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Is it possible to be psycologically addicted to mood altering substances in general?

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Old 12-12-2007, 02:13 PM   #1
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cantdoitanymore HB User
Is it possible to be psycologically addicted to mood altering substances in general?

My sister in law is starting to worry me. It's hard for everyone else to see because she "switches up" so often, but I have to wonder. She's not physically dependent on anything. I have noticed in the last few years, though, she has had an awful lot of reasons to obtain narcotics. When she doesn't have narcotics she is drinking more than socially. She also obtains prescription diet pills quite frequently. She has Xanax for anxiety that she takes to cure alcohol hangovers so she can drink more often during prescription dry-spells and fioricet for "headaches" which I have seen her take when I'm pretty sure she didn't have a headache.

She is college educated and brilliant. She is a wonderful mom and a responsible person. But she is always, and I mean ALWAYS taking something. Every day. She has never taken anything illegal (unless you count getting scripts from internet pharmacies as illegal) and she's never really shown any of the typical addict behaviors. She does have legitimate pain, so I don't know if she's seeking the relief or the buzz. She lives 8 hours from me, but we talk alot and she is constantly talking about how she got this off the internet or got that from the doctor.And every time she comes to visit she has a small pharmacy with her, often of different meds. Or she buys liquor all the time. For all appearances she is happy in her marriage and secure financially.

My BIL has never expressed any concerns other than the times that she will spend alot of money to obtain diet pills from the internet. (And she isn't that overweight. Maybe 5 pounds if she is at all.) After what I have gone through with my friend mentioned in the other post, I just can't imagine something in my family happening.

What do you think? I have never seen her exhibit any withdrawal symptoms, physical or mood-wise, but she is alwas in a hurry to get to the liquor store the day after she runs out of hydros. KWIM? Also odd is she only takes stuff at night. But it's every night.

Should I say approach her? I'd only say something because I care, and I wouldn't want her life to become the same trainwreck andthe friend I am dealing with.

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Old 12-12-2007, 09:22 PM   #2
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Mischeif HB User
Re: Is it possible to be psycologically addicted to mood altering substances in gener

Addiction is an affliction of the mind body and spirit. What you are describing seems to be addiction to someone who was completely functional throughout most of her active addiction. I partied, used all sorts of pills and other mind altering substances to be able to go all night, then I'd use other ones to get me through the next day. I always appeared happy and my life seemed completely in order to many others. You said she hasn't seemed to go through withdrawls, but I can tell you that from what you are describing, it seems as though she would never need to go through withdrawl because she has the resources to keep herself well stocked. When she runs out of one thing, she takes another, right? I am identifying with that too. I had things to wake me up, things to help me sleep, things to get me buzzed. UGH. I used to joke it was better living through chemistry. Just telling you how much I identify with what you are describing makes my heart ache for her.

With that being said, I can only tell you what would not have worked for me at that time in my life. I would have denied a problem to almost anyone who suggested it. You said that she is your sister in law, and your brother in law doesn't seem to say anything. Does he drink too much or take a lot of pills? If so, then this is what is normal to both of them. Neither one has any reason to think there is an issue. If he does not, then he likely knows there are issues, but may not want to talk about it with his sister in law. I am assuming you are married to the brother of one of these people. Have you talked to him about it? Maybe it would be more appropriate for him to have the discussion with his sibling. It's really hard to say without knowing the family situation better.

One thing I can tell you with relative certainty. . . If you approach her, and she doesn't know or think she has a problem, she will justify her drug usage as okay because the meds are prescribed or legal. Additionally, you will become the enemy, she will separate herself from you, and tell you less about her life. This will not be intentional, but if she is an addict, her disease will hate you for being right, and will convince her that you are judging her every time she drinks or takes medicine.

Please don't discount that they have children. Having that much medication or alcohol in your system when being a responsible mother, i.e. taking the kids to soccer practice, is a recipe for disaster. I think you ought to do something, but the approach to take depends on the family dynamics. Either way, I am of the opinion that the initial conversation on this issue should come from her husband or blood relative.

I hope this gives you some ideas about where she is probably coming from.

Old 12-13-2007, 06:36 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: ny
Posts: 2,035
jules3 HB User
Re: Is it possible to be psycologically addicted to mood altering substances in gener

Well said..addiction is addiction no matter how you slice can become addicted to anything and keep replacing. horrible cycle that requires outside help....but, that person has to want it..

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