Last week Dr. B spoke about nicotine abuse and AA's singleness of purpose, but before he concludes with a solution there's some other outside issues that must be discussed. ‑During Dr. B's years spent working at Healing House, other shocking statistics besides nicotine abuse surfaced, he said, "Between 60 and 70 percent of the people passing through Healing House that came from alcoholic homes had been sexually abused, and many of those who weren't sexually abused had been traumatized by somebody inside the home beating them senseless. ‑It's important to know about the family history of alcoholics and addicts in recovery because in the case of women if they've been sexually abused that must be treated along with her alcoholism or she won't be able to stay sober. ‑Men can get sober without being counseled for abuse, but they will be extremely angry and it's been our findings that while most alcoholics are angry the angriest were abused as children.
There's more to treating alcoholism and addiction than putting the plug in the jug or quitting the drug, there's other symptoms, phobias, and syndromes besides spiritual disease that we must deal with if we want to stay quit. ‑Alcoholics and addicts quit all the time when they're locked up, but because they don't deal with their spiritual disease and other disorders they pick up again after they're released from hospitals, jails or prisons. ‑All alcoholics are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress to one degree or another. ‑Almost all recovering people also suffer some degree of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), COPD (Compulsive Obsessive Personality Disorder), Agoraphobia (they run while nobody's chasing them, and wear a path in the carpet looking out the window), and PRS (Post Recovery Symptoms). ‑PRS, can last from a few months to several years after total withdrawal and it manifests it's self by causing people to jump out of their skin every time they hear a car backfire or a firecracker explode. Some people call that a panic attack, but its really just people on red alert 24/7's (grin).
Everybody wants a simple answer about who should be on, psychotropic drugs, but there's no simple answer. ‑Even after years of working in the field there's times I absolutely must admit, "I just don't know." ‑‑But I do know it makes me mad when I hear an AA sponsor say, "I won't sponsor anybody taking Prozac. ‑I've also heard sponsors say "Is your Higher Power going to be God or Prozac?" ‑About 5 to 10 percent of the people in treatment will eventually need both AA and prescribed drugs and because the dosage varies between patients, it requires a skilled professional to make the call and "not," AA sponsors unless they have MD after their name. Furthermore AA sponsors should stay out of this debate because it's an "outside issue!"
It's true psychotropic drugs are over prescribed, but as doctors we have no other choice with alcoholic patients; if we don't prescribe something for their "self diagnosed depression," knowing alcoholics have a 19 to 20 percent higher suicide rate than our general population and this patient's life ends in suicide, it puts doctors at risk of being sued by the patient's family or by an ambulance chasing lawyer. ‑‑To be continued... ‑‑‑‑