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Old 04-26-2009, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyV View Post
To compound things, many people who diagnosis themselves as "alcoholic", while they may be abusing alcohol, have very real and serious medical diseases (in addition to alcohol abuse) such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder, etcetera, and may be using alcohol as a means to self-medicate. This is one of the main reasons why I question the wisdom of self-diagnosis and self-help programs that promote self-diagnosis. I am a strong believer in support groups, but only after being properly diagnosed by a medical professional and as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Going with SelfSeeking on this one. I have been to so many doctors/therapists in my life. The only time drinking has come up as an issue is when I made it one, that should not have been the case. I have also read on this board numerous times that a medical professional told them they were self-medicating early on and so they ignored it only to get sober later on and realize how many of their issues were helped in sobriety. I think that the medical community, especially general practitioners should be much more versed on alcoholism and learn how to talk about it with their patients. Considering the enormity of the problem it is a wonder that there are not mandatory seminars and other resources for doctors. They really seem to have let AA carry the brunt of the burden for far too long.

And sure when I drank was I self-medicating my anxiety issues? Of course. And later on depression? Why not. But what came first the chicken or the egg? It doesn't really matter. I am not dismissing any serious disorders, not at all, and alcohol can be great medicine. I have awful cramps that time of the month and I must say that alcohol is one of the best pain killers I know. But if I become reliant on alcohol as a coping mechanism and use it habitually to a point where it becomes compulsive then self-medicating and alcoholism become one and the same.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by SelfSeeking View Post
I have been treated for depression for years and any mention of alcohol that came up they were thrilled to pass off as "self-medicating".
So did you continue to self-medicate?

If you feel comfortable making your own diagnosis, good for you. But shame on you if you encourage others to do the same. Yes, people should be well informed health-care consumers, do their own research and feel empowered to advocate for their own treatment regimen but that should be part of the doctor-patient relationship. And when I say doctor-patient relationship, I'm not necessarily talking about a family practitioner, if serious alcohol abuse is part of your problem you should seek a physician/psychiatrist that specializes in addiction medicine.

To belittle the suggestion of seeking medical advice is irresponsible, self-seeking. You may be comfortable with self-diagnosis and good for you, but it is unwise to poo-poo that to others if they are in the grips of a serious addiction and mental health condition.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by sfgirl View Post

And sure when I drank was I self-medicating my anxiety issues? Of course. And later on depression? Why not.
So you admit you were self-medicating? Did you ever have your anxiety/depression issues properly addressed? How did that effect your alcohol abuse? Did you ever think if your mental health issues were properly addressed it may have been easier to address your abuse of alcohol?
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:09 PM
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Personally, I think it is extremely irresponsible to promote self-diagnosis, if indeed there is a disease called alcoholism. I'm all for people who feel their drinking is out of control ceasing their drinking on their own. But if someone is truly alcohol dependent cessation can be deadly. If someone is extremely emotional or mentally distressed about their drinking, chances are they have underlying mental health issues and should seek solid psychiatric medical care. I understand how a few of you may be cynical about that, but that should not be a reason to discourage others from seeking medical care. Take or leave what ever you want from what I post, but if you take anything take this; if you are painfully distressed over your drinking, if you shake or your heart flutters in your chest when your stop drinking or if you cry because you can't have a drink, please see a doctor.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:10 PM
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Medicine is really good at detoxing people and thank dog for it. But frankly it sucks at helping people get sober. I'm not trying to belittle the suggestion of getting help from your doctor, but I think it's unwise to recommend that people should wait until they get a diagnosis from their doc or a referral to a psychiatrist to start dealing with their addictions.

For myself, and other drunks I've heard from, putting the drink down was the first step in truly dealing with the depression. Not the other way around. And my psychiatrist was no help in that first step. Many docs and other health care professionals have alcohol problems of their own. *waves hand*

My post was in no way, shape or form trying to steer people away from medically supervised detox!
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:33 PM
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We may have to agree to disagree. I can empathize with your distrust of doctors.

I guess I should consider myself fortunate, I have an understanding doctor that respects that I am a knowledgeable, informed health-care consumer and demand a certain level of care. I guess it also helps that I knew my doctor as a friend before I chose him to be my primary care provider and he knows that I do a lot of my own research. I came into his office with information on both Chantix and Campral when I wanted him to prescribe them to me. I came in armed with where I wanted to go with my treatment and he respected that. I guess maybe it's foolish of me to think that everyone can find that kind of understanding physician. He has been very patient with me in my struggle to quit drinking. He knew it took me years to quit smoking (but am now smoke free 2 years 8 months) and he knows that I'm putting the same effort to quit drinking. It's a process and a destination and isn't as easy as making a decision.

