Self medicating

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Self medicating
« on: September 11, 2014, 04:41:49 PM »
So, I have brought this topic up before.  It's apparently very common with those with PTSD - a reliance on alcohol or other drugs.  I was reading Judith Hermann's book on Trauma, and she mentions the two most common ways of managing the PTSD is alcohol and opiates.  And that is a very specific list, because they are both substances that take away the pain and allow for numbing.

I have had my troubles with alcohol since age 14.  In the last decade, I've had my issues with opiates.  For the most part, both of those addictions are under control because I've learned to numb/freeze without the help of a substance. 

I've had a couple of relapses on alcohol recently.  I wonder if it's because I am hitting so many raw nerves as I go through my trauma history?  The emotion is too strong and I can't numb the way I want without help.

All the PTSD literature mentions substance abuse quite a bit, but I find that I don't find that on the forums.  Maybe you all are stronger than me?  I would have to say that opiates are the freaking cure to PTSD, but unfortunately they are very addictive and not sustainable long term.  I've also read some research about using ketamin and hallucinogenics for PTST cure.  But that's a long time in coming, based on the stigma associated with them. 

Just curious - does anyone else have this problem?  Is it really part of the CPTSD like I think, or another issue?

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Badmemories

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2014, 05:50:00 PM »
When I get stressed out I smoke pot. It helps with My arthritis pain and settles me down. I was reading somewhere on one of the links that said Pot was Good for People with CPTSD. I have really been trying to quit that though! I have quit for long periods of time and I do not really crave it mentally or physically...I just think IT IS PRETTY FUNNY FOR A 60 YR old grandma to be doing such juvenile things!!! ;D ;D ::) :-[

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keepfighting

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2014, 06:20:29 PM »
I comfort eat and I was once addicted to painkillers. Ate them like candy.

Most of the time I eat well nowadays, but when triggered it's still my first line of 'defence'.

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globetrotter

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2014, 07:31:42 PM »
I've had a few battles with alcohol, and both of my parents were alcoholics so I have to be vigilant about how I use it. In my youth I was a wild child with blackouts and obnoxious behavior, even a head on collision from drunken driving Fortunately, I was the only one hurt.
I'm finally facing the fact that my reliance is a way of dealing with social anxiety, as it makes the fear go away and I become the comedienne. I agree that it's not necessary, and after Thanksgiving of last year, I quit for six months. I didn't tell my friends that occasionally when I go out with my SO for a nice dinner, I will have ONE GLASS, because as ridiculous as it sounds, I'm still influenced by peer pressure - but try to remind myself "if you have a problem with me not drinking, maybe youre the one with the drinking problem". They think I quit in an effort to lose weight and have quite bugging me.

Anyway, I find smoking pot is a great way of taking the edge off without getting sh&tfaced, but I dont do that very often either. I went to a dance club several months ago, then went out to the parking lot and had one hit, felt much more comfortable, the edge and anxiety were gone.

I am not sure how one can draw the line between "healthy" use and addiction. The rule for booze has always been not how much, but why. I don't think once a quarter makes you an addict, so that's probably not entirely accurate, either...

Rambling...

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globetrotter

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2014, 03:23:19 AM »

Re: Self medicating
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2014, 11:50:23 AM »
MJ has never been my thing, and I have no idea how to find it.  My state is in the process of trying to legalize it medicinally, and  I can't believe I wouldn't qualify.  From what I understand, when it is controlled in a medicated process, there are different strands that might work better for me.

Today I have to give up the drinking.  It's gone on 3 days now, and once this supply is out, I need to stop. 

GT, I'll check out the article.  My T is aware of all this, and her first question to me is usually "how is the drinking?" 

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globetrotter

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2014, 08:05:48 PM »

Good luck to you!! One thing that helps me is to consider it as part of a bigger health program (fitness training, dieting, etc.) because it really is a bunch of empty calories. Plus it's great not waking up with a hangover.


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pam

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2014, 10:54:08 PM »
I like alcohol. I am 46 and basically haven't drank for the last 20 yrs. But this summer I wanted to go to my first real rock concert (Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company) and decided I would drink to loosen myself up. I got sick of missing out on all kinds of good things in life, was desperate, so I drank. And it worked!

I have used Xanax in the past but sometimes it doesn't even work, sometimes it knocks me out. Not very reliable or predictable. But alcohol works better, more controllable as far as 'dosage.". I don't drink that much at once tho. My anxiety + a drink or 2 = "normal me" which is better than "panicked, crying, can't do crap me." :)

Marijuana didn't affect me the one time I tried it.

Overeating is an unhealthy coping mechanism I have used too. (on a diet now to lose what I gained)

When being told to take antidepressants or antianxiety drugs, I was told by drs, "Oh it's just like having a glass of wine." Well, I'd rather have the wine! (Paxil made me lethargic and gained 30 lbs, besides not even working for my depression at the time)

I think substance use is just a way to cope. Anyone with pain or anxiety could use it. And some of them could become addicted. I just think if it becomes unhealthy, then there's a problem and the person should try some other way to cope. Maybe it depends on why a person is using the drug--as an aid to get better, or as an escape?
 

