Our partner

ADHD/Alcoholism Treatment(s)

Alcohol Addiction message board, open discussion, and online support
group.

ADHD/Alcoholism Treatment(s)

Postby JusticeMe » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:18 pm

Hi,

A relative has rather severe ADHD and is an alcoholic. (There may be other comorbidities present as well; she has been diagnosed ADHD but nothing else has been addressed.) She also smokes cigarettes.

The family believes that she needs "counseling" (and AA-type programs), but after reading the med literature I do not believe this alone would be adequate. Some of the (relatively) newer medications like atomoxetine appear to hold promise for these patients.

Has anyone here been treated with atomoxetine? with what results? How about any other medications or treatments?

Thanks!
JusticeMe
Consumer 2
Consumer 2
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:53 am
Local time: Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:56 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


ADVERTISEMENT

Re: ADHD/Alcoholism Treatment(s)

Postby Wally58 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:15 am

When I stopped drinking, 90% of my dysfunctional symptoms went away and then I could address the other 10% with a clear and sober mind. I was quite self-destructive for many years.
This is where it should start.The alcohol has to stop first.
I don't think that a professional would prescribe Atomoxetine if they knew that she was still actively drinking. It would be dangerous to do so. Therapy and medications usually aren't effective on an active alcoholic.
She should give AA a try. It worked for me.
If she is able to achieve some sobriety and there is some ADHD symptoms left over, then it can be treated with a much better chance of success.

From the internet:
What Should I Avoid While Taking Atomoxetine?
Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while you are taking this medication. They may decrease the benefits (worsen your condition) and increase adverse effects (sedation) of the medication.
Wally58
Moderator: Consumer
Moderator: Consumer
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:47 am
Local time: Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:56 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: ADHD/Alcoholism Treatment(s)

Postby JusticeMe » Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:35 pm

Thank you for that detailed response.

Of course, she has no desire to get any treatment. She needs to hit "rock bottom," which won't happen with her enabling family. I think she needs a family intervention (she has an older teenager [almost adult] whom she loves dearly; hearing how her drinking has adversely impacted her child may do the trick) then inpatient rehab or the care of a psychiatrist because of the strong connection between and/or neurotransmitter component(s) of ADHD and SUD:

http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/adhd/ad ... e-disorder

If the underlying neurotransmitter imbalance(s) are not addressed, once the drinking stops I think she will relapse using a different drug -- perhaps something even worse like cocaine, meth, or heroin -- because of the dopamine receptor/feedback loop issue explained in the article linked above.

How severe is your ADHD? Mine is mild to moderate, and, while I have known many ADHD folks over the decades hers is the worst I have ever seen. Her ADHD is so severe that she can't concentrate on anything longer than about 10 to 15 seconds (when sober). (Trying to hold a conversation with her will prompt you to pull your hair out.) Ergo, I don't think she has the focus/self-discipline to work the 12 Steps of AA or any other program. Plus she has decided that AA is a "cult," but I know that is the addict talking.

I know the drinking has to stop. She is a loose cannon. One of these days the family will receive a "notification" phone call. And the years of drinking has just damaged her brain more.

Again, I think this is more complex than just a stand-alone "drinking problem." I would appreciate any further input you can provide. Thanks again.
JusticeMe
Consumer 2
Consumer 2
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:53 am
Local time: Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:56 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: ADHD/Alcoholism Treatment(s)

