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tommy79 04-05-2005 07:45 AM

Calling all depressives: did your (clinical) depression lift once you quit drinking?
This is partly in response to a post by Captainizing (can't remember his full name lol) on another thread on this board (I'm a newbie by the way, currently 36 hours sober and loving it :wiggle: ). NB I've also posted this on the 'Alcoholics' board as I'm hoping for maximum response, sorry to take up extra posting space...

I was diagnosed with depression and severe anxiety when I was 17, and until relatively recently always thought of myself as a depressive rather than an alcoholic. Looking back, I think alcohol may always have been the problem although my drinking patterns weren't really pathological (IMO) until around 22/23 (plenty of binge-drinking mind you). I've heard it suggested that some people just aren't cut out for alcohol in the same way that, say, some psychotropic drug users become institutionalised for life with serious psychological disturbances and some come off the drugs and are able to lead happy lives - the former category of people are clearly 'hard-wired' in a way that makes them more likely to be 'tipped over the edge' into madness. I now have a theory that alcohol made me seriously depressed and I should never have touched it, and I know some psychiatrists think this is true of some poeple.

My question is: how many depressives who drank (like me) found their depression basically lifted when they sobered up, and if not straight away, how long did it take? I found Captainizing's post (NB he said it took about a year) very inspiring, the most inspiring reason not to drink I think I've found on these boards yet (and that's saying something!)

I'm asking specifically about depressives, people diagnosed with depression; obviously everyone's lives improve when they sober up and therefore they are less 'depressed'; but I'm talking mood disorders here, not general outlook.

thanks everyone!
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nutz 04-05-2005 10:36 AM

alcohol is a depressent and it depresses the hell out me.
The insane thing was I pumped it into my system thinking
it would help feel better or cope with living. The after effect
of being depressed...will, I started doing crystal. That wasn't
a good idea, I became phycotic and depressed.

I suffered from anxieties and depression greatly
Even before I stopped drinking or in between drinking.
I did a lot of reserch or spent a lot of time reading on the subject.
The brain, central nerve system, and effects drugs and alcohol
has on the brain and CNS.
But, i always self medicated myself when an attack hits me.

My depression lifed at first, like always after I stopped drinking.
But an anxiety attack would hit soon after. I knew drinking and using
wasn't the answer and I also tried suiecide.
Life was misariable no matter what I did or didn't do.
What happened or didn't happened.

The sentence in chapter 5 of AA, gave me hope.
Many of us has metal or emotional disoreders.
Some of us suffers from depression, but have the capability
to recover if are honest.

In AA I met people that was going thourgh the same thing as
I was. They knew what I was talking about when I speak of
anxiety and wasn't mistaking it for self pity.
Joe and I help each other , not only with the not drinking part
but by talking about our depression and how it effected us and
how we reacted. I didn't feel alone, with that i was able to walk
through my depression as did he.

I also seek professional help for my metal health and depression.
I was precribed or put on medication.
I was also consern about taking pills again. After all, I knew how
to self medicate and was honest about that to my doctor.
My precribtion was also to attend AA or a 12 step program.
And taking the medication would be forever.

While taking the medication I didn't suffered from depression.
I was sitting on my door step one day babysitting my step
duaghters. I watched the girls laugh, played and enjoyed life.
They told me that they love me...but I didn't feel anything.
I couldn't feel the luaghter and joy the girls were having.
I made a decision not to take the medications anymore, against
doctor's orders. I suffered greatly.
I was put back on medication again via court ordered for 1 more

I also attended AA or shared with Joe a lot about waht I was going
thur and he shared about his experience.
The anxiety attacks got fewer and further apart if we walk thur them.
To today I still have anxeity attacks , maybe once or twice a year.
Sometimes I stay in bed for days still, but I don't think it's crazy anymore
or there's something greatly wrong with me. I just hang on to my ass
and ride the waves , let myself fall, go thur it. My own bed is
I don't judge myself or want to be fixed anymore.
Sometimes it's I just have the blues, now
I don't react to them the same.I know, It'll PASS.

I also worked 12 steps to the best of my abilities.
Each time I take inventory on the many issues of my life.
I feel better inside, each time.
I also recognize my depression has nothing to do with anything,
as also my drinking, I accepted it.
I use to drink if it was a good day or a bad day.

good luck !

jordan1980 04-05-2005 01:51 PM

I can't answer your question, but I can realate. I am on prescribed effexor daily and adavant for panic attacks. I also drink every second day, today I decided to quit the drinking, I have a problem. I still need the effexor, you cannot just stop taking them, you can get massive side effects. I sure hope that my depression goes away with the drinking. I want to be myself again.

