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Old 04-07-2018, 02:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
 

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How do you view the addicted?


Hi all,
I have been thinking about this exchange I had with another member about "newcomers". There seems to be a concern about what people who decide they want to quit drinking and go online looking for information might read/see/be exposed to.

Quote:
This misses the bigger picture for me which is what are newcomers going to think when they come to this site looking for help and instead of a sharing of personal experience they see personal attacks and disparagements of other methods.
I think that this speaks to the larger, overriding societal view that "the addicted" are a special group incapable of critical thinking, filtering information or making choices. It is as if an addicted person reads an interaction where members may be disagreeing on ideas surrounding addiction and recovery, that will confuse them and they will be unable to handle it.

It feels to me like "we mustn't disagree in front of the children". I personally don't view anyone looking to solve their problem with addiction as fragile or childlike. While I certainly recognize that the point of which many of us decided to make a change was fraught with pain and sadness, as a result of the physical and emotional consequences our drinking brought, I think that taking that tack reinforces a larger idea that persons who are addicted are helpless.

With an eye on permanent abstinence based recovery, do you think that how we view the addicted population matters?
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is a very good topic to start this PABR section soberlicious.

I don't think that people in early recovery "are a special group incapable of critical thinking, filtering information or making choices". Quite the contrary. Those in early recovery are typically quite rational and capable of good decisions about their own recovery. At the same time I think we should keep in mind is that these same folks are much more vulnerable to stress in the early stages of recovery.

A highly contentious discussion can easily be perceived as unsupportive, and this is exactly what these new folks do not need.
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Old 04-07-2018, 03:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
 

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Hi Awuh,
Good to see you and thank you for your input.

Quote:
At the same time I think we should keep in mind is that these same folks are much more vulnerable to stress in the early stages of recovery.
See, I just don't agree. I feel like that is a blanket statement that comes from prevailing ideas about addiction that are so ingrained in our society that they are stated as matters of fact. Are there even "stages of recovery"? For many of us who believe in permanent abstinence, there are no stages. You either quit, or you don't.

Quote:
A highly contentious discussion can easily perceived as unsupportive, and this is exactly what these new folks do not need.
Again, with an eye on permanent abstinence based recovery, ending my addiction was about finding information, not support. I wasn't looking for someone to tell me they understood, I was looking for someone to tell me how in the Sam Hill I could stop drinking. So, if I read things where people appeared contentious, and weren't presenting information that I could apply to my problem, then I moved on. If they appeared contentious, and the discourse was making me think about how I could solve my problem, then I could continue reading. I did not want people censoring their thoughts, any more than I wanted them not drink around me when I quit, lest I relapse.

I suppose that another overriding idea about ending addiction may play a part as well, is that support is required to get through this. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to hear kind words from others, I'm not saying I'm against that...I'm saying the idea that one must have information packaged in a nice soft padded envelope and anything else could make ending their addiction harder seems weird to me. Each person who finds themselves facing an addiction is not the same. They don't react to stress the same way, they don't all think that spirited debate is frightening. I think kind of stereotyping is actually what keeps people from finding answers to solve their problems.
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The treatment community is in general agreement that stress is a frequent factor in relapse. It's not the only factor, but it's a major one.

As far as stages of recovery is concerned, consider the of physiological dimension. There is a stage of acute withdrawal (often very stressful). If this phase is successfully completed there is a post acute withdrawal phase that often results in "post acute withdrawal syndrome" often characterized by large and unexpected emotional changes (which again can be very stressful).

I'm all for a spirited discussion offering information about benefits of any given approach. I think folks can make good choices within that sort of context without the need for disparaging other approaches.

I agree that "Each person who finds themselves facing an addiction is not the same. They don't react to stress the same way". So I think it's best to keep the most vulnerable of them in mind when we post.
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by awuh1
I think folks can make good choices within that sort of context without the need for disparaging other approaches.
I was pleased that this new forum was created so that people could question some ideas about addiction and recovery that were causing them problems. When I quit for good, and said I had quit for good, I was met with much resistance. In fact, I was told it isn't possible.

The definition of disparage is to "regard or represent as being of little worth". There are some ideas that I do regard as having little worth, such as "quitting for good isn't possible" or "once an addict, always an addict". I'm not saying that people who hold those ideas are of little worth, I'm saying that in terms of me ending my addiction, those ideas have no worth.

