Advise on Depression and Alcoholism

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/12/2012 8:24 AM (GMT -6)   



Looking for a little guidance here…...  I am at the beginning of an intervention process with a family member (my sister) who is suffering from depression and has also been increasingly abusing alcohol.  Let me start with a little background:


My sister is about 60, formerly had a successful career in a media related field and about 4 years ago was RIFed from her job.  She took this very hard and combined with the fact that she was in a bad marriage to an alcoholic (who she separated from about a year ago), the results have caused her to slide down a very slippery slope.  She became increasingly bitter, withdrawn and depressed over the last 4 years, much more than I realized till a recent visit with her over the holidays.  She also began to self medicate with Alcohol much more than I had realized over this period of time, to the point that I believe that it has begun to control her life.  I just learned recently that she has been on Paxcil (I think for a few years) and it was prescribed by her Gynecologist for mood swings related to the onset of menopause.  She has increased her alcohol consumption over time while taking the Paxil.  My sister is in a situation that she needs to work (for financial reason) and has rejected any idea of going back into the Media Related filed that was her career (which I get, I guess).  In the past few years my sister has bounced from job to job, never really sticking with anything in a serious way and recently walked out abruptly on a job, quitting with no idea of what she would do next to support herself.  I find her now in a complete funk, seemingly with “no idea of what I want to do” and not dealing rationally with the reality that she is suffering from depression, seriously self medicating with alcohol (while on Paxil) and in need of finding a means to support herself or she will end up with no roof over her head.  In conversations recently with some of her close friends, who are also very converned, I also discovered other patterns of behavior that are totally counter to her very nature and have involved taking advantage of others financially, lying about actions and other activities that she would never have considered during her younger, healthier and productive past.


In my opinion my sister is in need of immediate help or the condition and consequences will only continue to worsen.  My struggle is that while I have begun to research Depression, Alcohol Abuse and the dangerous effects of mixing ant-depressants with alcohol over an extended period of time, I find myself very unprepared to effectively help her, help herself.  From those of you on this Forum, I would ask you for advise/comments on where to start, what to look for, things to consider and generally your coaching as I begin this process of intervention with my sister.  I am looking for an will value opinions from those of you that may be in the business of dealing with such conditions, but also those of you that have perhaps on through these types of trials and situations yourself.


Thanks in advance for your help and perspectives!

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 2/12/2012 9:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Max,

I had a little trouble reading your post as it is so small, the print that is. But I must say alcohol is a depressant. The more she drinks, the more depressed she is going to be. Many antidepressants don't work or will work strangly when people continue to drink. Otherwise they could have dire results. They don't mix well. So yes, an intervention is probably what she needs. I hope she quits drinking. It really is making her worse.

There will be others to respond, I am sure that you will get pretty much the same answers as I gave. I hope you can help her. Please keep posting, maybe you could make your print larger.

Take care, and welcome to the forum.

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

It's Genetic
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1540
   Posted 2/12/2012 3:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello, Max, and welcome to the Depression Forum,

My understanding of alcoholism is that the alcoholic may not be willing to get help until he/she reaches the point of complete defeat and accepts the fact that she is unable to control her drinking. That's when one often tries to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in an effort to have some guidance in controlling the illness, giving one's will over to a Higher Power for guidance.(The spiritual life becomes extremely important in remission for Alcoholics Anonymous members; it serves as a guide for all their rehabilitation and abstinence from alcohol for the rest of their lives.) 
Alcoholism cannot be cured; it can go into remission only if the patient does not touch alcohol.  Doctors now believe that alcoholism may be considered a severe allergy.  As in all allergies, one must stay away from the substance to which one is sensitive in order to have symptoms relieved.

Your route to follow might be to persuade her to see a psychiatrist or her personal physician at least to try one of the newer medications on the market which make drinking alcohol very distasteful to the alcoholic. Then, if she is willing, proceed with intervention.

She is damaging her brain by drinking, as I'm sure she already knows.

Your help is going to be invaluable, but at the same time, you must understand that an alcoholic may refuse any effort on your part to assist until the drinker is ready to accept the fact that she can't do that and that she has no control over her ability to stop.

First things first, however. Get her in to see a physician if possible; if that doesn't work, call Alcoholics Anonymous and see if they will send some people over to talk to your sister. And if that doesn't work, try the intervention.

You must not assume that you are a failure if none of these things work. She may be one who must reach the point of helplessness before seeking help.

Take care of yourself; she is very fortunate to have you so concerned and interested in helping. I hope you will be blessed for that.

P.S. Three sources for very helpful reading regarding character and
the remission of the illness in the alcoholic are the following:
1. The Hazeldon Foundation's work Called "Alcoholics Anonymous".
(The original book is no longer in publication; this is a new version
and very interesting.)
2. Paperback published by Hazeldon Foundation: "Keep It Simple".
3. Paperback by Dr.Tian Dayton called "Forgivng and Moving On". 
(Selected daily readings for "powerful inspiration for personal change".)

Post Edited (It's Genetic) : 2/14/2012 7:25:12 PM (GMT-7)

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20282
   Posted 2/13/2012 6:28 AM (GMT -6)   
mixing alcohol and medication is very dangerous, with compassion, jamie



New Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/13/2012 9:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks to those of you who replied to my post.  I really value the input and am now trying to appeal to my sister to seek the right professional help (Counciling, Medical and AA) that can truley help her help herself.  I know enough about this to believe that until she really believes that she must get help and pursues it of her own volition, that this situation will continue and likley worsen.
Thanks again!
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