My response turned out to be a lot more detailed than I expected and I might have opened a door that I will not be able to close… Fortunately, life has taught me that the day belongs to those who dare to exit their comfort zone. 🙂trust fear Pixbay

However this turns out, I think many will benefit from my answer so here’s Leigh’s question:

Hi there,

A family member is a bad alcoholic who has been through detox, rehab and used naltrexone. Discharged himself from rehab and now back drinking albeit not as bad as prior to rehab. I could not believe that in 2016 there was so little hope for alcoholics globally so went online. Baclofen keeps coming up time and time again. I have read Dr Olivier Ameison’s book and I am “cautiously” hoping to be able to get Baclofen prescribed. Many doctors in New Zealand have never heard of it. Some studies I have read have been inconclusive but this appears to be because on low doses used. This is the only hope that I have for my family member so any help with dosage etc. would be welcome.

Hello Leigh,

I empathize with you and I know how difficult it can be to convince doctors who are heavily influenced by the pharmaceuticals, the rehab industry and generally have an obtuse attitude to ideas that come from other countries. Mind you, this attitude is not limited to New-Zealand doctors Image result for sad icon.

The sad truth is these old methods are practically useless. Their success rate is around 5% at best and even that number is often questioned. As to popular drugs: Naletrone, Campral, Topamax etc. developed at very high costs buy various pharmaceuticals have serious side effects that prohibit their use for more than a few weeks. In fact, most Baclofen users have already tried these drugs along with traditional therapies without success. As for A.A.’s 12 step program, it also has success rate of less than 5%. What’s worst is that anyone who fails their program is left with a lower self-esteem than what they started with.

Doctor prescribes Baclofen

The most recent studies show that Baclofen combined with some form of psychological therapy yield success rates close to 70%. Those kinds of results are bound to upset the pharmaceutical industry and detractors are quietly at least mostly quietly trying to discredit Baclofen since there’s no money to be made from a medication who’s patents expired many years ago.

As to the rehab industry, and make no mistake, it’s big business, how do you they react to a therapy that includes Baclofen and reduces the inpatient time from months to a few weeks? This  seriously threatens their bottom line, their business model and most importantly, their livelihood.

So, to answer your question, finally:-)

After considering counter indications:

the doctor will surely advise small dosages to start. 10mg for the first three days and add another 10 mg every three days. The reason for this is to evaluate any side effects which will vary from one person to another. The most common of Baclofen at higher than usual dosages are:


Loss of libido



* One important thing to remember is that many drugs Baclofen included, increases the effects of alcohol. Caution is advised.

The best advice you can as to the counter indications and side effects is your pharmacist.

To a certain degree, the patient will be the best person able to evaluate the proper dosages since they will be experiencing the side effects and the diminishing cravings to drink as the doses increase.

The best experts on this subject are in France. They have been experiencing with high doses of Baclofen since 2010. In their opinion, there is no absolute rule as to whether or not the patient should cease to drink at the start of their treatment.

This is one of the great advantages of Baclofen compared to other drugs and especially traditional therapies where complete abstinence is one of the “golden rules”.

As the dosages are increased, the cravings subside. Once the patient has reached the “optimal dose ”, drinking will no longer be a necessity. It will have become an option.

From my lectures and observations, the optimal dosage could be reached anywhere between 80 and 400mg.

Is there a guarantee one will reach indifference to alcohol? The simple answer is no. Some will only experience a diminishing need to drink. If this where the only advantage, it would still represent a huge improvement since the is no counter indication to the long term use of Baclofen.

However, I think that the 70% success rate should entice doctors to at least consider the possibility that it might work for their patients. Baclofen is an old medication and it’s effects are well known. For doctors and their patients, It’s a low risk experiment that can produce extraordinary results.

I hope this can help out and please let me know how things turn out either way since your input could help other readers.


p.s. If you find a doctor willing to prescribe, contact me privately and I will have my doctor contact him (her). My doctor has done this before and this has lead to a better treatment of their alcoholic patients.





When alcoholism + depression = Suicide.

It’s been a while since my last post and I think you’ll understand why.

I can’t imagine writing a more difficult post and to tell you the truth, I don’t see how anyone could have prepared me for this. You see, last August the 6th, my brother, my best friend, committed suicide.

The bitch about suicide is that it leaves so many unanswered questions. The what ifs, the maybe I could have been more supportive, more aware of his distress and the list goes on and on…

And it isn’t just me. It’s everyone who was close enough to appreciate him for what he really was; a smart, caring, funny easygoing guy who would have given the shirt off his back to help his fellow man.

But there was also another not so well known side of him hidden in the recesses of his brain.

My brother had a serious drinking problem. It led to the breakup of his couple and his children eventually grew distant, tired of his constant rehashing of the past and his resentment towards what he perceived to be life’s injustices.

He was a functioning alcoholic. This means he could go on with his daily business while drinking quite heavily after his day’s work. The problem is that alcohol abuse often leads to depression and that’s where everything goes south. His years of alcohol abuse had slowly but surely eroded his perception of reality. It’s now clear to me that he had developed a prevailing depression that only got worst with time.

