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Self medication and drug binges.

E

Eric

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Joined
Oct 8, 2008
Messages
8
Location
South Africa
HI all,

I have Bipolar II disorder and was diagnosed about 4 years ago. I have been on and off cocaine since 2002, and have been clean for 2 months this time round. My point is that my cycle seems to trigger a mania that sets me on a binge. I'll stay clean for a month, and as It nears the end of the month, I have dreams about scoring, and finding coke. I really don't want to do it, and have been doing really well avoiding the "pangs", but it's though my sub-conscious needs to inform me it's "that time" again.
I have handed over access to my finances and bank accounts to my girlfriend, so I can't just give in to the urge, but these dreams drive me nuts!!.
I have also done drugs and alcohol to help me feel better in a depression, which really defeats the point of taking my prescribed meds, but I find the quick fix a help, only to crash and burn when the feeling wears off.
I realize that self medicating only adds to this problem and I need to stop it once and for all. I've been to N.A. which worked for a time, but I need to do this on my own, and believe, and act on the goal of being clean.
If anyone else has experienced anything similar, it would be great to get your views, opinions, and advice on the subject.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
If anyone else has experienced anything similar, it would be great to get your views, opinions, and advice on the subject.
I was in active addiction for 17 years, to the gates of insanity & death as they say. I know people who have got & stayed clean through other means, NA is not the only way; but it does appear to be about the easiest. I couldn't get or stay clean without them. All they promise is freedom from active addiction, I've been 7 years now on this path, there was a slight relapse, I'm around 18 months clean again. It does work, & it has got easier the longer I have tried it. Of course I still have problems in my life - that's life, but I'm very grateful to not be living how I was.

I used a lot of coke, daily for a good few years among other drugs. When I stopped it I substituted other drugs, & when coke was there, not much stopped me taking it. Getting clean I found that the drug use is a symptom of something deeper, & not the cause. I would have taken anything to change the way I felt & alter my view of reality. That is the touchstone - as addicts we want to alter the way we feel, the way we are, the way we see things. Being in recovery I have got to a place & am on a path where I am happy in my own skin, if I don't like something, then instead of trying to change my perception of it, then either I will try to accept that thing or do my best to change (my) reality.
 
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emski

emski

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Jun 15, 2008
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1,151
Location
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Hi Eric!

I've used drink & drugs too the past to control my moods, before I was diagnosed bipolar II. I used to use mostly coke and mdma, to prolong my hypomania and mania, which would of course send me worse so I had to have more. I used to use pills to come out of depression. When it all got to much and i needed sleep cuz I'd been up for days, whether from mania highs or drug highs, I'd smoke pot and drink, but even then it didn't make me sleep. I never did any of this sort of stuff before I got ill and started to medicate myself in this way.

Since diagnosis I've stopped all illicit substances. Cocaine massively enhances dopamine production in the brain, so depending what meds you're on it can cause chaos with your meds not working properly or too much.

I agree with what Apotheosis says, drug use is the symptom of something deeper, and maybe in your case is the disorder that drives you to drugs to change the way you feel. That's how it was for me. I still miss being able to take my pain away by popping a few pills, but facing up to issues is the way to do it.

Maybe if you're not going to NA, make sure your psych. knows and have some sort of counselling, maybe 1:1

Good luck Eric, keep us posted on how it's going(y)
 
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E

Eric

Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2008
Messages
8
Location
South Africa
Thanks folks for the replies and good advice,

Emski, I STILL smoke pot and drink, although I've cut my drinking down to a minimal. I find it easier to focus when I'm stoned,because life slows down to an acceptable speed for me, and I don't get into such a temper about things the way I do sometimes when I'm sober. I know that I'm actually just making excuses and I should stop everything, but that's a bit difficult when you're trying to find the meaning of life!!:flowers:
My main focus is to stay off the coke, which I'm managing to do. I speak to my shrink about it, and I have a program in place to help me there, It's obviously just the psychological issue that sometimes poses a problem.

I guess like they say, "one day at a time", and Live for today, because yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision.(y)
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
186
I try to bear in mind that drugs are drugs and medication is medication. In other words, I'm not going to assume that the drug your doctor gives you is of intrinsically more worth than the drugs you can secure on your own. Many people self-medicate with street or prescription drugs. Sometimes, self-medication goes far beyond that into behavior. Then, we see people medicating with food, exercise, sex, shopping, risk-taking, etc. Not infrequently, we also see those same behaviors or coping strategies slipping into addiction. This risk is slightly less that this will happen with prescribed medications because some form of monitoring is in place. Still... it happens.

With any form of medication, the crucial aspect to consider is: Is this helping? Is it assisting me in moving forward, or is it holding me back in some manner and restricting how well I can move forward?

Should you identify the "medication" as a hindrance, it still serves a purpose because it pinpoints an area where you need to focus your attention. I'm very much in agreement with Apothoesis' comments that addiction is fueled by something deeper -- perhaps a sense of lack or inadequacy, maybe an old wound, something. If you can find an alternate means of addressing those needs without relying on the bandaid offered by the addiction, you undermine it. I think it's best to try and get these supports in place before you try to end the addiction. That way, you have something to lean on during the withdrawal process.

Eric: I know that I'm actually just making excuses and I should stop everything, but that's a bit difficult when you're trying to find the meaning of life!!

Some drug-free approaches you could consider to help you in your search would be meditation, contemplation or philosophical studies. Whether or not you lean more towards a spiritual, philosophical or religious approach will vary by individual, but certainly, those are paths that people have traditionally followed when trying to determine the "meaning of life". I would go so far as to say that going down that path is an essential component of recovery although it too, can become a form of self-medication. Whatever the substance, addiction is always a risk.

~ Namaste


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