Seeking treatment for alcoholism often requires a multi-pronged approach that uses both pharmaceuticals and counseling to help patients work toward sobriety by addressing both the mental patterns that feed addiction and the chemical and neurological processes that are making the brain prone to addiction. One of the pharmaceutical drugs that many recovering alcoholics have found much success with is a drug called Vivitrol.
Vivitrol: An Injectable Treatment for Alcoholism
Vivitrol is an injectable drug that was approved for use in treating alcoholism in 2006. It was the first injectable drug approved for treatment of alcoholism, and is somewhat unique in that it only requires patients to receive a monthly dose. It is administered by a patient’s physician.
Most Effective In Patients Who Abstain From Drinking
Vivitrol is intended to be given to a patient after they have abstained from drinking for at least a few days. In initial studies of the drug, patients who avoided alcohol for a week prior to receiving the shot exhibited higher success rates in remaining sober after the shot had been administered.
Vivitrol Blocks Receptors in the Brain
Vivitrol works to help curb cravings to use because it blocks brain receptors that experience reward when a person uses alcohol. A drug like Vivitrol is highly effective because when a person is addicted to a substance like alcohol, their brain chemistry actually changes in a way that makes alcohol almost impossible to resist.
Reward receptors send messages to the brain that make procuring more alcohol a person’s primary thought, which puts all other life functions, such as the need to feel human affection and the desire to remain healthy and well balanced, on the back burner. As a patient who is receiving Vivitrol ceases to equate pleasure with receiving alcohol, they become much less likely to continue to use the drug.
Drug Intended to Help Patients Who Have Already Detoxed
Doctors prescribed Vivitrol to patients who have already effectively stopped abusing alcohol. It is a helpful drug for these patients because most addicts experience cravings and triggers in the time after they undergo the detoxification process. By helping a patient avoid cravings, Vivitrol gives recovering addicts a chance to get the most out of their interactions with counselors and support groups.
A drug like Vivitrol also helps recovering addicts implement the tools they have learned in rehab as they return to their regular lives and begin to adjust to living without alcohol. This transitional time is a period when relapse may be very likely, and Vivitrol helps addicts stay focused on their sobriety. This drug is not intended, however, for addicts who need to make the initial move from heavy use to detoxification.
Vivitrol is a popular drug among both doctors and patients because it carries low instances side effects. Patients may experience nausea, headaches, dizziness, decreased appetite, painful joints, and muscle cramps. More severe side effects like liver damage, depression, swelling of the face, and suicidal thoughts are much less common, but may occur in a small number of patients.
Vivitrol Not Intended to Be Used Alone
Vivitrol is intended to be used alongside non-pharmaceutical treatment for alcoholism. Alcoholism, like any addiction, is a complex disease that requires patients and their caregivers to use a number of means in order to find health. Recovering addicts who find success with Vivitrol generally also see counselors and attend group therapy sessions on a regular basis.
By working to recover from addiction in a number of ways, many recovering alcoholics maintain their sobriety for their entire lives after seeking treatment. Finding the right treatment program, whether it includes drugs like Vivitrol or not, is the key to success.
Rob Ford, the current mayor of Toronto, has faced much public scrutiny and derision over the past few months, as news that he has abused crack cocaine while in office has come to light. Further public outcry as persisted as the mayor has refused to step down from office, despite the fact that his drug abuse has become public information.
Ford Admits to Crack Cocaine Use
It seems that the mayor’s refusal to leave office does not stem from denial that he engaged in illicit behavior. Recently, Ford explicitly admitted to having smoked crack cocaine last year “while in a drunken stupor.” When one of the councilmen arguing for his resignation asked whether he had bought illegal drugs within the last two years, Ford affirmed that indeed, he had. Although Ford has been rather forthright in terms of his drug use, he does not seem to be totally without remorse. He has been quoted as saying, “I understand the embarrassment that I have caused. I am humiliated by it.”
Councilmen Strongly Urge Resignation
The men and women working around Ford have been very clear in their opinion that Ford should leave office in the wake of public news of his drug abuse. Recently, a debate was conducted concerning the issue of Ford’s possible resignation. Of the 43 councilmen present, 41 voted in agreement with an open letter that asked Ford to step down. Many councilmen also voted on a separate movement to encourage the troubled mayor to take a leave of absence. Though both votes were nearly unanimous, they did little to move forward any real action in terms of the mayor’s ability to serve. According to local law, the city council does not have the legal ability to remove a mayor from office.
