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Question about my husbands depression

Old 03-12-2013, 06:46 PM
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Question about my husbands depression

Hello everyone. It's been a long time since I've been here. I'm very thankful to say that my husband is going on 2 years clean and sober. Our life has been slowly getting back to normal. I have my husband back. Anyway, he has extreme episodes of depression and I'm curious to know if anyone knows if this will get better. He get's like this a lot of times. It's like he feels extreme sadness and there is nothing he can do to feel better so he usually is very grumpy and just depressed. He tried a counselor but sadly all she was worried about was money. He even went to ask her a question and she said..oooopss..sorry times up. Blah. Anyway, he say's he want's to feel better but he doesn't know how to. I know the codie in me sent me here to ask this question, but I am really concerned about him. I'm not concerned that he will relapse at all..I mean, I know it's possible but I seriously just don't feel that he is in any danger of that at all. I just feel bad for him because he gets in these moods. Anyway, if anyone can shed some light on this I'd appreciate it. Oh, I mentioned him talking to a Dr to see about getting on some type of anti-depressant and he says he doesn't want to because he's afraid of becoming dependent on them. I tried explaining that it's not like opiates or anything..but he just doesn't like any kind of medication for that reason now. Anyway..help someone..lol Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:03 PM
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It really depends. Bill W., one of the co-founders of AA, struggled with crippling depression off and on his whole life. Depression can be a by-product of alcoholism (especially if it is untreated--meaning no recovery program, no work to relieve the burdens of the past and the stresses in the present and the worries about the future), or it can be entirely independent of it--affecting the sufferer despite a good recovery program--usually due to a chemical imbalance, which can sometimes be relieved by medication.

Is your husband in AA? Unfortunately, there are some well-meaning but badly-informed members who will claim that ALL depression is due to failure to work a "good enough" program. I think Bill W.'s depression should be enough to put that idea to rest. There are also those who will tell other members not to take ANY psychiatric medication. That's wrong, too. Proper medication is a matter for a doctor-patient decision and no one else's. You always want to be sure the doctor does have a good understanding of addiction so that appropriate medication is prescribed, and that its use is monitored.

I hope he is able to find some relief. I have good friends who are happily sober ONLY thanks to their medication AND a good recovery program.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:09 PM
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I know it sounds simple, but what is his diet like? does he eat well, rest well, move, get outside, spend times doing things he enjoys?
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:13 AM
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I think you should have him evaluated by a psychiatrist not a counselor. He might need some anti-depressant medication.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:59 AM
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I like your husband dealt with bouts of depression until I was 9 years sober.

NOT me, I wasn't going to take anti depressants, those were for sissy's, those
folks in the meetings would say I was 'crazy', etc

Well, at 9 years sober I went from 'crazy' to 'TOTALLY INSANE'. At least that is the way
I felt. I knew, just knew that 'they' (whomever 'they' was) were going to lock
me up in a padded cell, in a straight jacket and throw away the key.

However, I did start asking at the different meetings I attended if anyone had
had a 'good' experience with a Psych Dr and what was the Dr's name.

I heard the same name several times from different folks at different meetings
and decided to call her. I called during my lunchtime at work and lo and be-
hold she answered the phone herself as her secretary was gone for lunch.
As I 'blubbered' my way through what was happening and I would like to
make an appointment, she told me that she had had a cancellation for that
day and I should come right over. WOW.

Well she was quite the psych Dr. First put me into the hospital to get a full
and complete physical to see if there was something in my body causing my
problems, like a chemical inbalance. I lost track of all the tests, lol

I personally was Bipolar and apparently had been most of my life, and started
using alcohol to self medicate many years before I found recovery. So, yep she
had to do some 'trial and error' with medications (every person
is different on what will work for that person) which took several years, but
I have to say that even during the 'trial and error' days I felt better than I had
ever felt in sobriety before then.

Your AH will come to the conclusion to see a Psych Dr on his own. Unfort-
unately it may take a few years.

I honestly do not know if it would be enabling to suggest he see a psych Dr as
only the Dr will know if he needs medication and what type, or if there are
some writing or other exercises that would help him. That way he might not be
so 'set against' going if he even minutely believes that he may not have to go on
Anti depressants.

Are you attending Alanon and/or seeing a therapist for you?? I hope you are
continuing to 'live' your life as you would like! I know that for many alco0
holics the first few years into recovery can be as bad and sometimes worse
than when one was out there drinking and when they do get relief, myself
included, it is like "well why didn't I do that sooner?" lol we are a stubborn
lot for sure!

Remember, we are walking with you in spirit.

Love and hugs,
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:57 AM
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My RAH battles depression a lot too & always has, for years before alcohol ever even became a problem. Now without the alcohol it's just as bad if not worse than ever. He's resistant to much in the way of therapy though, including meds, so all I can really do is not take it personally & try to work around it.

