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sudden drunk feeling, back of head vibrating

This has happened to me a few times, and each time it's pretty scary and strange. Twice it's occurred while cooking, and other times it's been while working at my desk. Symptoms, in the order they appear:

1) Sudden, strong "vibration" at the bast of my skull. I can feel it throughout my head but it's strongest at the base. This lasts a few seconds.
2) Feeling of drunkenness. The room seems to spin or wobble and I feel very uncoordinated.
3) Intense desire to lie down. This is usually the time I get help if I need it. Last night I was cooking and managed to get my husband.
4) Confusion and disordered speech. Last night it took me several attempts to make the words "stir food." He got me to sit in a chair, but almost immediately I moved myself to the floor, like a drunk person who feels like the earth is falling away from them.
5) Nausea, sometimes followed by vomiting.

The total time these episodes last is only a few minutes, and within 15 minutes of it happening I'm  back to myself 100%. I don't think it's my blood sugar, since I never need food/sugar to stop the episode and I'm usually not exceptionally hungry when they happen. I've gone much longer without eating before and had no trouble. It's not food.

Any ideas???
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Avatar universal
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

The feeling of being drunk may be described as room spinning, imbalance, lightheaded, etc, depending on the person. Many times these are grouped into the nonspecific term dizziness.

If by dizziness you mean vertigo (room-spinning), the causes could be either the inner ear or the brain. Inner ear causes of vertigo most commonly include benign positional vertigo (BPPV), which is due to small particle in the inner ear that moves out of place, and can be repositioned with simple head maneuvers. The symptoms often include vertigo that occurs with turning of the head, often while turning over in bed. Another cause, if your symptoms are associated with tinnitus (ear ringing) and hearing loss is called Meniere’s disease and can be treated with medications and sometimes surgery. And so on, several other causes from inner ear problems exist.

Vertigo can also be due to problems in the brain. The most common is a benign tumor called a schwanoma (also called acoustic neuroma). This is diagnosed by MRI of the brain. Multiple sclerosis can cause vertigo, but often, other symptoms are present as well. A normal MRI of the brain excludes multiple sclerosis. Thyroid problems can also lead to vertigo.

Your symptoms could be a variant of migraine called basilar migraine. Basically this is marked by several hours of vertigo associated with nausea, light-sensitivity, and sometimes other symptoms. Headache may or may not be present. The treatment is different from that used to treat other migraine types; the treatment in this case is a type of medication called calcium channel blocker, such as verapamil, which is actually used to treat blood pressure but works in type of basilar migraine as well.

If by dizziness you mean light-headedness, causes could include low blood pressure such as due to dehydration or autonomic dysfunction, cardiac problems, and several other non-neurologic causes. Anemia can cause light-headedness as well.

Lastly, your symptoms may be vascular in etiology, such as a TIA. I suggest you follow up with your physician soon and have further questioning and diagnostics performed. I would recommend a brain MRI with vessel imaging. These would evaluate for several of the causes as I mention above. Ultimately, referral to a neurologist may be necessary.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.

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Avatar universal
It sounds as though you need to be evaluated by a neurologist at the very least!  He/she may require imaging of the brain.  

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