Ford Remains Defiant
Even as his peers made it very evident that they wished for him to leave office and seek help, Ford expressed no intention to step away from mayoral office. Rather, he continued to reiterate that he did not believe he needed help and that he intended to continue with business as usual. He told councilmen that he was “Most definitely keeping (his) job,” that he was, “not leaving,” and would “sit…and attended every meeting.” Not only did Ford adamantly affirm that he did not believe he should leave office, he went as far as to declare himself a “Positive role model for kids who are down and out.”
No Legal Charges For the Mayor
While many individuals both inside and outside of the city government believe that Ford should leave office, there is currently little legal recourse for his opponents. Though tape has surfaced of the mayor smoking crack during the incident in question, it is not legally admissible. This is not the mayor’s first bout with controversy. Ford has admitted to being out-of-control drunk on a number of occasions, and frequently makes comments that surprise his constituents. While much of his behavior has been unusual, and even cause for alarm, he has not, to date, been convicted of a crime, which is the only way that he could be forced out of office.
Denial and Addiction
Mayor Ford is certainly not the first addict to be in denial about the severity of his problem. Most addicts go through a period of denial. When a person is addicted to a substance, they become obsessed with procuring more of the substance, and take all measures necessary to ensure that their use can continue. By denying that they have a problem, a user effectively convinces his or herself that they can keep using.
Abuse of prescription drugs is a serious problem that policy makers across the country are fighting diligently to curtail. Prescription drugs, particularly opiates, are among the most fatal when abused, and addiction to opiates is growing among individuals of all ages at an alarming rate. Attempts to crack down on the abuse of opiates, however, may be working quite counter to their intentions to reduce the number of individuals facing addiction.
The Case of Washington State
Policy officials attempting to strategize as to how to effectively manage opiate abuse have closely watched the information emerging from Washington state, which currently has one of the strictest policies on opiate prescriptions in the nation. The data that has emerged has been less than sunny. In Washington, patients who are prescribed pain killers may be subject to random drug tests. They may also be required to consult with pain management specialists before receiving a prescription of any kind.
Washington’s stringent laws on opiate dispensing have had the intended effect of reducing the number of recorded prescription drug addicts. Unfortunately, however, they seem to have also had the effect of increasing instances of heroin abuse in the state. The rise in heroin abuse in Washington since prescription laws have changed hardly seems negligible. Over the last five years, instances of criminals testing positive for heroin use have jumped a whopping 167%.
Addicts Will Find “Fix”
It seems that the situation in Washington indicates what addiction therapists and doctors have long known: that a person who is addicted to a drug will find a means of procuring said drug at almost any cost. The chemicals in opiates are very similar in make up to the chemicals in heroin, and pill addicts who suddenly found their supply “cut off” likely moved to heroin as a way of getting their fix.
This seems to suggest that legislation that limits access to opiates addresses the symptom of the problem and not the cause. Drug addiction is a very complicated disease that has a number of causes, which vary from individual to individual. Limiting access to a certain form of a drug does not address the complicated issue of addiction. Rather, it changes the types of habits users are forming.
Opiates Easier to Regulate
Many officials may look first to opiates when searching for ways to reduce instances of abuse because opiates, unlike heroin, are regulated. Since heroin is sold on the black market, it is much more difficult to track users and to place limitations on their access to it.
Unfortunately, because heroin is not regulated, it is in some ways more dangerous than prescription opiates. Heroin is often consumed intravenously, which means that in addition to the risks posed by the drug itself, users are at higher risk for contagious diseases like HIV. Black market heroin also varies in strength and both long time and users are at a high risk for fatal overdose.
Situation May Not Be As Bad As It Seems
Though the data surrounding Washington laws suggests that opiate restrictions may be producing an undesired effect, the regulations may be more effective than they seem at first. Much of the data surveyed is based on criminals who were tested, meaning that addicts who were not committing crimes may have dipped dramatically.
