Someone asked a great question in the comments on my last post – “What made the difference this time?” I’ve thought a lot about that, and it was many things. I’ll write about that in the next few posts.
Finally Acknowledging the Real Problem (Is it ADHD? Depression? Anxiety? Or is it all that wine I’m drinking ….)
Last April, I went to a “holistic psychiatrist” – a doctor who could prescribe medication for mood disorders, but would also look at natural solutions. I felt like I was going crazy, feeling all stressed out and unable to focus and complete routine tasks in my life. I wanted to try Wellbutrin, an antidepressant. I had heard it helps some people cut down on drinking. I thought that would be a great way to feel better AND keep drinking! I tried it and hated it. It made me crabby. My doctor did a whole battery of blood and stool tests and found some nutritional deficiencies. (I am now taking the following supplements: Vitamin D, Stress Arrest, Methl Protect, Tranquil Sleep, Fish Oil and a probiotic. I was also taking 5-HTP for awhile.)
I was diagnosed with adult ADHD and tried several stimulant medications, including Vyvance, Ritalin and Quillivant (a long release form of Ritalin.) I had varying success with different meds and doses, but I felt jittery and getting the prescriptions filled was very difficult. Stimulant medications are Schedule 2 Controlled Substances, so I had to pay for a doctors visit every month to get a new, handwritten prescription. The pharmacy never seemed to have what I needed in stock and the meds were VERY expensive (over $200 a month) with my bare bones, self employed insurance.
After months of this, I felt like I was beating my head against a wall. I was still drinking and couldn’t tell if the meds were helping or not. I couldn’t tell if they were making me jittery or if hangovers or coffee were making me jittery. I finally had this huge realization that I was trying to treat EVERYTHING but the real problem, my drinking. Even if I did have ADHD, how could I know what was helping if I was still drinking too much and feeling horrible all day?
So last October, I went to my doctor and said “Its time to shoot the elephant in the room. I have to stop drinking.” I decided to quit drinking and stop taking all medication to start over from scratch. I realized that was the only way know what what was really happening in my body and my mind.
I was worried about sleeping, so we made one exception – my doctor prescribed Ambien for sleep. She said she didn’t want me to worry about sleep at all, that staying sober was enough to worry about at first. I quit Ambien on my own after 2 months.
Now I am only taking natural supplements, no drugs of any kind. I think I do have ADHD, but I am managing it without medication for now. Without the added problem of feeling hungover all the time, I don’t think I need medication. I like the feeling of not needing anything (well, except caffeine … I do love my coffee!)
Next Up ….. What Made the Difference This Time (Part 2 – Understanding Brain Chemistry)