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Depression meds for recovering addicts

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Old 12-29-2000, 03:43 PM   #1
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Christine HB User
Depression meds for recovering addicts

Hi - I am new to this board, but am a recovering cocaine addict/alchohol abuser who has been loosely diagnosed with manic depression and/or bipolar disorder. - although after being clean and sober for a short amount of time I have my own ideas about myself.

I am VERY skeptical about taking ANY meds because of my history of drug abuse - I am afraid I would abuse any drug I was given. I took paxil for about 6 month 5 or 6 years ago and hated it - I found that when I quit taking it - cold turkey with absolutely no side effects, by the way, I felt much better, my sex drive came back (from being nowhere, believe me!) and I lost the weight I had gained (which had been causing a self-esteem issue, of course!) I laugh when I see it advertised on television for dealing with social situations as I am already very sociable by nature and have an outgoing personality - which I use in my job as well - it almost seems ironic to have been on it for depression.... hmmmmmmm.

Anyhow, I have been feeling so good being sober, that I have decided not to follow up on seeing a psychiatrist and having them rx a more complete diagnosis or any meds.

I do, however, suffer from mood swings at the drop of a dime I can drop into a sad or hurt mode. I "feel things" very intensely, both good and bad, and sometimes have anxiety attacks, though usually in response to some mess I had created with my addiction, (but not always...) Most of these feelings are related to missing my two children, 9 and 13, that asked to live with their DAD a few years back and I never got over it.. they live across the country and sometimes it is months before I see them, and I supppose it is natural to be depressed about it sometimes. I just think maybe I should try being "au natural" for a while and see what happens -I would love anyone's input...thank you very much

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Old 12-29-2000, 07:18 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2000
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joy HB User
Re: Depression meds for recovering addicts

Congratulations on your recovery. Do you think you may reconsider your thoughts on not seeing a psychiatrist? If you are really against meds, perhaps therapy might help. Please keep an open mind. Wishing you the best in 2001...

Old 12-29-2000, 09:15 PM   #3
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Re: Depression meds for recovering addicts

Congratulations on the steps to recovery. You are right to have those feelings about taking any other meds because it is scary. It is a common feeling my sister goes through.. (same situation... 11 years clean & sober). She dare's not take any meds unless it is absolutely necessary like for Blood Pressure or for her Hep C. There is a time though that you have to seek some sort of help... Counseling preferably. Medication is not always the answer anyway. I hope you would reconsider to get help in that area... preferably someone well experienced in this area.

Good Luck...

Old 12-29-2000, 10:00 PM   #4
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Alexis* HB User
Re: Depression meds for recovering addicts

Hi Christine. That is great that you have gotten clean. If you are bi-polar though, medication might be in order. You should discuss it with a professional who knows what would be the best medication for your condition. Paxil (and the rest of the SSRI's) are usually only prescribed to people with bi-polar disease in conjuction with a mood stabilizer (lithium for example). Otherwise, it could set off a mania episode. Either way bi-polar disease is a physical condition, that best be treated by a MD. My mother had this disease and when she refused to take medication, it could be very scary.
I know you just got clean, and you probably don't want to put anything else in your body, but maybe you were taking the wrong medication (self-medicating) and the right medication may help you get in check.
I urge you to talk to a psychiatrist as soon as possible and follow his advice.

Old 12-29-2000, 11:20 PM   #5
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TrickyDick HB User
Re: Depression meds for recovering addicts