Quote:
So I think it's best to keep the most vulnerable of them in mind when we post.
I believe in everyone's capacity to quit, even if they do not yet. "I believe in your ability to succeed, no matter how bad things have gotten" , "I believe you can take control of your life" are strong statements of support that I believe are especially important for those feeling vulnerable.

Regarding Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, this subject is debated. When you say
Quote:
If this phase is successfully completed there is a post acute withdrawal phase
, you say it like it's factual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by awuh1
I'm all for a spirited discussion offering information about benefits of any given approach.
With that spirit in mind, I'd like for people who are struggling with conventional wisdom to know that they can indeed reject many of the ideas that are presented as truths and they can quit for good and live free of addiction. It's possible. It has happened for thousands of years.
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Old 04-07-2018, 06:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I can only address my particular circumstance. I was a late stage physically dependent alcoholic who had been drinking more than a fifth of vodka for multiple years I could make it six to eight before severe withdrawal would start.

For myself I was incapable of rational thought at least in terms of my recovery. The only thing I knew for sure was that things could not continue as they were.

I got lucky and some professionals pointed me in the right direction but at the time I just needed someone to tell what to do.
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
 

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Hi MIR,
I agree that for some people, a medical detox is necessary. There are instances where withdrawal from alcohol can be dangerous, even fatal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIRecovery
For myself I was incapable of rational thought at least in terms of my recovery. The only thing I knew for sure was that things could not continue as they were.
I bolded that part, because I think that's a pretty rational thought, even in the condition you were in.

Glad you are here today and no longer suffering.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
Hi all,
I have been thinking about this exchange I had with another member about "newcomers". There seems to be a concern about what people who decide they want to quit drinking and go online looking for information might read/see/be exposed to.

Quote:
This misses the bigger picture for me which is what are newcomers going to think when they come to this site looking for help and instead of a sharing of personal experience they see personal attacks and disparagements of other methods.
This notion that one must absolutely "share" very personal information about oneself in order to help another with an addiction is simply a holdover from the idea of "sharing" for witnessing, which comes from the Oxford Group.

I don't need my surgeon to witness in order to help me heal from an injury, and I don't need to witness in order to help another with an addiction. I may indeed often share parts of my experience, but it is not strictly necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
With an eye on permanent abstinence based recovery, do you think that how we view the addicted population matters?
Yes, absolutely, because society largely believes that independent recovery from addiction via planned, permanent abstinence is simply impossible. Some very nice points here, soberlicious.

While AVRT is one such avenue to independent recovery, and the main subject of this newly created forum, I don't believe that Rational Recovery would object to information on independent recovery, regardless of, and independent of, RR and AVRT.

Part of the mission of Rational Recovery is to make self-recovery a viable option to all addicted people everywhere. My own personal thoughts on RR or AVRT notwithstanding, this sub-forum was obviously many years in the making, as were RR and AVRT.

Kudos to those who had the requisite foresight and fortitude to make it possible.
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Old 04-08-2018, 05:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think people will live up, or down, to their expectations. If they are told to fear their environments over stress, or triggers, and that they can't trust themselves to manage their own feelings, then that's what they will experience. But if they believe they are capable and have what it takes to conquer their internal world and to rise to the occasion, then that will be their experience.

I also think, more than support and hand holding, that what people need is information and tools. They are the only ones who can save themselves. A person can have all the support in the world, but at the end of the day, the responsibility is theirs alone as to whether or not they are going to stick to their decision to quit.

The message - that it is impossible to quit on your own - is huge! I hear it all the time in conversation with people about addiction. It is rampant throughout society, people take it at face value, never questioning that message. And, as we know, it's bullcrap, the only way to quit is only your own. A person might surround themselves with others who have also quit, but that doesn't give others the credit for the achievement. That's another illusion.
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Old 04-08-2018, 09:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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How we view the addicted population definitely matters. How the "addict" views him/herself is even more important. People do need information, and it is important for people to have access to various viewpoints WHILE feeling supported. People can do it on their own, but it's helpful to have others even if it's simply a friend or family member. I wanted some extra support in early sobriety, but I didn't appreciate being treated like I was a delusional fool if I questioned, for example, ideas like being powerless and having to hand over my will. I also think "one day at a time" chips away at the individual's confidence and too often backfires. Why keep that door open?

