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Featured Self-medicating and autism.

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Major Tom, Feb 11, 2020.

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  1. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    Exercise is good medicine, I try and split wood daily. I'm glad you are living more healthily now! Keep it up.

    I quit my addictions cold turkey and it was a nightmare. With proper counseling and a support system perhaps things would have been easier. I'm still working on quitting cigarettes, but it's hard when every day you crave something like amphetamines.
     
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  2. VAW

    VAW Active Member

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    Wow that was interesting! I have dabbled some but none of the hard stuff really, I had a cousin who was on heroin for a while and another cousin who would do any drugs around, who is now in a nursing home getting his prescription drugs after being homeless and stealing from everyone. MY uncle loved LSD and did that quite often... I grew up in the 60's and 70's so yea drugs were big in my day. Everyone was doing them, Kids in 3rd grade were selling them. I did acid a few times but never had a "trip" on it. I remember once after doing some I laughed at everything, couldn't stop laughing after 8 hours of laughing my stomach muscles hurt so hard. lol I smoked weed quite a bit at 15 till about 17. Someone always had some. I never bought it, it was always around and people shared what they had. When I was 18 I worked as a bar waitress at this place called Nowhere... the music was deafeningly loud but the bands were good. I was only 18 and you had to be 19 to drink in Chicago but the owner said if anyone asks you just tell them you are 19.... well after we got off work we could go up to the big house and there were all kinds of drugs laid out for anyone to use. lines of coke, pills, liquor and you could even sleep in one of the beds there if you were too stoned. I found liquor was my drug, I was very shy and after drinking I found out I could talk to anyone, so I preferred that. Mostly while partying, I was never a closet drinker. But I partied A LOT back then. After a while I started to think, why can I be so outgoing with liquor and not by myself? SO I quit drinking, wasn't fun anymore and the hangovers were killing me. I thought if I can do it with liquor than it is in me to do it without too. I pretty much stopped doing everything, maybe went out with friends occasionally to have a few drinks. Altho I wasn't really big on drugs, I did some but mostly hung out with people who were doing them. (Bad part now) Almost all the people who really did drugs are worst off, my cousin who did any drug is in a nursing home and will probably never get out of there, my other cousin on the heroin is Bi-polar now, some friends are dead, my uncle is gone, a few friends I drank with one now has alcohol induced dementia. Pretty bad off. Doesn't remember anyone including his own family. I don't have an addicting personality, but some people really can't stop and that is pretty dangerous. Wrecks their whole life. You said you followed bands around the US, what bands did you follow?
     
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  3. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    I'm glad you only got into alcohol, but that can be very damaging too, my dad is much like your friend , he has cihrosis of the liver and is deteriorating rapidly.

    I'm hoping that since I'm clean, no long term effects are going to occur, but only time will tell. I do know that the methamphetamines altered my brain chemistry and exacerbated all the problems I already had mentally and neurologically. There's never a day I don't crave or at least think of them.

    I used to follow Phish, The Other Ones, and Primus, all over the USA.
     
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  4. oregano

    oregano Undercover Flying Squirrel (UFS)

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    @Major Tom, I don't believe that addiction per se is a sin, but that the initial decision to alter one's consciousness via substance usage is a sin. Addiction is a karmic reaction to the initial sin of deciding to use drugs. Addiction is a disease, yes, but it's not a disease in the way that say the flu is where you can catch it involuntarily. The initial, the very first, decision to ingest a substance in order to "get high" is the sin in my view. Every action has a consequence, and ingesting a drug to get high has the consequence of becoming addicted to that drug. That is not a judgment on the person who is addicted, since the addicted person needs support from others to overcome their illness, but they committed a sin when they first took that drug, addiction is the consequence, and getting sober is the act of asking for forgiveness from their sin. (Mods, I know this is religious, but I want @Major Tom to fully understand my views.)
     
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  5. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    Interesting point of view. I believe that some people have a predisposition to addiction and that they have no control over it. I was 10 years old when I first imbibed alcohol. Is that really a sin? I don't believe it to be, it was just simple curiousity that led me to my first drink, which then led me to other mind altering substances. Plus I am on the spectrum and especially then in many ways naive . I appreciate your input but in my case I personally (respectfully) have to disagree.
     
