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Archive for the ‘antidepressants’ Category

I thought I’d do a quick run through of my daily – and now entirely legal – drug intake.

So, here we go.

I now take:

One 20mg Citalopram, which is supposed to stop me being so anxious.

Three, vitamin B compound strong tablets. These are standard issue in alcohol treatment and it’s supposed to help you recover. I may start to take more – my similarly recovering friend, Desmond, is taking six.

One 100mg Thiamine (B1) tablet. This is similar in aim and effect to the vitamin B.

One 50mg Nalorex tablet which is supposed to help with cravings.

Six 333mg Campral tablets which ought to do the same thing as Nalorex.

One 200mg Antabuse tablet. I actually take these under supervision at the Addiction Unit, two on Monday and Wednesday and three on Friday. I’m breathalysed before I take it. This is the big one I suppose. The deterrent drug that reacts very, very badly with alcohol and makes you very, very ill if you drink whilest on the drug.

Finally, each evening I take one 30mg Mirtazapine tablet.

I won’t list all the side effects here. They’re all in those Wikipedia articles should you be interested and they’ll scare me.

Do they work?

I don’t know. Well, I do know that Antabuse works. It’s stopping me drinking and I’m not sure how far I trust myself if I stop taking it. (This is partly because of the intensity of the cravings I’m experiencing this time round and the fact that I’m yet to experience the huge positive surge of energy and vitality I associate with going sober.)

Now, Desmond has stopped drinking and also stopped taking Antabuse, Campral and Nalorex. There’s a difference in our experience though. Desmond really did reach rock bottom with drinking, he was hugely underweight and very ill indeed. I stubbornly believe that I never have. I must admit that it’s partly wishful thinking – I’ve got three suicide attempts under my belt which were all drink-related.

So, as I say I’m not sure how effective they are. How much worse might my cravings be without the Nalorex and Campral? The vitamins must be doing some good surely. If there’s one pill I rely on though it’s Mirtazapine and I rely on it too much. Whether it improves my mood is moot at the moment (I’m aware that it has in the past), that it is literally narcotic is not at issue. The side effects (which I said I wouldn’t mention) leaflet warns “May cause drowsiness” this, in my case, is a huge understatement. Mirtazapine knocks me out with a delicious drowsiness that I find incredibly attractive – the drugs to which I’ve been most attracted and of which I’m consequently most afraid are hynotic drugs.

And, that, for the moment is that.

Thanks for dropping in, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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Last night I tried to go without alcohol. I couldn’t do it. I really couldn’t by the way, this wasn’t a case of weakness or lack of willpower, but having to drink to ease physical withdrawal symptoms.

It’s no surprise and I’m – as the title of this post suggests – not that bothered by it. My drinking diary this morning shows that last night I consumed 4.7 units of alcohol and started to drink at 9pm – I’m a unit down on the night before and an hour later starting.

The withdrawals – as anyone who has experienced them will know – are extremely unpleasant. I tried to stave them off with food, I poked at them with fizzy water and fruit juice, I ran away from them with a long walk. They got me in the end.

Still. Things remain positive. I started drinking at 9pm and the first one – a can of Carslberg (reassuringly weak) – didn’t touch the sides.

The only slight downer is that I took a third drink when I didn’t need to.

The antidepressants I take are called Mirtazapine (I also take Citalopram, which is supposed to be an anti-anxiety medication). On the patient leaflet – along with the cheery suicidal thoughts warning you’ll find on all antidepressants – is a ‘may cause drowsiness’ warning. As understatements go, this is up there with ‘Stalin had some anger issues’. Mirtazapine is my nighttime friend. In fact, I’ve used it in the past to manage a couple of days of abstinence or cutting down here and there; upping my dose by half a tablet has a real knockout effect.

I took my tablet fairly early – around 6pm I think – last night and by the time it came to opening that third beer, I was well on the way to the Land of Nod.

That third beer I drank to get drunk.

A slight disappointment then, but as I’ve made getting out of my head in various ways the main purpose of my life since I was 16, I shouldn’t be too surprised.  For the last five months I’ve been drinking at least 100 units a week without fail, sometimes much more than that. I’ve only been cutting down since last Sunday.

So, at Brighteye I’ll have to report my ‘failure’ and start again on the seven day challenge. It really is a wonderfully forgiving and supportive place though.

If I’m being realistic, I think my aim is to have one or two days alcohol free this week, before Mag goes away on Friday.

That will be the challenge. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Not so much the pull of alcohol per se but the pull of my lovely long days in the Spread, my haven from shrieking children, shitting dogs and screaming parents.

In all honesty, I’m already looking forward to it.

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In my search for rock bottom, I should have mentioned my week in hospital with pneumonia. This was almost certainly – let’s forget the almost actually – alcohol-related.

It damn near cost me my job. I work one-day-a-week and I’m freelance, so I have the same rights as a battery chicken. I can’t afford to lose that job. It’s not a matter of money – my parents (check the shame tag) send me enough to live on – so much as self-esteem.

I’ve been for one follow-up hospital appointment regarding the pneumonia and the chest x-ray showed that most of the infection was gone. But, I’m worried it’s coming back. I’m starting to get shorter of breath (I smoke and barely take any exercise), to feel the strange light-headedness that pressaged its first arrival and my coughing is bringing up horrible green stuff.

In an effort to stave it off I’m doing what the hospital doctor told me to do… I’m eating better, I’ve also found some left over antibiotics I was prescribed before I was rushed into hospital and all my drugs delivered through a drip. I don’t know if that’ll do any good. You’re not supposed to drink on antibiotics are you and I’m not yet able to stop completely. But I felt I had to do something.

I’ve also started to take my vitamins. As a then recovering alcoholic, fresh and daisy-dancing out of the Thin City inpatient detox unit, I was given tonnes of vitamin B and thiamine (the reasons for taking them are long and complex, but they’re supposed to help protect the brain from alcoholic damage) but soon stopped taking them. I’ve started again now. I’ve loaded up my little pill tray – believe you me, after detox you need one, such is the amount of medication to be taken daily – with vitamins, antibiotics and antidepressants.

They can’t do any harm anyway.

Let’s see where this goes. I need to call the doctor today for an appointment to get my antidepressants re-prescribed and to check about my next follow-up chest x-ray. Rather typically, I’m writing about doing it rather than doing it.

Later all. Commenting is absolutely encouraged by the way – check out my post on narcissism to see why.

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