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Self Medication


What's your pattern?  

38 members have voted

  1. 1. How old were you when you started?

    • Twelve or younger
      1
    • 12-15
      10
    • 15-18
      11
    • 18-21
      11
    • 21 or over
      5
  2. 2. What's your drug of choice?

    • amphetamines
      13
    • hallucinogens
      8
    • painkillers
      11
    • heroin
      0
    • alcohol
      24
    • I'm not so particular
      7
    • other
      10
  3. 3. What sets you off?

    • I get depressed, and I'll take any way out
      22
    • I'm trying to control mania or hypomania
      11
    • I'm afraid of what might happen if I don't do it
      5
    • I like my solution better than any of the psych meds I've tried
      6
    • Stress
      12
    • Other
      14


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The topic has been much on my mind of late, since I delivered a friend of mine to the emergency room the other day and will be taking him to rehab when he gets out. For him, the pattern is really clear: he gets depressed, he starts in on meth, his chemistry gets even more screwed by the crash, his regular meds stop working, he gets hospitalized.

I am incredibly lucky, given my family background, not to have addiction issues, but I wonder sometimes what my adolescence would have been like without the speed and the LSD, and what my early twenties would've been like without the social binge drinking, and to this day I think I'm getting away with fewer sleeping meds than I would otherwise need than if I didn't have a drink-one drink-with dinner.

So I'm curious, my friends: if you've tried the DIY approach, what did you get from it? I know not everyone winds up an addict. I just want to hear your stories.

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self medicated with lots of drugs, pretty much almost anything with a few exceptions, no meth or pcp thanks, and cocaine did nothing for me so.... but mainly etoh for sleep issues and opiates for depression and such.

I try not to go to the what if questions, i just accept that a) yes, I may have self medicated to deal with MI issues b) they may or may not have worsened things and c) now i have a secondary problem that I need to take care of and stay away from not just mi.

Anna

any yes, i ended up addicted, to multiple things, all of which I evenutually quit except nicotine and caffiene

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Guest Vapourware

When I was rather hypomanic a few years back, I developed a bit of a drinking problem because I was drinking in an attempt to calm myself down. I felt wired all the time, so I felt like I needed something to bring me back down, and also I was having some problems getting to sleep. Alcohol didn't really help much in the end - it made me more of an emotional wreck and I remember once getting completely smashed and threatening suicide to some friends, who called the cops on me. Heh, fun times.

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I've never tried controlled substances, and rarely drank alcohol (too poor, anyway). So I never went down that path. However, after my dx, I occasionally got a little too freehanded with the benzos, and it landed me in trouble several times. To me, benzos are like the hair of the dog. I need them, but hubby had to lock them up and give me one day at a time.

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Started seriously binge drinking and doing drugs at 16. It was definitely an escape for me. Sometimes just a party, but sometimes truely self-medicating and abusing drugs. I often wonder if my mind would be clearer, if I'd think faster, if I'd have better psychological health if I hadn't done as much drugs. Meth and ecstasy were the bulk. I did meth heavily for a couple of months but I think it was the weekly or monthly use of ecstasy over a year or three that did the damage. Often I forget I ever touched anything and blame my fuzzy head on ADHD and perhaps the degenerative nature of BP. But I think before drugs I was smarter. I have more trouble spelling now, my memory is worse and I have trouble writing. Even long posts on here. I can't really blame the ADD since that isn't something that gets worse with age, as far as I know. I lose track of what I'm saying, or writing, so much quicker.

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I used to binge drink off and on, since about 16 (a mate sold home-brew out of his locker!) but stopped around 19-20 because although I didn't get hang-overs per se, I still felt worse after drinking than before and I wasn't prepared to be drunk all the time, or even every night. I still drink socially here and there but not to excess. Then I found pot around 20-21 which was when I actually started thinking of myself as self-medicating, originally for my chronic pain and insomnia but as I realised the effects it was having, I also used it to chill myself out when I got too hyper or angsty but if I was smoking solo I didn't smoke enough to get 'high' as such (with friends I'd smoke to get high but it took 3-4 times as much). I never smoked before work and only got my depressive or manic symptoms sober. I was never able to smoke when I was full-blown depressed because I sorta don't want to feel good at that point, I guess I punish myself or something. On top of this I've experimented with a tonne of different substances (shrooms, LSD, DMT, XTC, speed, ice, etc.) and cocktails, but never with any regularity and with strict self imposed rules about time frames between trips. Speedy things tend to have little or no effect on me (besides stopping me from sleeping) so staying away from them has been pretty easy. This was all before my Dx and I'm clean at the moment, although I don't know what I'd be doing if I actually had the money to carry on smoking. I never felt addicted (if it wasn't there I was ok with that) which confuses a lot of people. When I've stopped in the past for 'tolerance breaks' and when I stopped recently, I found I was addicted to bong smoking more than the pot - ie. the urge to rip a cone is fulfilled by smoking anything through it. The hard part about quitting is that a couple of friends had commented that I was more 'normal' after a cone and my manic symptoms have been getting more intense (haven't had a depressive patch yet). I'm hoping that when I start with the psychiatrist soon (only had psychologist & GP so far) I'll get something to help, but a lot of the medications I've already read about scare the shit out of me and I struggle to see the difference between taking a bunch of pills every day as opposed to using pot which has never really had any side effects that I've noticed although, with an MI, who knows how much of an effect any substance really has?

