When AA Alone Isn’t Working — The Fix

Some addicts believe that the 12 steps can solve all their problems. But they’re designed to treat addiction—not depression, anxiety, and the like. So how do you know when you need a therapist, and what kind do you need?

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2 thoughts on “When AA Alone Isn’t Working — The Fix

  1. Bill Post author

    A lot of hard-nosed deacons in the rooms are against antidepressants because they’re “mood-altering.” Damn right they are, and a good thing, too! But they don’t alter mood in the same ways that drugs of abuse do, and they don’t make the semi-permanent changes in the brain that lead to addiction. Instead, they supplement naturally-occurring brain chemicals that may be out of balance.

    There are no addictive antidepressants. Sometimes we need them for a relatively short time — a few months — and sometimes we need to keep taking them for much longer. And yes, there are some side effects — but none of them are as severe as the side effects of jumping off a building or eating a shotgun, or even relapsing because we can’t handle the depression.

    Bottom line: people in the rooms need to keep non-professional opinions to themselves when it comes to psychopharmacology. Because we know a lot about street drugs, pills or booze doesn’t mean we know jack about the brain and its mechanisms. The rooms are for support and the steps, not for discussion of outside issues.


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