Self-Medicating For Depression.

by Name Withheld
(Wichita, Kansas USA)

I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. Very high functioning, but always underlying depression. I started relying on alcohol in my mid 30’s to treat what the anti- depressants were not. Within a 5 yr period, I was being treated (inpatient and out) as an alcoholic.

I have drunk to the point of alcohol poisoning, and meet all the criteria of an alcoholic,

I have tried the 12 step program (Graduated with Honors) at various alcohol rehabs.

I have yet to find a life long solution. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I do not want to die this way. And I no longer wish to live this way.


I can really feel your pain coming through in this question and really hope that you can find some respite.

Before I reply I must advise you to go and see a medical professional ASAP to discuss your issues as he or she is better placed than I am to make an accurate assessment of you and your medical history

Firstly, you need to realize that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with you. You suffer from depression and have used alcohol, which, let’s face it is used by many people to feel better when things aren’t going their way. The only difference between you and them is that you suffer from clinical depression and alcohol is not going to help you, in fact as a depressive substance it is just going to make things a lot worse. So there is nothing wrong with you, bar you suffer with a depressive illness.

Secondly, if you drink alcohol with anti-depressants it negates the action of the medication. Alcohol, as mentioned above, is a depressant and your medication is an anti-depressant, take them together and they cancel each other out.

Thirdly, there are many different anti-depressants and some work on some people while others do not. The trick is to find the ones that work for you. Obviously at the moment they are not working and that is why you drink (however, you are now physically dependent – or were, on alcohol so there are two reasons you drink; to alleviate the depression and to stave off withdrawals). You need, in conjunction with a doctor/psychiatrist, to find the medication that works for you. Anti-depressants typically take time to work in your system so you need to be patient (I know that can be very hard).

Finally, you mention that you have tried AA. There are many alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous out there, read our pages on AA alternatives to learn more obout the options open to you.

I wish you all the best.

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