tyler 04-05-2005 02:37 PM

My problem was with both alcohol and pot. I was either stoned, drunk or both pretty much all of the time. I have also been on various drugs for depression (paxil, prozac, wellbutran, effexor, you name it...not all at the same time!) for about the last 3 years. The depression got so bad that last Dec 15th I tried to kill myself. I always wondered why, with all the meds I was taking that I felt so bad. The problem, of course, wasn't the meds, but the booze and pot. I finally cleaned up for good (I hope!!) on Feb 15th. I have been clean since then. While I still have my down periods, I have experienced nothing like it was when I was using. I've got a lot of not so good things going on in my life right now that would probably make anyone depressed, so I have to keep that in mind, but the complete hopelessness that I used to feel is gone. I don't know if this helps or not, but it has been my experience. I guess the thing I try to keep in mind as far as the depression goes is that there will be good and bad days, that is life. I had been trying to numb myself to that for so long that I have to keep that in mind in order to keep things in perspective. BTW you may also want to check out the depression/anxiety board.



Anna 04-05-2005 04:35 PM

Hi Tommy,

I am clinically depressed and have been since my late teens. Unfortunately it took forever to get it properly diagnosed and treated. And NO my depression did not lift when I stopped drinking. In fact, I needed to get my depression under control with the right medication before I could get it together and start to get sober.

After 3 years sober I had to go off the meds for 3 weeks for a blood test and the depression returned full force around the 10th day. I realize that it's crucial for me to keep taking the meds because if the depression returned I would be vulnerable again.

Love, Anna

dysthymia 04-06-2005 02:05 PM

I'm new again, but I quit for a year back in 2001-2002. My depression lifted in the first few months and then hit me like a ton of bricks around the 7th month. I have never had such a down time. I would literally stare at the TV until about 4am every day with no feeling whatsover. I even went to work some days with no sleep because I felt I had nothing better to do. I struggled for about 3 months and then decided to see a shrink. She put me on Zoloft and I got better in about 3 weeks. Unfortunately I took this relief as a sign that I could drink again. About a year after that, drinking was again a problem. The zoloft works great for me except when I go on drinking binges.

BaBa OReiley 04-06-2005 04:53 PM

nope didn't lift, was on meds for a short bit but didn't like um, they were more for the ptsd than depression.

i found that physical stuff like vigiorous exercise helped, and still helps with the depression. i've heard others say this as well. but check with the doctors, although i am an MD (mentally deficient), i'm not qualified to do diagnosis! LOL

eh, the doctors don't know what they're doing either, that's why they call it a practice!

tommy79 04-07-2005 09:05 AM

useful stuff, thanks...
"the doctors don't know what they're doing either, that's why they call it a practice!"

Hear hear **** lol. I think some of them ought to check out AA and find out what alcoholism's really all about...

ANYWAY - thanks for the replies people, and good luck to jordan and dysthmia. It seems there's as many different experiences as there are people! I guess that's to be expected really. One thing that concerns me is that for an addictive personality like mine, can my antidepressant (called Doselupin, it's an old-fashioned tricylcic) be habit-forming? I can't imagine sleeping without it. One thing that always shocks me too is how much I miss it even when I forget to take it just for one night - the next day, when I take it, esp. if I do it in the morning, it *really* knocks me out. They're kind of subtle drugs (unlike alcohol!) but they are powerful, and I'm starting to think I'd be better off without them. Obviously not true for all of you though - good luck with your various battles!


sarahlynn 09-24-2008 10:30 AM

I don't know if I have a drinking problem.
I didn't drink frequently, but when I drank, I would always have to get DRUNK, I could never just have one or two. When I drink I become a completely different person than I am. I do things that I would never normally do. I found that I could go and drink, and the next day when I would be hung over, I would get really depressed, and I would have anxiety. I tried to stop drinking, and I would end up having a couple beers along the way, and then the weekend came around and I got really drunk. I was so hung over, and I had the worst anxiety ever. I was so depressed, I was crying because I felt like I failed myself.. I wanted to quit drinking, but at the same time it sounded too harsh, like I didn't think I really had a problem. When I was hung over, I felt guilty. I felt terrible, depressed and I had anxiety. I'm thinking that I have a problem now, but I need someone else to recognize it too, because all my friends and family are telling me that I'm just young, and it's not a problem. I want to go to AA meetings or something to talk to other people, but at the same time I don't want anyone to know that I have a problem either.

colagirl 09-24-2008 10:58 AM

I also suffer from depression and anxiety. I started taking Celexa last year and was on it for about 9 months, drinking every night straight through that time. I remember thinking it didn't seem like I really felt any different with it so I stopped taking it. When I decided to stop drinking earlier this year, the depression and anxiety came back worse than ever, so I decided to go back on meds, this time on Prozac. I've had a few brief relapses since then, but overall have not been drinking much at all since I started on it. I can't believe how much better it works than the Celexa, and I think it's because the drinking I was doing then completely wiped out its positive effects. I feel much better now as long as I take my pill every morning and don't drink.