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  6. rainfall

    rainfall Playing in the rain =P

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    First, thank you for your strength in sharing this part of your life and struggle Tom. :) I still get a bit of anxiety just responding to people so I can imagine what it took to post something so personal.

    I'm on the far opposite side but that doesn't mean I'm looking down at anyone who isn't, at all. I have never self medicated with drugs or alcohol but I have a good reason. I have addiction through both sides of my family. What I grew up with I vowed I would never do because I didn't want to be like them. I was offered anything for free in middle school, my sisters and others taunted and made fun of me, but I didn't want to take the chance I could become addicted and end up the way they were and treating people the way they did. It took until a few years ago for me to finally settle within myself that not all drunks rage. I was hyper sensitive if anyone told me they drank because of what I grew up with. There were times I wanted to try if only just to have a place somewhere, but I wasn't willing to give up my mind for a "friend" who only liked me if I did what they did so I never gave in.

    To this day, I don't drink coffee, energy drinks, or take any kind of upper pills or anything like that and most people think I'm insane or wonder how I function. I have also had chronic lack of sleep the majority of my life and the past 10 years especially after my son was born. Sometimes I have envied people who can blissfully make it through some of their lives because I have been present for it but at the same time I know what addiction is like and it doesn't last forever but the side effects can. Like you mentioned Tom, I've heard from multiple people that just mostly smoke weed or drink a little that prolonged use has made them lose skills and the ability to handle things without self medicating.

    I think my philosophy has mostly been to endure and it usually makes you stronger, though it's not easy. I had an emergency c-section and was given pain meds but I only was able to take two or three of them before the rest were stolen and I was forced to deal with the pain or out the addict. At the time, I didn't have the mental wherewithal to out the addict. Because of this reason, any time pain meds were offered to take home I refused them (except one more time after because the pain was so unbearable I couldn't think straight) and the doctors were perplexed. Another time I was offered dilaudid because of the extreme pain I was going through and it had been given to me without permission the first time and I hated the way it made me feel so I refused it and took something that barely took the edge off instead. Again to the shock of the nurse that offered it realizing just how much pain I was in. I guess, part of it all could be a larger issue with me not wanting to rely on anyone or anything because of the lack of reliability I have experienced throughout life. It's always possible.
     
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  7. Mindf'Elle'ness

    Mindf'Elle'ness Peace and passion for ALL

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    When I was in grade 7 we were shown a 'deterrant' film about hard drugs ie: angel dust. I was so horrified by the things that people do (jump out of windows) that I steered clear of all drugs all my life. I did get into alcohol (yesss...a kind of drug, but still) but never to any serious degree.
    However, I have suffered with crippling anxiety all my life and wished for something I could take to alleviate it. A psychiatrist had prescribed a large variety of narcotics to help me with my 'depression' to no end. It was like they were all placebos and she was just testing me.
    Recently in my city a new wonder drug CBD has become available and I thought it would be the answer to my prayers but it had no affect on me either.
    What's wrong with me?...my metabolism? Who knows. I'll stick with the alcohol. I love the numb less inhibited feeling I get from it.
     
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  8. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi @Major Tom Just an FYI - I always appreciate what you have to say and you're a kind person with positive input and advice for so many of us. I think those with a harsh past can be the most understanding of others. I'm really glad you were able to get away from all these things, which is the reason we have you today.

    Anything can become an addiction - some mental and some physical. Alcohol is one of the physical ones and trying to get away from that addiction is actually dangerous. So I am happy you were successful.

    I didn't realize that tramadol was an opiate (I guess because we didn't have tramadol locked up with the narcotics). And because it's what they give dogs when treating pain. Glad you passed that info along.

