The diagnosis of RLS is divided into a primary type and a secondary or symptomatic type. Patients with primary RLS have no other medical condition that causes their symptoms. In many cases of primary RLS there is a family history of similar symptoms in blood relatives.
Restlessness and twitching are certainly symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, too. Even though no one currently knows for sure if alcohol causes RLS, drinking alcohol can either worsen or mimic RLS symptoms. With the frustration and discomfort of RLS, it may be tempting for some people to have an alcoholic drink to help get to sleep.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a disease of the nervous system. It includes strong urges to move the legs, especially at night. “Some of the home and lifestyle remedies can help relieve symptoms immediately, whereas the medications can take longer to work but often have a longer duration of action,” Dr. Banka says. Gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant) is an extended-release prodrug form of gabapentin that is one of the few drugs approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS. Antiseizure drugs, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), valproic acid (valproate, divalproex, Depakote, Depakene), and carbamazepine (Tegretol) are being tested for RLS. Common side effects included mild sleepiness and dizziness.
- Iron supplements do not appear to be useful for people with RLS with normal or above normal iron levels.
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder and a movement disorder that may start at any time over the course of your life.
- RLS causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs in response to an uncomfortable sensation in them.
- While treatments for the two conditions are similar, PLMD is a separate syndrome.
- The condition is difficult to treat, but the drug baclofen, combined with either clonazepam or carbamazepine, has shown some success.
Anxiety can cause agitation and leg restlessness that resemble RLS. Certain types of antidepressant drugs, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, can increase periodic limb movements during sleep. Medicines used to treat RLS can cause or increase existing psychiatric conditions. Dopamine agonists, for example, can increase compulsive behaviors, such as gambling. The exact cause of RLS is not known but is believed to be secondary to iron deficit in the brain.
What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?
If not, you may benefit from medication or other treatments. In rare cases, dopaminergic drugs can cause hallucinations or lung disease. Long-term treatment with levodopa can also lead to drug-induced dyskinesia, a condition characterized by exaggerated involuntary movements or uncontrolled muscle contractions. Actigraphy uses a small wristwatch-like device (such as Actiwatch) worn on the wrist or ankle. The device monitors the sleep quality in people suspected of having RLS, PLMD, insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep-related conditions.
They can also occur when patients are drowsy but not yet asleep. This is often more of a problem for the bed partner, who may get kicked than the patient, who is often unaware of these sleep-related movements. Most people with RLS have rhythmic leg movements when they sleep. Anyone can have restless legs syndrome, but it’s more common in older adults and women. Mild symptoms of RLS may start in early adulthood and then increase with age.
Relieving restless legs in the moment
If a person has RLS or experiences symptoms of RLS when they drink alcohol, they should consider ceasing alcohol use to help alleviate any uncomfortable side effects and avoid worsened RLS symptoms. These sensations usually occur when lying down in bed or when sitting for long periods of time, such as while driving or while at a theater. RLS typically occurs in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep.
People with either condition who take these drugs have experienced up to 100% initial reduction in symptoms. No natural or over-the-counter (OTC) medications consistently improve RLS. OTC sleeping medicines such as Benadryl (an antihistamine) and melatonin may actually worsen symptoms. Other substances that may worsen RLS include antidepressants (especially mirtazapine), https://sober-house.org/ alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine which are therefore best avoided. Some patients report that calcium and magnesium help them, but when these were examined scientifically they did not show any benefit. OTC iron supplements may help some people, however, iron pills only mildly increase iron in the body (although absorption can be enhanced by co-administration of vitamin C).
A night in the life of RLS
Janis Lopes, 73, learned she had RLS more than 25 years ago. Lopes, who runs an RLS support group in southern California, says she finds relief from restless legs by getting up and moving. We are dedicated to transforming the despair of addiction into a purposeful eco sober house complaints life of confidence, self-respect and happiness. We want to give recovering addicts the tools to return to the outside world completely substance-free and successful. Other risk factors of RLS include rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, and fibromyalgia.
Taking zinc and selenium supplements may help reduce this last effect. Some anti-seizure drugs can also cause birth defects and, in rare cases, liver toxicity. Gabapentin may have fewer of these side effects than valproic acid or carbamazepine. Recently, there has been concern that gabapentin may also be prone to abuse, especially when used in conjunction with opiates.
Personalized Sleep Profile
Although alcohol may make you fall asleep quicker, that effect is soon offset by the disruption of the restorative sleep you need to boost your immune system and restore muscles, bones, and tissues. Narcotics are pain-relieving drugs that act on the central nervous system. They may be a good choice if pain is a prominent feature, but chronic narcotic administration should be done carefully due to a high risk of abuse and dependence. Dopaminergic drugs, however, can have severe side effects (they are ordinarily used for Parkinson disease). They do not appear to be as helpful for RLS related to dialysis as they do for RLS from other causes. Inability to sleep during the night due to RLS symptoms and subsequent daytime sleepiness can cause mood changes.