Medication Question - Triggering Content

I know this question will undoubtedly elicit a variety of differing opinions, but I am currently dealing with it, so I will ask it.

Over the last couple years I have been more and more progressively overwhelmed with anxiety and depression due to a variety of triggers in my life, both at home and at work. My self medication of choice was beer with the occasional hard alcohol to the point of blacking out every couple weeks. Drinking progressed from the weekends to 5 or more nights a week, usually a 4 beer minimum.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. On the verge of divorce because of my drinking, I finally sought help. In addition to counseling, my MD prescribed Lexapro for a 6 month adjustment period. It has definitely helped with my cravings and my daily anxiety, but my concern is replacing one drug (alcohol) with another one. I wake up sluggish and drowsy in the am, although I am getting better sleep than I have in years. I ultimately want to be completely clean and sober, and hope that I will not face yet another hurdle when it is time to wean me off the pills. I rejected medication for many years for that very reason.

Does anyone have any input or experience with pharmaceutical treatment of alcoholism and accompanying depression and anxiety? I’d love to hear your experiences and opinions, whether for or against.


I personally do not have any experience with this, but I dont think medication is anything you should feel shame about. Express your concerns to your doctor. Being that the doctor prescribed it, the doctor probably knows a good way to help you when its time to get off of them.


If it helps think of it this way: alcohol will destroy your family, the medication is helping you to not destroy your family.


That perspective helps immensely

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I do get annoyed when a doctors first reaction is to offer psychiatric/ medical treatment without any thought of the knock on effects. I speak from personal experience where I refused medication and opted for counselling instead.

In no way am I criticising anyone for seeking medical help. I went from seeing my doctor every few weeks for panic attacks and depression to never seeing her in the last 3 years. That is how I want to keep it. I am going through a nasty separation and I have to keep all of my wits about me. Freeing myself of all vices is key to my recovery.

Talking of replacing one addiction for another, I am having a hard time with overeating since giving up alcohol 120 days ago. Food definitely helped me get over the initial withdrawals, but now I just feel like a rolliepollie…lol.

I actually forgot how powerful SMART(Smart Measurable Achievable Realistic Specific) goals are. I’ve used them in the past for really tough issues and they have always worked out well for me. Tomorrow I am starting one to get my eating under control. Perhaps you could come up with a SMART goal to wean yourself off the medication.

Good Luck x


They had me on Lexapro and changed it to Effexor which I take at night. I took it when I drank but was drinking so much at the end before rehab idk… I seem ok now 79 days sober. Working on the inner causes of the depression/anxiety.

My CADS assessment lady told me, in my case anyway, there wud be times i wud have to sit with my feelings instead of CAVING but thay with controlled Ativan ( weekly repeat rather than a large amount i can abuse) its better to use the medication to eliviate what the addiction is worsening but to be conscious around how much i am letting it be a crutch cause eventually i will have to wean off that slowly rather than use the weed in the same way. If you are feeling ay a point where ur coping strategies are getting more reliable then start shearing away from the medication with your doctor’s help and advice. But controlled prescribed doses to help instead of replace, according to my key worker is alot safer and easier than doing it without. And relapse rates are apparently much higher with in aided cold turkey quitting. I can if this helps.

It sounds like your main complaint is it makes you drowsy when you wake up. If it helps with your cravings and anxiety I’d say that’s worth it. I speak from experience I take medication that’s more sedating than lexapro and I barely notice the sluggishness. You can get used to it if you stay on it. I wouldn’t worry about how you’ll get off it for now either. I don’t mean to alarm you but most psychotropic medications are meant to be taken for life. Most people take them until they stop working or they’re compelled to quit. However the withdrawals from lexapro can really suck if you’re on it for years. I’d look into that. It’s not as bad as they say but they can be very inconvenient. You may find yourself wishing you never started taking it. Looking back I’d only start taking a medication like that if it really helped, I planned to stay on it permanently, and I was desperate. Then I’d wait a month and read up on it to make sure I didn’t think differently about it later. I hope whatever your descision is it works out for you.


I think the big difference is that SSRIs are not narcotic whereas alcohol is. No one ever took a bunch of anti depressants to get fucked up like they do with booze.

As SSRIs are not narcotic they aren’t addictive in the same way booze Is, so you won’t be swapping one addiction for another. If you were taking.somethung narcotic like xanax for anxiety then that would be different…

I take good ol’ Prozac and have done for a few years. After the initial preiod that lasted around 6 weeks iirc, I didn’t feel any odd side effects of taking the medicine except that I didn’t wake up every day with crippling anxiety that would only ever.lift because of the depression :joy:

Side effects for me included- drowsiness, dry mouth, weird taste at back of my.mouth that anyone who has ever taken ecstasy will know pretty well, occasional heightened anxiety and trouble sleeping.

Prozac has completely changed my life, much more than therapy. Id recommend sticking with what your doctor has suggested and seeing.the course out. Mental health medication is a part of medicine that seems to be as much art as it is science though so try not to expect a miracle right away. It can take some adjusting.

If you have any specific questions at all about taking the medicine, let me know.


I couldn’t not deal with my drinking until my depression was addressed. If you can’t walk, you use a wheelchair. If you have an infection, you take an antibiotic. If your body doesn’t make enough serotonin, you take an antidepressant. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s helping you to survive.


I agree with everything you said SO FREAKING MUCH

Ive taken cymbalta which is another ssri . It has helpped me

For reference I’ve been on high dose antidepressants for 8 years now. Diabetics aren’t told to stop taking insulin because their body can’t produce it on its own. Well my body also can’t seem to manufacture serotonin on its own. The first few years I was on it, I worked with my psychiatrist to try to taper off my use of my antidepressant, but every time things would just end up getting worse and we’d have to up it. It’s okay if you need to take something your body can’t create to function

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