    I don't like getting high with pot because I don't like what it does to me, but I do wish they would legalize it because, in my opinion, it's safer than alcohol and many prescription drugs. I smoked it a lot in high school but once I became a mom I avoided anything that would alter my reaction, thinking, ability to take care of my babies. Being a mom probably saved me from a lot of things and I know I have an addictive personality. I do smoke cigarettes, which today is one of the most villainous things a person can do seems like - according to general population. And I would feel safe in saying that the diet Dr Peppers are also an addiction for me. In a sense, because I enjoy both (and there are literally days that's the only thing I can do that I enjoy) I would say it's almost a way of self medicating. You medicate to feel better and these make me feel better. :) I've been trying the cbd without the thc, and I'll be honest - it helps, but not nearly as helpful as with the thc (which I have had in a bite of cupcake, which helped more than any pain med I take (all non narcotic). I would avoid narcotics because I like being able to think straight and not be groggy, but a small bite of cupcake had no strong effects, but did wonders for pain. And, if I could, I would keep something around for those really bad days.
    Alcohol - just never had the taste for it. Would try to have a small glass of wine at night - supposed to help with health - but I'd rather have my diet Dr Pepper. Though I'm not well versed with alcoholic drinks and my attorney sister has taken advantage of that and taken me out and had me plastered before, but jumping in puddles and pole dancing is not something I would normally do. Well, maybe jumping in puddles I would do on a good day. :)

    Anyway, thank you for your very positive example.
     
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  9. SolarPoweredNightOwl

    SolarPoweredNightOwl Walking contradiction

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    That's interesting to me, because when I was younger I always felt the opposite. I was always afraid of "losing control" or "being found out". Found out about what? I didn't know. Now, of course, I understand that really, I was afraid of getting too drunk/high to mask.
     
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  10. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think you're the first person to use those same words I've always used - afraid of being 'found out' and 'about what I didn't know'. That was one of the hardest things I lived with every single day that I had to be out in the world and never knew or understood what it was I was trying to hide. Just thanks.
     
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  11. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Only alcohol, I never had any interest in experimenting with any other drugs, except for that pizza slice with magic mushrooms I once ate.
     
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  12. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    It's interesting to ponder what is a sin in one society isn't in another. My last job was owned by Brethren Christians who are a very devout and rather secluded denomination. They were some of the hardest working and friendliest people I've ever met. I was quite interested to learn that they were allowed to drink. I suppose I ran under the assumption that such a pious and simple living religious order wouldn't allow alcohol.

    I'm sure their drinking wasn't to the excess you see if you were to venture through a town on a Friday or Saturday night. Self control and morality are virtues I feel that sin is based around. Of course in religion, what is considered moral and immoral is determined outside of our realm.

    Within reason I assume almost anything has the potential to be addictive. But those who become so heavily invested are a small proportion of people. I also feel that some mindsets are more geared towards being an "all or nothing" type of approach. I felt I had to be strict with hard drugs because I knew these would be awe-inspiring experiences that had a strong potential to lead me to want more.

    At home and school the notion of taking drugs was strongly discouraged. I went to a private, Church of England school for 11 years. Drugs and other sins were seen as evil and destructive. I suppose some of those ingrained beliefs were with me during the moments I tried things for the first time. Any high has the potential to take you from one extreme to the other.

    After 10 years with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I don't think I'd ever want to try a hard drug again. I know how quickly normality can slip into panic - and if you're replacing normality with a drug induced state, it's all too easy to have a bad time.

    I suppose if you state of mind isn't in a positive place, the allure of drugs could be strong. I know that a toke or a drink could take the edge off a bad day. I knew I had a jar of weed I could dip into, or a shop down the road I could pick up a case of beers and that'd be me done. A few hours of not being me - some time away from myself and my reality.

    But it all takes it's toll. Long term we know it's an uncertain and bleak future with long term abuse of substances. I suppose the one certainty with a drug is that you won't be yourself for a while. Living with yourself can be a bigger burden than it needs to be. I'm 13.5 stone, but I often feel like I'm dragging around twice that weight with me.

    When I'm stuck in my head too much I force myself to be mindful. I usually do this whilst taking a trip outside. Take in the sights, the sounds and smells around me. Simply being in nature makes me eternally grateful and often puts my ego in place. I guess that's another reason why I binged on substances for so long - because it made delving into my mind less painful and more enjoyable. But once it wore off, the trips inside my brain became darker and everything felt more and more futile.

