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Addiction is not the only disease...

Old 08-01-2018, 07:59 PM
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Addiction is not the only disease...

I'm just curious to see how many folks out there have dealt with health issues prior to alcoholism and how much these issues fed into their alcoholism.

Personally, I had to deal with IBS since age 25. For those not familiar, it's a sweet combination of having a dagger sticking in your lower-left abdominal quadrant and many bathroom visits... that's how it affects me, but YMMV.

I was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 3 years prior to the start of my drinking. One of the reasons I picked whiskey is because an old diabetic I used to work with told me the only things you can even dare to drink if you're diabetic is Straub or Stoney's beer (or any beer made without sugar, I guess) and whiskey. I'm not much of a beer guy, but I was a solid coffee-drinker, so...

So, what sez yinz?
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Old 08-01-2018, 08:08 PM
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My biggest health issue was mental health: depression and anxiety. Was also diagnosed bipolar but I don't like that term, it makes me sound like a big magnet. I prefer the term, manic depressive, as that describes it perfectly to me.

I drank to medicate my depression and anxiety, but of course, it just made them worse. Now that I'm sober, my depression is managed very well by my antidepressants.
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Old 08-01-2018, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by least View Post
My biggest health issue was mental health: depression and anxiety. Was also diagnosed bipolar but I don't like that term, it makes me sound like a big magnet. I prefer the term, manic depressive, as that describes it perfectly to me.

I drank to medicate my depression and anxiety, but of course, it just made them worse. Now that I'm sober, my depression is managed very well by my antidepressants.
Yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat. I'm seeing a therapist right now for my depression, anxiety, and alcohol issues, but I am playing hell trying to get in with an actual psychiatrist. It's like a 6-week wait around these parts. I already take Wellbutrin for my IBS, so I'll probably get the combo treatment of whatever pairs best with it... my bet is Effexor is the first drug he prescribes.
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:20 AM
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I've been as crazy as a bedbug in one way or another my whole life. For the most part I haven't gone the medical route and have dealt with it on my own, in my own inimitable fashion! With varied results, shall we say. I did take Xanax for anxiety for brief periods twice back in the 90s but came to prefer staying drunk all the time instead.
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Old 08-02-2018, 05:06 AM
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My personal take is any ism will present as being fed by x, y or z , and good for it( makes it operable) as this helps keep It fed.

Issues and isms can't unscrew caps , pour or raise glasses, gross motor actions do. Issues and isms can't sneak things past one's philtrum.
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Old 08-02-2018, 07:37 AM
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There are likely a lot of things that "led" to my alcohol issues, but looking back none of them really matter. What matters to me most is that quitting drinking finally allowed me to face them and make improvements/changes. I asked the "why" question for many years - but in the end it was really my addiction talking. If I knew why i was an alcoholic, then I could logcially fix the problem and return to normal drinking, right? Problem is, addiction is not logical. Accepting that I simply AM that way was the ticket to freedom.
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:35 AM
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Okay, I tried to start a thread about dealing with the disease of alcoholism ALONG WITH other diseases that pre-existed it and how they may or may not have affected the alcoholism. And you all seem to think I'm making excuses for alcoholism vis a vis pre-existing diseases. Whatever...
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Old 08-02-2018, 02:10 PM
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I think the responses were tailored toward ends as opposed to dwelling on causes.

It tends to be a theme around here

For me only my AV relishes revisiting causes and focusing on my past . The present teetotaler (and future teetotaler)Me has no use for it.
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Old 08-02-2018, 02:26 PM
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Major depression from the age of 4...using booze (as most of my family) to self medicate. It is inherent, will always be there and needs careful monitoring.
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Old 08-02-2018, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by least View Post
My biggest health issue was mental health: depression and anxiety. Was also diagnosed bipolar but I don't like that term, it makes me sound like a big magnet. I prefer the term, manic depressive, as that describes it perfectly to me.

I drank to medicate my depression and anxiety, but of course, it just made them worse. Now that I'm sober, my depression is managed very well by my antidepressants.
You summed up my experience very nicely.

My ailments were depression and anxiety.

I drank to try to not feel depressed and anxious.

At some point, though, the (seeming) cure was worse than those maladies.

I got help for the alcohol and, some years later, for the depression and anxiety.

There is no point in suffering needlessly.
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Old 08-02-2018, 03:48 PM
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Bipolar disorder, specifically Bipolar II. Can get pretty strongly hypomanic, but fortunately it never broke through to full mania so I never had to be hospitalized. I self medicated for years with cocaine and alcohol.

I don't know if it fed into it, more like a ClusterF, a snake eating its own tail. Both had to be dealt with in order for me to be healthy. Ultimately the self-medicating makes things worse anyway, it's an extremely short sighted and short term solution. Plus there are obvious side effects to medicating hypomania with cocaine and depression with booze.

Again, I don't see why this had to become a judgement about justifying drinking and using. They are comorbid conditions. They are what they are, and they reinforce each other. Untreated mental illness can easily lead back to addictive behavior. Part of a big plan needs to be treating the mental health issues AFTER sobriety, as the substance influences the treatment of mental health issues.

Although it's possible to remain sober without treating underlying mental health conditions, I don't know why you'd want to. It's a terrible place to be.
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:10 PM
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Yeah, I like to break things down into parts because I need to understand what's causing me to drink. I recently came across the term "dry drunk" and I absolutely do not want to be that guy. So I'm working with a therapist and trying to see a psychiatrist right now and breaking down the physical, mental, spiritual, social components that contribute to my depression and anxiety which fuels my addiction.

Strangely enough, I have to mention that having IBS turned out to be not all bad. The Wellbutrin I take for it takes away some of my depression, and without it, I may have flamed out years ago. And another thing, high blood sugar can also contribute to depression as well.

That's really what I had intended for this thread.
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:36 PM
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Apart from some of the things already mentioned like anxiety I've found that an underlying gut irritant driving my anxiety, which was always an excuse to drink, was gluten and dairy intolerance. After putting in place, and sticking to it, a gluten free and dairy free diet (not so easy but becomes easy with persistence) my guts settled down for the first time in many decades and the therapy I've been doing to deal with the anxiety became more fruitful. Also to my surprise my restless leg syndrome has all but gone. Definitely connected with gluten allergy for me. All the best to all.
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:39 PM
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Nothing physical, but I'm another in the mental health category. Had horrible anxiety/social anxiety/panic and alcohol seemed like a miracle cure, until it turned the tables and made things substantially worse.
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