It seems that the shift towards heroin use in criminal addicts has been largely attributed to pill addicts who sought other means of consumption as opiates became harder to procure. Stronger limitations on opiates over the course of a few more years may prove to be beneficial as less people become addicted to pain killers in the first place.
A recent study has unearthed important evidence around chronic depression and the causes of it. The study, conducted by scientist Mauro Garcia-Toro while at Columbia University, suggests that along with factors like previous bouts with depression, a childhood history of sexual abuse puts a person at much higher risk for chronic depression, which is generally categorized as depression that lasts 24 months.
Abuse Affects Neurological Make Up
Among the depression patients studied, those who had a history of abuse reported that during bouts with depression they recalled instances of abuse. There was also strong evidence that those who suffered from the longest stretches of depression were far more likely to have been abused in the past.
This seems to suggest that the stress associated with being the victim of abuse alters a person’s brain, making them much more likely to become depressed and much less likely to quickly recover from a depressive episode.
Girls More Likely To Have Been the Victims of Abuse
Female children face sexual abuse in much higher numbers. This fact, along with data that correlates a history of sexual abuse with very severe depression, sometimes lasting five years or longer, suggests that of the adult women who suffer from severe depression, half of them were sexually abused as children.
Importance of Knowing the Roots of Depression
Depression can be a very severe disorder that drastically affects a person’s ability to live a normal life. Unlike some other mental conditions, depression has a complicated list of causes that are generally both hereditary and environmental. A person who already has a predisposition to become chronically depressed will become even more susceptible to depression in the event that they are sexually abused as children. Because sexual abuse and the trauma that surrounds it has a profound effect on a person’s brain chemistry, genetic factors that contribute to depression may become exponentially compounded when a child is abused.
Findings that help identify roots and causes of depression help mental health professionals develop appropriate strategies for helping patients overcome depressive episodes. Understanding the degree to which a person’s background is contributing to the length and severity of their depression can give important clues to the best way to strategize for recovery. Unfortunately depression often leads to substance abuse and can create co-occurring disorder for a patient.
The Dangers of Depression
Finding solutions for chronic depression is very important as depression is often a precursor for other serious mental health issues. Individuals who struggle with depression are far more likely to exhibit compulsive behaviors such as disordered eating or substance abuse. Often, depressed people suffer from low self esteem, which is also very much linked to sexual abuse. Addicts who suffer from depression and low self esteem tend to turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of dealing with complex and painful emotional issues.
Depression only becomes more severe as an addict falls further into substance abuse, as does an addict’s tendency towards having a low self image. This becomes a very vicious cycle, as the strength and confidence it takes to move toward sobriety become more and more scarce.
Hope For Victims of Abuse
As more studies are done examining the link between depression and abuse, victims of childhood abuse can hope to find more and more effective help in overcoming the trauma of their childhood. With the right support, it is possible to regain a healthier mindset and to find tools that can make life seem livable again. If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse and is struggling with addiction as a result of depression, seek help now so that you may begin working toward a happier and healthier life as soon as possible.
Addiction health professionals and patients alike have been pleasantly surprised by recent news that there may be a new drug that effectively helps alcoholics and heavy drinkers quit drinking with little or no severe side effects. The drug, gabapentin, which is currently sold under the brand name Neurontin, has long been on the market for use in epilepsy patients, but recent studies suggest that it may be a very useful tool in combating alcohol dependency.
Thorough Study Produces Promising Results
Researchers tested their theory that gabapentin may help curb tendencies to relapse or continue drinking heavily by conducting a double blind study of 150 men and women. The fact that the experiment was double blind meant that neither researchers nor participants knew which patients were taking gabapentin and which were taking a placebo. By recording the results of the study in a double blind manner, researchers were able to reduce the likelihood of bias from either their ends or the subjects’.
When the study was unblinded, researchers found that the higher the dose of gabapentin a patient had received, the more likely it was that they had curbed or entirely stopped drinking. 45% of subjects in the high dose group stopped drinking, nearly double the amount of patients in the low dose group, of which 23% stopped drinking. 17% of patients in the high dose group stopped drinking completely, compared with only 4% of placebo patients.
