Guess what the best, Harvard educated minds gave me to solve my problem with drugs? Drugs. Yes, I’m aware that such advice sounds like a ridiculous joke. And yes, the best and brightest of an entire medical community know little more than nothing about addiction and treating addiction. Doctors and psychiatrists think that addiction is purely a bio-chemical issue. They also think that addiction should be part of a dual-diagnosis (hoax), sitting beside some mental illness. The truth is they haven’t the faintest clue how to treat your addiction, so they just treat you for mental illness (and usually fail at that as well, especially since much of it is induced by the substance use).
Take some of the drugs I’ve been offered just for the drug-related portion of my problem: methadone, suboxone, ativan.
Methadone and suboxone are opiates, like heroin or oxycontin. The argument is that at least you’re not buying dope off the street and we can ween you off in a clinical setting. So the solution is to remain an absolute junkhead, but hey, at least it’s prescribed… and after years of methadone ‘maintenance’, I can try to ween myself off it once the withdrawal effects have become so bad that I’d rather just kill myself or shoot dope again.
I was given Ativan to calm down and sleep at night, and it took all of a week to become a full blown benzo addict. Benzodiazepines such as valium, ativan, xanax and klonopin are the modern equivalent of barbituates. They have replaced old-school barbiturate tranquilizers because they don’t depress respiratory functioning. Why is this important? Because they pass these things out like Skittles. Everybody with anxiety has xanax in their pocketbook. But doctors assume that people with anxiety also drink alcohol, and if you were to drink on a barbiturate, it could just stop your breathing altogether, especially once you pass out.
Now for the psychotropics. When I worked at an alternative recovery high school, many of the kids were on some combination of hardcore psychotropics. Seroquel was as common as cell phones. Very popular. But there are also mood-stabilzers like depakote, anti-pyschotics like zyprexa, and of course a slew of SSRIs and MAO-Inhibiters, commonly known as anti-depressants. These are powerful bio-chemical drugs that literally rewire your brain. The end result is that I become nothing short of a zombie – emotionally, psychologically, creatively etc. After years of use, you need to embark on a recovery program just from the physical and psychological effects of the drugs you took to help yourself. Plus there’s a good chance you may have irreparable brain damage. And remember, these were the drugs that were supposed to help you with the other drug problem you had.
Finally, many of the kids were on stimulants for ADD or ADHD, such as ritalin and adderall. Pumping kids or addicts (or anybody) with speed is one of the dumbest things a doctor or parent can do. You might as well just give them cocaine or crack. Long term, consistent use of these drugs, as well as seroquel and other anti-psychotics, can lead to permanent brain damage. Seroquel et al can cause Tardive Diskenisia, an irreversible neurological disorder that includes such permanent symptoms as tongue protrusion, grimacing, rapid eye blinking, lip smacking, rapid arm movement and other involuntary movements. Try going to a job interview and sticking out your tongue at the interviewer about a hundred times uncontrollably. Great solution.
So that is what one of the best psychiatric medical teams in the country had to offer me. Or I could have just been treated for my alcoholism. Is it any wonder they don’t prescribe a spiritual program of action that may work wonders but offers no financial incentive???
God, make me willing to take action to get better, and give me the power and the strength to act without more drugs…