Alcoholism, Depression, Addiction and Anxiety-Partners in Crime
Posted Sep 26 2008 5:16pm
Do we drink because we are depressed? Are we depressed because we drink? Am I an addict because I drink too much or pop too many pills? Is my anxiety related to all this? Am I an addict because of my anxiety? Has my Alcoholism and Depression led to my anxiety? But maybe I am depressed because of my addictons? Questions, questions and more questions. Some straight forward to answer and others like the proverbial," how long is a piece of string."
Medical opinion, unfortunately is sharply divided over the answers. I remember during my treatment days my Psychologist/Psychiatrist talked about Primary and Secondary Conditions. I started out as a run of the mill Alcoholic who felt depressed and rapidly went downhill from there. By the time I had reached the end of the road I had qualified to be treated for all 4 conditions.
Of course each individual will present with different conditions and symptoms and in differing degrees of severity. The importance here, keeping in line with my theme of providing a Streetsmart Guide to surviving all this nonsense, is to try and identify the problems early on so that the right and appropriate treatment can be applied. For instance ECT is not used in the treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction but is freely used in the treatment of Depression. Sleep Therapy is used to treat addiction but not anxiety. Anxiety responds well to medication but Alcoholism does not. It is a thin line and the help of a qualified and experienced medical professional is key.
Getting to grips with the bottom line of your problem will invariably require the treatment of more than 1 condition. Naturally any life threatening situation would be dealt with as a matter of urgency i.e. a suicidal depressed patient. Any addiction issues would be followed up.
My own opinion, based on my fall from grace and others who I have helped is that there is always more than 1 condition to contend with. How could I not be depressed when I am sitting in the gutter, looking and smelling like s**t and about to lose a long term relationship and a thriving business. Never mind my sanity. It stands to figure that if you start off with a Depression/Anxiety issue that it could lead you on to self medicate and the potential of addiction in one form or another. Having said that not everyone who is depressed or anxious will end up an addict. Conversely not everyone who is an addict will develop serious depression or anxiety.
It is a mixed bag of ailments with different endings for different folks. Nothing can be set in concrete. It will all come down to a good and truthful relationship with your medical professional. They will have the difficult task of finding out exactly what is bothering you and applying the correct treatment to bring you back to Planet Earth.
Alcoholism, Depression, Addiction and Anxiety can be Partners in Crime. Their combined effect on you can be lethal. They are not to be taken lightly. That they are interlinked is in no doubt in my mind. The prime object should simply be to find out what consequences they are having on your life and sort them out sooner than later.
"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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