Postby Wally58 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:10 pm

ADHD wasn't one of my traits. It was mostly alcoholism with depression, panic disorder and some delusional thinking thrown in.
The rehab referred to me as 'dual-diagnosis', which may be how they would classify your relative.
Of course the alcohol has to stop before anything else can be worked on. Hopefully she can be reasoned with and be honest about her situation.
There is the passage in 'How it Works' that addresses those members with 'other' problems:
"There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest".
Google 'How it Works' if you wish to read the whole thing. It is generally read along with the 12-steps at the beginning of every meeting.
Going to AA with a friend may help. She doesn't even have to give her first name if she doesn't want to (usually they ask if there are any newcomers at the beginning). She can just say that she is there to listen and leave it at that.
My own alcoholic sister won't give AA or group therapy a try, even though it could save her life. I suspect that she is too ashamed, embarrassed or vain to give it a try. The one-on-one therapy and medications that they put her on aren't helping because she stops attending appointments and stops taking the medications until the next time she is hopitalized. Then she just signs herself out the moment she can.
It's tough trying to get someone to seek recovery. I stumbled and relapsed a few times myself until an epiphany from within occurred. I was lucky to find a 60-day inpatient treatment.
She really has to want to get better, first and foremost. You can't 'make' someone want sobriety.
You can stand by and let her know that you support her and hope that she gives it a try.
It sometimes helps to make it sound like recovery was her own idea and it doesn't come across as 'nagging'.
This situation may go on for a long time or maybe something big may intercede to spur her into action.
An intervention could go horribly wrong if she is still resistant to and not ready for entering recovery.
Best of luck to all of you. :D
Wally58
Moderator: Consumer
Moderator: Consumer
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:47 am
Local time: Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:56 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: ADHD/Alcoholism Treatment(s)

Postby JusticeMe » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:22 am

Hi again, Wally,

There were many good food-for-thought points in your post. Before you go, maybe I can pick your brain a little.

This one confused me a bit:

An intervention could go horribly wrong if she is still resistant to and not ready for entering recovery.


I thought the whole point of an intervention was to help them see the adverse impact(s) of their actions, which then spurs them to want to go into recovery? No? If not, then what is the point of an intervention?

RE AA, I went to a few ACoA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) meetings. They work the 12 steps there (with or without substance addictions [I have none, thankfully]). True, you don't have to speak at meetings if you don't wish. But ultimately they always encourage/pressure you to work the steps. What's the first thing they did? Handed me a bunch of paperwork! There's nothing more overwhelming to someone who has ADHD, and mine is mild compared with hers (hers is to the 25th exponent). Plus there is a ton of emotional pain and trauma associated with my being raised by alcoholics. I could not focus enough to keep all that stuff organized and work the steps. No way.

Also, how is it determined who needs to be in an inpatient/rehab setting while coming off alcohol? By how much they drink? I am worried that if she tried to do it on her own she may not be able to stand the withdrawals; so, I think that a supervised medical setting might be best. Also perhaps some detoxification. (?)

Your point about "nagging" is well taken. I have not said one word to her, but her family has talked with me. She and I have a "special" relationship, and I think she may just listen to me where others have failed (they nag her constantly, not just about the drinking but the addict behaviors, lack of impulse control, and almost nil attention span, which is unfair because she can't help those latter two).

It sounds like you've come a long, long way! My hat's off to you. :mrgreen:
JusticeMe
Consumer 2
Consumer 2
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:53 am
Local time: Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:56 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: ADHD/Alcoholism Treatment(s)

Postby Wally58 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:44 am

It all depends on her mindset during an intervention. The intentions of friends and family may be that of concern, but I saw any interference with my drinking lifestyle as judgement and criticism and did not take it well.
A very low self-esteem and fairly large ego didn't help me listen to what others were saying. Any 'tough-love' or concern for me was seen as disapproval. I kinda had to find things out for myself.
Detoxification can be intense and is usually carried out in a hospital setting. Delirium Tremens must be monitored for. Many alcoholics come in agitated, dehydrated, malnourished and weak. Seizures are always a danger when in withdrawal.
Once the patient is stabilized, then they can be moved to the rehab part of the treatment.
Special considerations may be taken for the ADHD. A couple of AA brochures to read and later a big book or similar reading. A clerical friend gave me a signed Holy Bible as well. Becoming a social being helped me relate and listen to others. An understanding sponsor became my advisor.
Some people can find another 'healthier' addiction to replace alcoholism. I kept myself busy to keep my mind off alcohol (although I can't recommend this), it did work for me in the beginning. I had to learn to let people in.
I attended spiritual services, although I wasn't a regular church-goer. Some find religion. Anything to hang onto in the early days just to keep us sober. It is a lifelong program of vigilance, care and maintenance.
Wally58
Moderator: Consumer
Moderator: Consumer
 
Posts: 683
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:47 am
Local time: Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:56 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


Return to Alcohol Addiction




  • Related articles
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests