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A while ago, at the urging of my psychiatrist, I agreed to go do some NA (because I smoked weed).  I went for a while, and they had me all convinced I was diseased and needed to tell all my doctors I'm a drug addict and not to prescribe me controlled substances.

 

Anyway, I didn't smoke any weed for a long while, and recently a friend of mine's been bringing it around and I started smoking it again.  I also have a xanax and ambien prescription.

 

I don't really drink or do any other drugs besides those listed in my sig.

 

I do run out of ambien and xanax early, before my next refill.  But if that happens, I just do without until it's time to fill it again.

 

Am I a drug addict?  Should I do anything about it?  I don't know... I feel like I'm fine, but other people tell me otherwise.

 

Have any of you struggled with knowing if you even had a problem because of what all the other people are saying about you?

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For me ... When I use drugs in other manner than as prescribed then I have drug addict tendencies. If I take the Meds even though they are causing negative consequences then I am an addict.

I hate labels but I know I have an addictive personality. Benzos and sleeping pills are well known for their abuse and for potential for addiction

Be well and careful

D

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It can be useful to get the opinion of other people on your own behavior but I would limit that to people trained to do so.   In other words talk to your doctor and don't listen to medical advice from friends.

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I usually run out of my meds.....And I have been buying phenibut online because it helps with anxiety. I can't smoke weed it makes me go nuts....Other then that not taking your meds right like me is a no no...Smoking weed, if it doesn't hurt then go ahead. Ppl are going to disagree with me like it or not. You don't have to tell your pdoc that your a hardcore drug addict. You smoke a little weed. As long as it doesn't trigger a psychosis or something. My doc actually encourages us to if it helps us. If it hurts us then he tells us to obstain but he also says it's against the law so there really ain't room to do it. Just don't tell him or anybody else.

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If you run out of xanax & ambien early, but how early is a rather regular amount of time, perhaps you require a bit more in your script than you are currently getting. I would discuss this with your pdoc, including your question on if you are abusing it or just in need of a bit more to get through.

I don't have a time limit on my clonazepam and imovane refills, I just keep my docs updated with my frequency of use. Needing to use them more frequently, for me, could be a sign of an impending episode, and I actually need them more frequently in an episode. There are other times when I need less.

I have an incredibly lengthy history of drug abuse, from weed to ecstasy to psychedelics to dissociatives, even a period of time abusing dexedrine (obtained illegally.) And alcohol, can't forget that. I have been very open with my doctors about my drug history. Some doctors balk at it, I've had terrible experiences with some doctors who thoought I was just trying to obtain a script for a controlled substance so I could abuse it.

Well every med I've got other than my mood stabiliser, while not all controlled substances, are ones that I know frequently get abused out in society. Concerta, clonazepam, seroquel, imovane. I have not abused any of them once. I also did not abuse my ritalin/methylphenidate IR when I was trialled on that.

Some people with a substance abuse and/or addiction background need to step lightly with these kinds of things, but some of us actually do far better when properly treated. I think a lot of my addictions have been attempts at self medication. When I get substance abuse urges now, I may also get self harm urges - to me this can mean a breakthrough episode. It means I am having symptoms my current medications are not covering, because usually I do not get these cravings.

Weed has been one of my hardest things to stamp out. For me it is not just the substance effects, it has a lot to do with the social culture. My huge episode back in 2011 did mean I restructered my social circles so that most of my former pot smoking friends are no longer people whom I associate with. But one of the many reasons I did it was because I suck at social interaction and it makes me anxious, so weed culture is kind of like this system I have decoded that helps me interface with other smokers. I am in the process of learning other systems, still, but it's hard.

I think it's entirely possible to be addicted to weed, I was. I used to smoke heavily, several times in a day, every day. I now indulge maybe once a. Motn (if that) by choice, not counting if I cave in during an incoming mood episode. I'm completely open with my doctors about it. I try to rely on feedback from them, my opinion of my experience, feedback from friends, from peers, etc. I like to take it all into consideration. Some people would tell you that any use equals an addiction. My gdoc doesn't like that I still sometimes smoke weed, she gets concerned about risk of psychosis arising, or else risk of my triggering a mood episode. I still tell her though, and I tell my pdoc. I'm hoping to stop even my occasional use, but for me these things take time.

I can't tell you if you are an addict. I certainly can't give you my opinion on your weed use without more information. How frequently do you smoke? Is it alleviating something that perhaps a medication (dose, addition, change, etc.) could help instead? I'm on my cellphone currently so I can't see sig files or much in the bios - do you have another Dx like I have BP that could be flaring up right now and thereby you are self medicating with weed? When I had a breakthrough hypomania in March, it took me a while to realise I had been smoking weed frequently, and that I was experiencing other red-flag symptoms (once I did realise this, I told my poc about everything right away.)

Being brutally honest with yourself is necessary. It might help to keep a record of how frequently you use things like certain meds or weed - like, date, why you took it (pre-emptive stuff is a valid reason to write down,) etc. See if you notice any patterns. I used to get anxious about taking my clonazepam when I was anxious, because I was so used to the 'be anxious, smoke weed' pattern of escapism/self medication. I would wonder if I'm truly anxious enough to need my medication or if I was just looking for an excuse to abuse my meds. I have worked hard at learning to identify my anxious thought patterns, which those often were, and accepting that usually such anxiety means yes I need my med. I trust my doctors enough to let me know if I'm taking them too often or something - which again may not be an addiction but perhaps a sign of not getting quite enough treatment for my issue. Some people really do need a sleep pill every night. In fact I should probably use mine more often.

