Connection between mood disorders

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    and substance abuse-

    Is it that substance abuse causes mood disorders in families or is it that substance abusers sometimes are self-medicating a pre-existing mood disorder? Or is it some other connection?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It's that people with chronic mood disorders self-medicate to feel better. Often alcohlics and drug addicts started because of underlying depression and/or bipolar. They end up feeling worse in the end, but many just can't bring themselves to get help using standard medications or don't want to admit they have a problem or don't think anything will work better than the illicit drugs they try.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with MWM. I am convinced that several people I know who swear that they "just use pot a lot" are really addicted -at least psychologically- and they are covering up some sort of mood disorder. There is this one guy in particular that I know spends a ton of money on pot that could well go towards supporting his family. Instead they live in damn near poverty in a tiny trailer so he can have his pot. He also acts bipolar to me. Oh well...nothing I can do. He wont hear it. He is the first person to put Cory down
  4. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Well.........I guess it could be both KLMNO. I was married to a guy who was self medicating out the wazoo.....and bi-polar.........who knows which came first, however. I know that many people self medicate, "to stay sane". But I also know a lot of drug addicts become "insane" once they start using. I guess it could go both ways. I guess the decisive factor is - what is the motivator for starting to use - and almost always it is to alter the mood of the person.

    Janet, I know people who are addicted to pot as well, although the medical community denies it can be addictive - I disagree. I think it is psychologically addictive. It makes someone feel better, and they become addicted to that "feeling" - just like any other drug. It is just that some drugs also become physically addicting.

    KLMNO I hope this thread was not started because difficult child started using?
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, All! No, WW, Thank God there are no signs so far of substance abuse in difficult child. I asked because of family history- on both sides of my parents family trees. You know the type- the family members who think it's ok to to stay plastered but it's not ok to go to therapy? It is hard for me to accept that difficult child has to be on medications, at least right now if not for the rest of his life, but it does help to think that it is better to be on prescribed medications for a specific problem than to be out looking for a way to self- medicate.

    Of course, I'm aware that the chances are he'll have his interests in exploring drugs/alcohol at some point in the next few years. His best friend right now seems to be pretty level headed (he has a mean Mom too!) so I can only hope that he explores and walks away- or at least, learns moderation.
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I agree with MWM and Janet.
    Self-medication with alcohol and drugs is a known problem for many people with mood disorders, and those on the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spectrum (including those with ADHD).

    I know that lots of teens "experiment" with drugs and alcohol and never get addicted, but I worry that even a single experiment might lead to disaster with my difficult child. If alcohol or drugs provide him with calm, stability or control in a way that feels better than his prescribed medications, even temporarily, then I worry that we'll lose him forever. He has such terrible impulse control problems and the maturity of a 6-year-old, and I just don't want to see it happen.

    Because difficult child lives in complete lockdown in Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/assisted living, it is easier for us to keep him away from drugs and alcohol than it would be if he were living at home and attending regular school.

    I just watched my sister in law kill herself from drinking. It would break me to see difficult child go down the same road. Honestly, that's one of my biggest fears for him.

  7. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I am not sure whether or not they are addicted, I think that goes person by person. I do believe that they are self medicating. husband used to drink quite heavily, and then quit after several duii's and several stints in jail. After he quit drinking is when the BiPolar (BP) symptoms flared up. He said before when he drank he did it to be around people as that was the only way he felt comfortable.

    It is dangerous to self medicate.
  8. tessaturtle

    tessaturtle New Member

    I agree with MWM also. In my line of work, the majority of parents on our cases who have a problem with substance abuse, end up being diagnosed as BiPolar. They are just self-medicating either because they don't take the medication they are prescribed or because they hadn't ever been diagnosed and didn't know they had a mental illness. Its sad really, because addiction is such a tough road to get off of, but its made even more difficult if you have an underlying mood disorder or mental illness that you are used to self medicating.