Self-medicating for depression? - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
Go Back   SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information >
Register Blogs FAQ Members List Calendar Arcade Mark Forums Read





Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-01-2012, 11:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
Contestant
 

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: California
Posts: 7

Self-medicating for depression?


Hi,

This is my fourth day avoiding the evil, and I'm trying be constructive to help shut out the nagging voice in my head, so I thought I'd float a question to the community.

I think I might suffer from some form of depression, and I'm also fairly sure I use alcohol to self-medicate, to numb that depression.

I'm curious if any of you have reached similar opinions about yourselves, and how you figured out exactly what emotional pain or events you were trying to patch over with alcohol.

Grayscale
Grayscale is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Grayscale For This Useful Post:
hypochondriac (07-02-2012), instant (07-02-2012), jstar (07-02-2012), Mo S (07-02-2012)
Old 07-01-2012, 11:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
dude in recovery
 
Scolova's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Gulf Coast, TX
Posts: 1,504
Blog Entries: 2
Most of my nightly binge sessions were so I could get out of my own head, get to sleep... drinking due to depression over my social phobias was common, I'm an introvert big time. Of course the phobia, anxiety and depression just got worse with my drinking and I drank alone for the last 6 years that I was an active alcoholic.

Oh... The voice will continue to nag, but the intensity decreases and became much more mangeable for me as I worked on those underlying issues. Not easy, but neither is being a drunkard for the long run.
__________________
ScotA
"I've never seen anyone drink themselves smart, successful or happy.
Most end up broke, bitter and alone. <anonymous>
Scolova is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Scolova For This Useful Post:
CaiHong (07-02-2012), Grayscale (07-02-2012), Mattcake (07-02-2012)
Old 07-02-2012, 12:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
Member
 
CaiHong's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,306
Hi Grayscale,

I am over one year sober and I can verify now that a lot of my mood swings,mild depression were due to alcohol. I still have these moods but not to the degree as when I was drinking.
I realize now that it is not just stopping drinking but a lot of the issues that Scolova listed.

caiHong
CaiHong is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to CaiHong For This Useful Post:
Grayscale (07-02-2012), Mattcake (07-02-2012), Scolova (07-05-2012)
Old 07-02-2012, 01:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
Contestant
 

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: California
Posts: 7
Thanks for your responses, guys. I suppose it's like any sort of dependency.

If I'm dependent on caffeine, for example, I need caffeine to wake me up and keep me up, and if I don't have it, I would have lows. And with those lows come the side effects like irritability, headaches, etc. And the only way to get out of the low, is to have more caffeine.

Alcohol is analogous, in that we use it to escape a low, then fall into a low once it's gone.

However, in both cases, I think it's observable, (and CaiHong, you expressed this,) that without the substance, the highs and lows are less extreme.

Scolova: I drink alone. I'm not the most sociable person on the planet, and curiously, when I do go out to be social, I tend not to drink very much, if at all, because I don't want to contribute to drunk driving statistics. Some people argue that it's worse to drink alone, but I'm not sure. I suppose if you're doing it to hide your problem, that's one thing. But I spend a lot of time alone anyway, so I would be doing *something* alone, including drinking. Eh, maybe I'm just deluding myself. Anyway, I made it to midnight, so I'm starting day 5 without alcohol.

Thanks folks!
Grayscale is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Grayscale For This Useful Post:
CaiHong (07-02-2012), Mattcake (07-02-2012), Scolova (07-05-2012)
Old 07-02-2012, 01:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
member
 
Mattcake's Avatar
 

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,433
Blog Entries: 9
Hi Grayscale

If I'm not mistaken, the DSM-IV (mental health manual) cautions against diagnosing a person during their first two months of sobriety.

This does seem to be overly prudent.

In practice, at least in my case, an evaluation (interview) revealed that I had been suffering from severe depression for several years (I had other disorders too). Alcohol made it all terribly worse. I was started on an antidepressant the day I began my first detox.

Leaving all of the technical stuff aside, at the time it seemed obvious to me that I was depressed (though I hadn't imagined the severity). Nobody becomes addicted to booze because they're leading grand, fulfilling lives. IŽd gone through several traumatic events before and during those years. How do you recognise them? Think about your past... I'm betting that they're the events that make you cry.

My shrink made this very clear: treating the underlying depression is not a cure for addiction. They both need to be addressed, the treatment is not interchangeable. How to treat them? Fellowship + therapy, SR + SMART. the approaches, as you probably know, are endless. The key here is, whatever you choose, reach out --like you're doing now

I agree with Scolova and CaiHong, several experiments prior to quitting showed me that my depression and anxiety diminished dramatically when I was sober for a while.

I've rambled, hope this helps Do ask your doc, just to be on the safe side.