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i can't tell you for sure either.  but the idea of depending on the opinion of others can be both useful and/or malarky.  my pot use comes and goes, usually depending on where i am in a cycle.  i'm always honest with my care providers.  because i'm honest, i've been told everything from "you're a drug addict and need rehab" to "meh, you're aware enough to know when you're causing yourself problems" by doctors and therapists. 

 

i have a personal comfort level with weed.  if i'm smoking and i don't really want to (it's not really an enjoyable experience), something needs fixing med-wise.  if i'm smoking just because i feel like it, then i'm really no different from someone who likes a glass of wine or two with dinner.  but that's me.

 

a better judge would be my husband or close friends.  if they mention that i'm smoking a lot, then it's time for me to back off and tell my pdoc.  they don't hold any preconceived notions about weed and mental illness, they just see that i'm escaping something.  they have nothing invested in how much i smoke or don't, they just wonder if i'm okay.  i trust that more than i trust most pdocs.  thankfully mine seems to agree with my preference for keeping track of my own use and speaking up when i'm smoking symptoms away.

 

do you have anyone in your life that would say that?  lots of times our smoker friends won't ever see any use as a problem (some even consider it a solution), but there might be other people in your life that could see whether or not bad things seem to be going on with you with or without weed.  judgement of weed smoking shouldn't be the issue, it should be whether or not you're coping okay even without it.

 

but that's my two cents from a long time smoker who used to smoke a lot, and now can take it or leave it unless i'm really nuts and don't care.

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Yeah agreed on other smokers, many whom never see use as a problem. I find in a lot of weed culture the actual risks and similar are downplayed.

I personally do view it similarly to having a glass of wine with dinner, in the right circumstances. For me personally I am moving toward stopping entirely for my own reasons... but I'm okay having a beer with dinner once or twice a month. Just me though.

I have a large amount of trust and respect for my pdoc and gdoc. They do not tell me that any use is an addiction. My gdoc is genuinely concerned about specific risks. Both of them respect my self-awareness, brutal self honesty, and insight.

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i couldnn't tell you if you are an addict i know i have ran out of benzo's early for two reason my x would take them and he stressed me out so much i over took them...i did have a problem with pain meds never much of weed fan but thats me.if your not driving highor anything it does seem like a glass of wine my 19 year old daughter recently told me she smokes sometimes i knew she drank am i happy about this certainly not i hate it but again thats me....oh and now that i've split from my husband i no longer run out of benzos early...

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I had an issue with benzos...I imagine that I will always, so I stay far away. Urged by my therapist and pdoc, I went to AA for a little bit because they thought I had a drinking problem. At the time, yea..it was a bit of an issue. But as I got deeper into AA, they made me feel like I was this hardcore alcoholic who had done terrible things while I was drunk, and that I had no hope of ever "fully recovering" and that I needed to find new friends, and even that it was my "alcoholism" making me have MI issues, so I should stop my meds now that I'm with the AA program essentially. I spent about 3 or so solid months in AA, met really cool people, but it just wasn't working. I stopped drinking on 5/27/12, but had a few drinks when I graduated college and my friends came to visit on 5/18/13. It made me feel like horrible shit the next day, and took very little before I was unintentionally wasted. I don't feel that need/want to drink anymore. I'm confident that I can have one (any more and I feel it the next morning) glass of whatever, and be fine. Do I believe I was some hardcore alcoholic? No. Did I have an issue with self-medication? Yes. I now know that if I'm wanting alcohol or benzos (well, I haven't had the urge to drink my sorrows away in the past year +, it's the benzo urges I have to really watch out for, that can mean REALLY bad things), it's time to figure out what's going on and see my pdoc or therapist.

 

No one can tell you if you're a drug addict. Sometimes we need an outside opinion because we're too far down, or in denial, or whatever. IME, I honestly don't think I had the problem that AA was leading me to believe I had.

 

I can't give you advice on when to ask for help, or how much weed is too much weed, or anything like that, but I'm 100% behind being honest with your pdoc about whatever you're taking/smoking/etc. I messed up and didn't share my benzo abuse with pdoc and he almost fired my dumb ass as a patient. Now I'm really up front about this stuff, especially with my new pdoc (other one moved on to a new job).

 

Sorry if I've been completely unhelpful, I just kinda know how you feel!

 

Edited to add a couple more sentences/clarify.

Edited by forgetmenot220
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  • 1 month later...

I don't know you well enough to judge whether you have a substance abuse problem or not. Addiction or addictive behaviors vary a lot from person to person in quantity and frequency. 

 

Some key warning signs of addiction are withdrawal, cravings, anticipation, obsessive thoughts pertaining to the drug, cancelling plans or activities, irritability or mood changes when the drug is not available and building a tolerance. 

 

I worry sometimes that I have an alcohol problem. 

 

I don't have withdrawal. I can go a month without drinking if I decide to and I don't have cravings for it. I have gotten drunk alone. I do normally drink too much when I go out with friends. I was getting drunk 2-3 times a week for a bit.

 

After discussing this with my therapist we concluded I abuse it to self-medicate my anxiety but I'm not an alcoholic. 

 

I hope I gave you some helpful guidance! I strongly suggest talking it out with a therapist or someone close to you if you are still concerned. 

Edited by skye
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