I also think, however, that how those in the recovery industry view addiction also matters, and by completely divorcing AVRT from the industry, Jack is pushing away rather than inviting the industry to evolve. It's a missed opportunity. I personally know mental health and addiction professionals who are anti-recoveryism, and they are best positioned to influence their colleagues. How a counselor or therapist approaches addiction, how they view the addict, and how they approach treatment are radically different when that counselor is critical of the basic tenets of the industry in which they work. It goes far deeper than whether or not they steer folks to AA or NA meetings.

Jack states: "Addictive Voice Recognition Technique® (AVRT®) is the lore of independent recovery from substance addiction in a brief, educational format. By its nature, AVRT® is not and cannot be a professional tool. AVRT® is not a form of counseling, therapy, or addiction treatment. If AVRT® is offered as a professional service, diluted as an adjunct to any other recovery methodology or treatment, or included in the program of a recovery group, its fundamental meaning is radically changed." I disagree. I used AVRT while exploring other avenues, and it was extremely helpful. I think if a person, fed up with support groups, goes to a counselor who introduces that person to AVRT and RR and helps empower that person to regain a sense of power and independence - great. A counselor's job should be to help the client not need the counselor, after all. The goal of a support group should be to help the individual no longer want or need the support group. To encourage folks to be dependent "lifers" strikes me as inherently manipulative.

That said, these ads on TV saying "you can't do it alone" tick me off. Everyone needs love and connection. Not everyone needs treatment. I never got treatment and I've been sober for over four years (and that was after decades of drinking and drugging). I made a permanent decision before attending my first AA meeting, and was immediately confused and dis-empowered by The Steps. This is not bashing; just my experience. This was also before I stumbled upon AVRT.

Many people who suffer with substance use disorder also suffer with other mental health disorders. I'm not sure the two can be entirely separated. We certainly would not want to make blanket statements about avoiding the mental health industry when one is suffering with a severe and persistent disorder like severe bipolar, schizophrenia, or even moderate to severe anxiety, depression, and/or PTSD. It may not be safe to tell people they can be independent and "do it on their own." Many who end up in substance use treatment got there by way of a mental health evaluation for other (but often related) concerns. If folks are going to stumble into substance use treatment by way of mental health or the courts, shouldn't folks be working to transform the substance treatment landscape?

So yes, definitely, how we view addiction and the addict matters whether folks want to or are allowed to do it alone or not.

Lastly, I'm grateful that there is now a thread devoted specifically to RR/AVRT and another that is off limits to AA and AVRT so I and others can have these conversations by choice rather than feeling like every conversation becomes something other than originally intended. No offense intended. I get it. We want folks to have the information, and RR, perhaps more than any other approach, lends itself to independent types who are sitting at home on the computer trying to figure out next steps...
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Well, from the top forum on the list (Newcomers), "Please Read! The Newcomers Forum is a safe and welcoming place for newcomers. Respect is essential. Debates over Recovery Methods are not allowed on the Newcomer's Forum. Posts that violate this rule will be removed without notice. (Support and experience only please.)" The "rules" are more relaxed in other forums, but the site owner and mods apparently think it's important.

I think it's not about treating newcomers like children, it's about not given them the impression that we all are bickering children - which will make it more likely they'll leave, and not get anything positive from the site that might help them.
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:28 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreyAK View Post
Well, from the top forum on the list (Newcomers), "Please Read! The Newcomers Forum is a safe and welcoming place for newcomers. Respect is essential. Debates over Recovery Methods are not allowed on the Newcomer's Forum. Posts that violate this rule will be removed without notice. (Support and experience only please.)" The "rules" are more relaxed in other forums, but the site owner and mods apparently think it's important.

I think it's not about treating newcomers like children, it's about not given them the impression that we all are bickering children - which will make it more likely they'll leave, and not get anything positive from the site that might help them.
Since this new Forum was set up very recently, I hadn’t read any posts from “bickering children”. I’d only read reasoned posts, and I do hope it’s allowed to continue, for the benefit of Newcomers that find their way here.
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:38 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Please review this forum's rules so we don't run into problems.