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Gizmo that sounds like me and my percocets my wife locked them up and gives me my drugs daily but today i can barely take anything my back is out I'm trying to get healed up after a big project at work this weekend but back to the subject I have sat and pondered on whether or not the drugs and alcohol I did as a teen and up to adult hood have had any affect on where at now but I do know looking back now I was hypomainc as hell and I think that was the symptom I was treating and I would like to think I did a good job treating to and yes I think emotionally I never really grew up and that might have a lot to do with what me and my tdoc talk about the things that happen to you when you don't face the real world and instead pick up a bottle go on a sex binge just to avoid your symptoms and reality

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Starting around age 14, anything I could get my hands on

which, lucky for me, wasn't much of anything. Just rifling through medicine cabinets of relatives and sneaking alcohol.

Had older friends at the age of 17 who could buy booze, so I drank quite a bit for a few years. I suppose you could call it binge drinking. at 5'2" and 135 lbs, I could drink a 6 pack, but I couldn't function afterward. (these days, I get tipsy off of half a beer, heh. If I even drink that is. I really don't like the way it makes me feel anymore. Very anxious and crabby.) Soon after, weed was thrown into the mix which made for utter obliteration.

I've never been an addict, though I do have a bit of a weed habit.

If any drugs are to blame for worsening my MI, it's not because I abused them. It's because I took all of them in an effort to kill myself. That's the thing that makes me wonder what kind of further damage I did.

I'm not sure whether I'm lucky or unfortunate to not have found a source for drugs at a young age. I'd certainly be dead right now if that were the case. I remember around the age of 15 or so desperately wanting to try heroin.

Genius.

ETA: It was definitely self-medicating. I had been suicidal since age 12. I still self-medicate when hypo/agitated. Try not to when depressed 'cause I might just swallow the whole bottle. Probably not. But I'm not taking any chances.

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Something else I just remembered about experimenting with shrooms, lsd, etc. that could be worth adding. I've always felt crazy to some degree, and that class of drugs was kind of like a way to set that free for a while, without friends getting weirded out by it because they were on it too. I feel the effects of them, but my thought process remains fairly normal, well, normal for me - just a lot less inhibited.

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I tried LSD and Shrooms when I was younger, but I don't think I was self medicating with them.

However I have, and do sometimes still, self medicated with pot. Usually to try and bring me down when I'm (hypo)manic.

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I had a brief spell of self medicating with alcohol when I was 19, but I got to the point of starting and not being able to stop so I had to give it up March 2007. Part of it was because I wanted a way to cope with my depression, and part of it was that I wanted to bring my 'superpowers' back (this being way way before I realised that this was probably a delusion).

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Something else I just remembered about experimenting with shrooms, lsd, etc. that could be worth adding. I've always felt crazy to some degree, and that class of drugs was kind of like a way to set that free for a while, without friends getting weirded out by it because they were on it too. I feel the effects of them, but my thought process remains fairly normal, well, normal for me - just a lot less inhibited.

That's interesting...I never thought about it this way before, but I always seemed to hold it together better than the friends I was tripping with when we all took LSD. I liked LSD best of all the drugs I did because it seemed to give me access to parts of my mind that I knew were there, but that I couldn't necessarily just step into and out of at will. It's very hard to describe, but it's sort of like the acid made the crazy parts hold still, held the door open for a sane part of me, and the sane part could walk around the crazy part and have a good look around. Like going to a museum. It wasn't scary at all. I wonder what my non-crazy friends were seeing.

