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Does successful treatment help addictions?


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This is sort of a double post, see my post here in the addiction forum, but I think it’s very much connected to whatever condition I have… most likely depression/cyclothymia, the “soft bipolar” symptoms (dysphoric hypomania only) seem to fit me.

 

Just wondering for those with addictive tendencies if treating bipolar/depression has helped at all? I constantly struggle with mild addictive issues and think my dep/bipolar issues at best make it harder to cope. I’m holding out hope that treating these (especially since dopamine seems to be an issue) will help with that constant craving for SOMETHING feeling…

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. See my sig but currently on Lamictal, Adderall and Abilify (low dose atm), which all seems to take the edge off my dep/anger/irritability… it’s still there though. And so are the cravings…

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what's the "thing" that gets in the way of your day? the depression, or the addictions? treat the underlying, and maybe the other will get better. find different ways to do things. go a different route. stay away from people who tempt you. get into therapy. talk to your pdoc about what's going on, and see if the depression is fueling the addiction as a "feel good mechanism" or is the frustration with the addictions bringing you down to depression? they could be comorbid. don't lose hope- there's help and hope out there.

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I think so. My only current addiction is smoking. I haven't had a cigarette for 21 days now. I think I was only able to stop because I was relatively stable. If I was depressed or manic I don't think I could have done it. I just don't care enough at those times.

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Chicken or the Egg ? 

 

I don't know. I know when I started sobering up is when I was literally unable to work and my symptoms flared up massively. They were much more apparent. 

 

I got clean and sober , and have been for a year and a half now, but still struggle with MH issues. 

 

It is not an easy journey to tackle, but if I can do it with the hell I am going through - you can too. I would highly recommend a combinatin to battle this.

 

 

1) AA/NA/ Some sort of self support Group - I never would of got sober without other people that "understood" 

2) A good counsleor

3) A good psych doc

4) Good General Doctor

5) Getting involved with NAMI (use this instead of AA/NA if you want) there are meetings around here for people with mood disorders on a weekly basis. I also attend a group called WRAP now as I have been working hard on my MH issues since about 6 months after I finally got sober.

 

If you ever want to talk on the phone or by some sort of Instant messenger drop me a PM. I understand. I won't always have answers but I know how hard it is when nobody understands. Sometimes just having people who understand and accept your problems as being real - is enough to get you through that day ... or hour ... or minute !

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P.S. I have found my mood episodes trigger cravings for drugs and alcohol in my sobriety now that I don't just use or drink every day out of habit - that might help answer your question better. Either way, you have to learn how to "not use when you want to" regardless of your desires. Which is hard. But doable. Or else I wouldn't be sober :)

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Chicken or the Egg ? 

 

I don't know. I know when I started sobering up is when I was literally unable to work and my symptoms flared up massively. They were much more apparent. 

 

I got clean and sober , and have been for a year and a half now, but still struggle with MH issues. 

 

It is not an easy journey to tackle, but if I can do it with the hell I am going through - you can too. I would highly recommend a combinatin to battle this.

 

 

1) AA/NA/ Some sort of self support Group - I never would of got sober without other people that "understood" 

2) A good counsleor

3) A good psych doc

4) Good General Doctor

5) Getting involved with NAMI (use this instead of AA/NA if you want) there are meetings around here for people with mood disorders on a weekly basis. I also attend a group called WRAP now as I have been working hard on my MH issues since about 6 months after I finally got sober.

 

If you ever want to talk on the phone or by some sort of Instant messenger drop me a PM. I understand. I won't always have answers but I know how hard it is when nobody understands. Sometimes just having people who understand and accept your problems as being real - is enough to get you through that day ... or hour ... or minute !

this is very good advice,OP.read it twice.

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I used to be a heavy drinker, no matter what my mood. I have been off work for 8 months due to poor concentration and repeatedly being fired for poor job preformance due to my bipolar episodes.

 

 

Since I have been off work I have no desire to drink. Amazing!

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Most of my addictive behaviour sprung from untreated BP, but also an inability to tolerate pain and urges. I had DBT therapy and learned to wait out my urges before we stabilised my moods. Maybe skills based or mindfulness therapy will help?

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Thank you everyone for all the replies! I want to address some of them specifically but I'm about to fall asleep so hopefully a bit later :)

 

I wanted to clarify what I was asking, although everything everyone's said has been helpful... I'm not so much wondering what helps keep you clean, etc. (although that's an issue, too), but more if the craving part ever goes away? As in... right now, I have an urge and I give in quickly... I've quit smoking before and I know that in a lot of ways the urge never goes away entirely, unfortunately. Sure, it gets less frequent and much easier, but always there. But you commit and get through it.

 

I guess that's where I worry about the "personality" thing... obviously not everyone responds to stress with a desire to medicate or get high, but that's basically my immediate response. I'm not sure if that's just ME, a learned coping skill, or my depression/BP. If it's one of the last two, I have some hope for therapy or medication! 

 

Still not sure if that makes sense I guess but maybe!

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I haven't quit long enough to be sure, but I believe that while the longing can last decades, reaching for a smoke as a self-medicating behaviour won't. I think that once you've quit for a while, the habits, cues and triggers fade to some degree. You will stop thinking of smoking as an option.

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No, the urges never leave entirely. 

 

They subside. You learn to deal with them. You learn VERY EFFECTIVE ways to manage them when they come. 

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY - They are not nearly as big of a deal as you gain sobriety. You react to them differently. When you get thru a bout of cravings, you are proud of yourself because you know you handled the situation properly. 

 

It does get easier with time - but only with time and dedication to staying clean and sober.

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Sometimes I wish there was a remote island I could go and live where there is no tobacco at all. Other ex smokers could come too. I don't like knowing how easy it would be to buy a pack if I chose to. I just want to have no access for a while. Is there rehab for smokers? If not, maybe there should be.

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If you have a disorder such as ADD or Bipolar that effects impulse control, your ability to resist urges will be stronger once that condition is treated.  The problem comes when you've made a habit of not resisting the urge and want to keep using even once treated.  

 

My experience has been that I'd most likely never have used, drank, whatever if I'd been treated as soon as I became symptomatic, but now that I'm treated, quitting is still a problem.

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While quitting various addictions has been easier for me since getting my bipolar (and ADHD and such) properly treated, it hasn't completely rid me of these tendencies and I have to tread carefully.  However yes I can say that successful treatment has had a clearly marked improvement on my issues with addiction.

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I have been sober (alcohol, drugs) for almost 4 years. For me, the first year was the roughest. It was much easier to treat my MI once I had stopped using. Also, I was stronger in my sobriety after having my MI treated. It definitely helped me stay sober (once the chemistry in my brain got closer to be being balanced by treating the addiction/getting the substances out of my system). But, I also was going to meetings, seeing a pdoc & a tdoc, and had a good support system set up to help me handle getting and remaining sober. Having a lot of tools in my toolbox made success easier.

In regards to cravings, my cravings have dissipated as time has gone on. I still think about using sometimes but now I "think through the drink" and realize it's not worth it. I could write more but will tie it up here. Here's a great site that helps with quitting smoking:

 

http://www.ashline.org/webquit-portal/

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when I get manic (which is seasonal and for a long period of time)... I often drink constantly, do a lot of cocaine and hallucinogens.  However, the behavior ceases when the mood wears off and I control the mood better so I had a hard time going somewhere and being treated like a junkie for things I did to prolong the mood high, which is better than any drug anyhow.

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