There came a point where the only thing that gave his life meaning was his job. It even became a bit of a pain since that’s all he ever talked about. When the meaning of your life depends on one thing, then your mental equilibrium becomes extremely vulnerable should this one thing be compromised.

Even I who was probably one of the closest to him in the past years could not have imagined that it would end this way. If it’s true that hindsight is 20/20, then his story is probably not that different than many others like him.

I’ve finally come to realize that there wasn’t much anyone could have done. In his distorted reality he couldn’t see any other way out of his misery and he made sure that the only people who could have prevented his tragic ending where kept in the dark long enough for him to do what he had set out to do.

I thought that my success with Baclofen would eventually rub off on him but he wouldn’t admit to having a problem and every attempt I made to convince him otherwise was met with categorical denial of the existence of said problem.

He had always been a stubborn person and very reluctant to talk about his feelings. That made it very difficult for me or anyone else to get through. He’s not the only person I know to be that stubborn. Fact is I’m just as pig headed as they come. The difference with me is that I was lucky enough to accept the fact that I had a problem before it was too late.

Enumerating my brother’s failings doesn’t stop me from loving him and remembering the good times we shared through the years. I’m still pissed off at him for leaving that way but I know that time will take care of that too. If his story can help just one person out there, his death will have served a noble purpose.

I’ve come to realize many things in the past few weeks and I know a lot of you have been down the same road so you’ll probably be familiar with what follows:

  1. There’s no such thing as an ordinary moment in life. Every second on this earth is a blessing that needs to be recognized and appreciated. Will everything turn out perfectly for you if you follow these guidelines? Of course not! There is no such thing in this world of opposites composed of good and bad, ups and downs etc. The quality of your life stems from what you do with the lemons; you can pout, but you can also make lemonade.
  2. You have to cut yourself some slack. Too often, we’re more than happy to forgive the failings of others but we can’t seem to grant ourselves the same courtesy. Mistakes are opportunities in disguise.
  3. Nobody knows enough to be a pessimist. If the greatest scientific minds like Einstein and Plank (Quantum theory) not to mention all the great philosophers where humble enough to admit that the miracle of life can only be the work of a Higher intelligence, who are we to underestimate our role in life since we all come from that same intelligence?
  4. Love of life but especially love for yourself will smooth out any and all problems. Love will bring you what your higher self is craving for which is Peace and this, no matter what life throws your way.

For those of you who might have someone close to you who you suspect might be a functioning alcoholic, Let me describe what their day is like.

A day in the life of a functioning alcoholic

  • You get up at whatever time you have to so you’re not late for work. You’re still a little tipsy if not still legally impaired from last night’s drinking so basically, you feel like shit. You’d much rather crawl under some rock and not come out for a few hours but since you’ve probably already used up all of your sick leaves, you drag your ass to work.
  • Once you get to work, you have to try your best to look normal since you don’t want your co-workers to know you have a problem. Bad breathe? Just don’t get too close to anyone and make sure you have a good supply of breath mints. Better yet, drink vodka, it doesn’t smell as bad as the colored liqueur beer or wine.
  • You go through your day wishing you hadn’t drank so much and promise yourself you’ll be more careful. By noon you start to feel a bit better and keep staring at the clock every 15 minutes anticipating the end of your shift.
  • When the whistle blows you know you’ve made it through another day and of course, feeling this good gives you a reason to celebrate.
  • Rinsing and repeating many times will inevitably lead to depression since that’s what abusive intake of alcohol does. You’re depressed because you drink too much so you drink to relieve your depression… I think you see where this is going.

Some will sustain this life style for years while others will sink much more rapidly losing every shred of self-esteem along the way.

There is always a better way out of misery and suicide hot-lines are the first line of defense. Confiding in someone you trust will help alleviate some of the pain and with time and patience, the days will get brighter and brighter.

This is why I insist so strongly on a psychological aid along with Baclofen. Whether it’s AA meetings, professional services or other therapies, it’s very important to have the support and the tools to deal with the subtle but very real mind tricks that come with addictions.


3 Tips Guaranteed to bring you Peace

Hi everyone!

Bud here and I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of this series. If you didn’t get a chance to do so, you can read it here.

For this post, I’m going to give you 3 Tips Guaranteed to bring you Peace. These tips will improve the quality of your days good or bad and possibly save you a lot of grief along your path.

First, let’s recap some of the elements in my prior post:

  1. Our environment has conditioned us to believe that who we are is:

What we have

What we do

How much power we have over others

How others perceive us etc.

  1. For every activity we engage in, the finality or objective is to obtain Peace. Whether it’s something as basic as eating or having sex, the objective is to reach a point of interior calm that makes life more enjoyable A.K.A, Peace.
  1. And what happens when we fail to reach the ideals that define us as individuals? We develop inner conflicts that must be dealt with one way or another. Too often, we deal with these conflicts by developing unhealthy addictions.

Whether this is done consciously or not, I will leave for the experts to decide. One thing is for sure though and its that addictions just like a coin have two sides; one is physiological and the other is psychological. Tips 1 and 2 will deal with the psychological side. For tip #3, we’ll look at the physiological aspect of alcohol addiction.