    You can only live that way for so long before either your mind or body gives out. I'm glad I reached a point where I was sick and tired. I also encountered a lot of examples of people who'd gone too far and lost everything. Some in our group of friends lost their lives, others lost their jobs, homes or partners. It made me thankful for who I was. Eventually I guess I got to a point where I realised living with myself sober was less painful than living with myself as an addict.

    Ed
     
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  13. VAW

    VAW Active Member

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    I hope there are no long term effects for you either! Like you said time will tell. I do look back on those days with fond memories, but I know that if I were going to do anything today, I wouldn't like it. The older I get even a hang nail scares me.... like OH no a hang nail...is this how it is all going to end???? lol Back then I had no fears! Wasn't scared of much. Now even a Red Bull can kill ya. Let alone street drugs you have no idea of how they are made or who made them with what? I have never heard of those bands... lol I must be too old!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
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  14. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    Aye, "no joke" seems to sum up Tramadol pretty well. Very strong stuff, but also problematic. If I'd learned about the stuff BEFORE getting it, there's no way in hell they would have gotten me to take any. It wouldnt have happened. I looked up the stuff after I'd been on it awhile, after someone I mentioned it to said "oh, I'm sorry to hear you have to take that! It's tough going through that!". I wondered what they were talking about, so I looked it up. What I found was one horror story after another of people who had taken it and experienced a barrage of rather nasty side effects. I realized I had gotten very, very lucky, in that Tramadol has no side effects on me whatsoever. Unless I take the "max dose", which is two of those and two cyclobenzaprine at once. Only to be used when my pain is seriously extreme. This is because you could knock out an elephant with that. I've only had to do this a couple of times, and the second and last time I did it, I nearly fell asleep standing up in the bathroom while waiting for the shower to heat up. Scared the heck outta me. For obvious reasons, a fall in a bathroom could get bad. I refuse to take that heavy dose again.

    Also though, I'd already been through one medicine-related nightmare before that. I suppose this story is relevant with the overall topic here.

    Some time before that, I'd been put on a medication known as Prednesone. I refer to them as "nightmare pills". Tramadol is strong stuff. But it's nowhere near the level of Prednesone. A bit before the Prednesone, I'd been put on Valium to deal with my back pain. But it did pretty much nothing. So it was decided that I needed something alot stronger. Prednesone was described to me in this way: "There's a medicine called Vicoden, yeah? Well one of those is like taking multiple Valium. And one small dose of Prednesone is like taking multiple Vicoden." Along with the knowledge that the base dose of Prednesone is NOT "small", this should have been my warning sign.

    That stuff was utter hell. The following month (as the stuff couldnt be quit outright once I had started it, it had to be a slow taper-off for... some reason) is the worst thing in my memory, period. That stuff messed me up real bad. Numerous physical and psychological side effects manifested. Some of that stuff was scary. But the real problem was the sleep issue. Ever heard of paradoxical insomnia? Yeah, neither had I. And I wish that bit of info had stayed unheard. When I look it up, this is one of the first definitions that appears:

    "Paradoxical insomniacs have an intense awareness of their surroundings throughout the entire night, as if they were awake. They might think they've gone without sleep for days at a time, but with only moderate signs of daytime fatigue."

    The best way I can describe it is that you're asleep, but you're awake to have to sit through it, with your mind spinning like a tornado the whole time. You're in bed for 8 hours? Well as far as you can tell, you were awake the entire 8 hours. This happened every. Single. Night. I was absolutely convinced that I was going MANY days in a row without any sleep at all, which scared me more than anything else. Yet, I didnt have much in the way of symptoms of sleep deprivation. I'd stay in bed for longer than needed in an attempt to get sleep, I'd try to take naps during the day, and all of this combined with the constant dazed state was just a nightmare. And then I'd have anxiety explosions at random intervals, often at night. Like, meltdown levels of fear. I was a complete mess. I couldnt keep myself occupied either to distract myself from it. I'm a gamer primarily, and normally I'd do that to take my mind off of stuff. But in that bizarre state I couldnt handle most of that. I played exactly one game, Sumotori Dreams, over and over... it's mostly a goofy thing where these really blocky figures shove each other around and break stuff. Not so much a game, as something funny to mess with. But it was pretty much the most complex thing I could handle. As it is I have a particular attachment to that game ever since, as it was the ONE thing that helped me get through that. It really was pretty much all I did for that entire month when I wasnt panicking about something.