Toomutch 09-24-2008 10:59 AM

I was diagnosed with clinical depression years ago. The depression did not lift after becoming sober. My doc. actually put me on a mood stabalizer in addition to the other 2 meds I take for depression.

SelfSeeking 09-24-2008 11:49 AM

I am one month sober. I still have 'major depressive disorder" but am dealing with it more productively I guess... Not missing doctor's appointments due to hangovers any more for example ;) I would say... hm... I am more hopeful of getting it under control now that I'm sober. At least today that's how I feel!

Coolmummy 09-24-2008 12:33 PM

I've been on effexor for about 18 months (this time) and have just reached 38 days sober. I know that the alcohol certainly exacerbated the depression, which I have been diagnosed with, but stopping the drinking, whilst making me feel physically a lot better has not had a huge effect on my illness. Today I have been in severe depression mode all day - wanted to come on here and offload but couldn't write the words down. Will maybe try in a minute. Anyway,I don't know if that has answered your question, but in my case, I think the illness is bigger than the alcoholism - although stopping drinking is stillthe best thing I've done for a while!!


least 09-24-2008 01:09 PM

I've been on antidepressants for over ten years now. I noticed that when I was drinking my depression got worse, perhaps cause alcohol is a depressant and so antidepressants don't work as well. I'm sober for 73 days now and am noticing my antidepressant is working better. I'll probably be on antidepressants the rest of my life, but as long as I'm not drinking, they will be a lot of help for me in dealing with this severe depression.

Harley3801 09-24-2008 01:46 PM

I didn't think that I was depressed when I was drinking but I probably was to some degree. For 15 years I lived my life in one of two states of mind: drunk or hungover. I drank every single day during those last 15 years (OK, I might have taken a day off here & there so maybe there was a total of 10 days out of the 15 years that I didn't drink). I probably didn't recognize my depression for what it was. I just figured I was hungover.

For the first year I was off alcohol, I was really on a pink cloud. I wasn't drinking, I had meetings and did some service work to take up my time, I made a couple of good friends (I had not a one when I arrived in AA), I found a sponsor and started working the steps. What wasn't to be happy about?

The next 14 months were he!!! It was like someone pulled the rug out from under me and I was severely depressed. I still had a few friends, a sponsor, went to meetings, used the steps . . . but I was very unhappy. I started to consider seeing a therapist but my sponsor was from the "old school" and she didn't believe in medication or therapists. I was so new and raw in my sobriety,that I took what she said as gospel.

Well after 14 miserable months (which is much too long to fight depression!), I finally sought the help of a therapist. After working with her for a couple of months, I came to understand that depression runs in my family. Amazing that I'd never realized it before.

Without medication, I am unable to concentrate or focus on anything. I love to read . . . I was unable to read a book for two whole years because of being so depressed. That was nearly unbearable.

Once I had a clear mind that was uncluttered by sad, dark thoughts, the steps became so much more meaningful and my life did too.

I've been been taking an antidepressant for the past 5 years; they're necessary in my case.

Melec 09-24-2008 05:26 PM

Depression did not lift with sobriety, even after a year, two years. I was self-medicating. God granted me the serenity to admit to my doctor that I was struggling, the wisdom to take my Lexapro as prescribed, and the courage to re-enter treatment and work it for all its worth. The messages are getting through now in a way they never have before. Point being: I am not "happy" or "up" all the time, but I am no longer numb. I can feel feelings and am calm enough to work through them.

harleybluz 10-20-2009 11:36 AM

I'm in the same boat as you are and although I want to ween off the antiD, I think I'll just stick to the quit drinking part for now. I feel better from just 11 days of being sober but I don't want to do anything at the moment to jeapardize my quit. I'm still freakin out whenever the weekend nears so too much too soon will definately make me go back to drinking. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

NEOMARXIST 10-20-2009 12:11 PM

While the depression may not fully lift, you stand a fighting chance at being able to get to the root of it and not make it any worse, I found alcohol to be "the best" anti-depressant of any drug whils't it was coarsing through my system on the intitial/main buzz but when coming out of blackout I found my mood to be incredibly hopeless and depreive to the extent where i felt taking another drink was the only/safest option, I literally couldn;t cope with such a low/hopeless mood.

Whils't i still struggle with some mild depressive/self-conscious issues they ain't half so bad as they got when i was binging.

The whole time I was on anti-depressives I was abusing booze and drugs very, very heavily, i used to refer to them as my rock as the come-downs off pills and coke seemed less anxiety based. I dunno man, drinking and drug taking will only take your overal mood/persona down into the gutter tbh. Horrible place to be and i don't want to go back there.

smacked 10-20-2009 12:56 PM

this post is 4.5 years old.. I don't think the OP is around anymore :)

Dee74 10-20-2009 03:14 PM

the OP is still around, but yeah this is an old thread guys :)

Harleybluz - I think you're making a wise choice...if, in a little while, you're still wanting to come off them - please see your doctor first :)


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