This has been a hot topic this week with Robin Williams’ passing. I have thought about it quite a bit since I was depressed a few years ago too. I don’t claim to have solutions but I do have some observations. What I am presenting is probably no secret to anyone, but maybe will help someone someday. On pain killers and other mood altering drugs; I had a partial knee replacement several years ago and had the pain that comes with it while my body was working on the healing of the cuts. My doctor prescribed narcotic pain killers we have all heard of to alleviate the pain. I didn’t like them because of the bizarre things they did to me, but I did need them for a while until the pain was gone. But before I proceeded taking them I asked the doc about the risk of becoming addicted as I have an addictive personality. He told me that I should only take them to deal with pain, not just to feel good. He said when one starts to take them just to feel good he is at risk for addiction. I think it is different with mental disorders. Issues such as depression, anxiety, anger and other things are different. Many of us take mood altering drugs to help us cope with these disorders. There are many available that seem to do this for us. The problem is that it seems our minds don’t heal themselves like a physical wound will do over time. In fact, I think the problems continue to grow while we take a “vacation” from it. Many try to take a permanent “vacation”, but even they come down from their trip some time. It is hard to stay high forever, and that is when the risk of other measures comes. Since our body doesn’t seem to heal mental problems over time, we must find a way to deal with them ourselves or through help from others if we truly want to get better. I believe things that help us cope for physical pain or chronic disease is ok for us. If I were to contract a physical disease where I thought drugs would help I would probably try them. This includes medical marijuana although that hasn’t undergone extensive tests that FDA normally does on drugs. If it would help relieve the pain and suffering from a fatal disease I would try it. The corollary is that if we constantly medicate just to feel better we are also at risk for addiction. Many do that too and, ironically; it may bring other mental problems. I don’t know if I am right on this observation, but I do have some anecdotal evidence of it from experience in my life. I will leave it to the pros to decide. The old question still baffles me: which comes first, the depression or the addiction?
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