So how do we avoid these addictions or at least minimize the chances of creating problems that can really create havoc in our lives and those of our loved ones?

You guessed it! We find healthy ways to find Peace instead of creating painful experiences.

 So here are the 3 tips as promised.

 Tip #1

“No matter how things turn out, you can be at Peace’’

My guess is that there are two ways of looking at life. Either you think everything is preordained and that nothing you do will ever change the sequence of events that lead you from your cradle to your tomb i.e. Fatalism


You think that we can influence the events in our lives and that at any moment our destinies can be altered by our decisions i.e. Free will

Philosophers have debated this question for thousands of years and I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding a lot of info on the Net. But for the sake of this discussion, let’s keep things simple for now.

I have to admit fatalism sounds pretty bleak. The mere thought that I wouldn’t have any control over the events of my life is rather depressing. I wonder if there is such a thing as an anxious fatalist?

Personally, I’m more of a free-will type since I tend to agree with quantum mechanics which states that all possible outcomes of our lives exist in parallel. This means that every time you make a decision, your future changes. If this sounds like nonsense just remember that most of the technologies we take for granted today would have been considered as science fiction a mere 50 years ago.

As I’m writing this, the film “The adjustment bureau” with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt comes to mind and exemplifies this concept really well.

So what’s this have to do with being at Peace? Whether you’re a fatalist of a free-will proponent, their remains one truth; you will have to deal with your reality no matter how it turns out, good or bad. So if you have to deal with it either way, why not just accept what is? If you can change what is, then you should do something about it but if you can’t, you must accept it as it is. Any other course of action is madness.

I can hear you say, “But I can’t accept my situation because it’s too painful’’. I know exactly where you’re coming from even though I haven’t experienced every single trauma that exists. I know that some circumstances can be unbearable but sooner or later, you will have to accept it. Otherwise, the resulting inner conflict will eat you up and possibly lead to illness, an unhealthy addiction or worst…

It may take time but know that “All things come to pass’’. The choice is yours to make and if you adopt a peaceful attitude when things are going rather well in your life, you will be stronger and better equipped to deal with the more difficult days when they inevitably come around.

 Tip #2

Infinite patience brings immediate results

Sounds a little strange especially to the analytical mind. How could something that is infinite in nature bring results in the now? It’s a paradox that requires some reflection and yet, it can also be simply explained.

We live in a society that promotes instant gratification. Whether you’re on Facebook or looking to buy the latest trending gadget or piece of clothing, the ego says I want it and I want it now!

The ensuing result of either getting it or not getting it now is pretty much the same. If we get it now we quickly get bored and start looking for the next gadget that we think, will make us happy. If we don’t get it, chances are we will just want it until the next cool gadget comes along. Either way, the satisfaction or lack of it is short lived and contributes nothing to our inner Peace. Isn’t it great that we live in this consumption based society?

Maslow explained this notion very well when he was asked what defined a self-actualized person. His answer was as simple as it is deeply rooted in wisdom. The main characteristics of a self-actualized person are:

  1. They are not dependent on the good opinion of others.
  2. They are not attached to the fruits of their labors
  3. They have no interest in holding power over others.

To keep things simple, I would say that #2 is the most relevant for this discussion. When you insist on having something right now, you are immediately setting yourself up for a disappointment. If you know, and I mean really know that what you are doing is the right thing for you to do, you do it and let nature, God, the universe, whatever you want to call it, take care of the details.

The result is instant Peace. Whenever you adopt this attitude you get immediate Peace of mind. No need to wait until you have meditated for years to be at Peace with yourself and the world. And if you’ve already made the decision as mentioned in tip #1 to accept whatever the result may be, I can guarantee you will be at Peace. Ever since I adopted this attitude my life has been filled with unexpected joys and most importantly, Peace. By changing your perspective you will radically improve the quality of your life.

Tip #3

Making your body work for You!

I kept the best for last and if you decided to use just one of these 3 tips, this is the one you should put to the test. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

You’ve probably heard this one so many times before that you’ve developed an automatic shutoff switch that goes off anytime someone tries to bring it up. Alcoholics have notoriously low serotonin levels and it’s important for you to understand why and the role it plays in your mental health.

As usual, I like to keep things simple so I found a nice video that explains why it’s important to keep your serotonin at an optimum level. It explains the relation between dopamine and serotonin in the brain and how low serotonin and high dopamine are responsible for the cravings that make it so difficult to kick bad habits.


This also goes a long way to explain why high doses of Baclofen help with the cravings. In this next video, Camille Barrault, MD explains how Baclofen controls the dopamine levels.

Let’s face it; this is the only body you’ll ever have in your lifetime barring any experimental body switch extraterrestrials might be willing to try on you…OK, that wasn’t the best of examples but still, you have to become friends with your body and treat it with respect if you want to enjoy your short stint on his planet.

Eating healthy, regular exercise and meditation will provide you with higher levels of serotonin and counter at least in part, the depressant effects of alcohol use disorder. I’ve tested this out and I see  how others are using these tips in order to gain control of their addictions and I can tell you first hand that they work. But hey! don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself and please let me know how things turn out for you.