Antidepressants, valium and alcohol

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/7/2006 12:25 PM (GMT -7)   
This site has been invaluable; I've learned so much.  Thanks to all who write.  I'm so concerned about a family member's use of valium and liquor while on antidepressants.  She never seems to stablize and I'm wondering if the combination of it all is making the symptoms of bipolar worse.  She never seems to be on an even keel.  I can't remember a time when she was just OK. 
I always try to listen, support her and be there for her but I just told her that she can't come to my house and do the drugs and alcohol anymore because of the past experiences of drunken melt downs that scare the hell out of me but I would love to have her come for a visit if she's drug and alcohol free.  She won't speak to me now.  Did I do the wrong thing?

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 204
   Posted 2/7/2006 12:53 PM (GMT -7)   

Sistersister, I'm glad that you are able to write and ask questions and hope that someone on the forum might be able to give you some useful info. Speaking from personal experience - its tough enough to maintain the balancing act when you're only dealing with Bipolar. Everytime that you add another substance to the mix (caffeine, sugar, alcohol, etc.) it is a shock to the system and makes it that much tougher for a body to attempt equilibrium. I think that the tough love approach is important. Its the whole en-abler scenario and by being supportive in a postive way, it should help to ease her into finding a more healthy approach to dealing with life - not to say that she has to do it alone, but that your relationship is important and you can't allow her treat herself in such a way. She needs to realize that self medicating with all of the other stuff is a sign that there's something she needs to deal with and should seek professional help to figure out a better plan with proper treatment and/or medication

I hope that you are able to find some peace with your friend and hopefully by letting her know that you are speaking out of love, she can realize that you are concerned for her health and want to be a positive influence in her life.

Take care,

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 1061
   Posted 2/7/2006 6:08 PM (GMT -7)   
alchohol of itself is a depressant. So is not helpful particulaly during lows. It also disinhibits - so actions that are ill-considered may be acted upon in a moment under alcohol when wiser council would have intervened had the alcohol not been present. This posses a problem in the suicidal or manic. Add valium etc, and you increase this problem. On the other hand, there is another aspect to "drug abuse" in the context of Bipolar namely the issue of "self-medication". It is not unusual to have drug issues when bipolar disease is not effectively threated because sufferers may find momentary but ultimately counter-productive relief this way. In effect they are trying to medicate themselves. So, it very important to consider the use of drugs as an indicator that current threatment is failing and needs to be reviewed. There is also the need to consider what way to deal with issues of drug problems which coexist with Bipolar, and the word to the wise is that both require their normally appropriate threatment in parallel. Finally, with respect to whether your action was right, given my last statement on using the normal threatments of each condition, yes. It is important not to enable as Putter said. This is true regardless of her being Bipolar. The answer concerning her Bipolar is that she needs to have her medication reviewed in light of the fact that she is doing drugs. One parting point, if she was abusing when diagnosed it may interfer with the diagnosis unless the doctor was fully aware, and it would still be appropriate to review the diagnosis considering the confounding nature of the drugs. All you can do is to encourage those dealing with her or to encourage her [should the opportunity arise] to get both issues dealth with. She may be more inclinded at first to deal with the moods than the drugs - that's ok, just inform the professionals involved of the other problem so that they can work on getting that dealth with too.

Best of luck


New Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/8/2006 10:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Putter and SMSRIL:  Thank you!!!  YOU ARE THE BEST!
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