    Ah yes, and that's all in addition to the stomach issues that also happened. Caused alot of acid problems and burning... I had to stop eating certain things during it. And to this day I'm STILL on acid-control meds.


    Just... ugh. It was awful. I already didnt like taking pills before, but after that, just.... blech. Heck, the only reason they even got me to try the Tramadol and cyclowhatsit was that when it was first given to me (after a car crash), in the doctor's office, this big scary nurse lady sort of cornered me and just stood there looking moderately unpleasant until I took it. Gotta hand it to her, she clearly knew how to deal with reluctant patients. I'm glad she was there, as the Tramadol is the one and only thing that has ever had an effect on my back pain when it gets bad.

    There, that's my "drug story".
     
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  15. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    My child I think is perhaps the only reason I was able to become clean. (His mother and I were close to splitting up at the time and that's the only reason I ended up in CA in the first place.) He was about 1 year old when I took off, I had no idea he had ASD 3 at the time and thought "If I'm miserable, she's miserable, he's going to be miserable too." So I left. Afterall, people split up all the time I thought.

    I actually returned to CA the following year to work with someone more into true medicinal cannabis, but I found out 3 days after I arrived that my son was diagnosed with Autism. I relapsed there, but only a couple of times. Once I heard the news I came back here to help support him and I've been here ever since. I'll not leave his side until the day I die. He's probably the reason I'm not some homeless beggar on the streets, or in prison right now or dead.
     
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  16. garnetflower13

    garnetflower13 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My therapist explained that some people are born with an addictive gene, and really cannot help getting addicted to alcohol or drugs. I have read a book called "The Mood Cure" where she explains that there are instances where the brain does not produce enough of its own "feel good" chemicals, so the person is prone to meet those deficiencies with drugs and/or alcohol. The author then goes on to outline dietary changes and supplements to help with this. My only addiction has ever been sugar, and I crave it daily. Once in awhile I give in, but then can go back to ignoring it again. As a child, my father showed affection by giving his children sweets, so it was a hard habit to get free of. Great post, Tom!
     
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  17. garnetflower13

    garnetflower13 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That is beautiful!
     
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  18. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    Prednisone is a steroid if I recall correctly, I was also on that too for a long time for back pain. For me it just made me fat and more irritable, it did nothing for the pain (even when injected into my spine directly).

    Sounds like you had a nightmare with it though. I'm glad that you found something else that can help ease your pain. Just be careful with the Tramadol, it can be highly addictive.
     
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  19. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    I do indeed believe I have that addictive gene. Plus since I'm on the spectrum I get easily fixated on things that either interest me or make me feel more comfortable in the world around me.

    Addiction runs on both sides of my family drugs and alcohol and you could say I should have known better, but I had to learn the hard way, just like I learn most anything else.
     
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  20. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    I saw alcohol and drug abuse as a child and only wish I had the sense to avoid them like you did, instead it made me more curious. I was however very put off by alcohol because my biological father is an out of control alcoholic, so I was always careful with alcohol and I made it a point to never let it change me the way it did my father. (when he drinks he gets this look in his eyes that makes it seem like he's looking right through you, and gets very violent and mean) I also have a couple friends that alcohol effects them similarly.

    Hats off to you for going through life without any crutches so to speak and doing what is best for both you and your child. You are a strong woman and I wish I had a fraction of that strength.

    However, all the things I've done and seen have made me into the person I am today, so I can't complain. Even though I have my problems, I still feel that I am a decent person and always do my best to make the world a better place. That in part was why I shared my story. I know there has to be others on this forum that either have struggled with addictions or are curious about drugs and I just wanted them to know they are not alone. It was also meant as a cautionary tale to anyone who is prone to have an addictive personality.
     
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