Quote:
Refrain from outside agendas. I see a lot of bashing of the recovery movement or the treatment industry. I see a lot of references to the 12 step program without actually naming it. Everyone knows what you are saying even you don't actually use the name. Don't try to convert by letting everyone know what is wrong with everything out there. We had an RR forum up years ago and it only lasted 3 days because the whole focus what on discrediting what a lot of our members on other forums use for their recovery.

What you can do. You can talk about specific details of what you may recognize as AV. Example: Relapse prevention is AV. Counting days is AV. Thinking in terms of "One day at a time" is AV. (I'm guessing)
Explain why. I know deprogramming is a part of the process and I think there are respectful ways of doing that, that don't violate our rules.

To others: Don't come in and debate on why you disagree unless you are having a discussion that is within the forum topic with the goal of achieving a better understanding.

All other forum rules apply that are used for all the forums.
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Old 04-08-2018, 11:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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There's already some great material here, and I'm mighty relieved to see it.

ZTH made a few of the points in Post #10 I was going to hone in on - especially on the caveat of Dual Diagnosis - and I extend my admiration. Fabulously-clear writing; also coursing right through this new Thread.

An Old Saying:

~ 'Intelligence is not what your know. It's knowing what you don't know' ~

^^^ My Personal Mantra. As applied to what I needed to learn to design and build this Solar House. As applied to designing my own Rehab Program for significant Whiplash. The pain was so severe, our Attorney circa 1990 tells us, 2 of his Clients enduring similar pain ended it all with Guns. As applied to achieving what I call 'Effortless Sobriety' - now, not back then - via my own Tool Kit of Sobriety Strategies to sober up the only Person that mattered: moi. And, yes, I was a real Alcoholic. With 42 Years 'experience' in increasingly-hard Drinking 24/7. The common theme I see is that one has to reach what I call 'The Big Quit Decision'. Once a Person hits that point, Sobriety begins via varied Methods. Due to deep personal commitment...

Besides sobering myself up with SR and other support, a significant, parallel challenge was confronting the hopeless message that I couldn't be responsible for my own Sobriety. Right. SR was also handy for figuring out which failure-ensured Approaches I did not want to take. Knowledge is power, eh? Folks lift Cars off trapped Persons. And, didn't think they could do that. Folks step in to stop/talk down Shooters and Hostage-Takers. And, didn't think they could do that. And, so on. We can do hard things, as a SR Signature Line here goes.

I'm no special Sober Snowflake; another message we Self-Sobered get. That only some rareified Group can self-manage Sobriety WITH support. Gerand Twine - for one - and other Senior Members authoritatively put that myth to Bed. One reason this Lifetime Student circles back around to SR while enjoying RV Trips while Sober. Whatever perturbs some here about being treated like a 'Student' is lost on me. Some Folks need to check their Egos at the proverbial Door, and learn what they don't know. With Humility. Remember when you read a Senior Member's Post like Algo's here in SC and didn't learn anything? Me neither.

An estimated ~25% of the Population is classified as 'Introverts' along a sliding scale. I be one. One of my recent epiphanies is that we're immutably wired as we are. Thus, Sobering up has to fit that Personality Type Reality. There is *unbelievable*, pervasive Recovery bias that we Introverts are gonna sit around - secluded - and not get Sober. Below is one of the better Articles I've found on this topic. The sole, customized Sobriety Tool Kit that will work for us is one that acknowledges differences without trying to shove us all into a shallow, uniform Recovery Box that virtually ensures Relapse. Indeed, once forever Sober, my personal work since has been in confronting and deftly weaving through ingrained Social Bias on Recovery/Sobriety, and in finding Serenity while 'cherry picking' Social Situations and Social Obligations. Wedding Receptions, etc.. I call myself 'Militantly Sober'. By that I mean I'm forced to develop and work within my firm Sober Boundaries that morph over time. One of my preferred Strategies:

~ If It's Not Fun, Why Do It'? ~ Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Bumper Sticker

- Introvert & Extrovert Differences -
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Old 04-08-2018, 06:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerothehero
I also think, however, that how those in the recovery industry view addiction also matters, and by completely divorcing AVRT from the industry, Jack is pushing away rather than inviting the industry to evolve.
Yeah, but...methods of self-recovery from substance addiction have no need for an industry.