Gabapentin Produces Calming Effect
It seems that gabapentin may be effective in helping curb tendencies towards drinking in individuals who are trying to quit because it produces a soothing, calming effect on the brain. Most people who are chemically dependent on alcohol experience negative effects like depression and anxiety when they stop drinking. This is because as a person becomes addicted to a substance, their brain becomes wired so that it is singularly focused on procuring more alcohol.
When the brain realizes that it is not receiving more alcohol, it fires off signals that cause anxiety and general unease. These symptoms can be so severe that even a person who very much wants to stop drinking may return to using in order to stop the painful feeling of anxiety. When a drug like gabapentin helps minimize anxious feelings, a person will likely experience a much higher level of success as they attempt to abstain from alcohol use.
Drug Use Still “Off Label” When Used For Chemical Dependency
To date, Neurontin is still marketed for use in epileptic patients only. Doctors may choose to recommend the drug for patients struggling with addiction, but it is currently only prescribed at their discretion based on their professional opinion. While the drug’s use as an aid in addiction recovery may be a fairly recent development, many physicians are familiar with it and may have a good idea of how patients will respond to it based on their experience using it in epileptic patients.
Side Effects Mild
Part of the appeal of gabapentin as treatment for chemical dependency is that the drug does not
generally seem to cause severe side effects. Some users report feelings of drowsiness or fatigue, but this may actually serve to help recovering addicts resist the urge to relapse, since many newly sober alcoholics experience insomnia. Studies suggest that the drug may also help those who are recovering from marijuana addiction, who also commonly experience sleeplessness. Insomnia can increase feelings of depression and anxiety, which can trigger use, so gabapentin’s side effects may actually be yet another advantage of the drug. Tools like gabapentin, along with an effective treatment program can give many alcoholics hope where they once only saw despair.
As the proliferation of online pornography has made pornography addiction an increasingly common problem, particularly among young men, many doctors and mental health professionals have wondered how exactly to treat this compulsive behavior. Mental health care providers may be one step closer to finding real answers as a new study released shows that addiction to pornography creates the same reaction in the brain as addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Study Monitored Brain Activity
This study, which was conducted in the United Kingdom at Cambridge University, monitored the brain activity of healthy young males as well as young males who had admitted to being addicted to pornography. Both groups were shown highly erotic images and researchers took note of the area of their brains that registered reward or pleasure. The young men who were addicted to pornography showed an extremely high level of activity in this area, while the young men who were not addicted showed only a small amount of activity.
The young men who were addicted to pornography were then shown other exciting images, such as highly engaging moments from a sports activity, which should have also activated the brain’s reward center, in the event that the subject was simply easily prone to stimuli. These men did not, however, respond to the sports images in the same way that they had responded to the pornographic images. This allowed researchers to conclude that these men were in fact addicted to pornography.
Similarities Between Pornography Addiction and Substance Addiction
The fact that the same part of the brain is activated when viewing pornographic material as is activated when a substance addict views a bottle of alcohol or sees their dealer indicates that addiction, regardless of what kind of addiction, stems from the same neurological place. When a person is addicted to something, the part of their brain that stores memory of reward becomes activated and so powerful that it sends persistent messages to the rest of the brain to obtain more of that substance or material at any cost.
This is the same area of the brain that sends out negative signals if the brain goes too long without receiving a substance or activity, which is referred to as withdrawal. The findings that pornography addicts have similar neurological processes to other addicts indicate that like all addiction, a person may be genetically or otherwise predisposed for addiction.
The Problem With Pornography Addiction
As with any type of addiction, pornography addiction can be very dangerous, because it can start to take a serious hold on an addict’s life. When a person is addicted to pornography, they will likely place this addiction above all other life activities. Pornography addiction can affect a person’s ability to socialize normally, and may also interfere with their ability to work. Pornography addiction can also have a major negative impact on a person’s ability to date or maintain healthy relationships.
When a person watches pornography compulsively, particularly if that person begins watching pornography at a very young age, which is often the case, they may begin to view people as objects rather than human beings. They may also become unable to have normal sexual interactions with another person and may be more likely to become addicted to sex as well.
Help For Anyone Struggling With Addiction
Any time a person is addicted to a substance or compulsive behavior, they should seek professional help. Because an addict’s brain is programmed to be addicted, it often takes the help of professional counselors and addiction specialists to regain a healthy life. The good news is that help is out there for anyone who is ready to accept it.
