Therapist? Doctor? Stay Away!

Dear Readers,

I had planned to write another column in my Healthy Relationship series, but MORE unsolicited and disturbing information regarding some of Steamboat's finest drug dealers has come my way. In the past week, four more addicts attempting recovery have each told me about the drugs they were recently offered. I invite you to comment, to The Local or to me, personally.

If you are alcoholic or addict, any kind of addict: alcohol, drugs, food, restricting food, sex, gambling, etc. and in early recovery, consider staying away from therapists and doctors, at least until you are solid enough in your decision to be drug free to resist the offer of more drugs. Early recovery is a strange time: you are learning to live clean and sober. What a concept! If you go to see a therapist and/or doctor, there is a good chance they will prescribe (or send you to their prescribing supervisor, read: drug pusher) a mind altering drug. The prescriber will most likely try to give you a script for a drug you have abused or will abuse. You already feel crazy because you are trying to do life in an entirely bizarre way for you, i.e. without drugs; having some "professional" give you an additional diagnosis will only add to that. Your therapist does not understand your thoughts and feelings, because she has never been in the situation you are now in and wants to label you with a diagnosis other than simply "addict" for her needs, not yours. If either therapist or supervisor is trying to give you drugs...whew! Now that IS crazy! Take whatever they want to put you on and you will be off and running into your addiction again...and back to feeling temporarily "normal" (read: high) as the disease of addiction goes back to eating your life. It is not true that all addicts are dual diagnosis and need medication...the opposite...most addicts are just addicts, and addicts need OFF OF MEDICATION/DRUGS.

The Narcotics Anonymous joke goes, "My Psychiatrist says I can live a normal life on medication as soon as I get off of these drugs." This statement is profound, an illustration of what the medical and therapy world thinks is the solution for addiction: more drugs. They, the doctors and therapists, are wrong and as long as they stay stuck in this archaic thinking, they are an enormous part of the problem.

There is no medical diagnosis of "Xanax, Addaral or Ultram deficiency".

Addaral is similar to Methamphetamine and is regularly sold on the streets to addicts who snort it. Listen prescribers: addicts snort it, like cocaine and other speed, and there is plenty around, thanks to your scripts. Xanax is similar to alcohol and is used by addicts to enhance other drugs and to come down at the end of a run (hours or days of constant using and staying high, not a trail run). Ultram is mind altering and addictive, in many ways comparable to poor quality heroin and the detox is very difficult.

In contrast, there are hundreds of thousands of recovering addicts all over the world who are drug free. They have escaped from the mentality that everyone needs a prescribing doctor, and are emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy without medication! Imagine that! They are surviving without scripts to refill every 30 days, "oops, lost that last 10 days worth, doctor, could you refill early for me, just one more time?"

What if the prescriber (drug dealer with a medical license to cover his butt while he hands out stuff to keep you addicted) says, "but you have an anxiety disorder" or "ADD" or "Obsessive compulsive disease" or "bipolar", just four of their favorite labels for addicts in early recovery? Well, who wouldn't be anxious, depressed, obsessed, up and down and distracted when coming into the clean and sober world for the first time? You, my addict friend, have been using drugs, mind altering drugs for years, probably for most of your adult life and part of your childhood! Of course you are anxious and all of the above. Life is scary, anxiety provoking, distracting and up and down. That's life. You do not need more drugs to get through life! You need other addicts who are now clean and can show you how to get and stay drug free. Find them in NA meetings.

NOTE: I am not talking about legitimate diagnoses of schizophrenia or other psychoses, just about the softer diagnoses that are excuses for prescribing and using drugs. Nor am I talking about Penicillin, Tylenol, or even antidepressants. Want to know if a drug is mind altering? If you can: 1. get high on it and 2. sell it on the streets, it is.

Here is the deal: Your job as a recovering addict is to allow your own brain chemistry to equilibrate so we know what you look like off of drugs. Only then can anyone begin to make an accurate diagnosis other than addict. The truth is that we do not know if you have one or more of the above four diagnoses, something else, or are just a garden variety addict, trying to get well from the disease of addiction. And, guess what, there is no way to find out if you continue to go from one drug to another with no time off to see what you really do look like. You have to be drug free long enough for some of your neurochemistry to move towards normal. Addiction specialists suggest at least 6 months off of drugs to see who you are. Yes, there are studies showing that brain function continues to recover for up to 12 months after the last use, particularly of prescription drugs, especially benzos (Xanax, Valium, Librium, etc.) Psychiatrists and most other doctors don't want you to go 6 hours without using something. See the difference? If you are crazy, go to a Psychiatrist. If you are just trying to get something legal to get high, go to almost any doctor, especially in Steamboat. The Emergency Room is a great place to begin. If you are an addict wanting recovery, stay away! Go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings. This is where clean addicts are hanging out, not in therapist's offices. If you have an emergency, buy a band aid.

You can switch from illegal to legal drugs and justify using or you can get clean. (Give this article to your doctor dealer and invite him or her to call me if he wants more information). Hopefully he will be pissed enough to look at his own behavior and learn from addicts who are truly in recovery: drug free, folks, not switching from drinking, snorting or shooting to eating pills all day and twice as many at night and weekends! We call this changing seats on the Titanic. Get it?

Dr. Dawn Obrecht is the only MD addiction medicine specialist on the western slope of Colorado. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and her office is in Steamboat Springs. She teaches a communication course to medical students at the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver info@docdawn.com.


 

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