He does attend AA & it always helps. It seems to really build up if he goes too long in between meetings.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:23 AM
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I think a nice talk with his doctor could be just the ticket for him. Let the doctor explain his options.
Also, I agree with Anvil, sometimes its as simple as having a healthy diet/lifestyle.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:16 PM
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Exercise!!! And lots of it. I manage my genetic chemical depression with yoga and have been able to stay off all meds. My sister tried every med in the book and ended up killing herself. Please understand I am not saying meds are bad in any way. In fact, I think they are appropriate in many cases. I just don't think they always work, and if someone is resistant to taking them, there are other things they can try first that might be as effective. The day I started yoga was the day I knew I had the chemical part of my problems under control. (It didn't cure the codependency though ).. Anyway, yoga was a miracle in my life. I don't know what would have happened to me without it. It isn't for everyone though, and men especially can have some resistance to it. Get your husband out for a long and strenuous walk in the sunshine and see if that helps him.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:21 PM
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I would suggest a full physical with his Primary Care Provider first. It may be something medical going on. If he does that, then the Provider will take it from there with regards to discussing medications, etc. I would also say that if the first therapist wasn't right for him, he can find another. We went to 2 that didn't work, the 3rd had a background in addiction medicine and has been a life saver for both my RABF and me.

IF the consensus is he needs medication, there is nothing to fear. Often times the meds just help to level out the emotions to a point where he can address the issues. He can wean off the meds as his therapy progresses. If he's one of those people who needs the medication long term, that's what it takes to lead a happy healthy life. There are people who take blood pressure medicine all their adult life due to genetic family stuff. Better to have a take a pill and have a good B/P than to risk having a heart attack or stroke...right?

Agree with others that exercise, sunshine, a healthy diet are all key......

Last edited by Recovering2; 03-13-2013 at 01:23 PM. Reason: adding
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
It really depends. Bill W., one of the co-founders of AA, struggled with crippling depression off and on his whole life. Depression can be a by-product of alcoholism (especially if it is untreated--meaning no recovery program, no work to relieve the burdens of the past and the stresses in the present and the worries about the future), or it can be entirely independent of it--affecting the sufferer despite a good recovery program--usually due to a chemical imbalance, which can sometimes be relieved by medication.

Is your husband in AA? Unfortunately, there are some well-meaning but badly-informed members who will claim that ALL depression is due to failure to work a "good enough" program. I think Bill W.'s depression should be enough to put that idea to rest. There are also those who will tell other members not to take ANY psychiatric medication. That's wrong, too. Proper medication is a matter for a doctor-patient decision and no one else's. You always want to be sure the doctor does have a good understanding of addiction so that appropriate medication is prescribed, and that its use is monitored.

I hope he is able to find some relief. I have good friends who are happily sober ONLY thanks to their medication AND a good recovery program.
Thanks for your reply! He is not in AA. He attended a few meetings after he finished rehab but he said that it made him feel worse so he stopped going. He tried going to counseling but felt worse talking about it. I often wonder if he is bipolar? He has a lot of the traits of someone with bipolar disorder. Thanks again!
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
I know it sounds simple, but what is his diet like? does he eat well, rest well, move, get outside, spend times doing things he enjoys?
He works a lot and his diet sucks. He doesn't eat breakfast, he never has. He really doesn't eat until about 2pm or so and then probably snacks when he has time at work. He loves being outside so he does a little bit of yard work, tinkers in his shed stuff like that. He really doesn't have any hobbies. He use to love to shoot pool but the only pool tables are in bars so he can't do that. He likes demo derbies but finding a cheap car to build for one is nearly impossible now days. He drinks energy drinks a lot..and I worry about that.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by laurie6781 View Post
I like your husband dealt with bouts of depression until I was 9 years sober.

NOT me, I wasn't going to take anti depressants, those were for sissy's, those
folks in the meetings would say I was 'crazy', etc

Well, at 9 years sober I went from 'crazy' to 'TOTALLY INSANE'. At least that is the way
I felt. I knew, just knew that 'they' (whomever 'they' was) were going to lock
me up in a padded cell, in a straight jacket and throw away the key.

However, I did start asking at the different meetings I attended if anyone had
had a 'good' experience with a Psych Dr and what was the Dr's name.

I heard the same name several times from different folks at different meetings
and decided to call her. I called during my lunchtime at work and lo and be-
hold she answered the phone herself as her secretary was gone for lunch.
As I 'blubbered' my way through what was happening and I would like to
make an appointment, she told me that she had had a cancellation for that
day and I should come right over. WOW.

Well she was quite the psych Dr. First put me into the hospital to get a full
and complete physical to see if there was something in my body causing my
problems, like a chemical inbalance. I lost track of all the tests, lol

I personally was Bipolar and apparently had been most of my life, and started
using alcohol to self medicate many years before I found recovery. So, yep she
had to do some 'trial and error' with medications (every person
is different on what will work for that person) which took several years, but
I have to say that even during the 'trial and error' days I felt better than I had
ever felt in sobriety before then.