As far as mental illness goes, many mental illnesses do require medical management, and many people with mental illnesses do have substance addictions. I think that the quitting for good message is especially important for someone with a mental illness and has to be done first, since treating for mental illness while using alcohol or other drugs is pretty much not going to work. Don't you think it's kind of hard to Dx a mental illness when someone is a heavy user? I wonder how medical professionals can do that effectively. I know that I developed severe symptoms over the years of heavy use. I was Dx with depression, anxiety, and even had psychotic breaks when using alcohol and benzos, but I did not have symptoms after the alcohol and drugs were removed. I've had sadness, deep grief, and even times I was seriously anxious about what to do about problems I was facing, but nothing that required medical management. I don't think my story is uncommon at all.

MesaMan, I agree with you about personality types. Many people are very private. I would like for them to know and understand that you don't have to share and be rigorously honest with complete strangers in order to quit for good and regain control of your life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreyAK
I think it's not about treating newcomers like children, it's about not given them the impression that we all are bickering children - which will make it more likely they'll leave, and not get anything positive from the site that might help them.
It is not my responsibility to make an impression on a person looking for information on how to quit drinking, though. And I think it's rather patronizing to other adults for me to assume they can't form their own impression about what they read just because they are addicted to a substance.
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:58 AM   #16 (permalink)
No Dogma Please
 
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As far as mental illness goes, many mental illnesses do require medical management, and many people with mental illnesses do have substance addictions. I think that the quitting for good message is especially important for someone with a mental illness and has to be done first, since treating for mental illness while using alcohol or other drugs is pretty much not going to work. Don't you think it's kind of hard to Dx a mental illness when someone is a heavy user? I wonder how medical professionals can do that effectively. I know that I developed severe symptoms over the years of heavy use. I was Dx with depression, anxiety, and even had psychotic breaks when using alcohol and benzos, but I did not have symptoms after the alcohol and drugs were removed. I've had sadness, deep grief, and even times I was seriously anxious about what to do about problems I was facing, but nothing that required medical management. I don't think my story is uncommon at all.
In a dual diagnosis, it's crucial to work with both the substance disorder and the mental health diagnosis.

Depression and anxiety can absolutely be potentiated by substance use. Sometimes medication is useful at first and the issues can eventually be managed without medication using other methods, once the substance use is curtailed. In some cases continued medication can be valuable.

Bipolar disorder nearly always needs some sort of medication management. In my case the mood swings interact strongly with substance use, and tend to make the mood disorder worse.

There are others, of course. Psychiatric intervention is a crucial part of my sobriety. My outpatient program was dual diagnosis, and was far more effective than it would have been for me if it had just dealt with addiction and sobriety.
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Old 04-09-2018, 11:40 AM   #17 (permalink)
Not The Way way, Just the way
 
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In my case the mood swings interact strongly with substance use, and tend to make the mood disorder worse.
I’m sure YOU mean “interacted” and “tended”, and it may be useful to re-cognize whatever you first think and feel about my having pointed this out, as well. If you want to try using the Addictive Voice Technique, positives coming from YOU, negatives coming from IT.

Following permanent abstinence, you will notice using the present tense about your own using will feel VERY weird.
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Old 04-09-2018, 03:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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TBPO I'm pretty indifferent to the tense used.
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Old 04-09-2018, 05:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
Not The Way way, Just the way
 
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TBPO I'm pretty indifferent to the tense used.
Past: In my case, x y and z interacted with substance use - sounds like its over.

Present: In my case, x y and z interact with substance use. - sounds like its not over.

Future: In my case, x y and z will interact with substance use. - definitely sounds like its not over. And it also brings in that so important word “will” that has more than one meaning. “choose to”, and “am going to”
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:48 PM   #20 (permalink)
 

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In a dual diagnosis, it's crucial to work with both the substance disorder and the mental health diagnosis.
I've been dual diagnosed and been around the mental health block quite a few times. I respectfully disagree that addressing these issues concurrently is effective. Medications that can effectively treat many mental illnesses just don't work the same with alcohol or other drugs. I mean that's just a fact. They can work very effectively otherwise. Many psychiatrists won't treat patients for mental illness unless they are abstinent. With good reason! They are prescribing meds that could have some seriously negative reactions when used with alcohol. Others will treat though...just going by a patient's promise that " I def will not drink while taking those benzos" (those were my favorite docs! I never went to the others who insisted on abstinence).
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