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Butterfly

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2014, 06:35:22 PM »
Herbs calm my nerves and help me relax. Still there's nothing like a glass of wine to unwind but only keep a small amount on hand. Sometimes I fall into a pattern of having a second glass so if it becomes a problem it runs out. If I have to drag myself to the store it's at least a couple days to get to more. Control by force? Ration? Not sure what to call it but that's my method.

And chocolate. :)

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Kizzie

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2014, 06:49:29 PM »
I attached a simple little worksheet about Self-Soothing I found at the Australian web site Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse"  and thought it might be relevant here.  I've also posted it in the Recovery Toolbox. 

I got really caught up in drinking last year as I've mentioned in other posts and crashed hard unfortunately, a good example of what not to do to soothe yourself.  I don't go to AA, but I do see an addictions counsellor every 3 weeks or so just to check in.  I don't have any cravings thankfully, but I do wonder if I have a big EF if I would put back a few to numb myself so seeing my AC helps.  I think I might as it's hard to get through those big EFs. I don't have any booze in the house any more so it's not as easy to turn to it.  I haven't had a big EF so so far it's going well.

I was growing some pot too as we moved to a very tolerant province in Canada, but I am a lousy gardener and my crop (3 spindly, sickly plants) failed so I gave up on that.

I don't like the idea of not being able to numb myself when I want/need to,  but I am concerned that if I do I will impede my recovery so time to find some healthier ways of self-soothing.  Junk food is a big one for me, probably harder to give up than booze!  C h o c o l a t e - I hear you Butterfly  ;D

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Kizzie

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 06:24:37 PM »
Hi Folks - I've split this thread and moved the posts about self-soothing to the thread "Self-Soothing Your Inner Child" in the Recovery Forum. 
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 06:27:35 PM by Kizzie »

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Butterfly

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2014, 11:46:00 PM »
Thank you!

Re: Self medicating
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2014, 12:03:22 AM »
I haven't ever been drunk or used drugs.  I tried to get drunk in high school but I didn't like the taste of alcohol, and the one time I drank enough that I could start to feel an effect, I got scared and stopped.  Though at that point I only wanted to drink to try to lose my "good nerdy girl" status.  It wasn't until I started T that I wanted to get drunk just to get drunk.  So now I can fully understand why people drink and get addicted to it. 

I do comfort eat, but I think my fear of being overweight like BPDm keeps me in check enough that I'm not technically overweight.  Now that I am less numb and feeling more of the pain from childhood, I'm not motivated to eat a super healthy diet.  I also use caffeine as a mild antidepressant, though I try to skip it several days in a row so I don't get addicted (I hate going through caffeine withdrawal).

IIRC, EO, you posted something from the same book that said people who don't learn to numb themselves for whatever reason turn to substances, and I guess I learned to be emotionally numb, to retreat into a fantasy world and to distract myself with things.

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Butterfly

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2014, 12:40:17 AM »
FMV yes fantasy. Games. Especially cute little calming games. My little world. Earlier this year spent nearly very spare hour home playing games or else reading. My favorite escapes.

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bee

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Re: Self medicating
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2014, 09:50:05 PM »
For me it's always been sugar. I used to do a lot of cardio as well. I got a good runners high from it. But since learning that I have adrenal fatigue, that's off the table for now. That means the sugar becomes a problem as well, no way to burn it off. I've stayed off sugar for as long as two years in the past. Just stopped sugar again recently, gained 20 lbs this year, but have nothing to replace it with.

I'm too afraid of prescription pharmaceuticals, so those are not an option. I've never been able to do drugs as I'm terrified of being out of control of my self. Don't even like taking pain meds when I have dental work done. I always knew if I ever ended up addicted to anything that there would be no-one there to help me. So I just stayed away. I like having 1-2 beers if I am alone with my H. I find that it can help me relax for 2-3 hours. But, drinking often affects my sleep, so it's not a great tradeoff.

I'm contemplating high CBD MJ. CBD alleviates anxiety, while THC can induce a panic attack. If the THC is low enough, then there shouldn't be a high, just a reduction in pain and anxiety. It's medically legal here, although not for anxiety, I do have ongoing pain, so I could maybe get an ok under that. My research so far shows that trauma affects cannaboid receptors in the brain, and taking CBD can help alleviate the affects of that. However, there is a chance of getting dependent on it. As in when you use it a lot, for years and years, when you stop using it you might have more anxiety. This is just research on-line, not substantiated. I've never even smoked a cigarette, so I find it odd that I'm contemplating this, but I'm getting desperate for some relief. I've even talked to my T about it, and she supports the idea. I'm too afraid of prescription pharmaceuticals, so those are not an option.

I also play games and read. When my brain is being really loud I watch TV and play games like Candy Mania at the same time.