Your AH will come to the conclusion to see a Psych Dr on his own. Unfort-
unately it may take a few years.

I honestly do not know if it would be enabling to suggest he see a psych Dr as
only the Dr will know if he needs medication and what type, or if there are
some writing or other exercises that would help him. That way he might not be
so 'set against' going if he even minutely believes that he may not have to go on
Anti depressants.

Are you attending Alanon and/or seeing a therapist for you?? I hope you are
continuing to 'live' your life as you would like! I know that for many alco0
holics the first few years into recovery can be as bad and sometimes worse
than when one was out there drinking and when they do get relief, myself
included, it is like "well why didn't I do that sooner?" lol we are a stubborn
lot for sure!

Remember, we are walking with you in spirit.

Love and hugs,
Thanks so much for your reply. I feel he needs a psychiatrist too but I try my best to let him work through his own feelings. It's tough because I am a codie..lol. It's funny that I had no idea how co-dependent we both are/were until I came here. I would get griped at (I appreciate it very much though..it taught me what to do and what not to do) for doing things for him. As for me going to Alanon..I'm not. I attended a couple of meetings on the phone because I have anxiety issues and I am a bit of an agoraphobe...but I didn't continue calling into them. I have issues with talking on the phone as well so that was hard. I do need to see a psychiatrist to get well myself with all of my issues but for the past several years I have just put myself on the back burner. I just wanted him well. Now that he's sober I feel much much better but I still have the phobias and anxiety issues. Maybe it's stupid of me but I honestly have no trust issues at all with him and I feel completely comfortable with him again. I fell in love with him again not long after he got out of rehab. Do you think suggesting a psychiatrist would be too co-dependent? I want him to feel better. It breaks my heart when he gets in his downer moods. He can go from extremely happy and giddy to super low and sad..that's what makes me wonder about bipolar disorder. Love & Hugs to you as well sweetie!
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Erika1968 View Post
Exercise!!! And lots of it. I manage my genetic chemical depression with yoga and have been able to stay off all meds. My sister tried every med in the book and ended up killing herself. Please understand I am not saying meds are bad in any way. In fact, I think they are appropriate in many cases. I just don't think they always work, and if someone is resistant to taking them, there are other things they can try first that might be as effective. The day I started yoga was the day I knew I had the chemical part of my problems under control. (It didn't cure the codependency though ).. Anyway, yoga was a miracle in my life. I don't know what would have happened to me without it. It isn't for everyone though, and men especially can have some resistance to it. Get your husband out for a long and strenuous walk in the sunshine and see if that helps him.
I'm very sorry about your sister I too have heard that exercise works wonders for depression. He's out of shape (I am too really, but I'm working on that through dieting, I do need to start an exercise regimen though). I think once the weather gets better I will see if he wants to start walking in the mornings before he goes to work and on his days off. I wish we had a gym close to where we live..but we don't.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Recovering2 View Post
I would suggest a full physical with his Primary Care Provider first. It may be something medical going on. If he does that, then the Provider will take it from there with regards to discussing medications, etc. I would also say that if the first therapist wasn't right for him, he can find another. We went to 2 that didn't work, the 3rd had a background in addiction medicine and has been a life saver for both my RABF and me.

IF the consensus is he needs medication, there is nothing to fear. Often times the meds just help to level out the emotions to a point where he can address the issues. He can wean off the meds as his therapy progresses. If he's one of those people who needs the medication long term, that's what it takes to lead a happy healthy life. There are people who take blood pressure medicine all their adult life due to genetic family stuff. Better to have a take a pill and have a good B/P than to risk having a heart attack or stroke...right?

Agree with others that exercise, sunshine, a healthy diet are all key......
Thanks for the reply! Yeah the therapist he went to was one that I researched online (codie alert!) for him. She was supposed to have a lot of background on addiction but she was really all about the money. I know I should do the research for him, but he never gets online. He hates computers so I always take care of that kind of stuff. I tried telling him medication is okay but he is so worried to take it. I take an antidepressant myself. I couldn't imagine not taking it. I'd be a nervous wreck.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:54 AM
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My husband is bi-polar and when I read your post I thought hmmmm sounds familiar.

The symptoms of bi-polar can very well be other things too I am certainly not saying he is - there are 3 types of BP. Its often misdiagnosed as clinical depression.

If your husband is up for it why not have him evaluated by a psychiatrist? Please steer clear of GP's and the like for any kind of mental disorder lest you end up with a misdiagnosis or incorrect meds. Happens often........

My husband was misdiagnosed for 10 years then by accident, truly accident we found out he was BP in 2011. It has changed our lives. Properly medicated he is a totally different person and has peace of mind Changed my own mind that just eating healthy, vitamins and exercise would do the trick - though they certainly do help now for maintaining his overall health.
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