__________________
If it's a question of faith: Do you love or do you hate?
"Counting days is for prisoners" - Scott
Mattcake is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Mattcake For This Useful Post:
CaiHong (07-02-2012), Grayscale (07-02-2012), hypochondriac (07-02-2012)
Old 07-02-2012, 02:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
instant
 
instant's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 5,701
Blog Entries: 7
My emotions were all over the place for 6 months when I stopped. I think of it as a complex withdrawal phenomenon. At times I was depressed , but periodically I had euphoric feelings lasting a few minutes that were not normal, at other times I bordered on panic.

Things settled down
__________________
Then there was never enough.....now there is plenty

May 15 2011
instant is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to instant For This Useful Post:
hypochondriac (07-02-2012)
Old 07-02-2012, 04:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
Member
 
Mo S's Avatar
 

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Sarasota FL
Posts: 281
Congratulations on 6 days!
Just my experience: the depression did not go away after I stopped drinking. There were definite underlying issues I used to drink "away". The list is long and I required extra, outside help.I couldnt stand my own company. I feel a million times better now and have no thoughts of drinking, i am not white knuckling it. Hopefully for you ; the depression will subside now that youve stopped. You can get more input on your questions about depression and alcohol by posting in the Mental Health Forum. I wish you the best.
__________________
One Minute At a Time....We can Recover.
Mo S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2012, 05:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
Member
 
hypochondriac's Avatar
 

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 5,664
For me this was a bit of a chicken/egg question. I definitely drank to self medicate initially but then I have been drinking since I was 12. After a few months sober have realised that drinking definitely caused a lot of my depression, it seriously stole pretty much all of my joy of living and left me practically suicidal. But then things aren't perfect yet and I think that might just be a matter of finding a few better coping strategies...I have no idea how long I should wait before deciding that I'm me again and not influenced by all that alcohol abuse... All I do know is that things are a million times better sober.

I agree with this which Mattcake said...

Quote:
treating the underlying depression is not a cure for addiction. They both need to be addressed, the treatment is not interchangeable. How to treat them? Fellowship + therapy, SR + SMART. the approaches, as you probably know, are endless.
For years I had that mixed up and thought that if I treated one the other would disappear...oh so wrong!

Well done on 5 days Grayscale! x
__________________


'The less I needed, the better I felt' - Charles Bukowski
hypochondriac is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to hypochondriac For This Useful Post:
CaiHong (07-02-2012), Scolova (07-05-2012)
Old 07-02-2012, 06:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
Administrator
 
Anna's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Dancing in the Light
Posts: 52,438
Yes, I definitely self-medicated for depression/insomnia/anxiety. I had tried to get my depression treated for years and my dr just didn't hear me and I didn't believe in myself enough to push the issue. Finally, after a few years of trying to drink away my problems, I found a proper diagnosis and treatment for my depression. I will never go back to that dark place again.

I hope you find the answers you need.
__________________
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

Marianne Williamson
Anna is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Anna For This Useful Post:
CaiHong (07-02-2012), Dee74 (07-02-2012), Scolova (07-05-2012)
Old 07-02-2012, 08:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois
Posts: 55
I suffer from depression and social anxiety and am an introvert on top of that. My anxiety made it so bad that I would get uncomfortable around those closest to me. My depression would shut me down from the world for days at a time. Prior to getting help I used/self medicated with alcohol to get myself out of the depression and be able to socialize and be comfortable with people. Now I see a therapist for the depression and anxiety and am on medication for it. Although I should have quit drinking at the time I started therapy I didn't, thinking the meds and therapy would control my drinking to a "normal" level. It didn't, so now I am doing what I should have done years ago, getting sober.
Steve07 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Steve07 For This Useful Post:
CaiHong (07-02-2012)
Old 07-02-2012, 08:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
Member
 
MrsKing's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: UK
Posts: 1,146
I have suffered with depression for five years (probably longer, but that's when I was diagnosed) and funnily enough, that's about the same time I started abusing alcohol. It was like a vicious circle - I thought the alcohol was making me happier, but actually it was making me more depressed. When I first quit, I did feel more depressed than when I was drinking, so yes I did use alcohol to self medicate in some respects, but it was actually making me a lot worse. Over time (it's been 3 months) I've learned to deal with my depression in a much better way - I no longer run to alcohol, I deal with it in a sober way, and find other things that make me happy and take my mind off it. I've found that baking is perfect for this - I spend hours making cakes, and when I've finished I look at what I've produced and I'm proud. It really helps me. Recently I decided (with my doctor) that it was time to come off anti-depressants, and I put that all down to no longer drinking. I am so much happier and healthier since given up alcohol that I don't feel as though I need medication any longer.

Maybe you do need some help with depression though? Just to get you through those first few weeks/months? Perhaps talking to a counsellor or having some cognitive behavioural therapy would help?

I promise, though, that alcohol DEFINITELY makes depression worse - it does not help in any way! And once you've been in recovery for a longer period of time you may realise that being sober is enough.

All the best and congrats on your 4 days.
MrsKing is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to MrsKing For This Useful Post:
CaiHong (07-02-2012), hypochondriac (07-02-2012), RevivingOphelia (07-02-2012)
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:57 AM.