I wish you the best in your journey. And I hope you have plenty of support, (personal, family and professional/medical) along the way. Peace.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyV View Post
So you admit you were self-medicating? Did you ever have your anxiety/depression issues properly addressed? How did that effect your alcohol abuse? Did you ever think if your mental health issues were properly addressed it may have been easier to address your abuse of alcohol?
I am sort of confused. I am not advocating not going to the doctor. I go to my therapist all the time. I go to my psychiatrist all the time. I always did, using and sober. I take medicine. This is my story:

I started drinking at 14. At 17/18 I had a huge panic attack coming off of a huge bender and ended up in the emergency room, in a foreign country nonetheless. That panic attack, the first one I ever had, seemed directly linked to alcohol so I cut out the booze. I then had panic attacks daily for six months while dry. I saw counselors. I saw psychiatrists. I told everyone what happened— the truth. I have never lied to medical professionals. No one ever seemed to care about the alcohol part of the story. Finally, I started taking zoloft at the right dose and the panic attacks went away but general anxiety stayed. I started using again once I got to college, probably a month after I was panic free. I stayed panic free although I had elevated anxiety that continued and only subsided in the last few years. In college I had a therapist, I drank extremely heavily. I had a psychiatrist, saw them regularly. I never explicitly brought up my drinking as a problem although didn't hide that I drank, anxiety issues continued but never got as bad as daily panic attacks. Skip ahead a few years, a move, different doctors, therapist, add depression, me realizing I might have a problem, me voicing and making it the issue, and finally a few years later me quitting. Now in sobriety, looking back, I realize that I had a problem, and that it should and would have been apparent, certainly to another addict, probably pretty early on, probably sometime around that panic attack time, if someone had come to me, because at that time I was desperate to feel better and said it has something to do with alcohol, someone with authority, my life would have taken a different path. So much of my anxiety was wrapped up in my drinking and so much of the issues that led to my anxiety couldn't be dealt with while using. I completely understand going to a professional that specializes in addiction medicine but the problem with that is that you have to know you have a problem and get yourself there. I just feel that I can see addicts now from four blocks away as well as people in recovery so I know I wasn't as good as hiding as I thought. There are people who could have seen me and helped. It didn't happen. And now it seems as if I have lost my point in these ramblings, hopefully you can find it in here.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:59 PM
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For myself, and other drunks I've heard from, putting the drink down was the first step in truly dealing with the depression.
Put me down as another case study which bears this out.

I don't see anyone not promoting medically supervised detox here Anthony - see a Dr by all means - try your hardest to find one who knows what the hell they're talking about. That should be the first step of everyone starting recovery and I doubt you'll find anyone in this thread who'll disagree.

But the reality of the longer haul - staying sober - is I have yet to find a GP who understands alcoholism as I've experienced it.

With regards self diagnosis....I'm not a doctor. I'm not a fireman either but I know when my ass is on fire.

I self medicated for 15 years (anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia)....by the time I quit, alcoholism (24/7 all day everyday) dwarfed them all.

I stopped 'medicating' - I got sober - I dealt with the other issues that were uncovered as they occured - some of them I had medical help with, others not.

I'm tired today - but for the life of me I can't see anyone else here suggesting anything different.
D
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sfgirl View Post
I completely understand going to a professional that specializes in addiction medicine but the problem with that is that you have to know you have a problem and get yourself there. I just feel that I can see addicts now from four blocks away as well as people in recovery so I know I wasn't as good as hiding as I thought. There are people who could have seen me and helped. It didn't happen.
It's sad that you were let down by not being properly diagnosed. My heart truly does ache when I hear stories of people who have suffered that really didn't need to, be it because they were improperly diagnosed, were improperly medicated by a physician/psychiatrist or self medicated via drugs and alcohol. But that doesn't eliminate the fact that more people are helped with proper treatment than those that self-diagnosis. My most sincere wishes to you to prosper on your goal towards sobriety. That is the goal that we are all trying to reach and I hope you, I and everyone who wants it find that lasting, happy sobriety. Peace.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:31 AM
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Sorry, changed my mind! Carry on!
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:39 AM
  # 331 (permalink)  
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thanks for bringing it back in focus Phal

I just wanted to add my voice

...if anyone's ever got the idea from recent posts that I think SR is just for alcoholics (or insert your addiction of choice here) I'd like to say right here and now that's not the case.

I don't really care who's a problem drinker and who's an alcoholic Paul...it makes no difference to me if you, or anyone else, self medicates, binges or drinks for a week every month or drinks all day everyday.

I don't do hierarchies. From my experience, from the experiences of my mates and family, and what I've seen here for 2 years or so, whatever you call it doesn't matter nearly as much as what you do about it - a problem is a problem to me.

If you think SR can help you live a better life, one where you're not enslaved by drugs or drink, then chances are you're in the right place.

I think, for the very vast majority of people here, the only way to do that is abstinence....
I won't back down from that and precedent suggests I will certainly be blunt from time to time...but I'll defend anyone's right to prove me wrong.

D

Last edited by Dee74; 04-27-2009 at 02:58 AM.
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Old 04-27-2009, 03:36 AM
  # 332 (permalink)  
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Where is Paul? This is supposed to be his thread, not the debating societies thread.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by stone View Post
Where is Paul? This is supposed to be his thread, not the debating societies thread.
I'm back. I have a suspicion I'll be giving up alcohol again like real soon.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:54 AM
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That's great news, Paul! When I think back to when you were coping without, you just seemed more engaged, posting all over the place.

Good attitude!

Big hug,

Donna
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:49 AM
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Yea, you seemed happier, dude!
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:38 AM
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Phal, did you have to put that spinny thing on there?

OMDK...
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:48 AM
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:53 AM
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had too!
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:56 AM
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:46 AM
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You guys are cruel... I'm waiting for someone to ask me if I want a greasy pork sandwich served on the bottom of a dirty ashtray or maybe a plate of runny eggs...

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