I'm with you, don't medicate when you can meditate. I would'nt go for a "loose diagnois" anyway. Too many docs don't know what they are doing. Only after exaustive tests and second and maybe third docs would I believe them. But, if that all came to pass I would medicate and do whatever they though was appropiate. I wasted a year and some months with my head up my *** and enjoying it because I would not admit that I had clinical depression. But after 2 docs and three old friends beat it into my head I started getting help.
There are no medications for addiction. There most likely never will be unless they find it by accident and it is cheap to make. the reason for that is there is no profit for the drug companies to research and develop drugs to combat or "cure" addictions.
NO profit equals NO drugs.
The problems with the anti-depression meds is that they all come with a bunch of nasty side effects and some of them are addictive themselves. The one I am currently taking (Remeron) seems to be the best of the lot for me. But I had to go through a bunch of meds to find that out and that was a bummer.
Also I have found out that other alternative meds and supplements have a lot to do with mental health. They are cheaper but the state or your insurance co won't buy them for you. I have found for my addictions that the best meds for them was finding something to replace them with. Such as my children and my grandchildren. When I want to use now, I grab on to the awful true fact that I would be hurting them more than anyone else except myself. That gets me through today.
I may be too worthless to save or worry about but my kids are definatly worth it.
Thanks for coming over and I hope that your new year will be much better for you and yours. Drop in anytime, our casa is your casa.

Old 12-30-2000, 09:41 AM   #6
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Alexis* HB User
Re: Depression meds for recovering addicts

Hi again. I don't mean to get on a soapbox here but depression is something different from bi-polar (manic depressive) disease. Yes, part of bi-polar is depression, but the other part is mania and a cycle of swinging between both. This is not a disease which meditation will cure. You should research this disease on the net if you can. There are two types bi-polar I and bi-polar II. Do you know which one you were diagnosed with?
If you have this disease, I urge you to listen to a psychiatrist about what is the right treatment rather than listen to people on the board. As I said before, my mothe r had this disease. I say had because my mother committed suicide. She thought she didn't need medication either. Not trying scare you or anything, but personally, I find this disease one that needs to be treated with medication. I can't stress enough, that you need to listen to a doctor about what treatment is right for you.

Old 01-04-2001, 01:12 AM   #7
Join Date: Dec 2000
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frankpop HB User
Re: Depression meds for recovering addicts

Hello, Christine.

I have been in recovery a long time, and it was only 9 years ago that I finally admitted I needed antidepressants. I was scared s**tless at first, but have absolutely no qualms about it now. Antidepressants are a strange anomaly: on the one hand, they are a LIFESAVING "mood alterer", but on the other hand, they do not "alter moods" in any way like ethanol, pot, coke, crack, etc.

In fact, for me, it was only AFTER I was on a crude, older antidepressant (desipramine) that I was able to put together the emotional strength that I needed to finally visit the grave of my high school girlfriend who had been killed 24 years earlier when I was driving drunk. I still am working on forgiving myself, but I truly believe that it might never even have begun (or I might have suicided) were it not for the antidepressants.

Since then, I have been on zoloft, lithium, paxil, and depakote. My feeling is that I would take this **** till the day I died if it could somehow let me make up, in some small way, for all of the pain that my addiction put out in the world.

Don't fear the "drugs". Fear incompetent shrinks. Talk to some 12 step people who have been around the block a few times, and get a referral to an addiction-aware shrink.

It could save your life, Christine . . .

Old 01-04-2001, 02:27 AM   #8
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Casper HB User
Re: Depression meds for recovering addicts

Hey Christine - congratulations on your recovery - awesome thing you've done!

I am a recovering coke addict as well and when I first cleaned up my moods, especially in the first 3 - 6 months, were all over the place (everyone looks bi-polar when recovering from coke). It is very difficult for a psychiatrist to diagnose your condition accurately until you've been clean for at least six months. In my case, I was treated for depression with medication right away because of my history with depression prior to becoming an addict.

A couple of things for you to consider. I would recommend you keep seeing your psychiatrist or, see one trained in addictions if you're not comfortable with your current one. You don't need to take meds if you don't want to, but staying in touch with a psychiatrist, especially if you do suffer from some form of mental illness, can only be helpful to you. If, after the six month period, you get diagnosed as bi-polar, depressed, whatever, please consider taking medication. If you do suffer from a mental illness and don't treat it, you have a much higher chance of relapsing.

Anyways, whatever you choose to do, good luck and all the best.

Be well.

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