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40 years ago, I did a lot of LSD, weed, and mescaline, but never had any bad side-effects. I did, however, quit all that stuff in '74 when I realized it wasn't helping me get over the loss of the girl I was going to marry. After that it was just beer and cigarettes.

Tommy

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That's interesting...I never thought about it this way before, but I always seemed to hold it together better than the friends I was tripping with when we all took LSD. I liked LSD best of all the drugs I did because it seemed to give me access to parts of my mind that I knew were there, but that I couldn't necessarily just step into and out of at will. It's very hard to describe, but it's sort of like the acid made the crazy parts hold still, held the door open for a sane part of me, and the sane part could walk around the crazy part and have a good look around. Like going to a museum. It wasn't scary at all. I wonder what my non-crazy friends were seeing.

Yep. Totally agree about being able to have a good look around. And yeah, I was always the one talking my friends down from their trips if they went bad, almost like I could turn it off and snap back to sober for a bit while they needed it. I guess when you're a full-time professional crazy, a little more is easy enough to handle! I've often wondered what it's like for a non-crazy too.

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I never self-medicated because I was so fearful of becoming and addict and I knew I'd never be able to win against an addiction. Too many alcholic family members taught me that at a young age. FWIW, I was diagnosed when I was 15, and even at that age I was too fearful to self medicate. My way of dealing was self injury. Lately I seem to want to do lots of experimentation with self-medicating because I'm so frustrated with my state of being. I'm pretty sure I'm in a mixed state right now and it's hell. So I've tried ativan+alcohol and ativan+meclizine. The meclizine is better, less hangover-ey. But neither combo works very well, so I'd better stop. Otherwise I know I'll just keep adding a bit more of each to the mix, and I know the benzo+EtOH is a phenomenally bad decision.

k

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I've Used different drugs for different cycles. I would smoke crack while depressed and shoot heroin when I was too keyed up. OD'ed once at 15 and again at 26. The doctors thought I tried to kill myself with the OD at 15, but it was accidental and led to my first dx, first detox on the psych ward and first rehab shortly after.

Now I've been clean and sober for almost 3 years and on October 4th, it will be 2 years since I quit smoking which after 16 years, I swear I never thought it was possible:-)

Just a coffee junkie, but I abuse that, too (I drink tons to keep good mania going) and I have Xanax that I take responsibly.

Sometimes I really want a cigarette or worse, a hit off a crack pipe, but it is definitely not worth the possible consequences. Cigarettes are just too expensive for me now, but crack?!? I have never been to jail, but came within an inch of being pulled over with a lot of coke and I freaked! I have gymnophobia (fear of nudity) and because of it, I would never survive the invasive jail process. (I'd make the cops kill me first). Two days later I was on an airplane to a rehab in FL and flooded with relief and gratitude.

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I've never truly self-medicated in a long term way, except recently, I did it a bit when I am anxious. I used MJ recreationally for most of my life, and now use it for migraines, but I don't feel like I have really abused it (overall, given that I have been using it for over 30 years).

The time I really went wild on a drug was when I had a prozac induced mania. I dropped about 40 hits of acid in a 6 week period, often 4 or 5 hits at a time. I was a teacher, and it was summer vacation, but since I was manic, I spent my entire summer's income in the first two weeks of the summer. LSD is cheap. That summer also included an instance of snorting lines of coke off the trunk of a car in the Whisky-a-Go-Go's parking lot, and driving through a red light in front of a cop when I was high (and my passenger was holding a burning joint). He totally ignored us.

Although to be fair, it was one of those situations where there were two lights immediately after another one, that even were I sober, I might have gotten confused, and gone through the second light. But the point is, I wasn't sober.

Oh, I should mention that my then p-doc was nuts, and thought LSD was good for me.

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Oh, I should mention that my then p-doc was nuts, and thought LSD was good for me.

Unorthodox - yes. Nuts? Maybe not. I knew they experimented with it as a treatment for a few MIs back in the 50s & 60s with a reasonable degree of success so I was going try to link to something about that, but my search turned up something else... they're researching it again!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2010/sep/01/psychedelic-drugs-mental-illness

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3101327/LSD-could-cure-depression.html

That said, it's not conclusive yet and not enough research has been done at this point in to potential negative effects. Particularly with regard to long term or (semi) regular use. Also, these studies have been done in clinical conditions - not just going nuts with mates.

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He wasn't doing research. He decided the serotonin (in conjunction with the prozac, which he hadn't noticed made me manic) was good for me because he is an idiot. This was no latter day Timothy Leary. Plus, this was in the 80s, there were no LSD studies being done with Reagan/Bush in office.

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