Opiate addiction is one of the fastest growing problems facing addiction counselors and others concerned with recovery and well being. Many opiates, which come in the form of doctor prescribed drugs, are highly addictive and may cause a person to become chemically dependant on them even in the amount of time that they are taking the drug for pain management or other medically necessary reasons. Recently, a new study conducted by scientists at Western University has offered new insight into exactly what happens within a person’s brain when they become addicted to opiates.
Addiction, Reward, and Brain Chemistry
Addiction, and opiate addiction in particular, is centered around the neurological process of being rewarded, or experiencing a pleasurable sensation after using a drug. When a person begins using an opiate, their brain quickly begins to associate happy or positive feelings with that drug and thus quickly associates a positive reaction to the drug.
A specific molecule in the brain, located in a region called the basolateral amygdala, holds onto associations with opiate use. This same area sends signals to the brain when the opiate is not in a person’s system, causing withdrawal symptoms, and associates certain activities with usage, leading to addiction, triggers, and relapse. It seems that within this region of the brain, there are two types of molecules at play: one that operates and holds memories before a person is addicted and one that takes over once a person has become addicted.
Research May Help Combat Addiction
As neuroscientists shed light onto the exact way opiate addiction alters brain chemistry, they may be making way for some exciting and effective treatment possibilities for people who are facing addiction. Understanding exactly how the brain is transformed when a person is addicted to opiates may help pharmaceutical researchers develop pharmaceuticals that can use the known information about shifts in neurological activity to develop drugs that can help curb a person’s addiction.
Addiction is a Disease
These findings also help validate the fact that has been obvious to mental health care providers and addiction counselors for a long time: that addiction is a disease that is just as chemically based as other diseases commonly attributed to faults in physical health or genetics. This position, which is commonplace among medical professionals, is slowly becoming more and more prevalent in mainstream society, in part because, unfortunately, a growing number of people are facing addiction.
Even the recently adopted Affordable Care Act, which helps expand medical coverage in a number of ways, stipulates that health insurance policies must cover mental health and addiction recovery treatment.
Support for Opiate Addiction
Opiate addiction can wreck havoc on all aspects of a person’s personal, professional, and financial well being. Opiates have a number of harmful side effects, and continued use can lead to problems with a person’s internal organs as well as create serious mental impairment. Just because a person is prescribed opiates for a medical reason, does not mean that they cannot become addicted to them. Any time a person is physically or mentally dependent on a substance, they are facing addiction and should get help immediately.
The neurological changes that opiates create can make withdrawal very severe. If you have a problem with opiate abuse, you should seek professional help. A staff of professional doctors and addiction therapists can help you overcome initial withdrawal and work with you as you make your way from being dependent to regaining your sobriety. With the right treatment, even a person who is very dependent on opiates can become healthy and sober. A recovery program offers the tools needed to quit opiates and start living life again!
Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has been very open about a number of things in his life since allowing film crews to document virtually every detail of his life on the runaway hit reality show “Jersey Shore.” Recently, however, the reality star has been even more forthcoming than usual as he’s divulged details of his struggle with drugs and how he came to be addicted to prescription painkillers.
A Dance Injury Takes Things From Bad to Worse
The Situation appeared on the show “Dancing With the Stars” in 2010, where he was a popular competitor until being eliminated in the show’s fourth week. The competition reality show pairs up celebrities with dancers and leads them through a highly rigorous training and rehearsal process, which culminates in the celebrities performing professional level choreography alongside their partners. Many competitors have spoken to the degree of difficult physical activity involved in the show.
During his time on “Dancing With the Stars,” The Situation injured his lower back and neck while in the process of picking up choreography. He was prescribed opiates as pain relievers and quickly became highly addicted to them.
Coming to Terms With Having a Problem
As is the case with many people who are addicted to prescription drugs, Sorrentino was in denial about the fact that he had a problem with opiates because the fact that his doctor prescribed them to him gave him the incorrect impression that the drugs could not be bad for them or that he could not be doing anything unhealthy. Because he was convinced that he did not have a problem, Sorrentino kept the details of his dependency hidden for quite some time before seeking help.
The star finally admitted to himself and his family that he had a problem when he was in Australia for an appearance last year. He did not have any painkillers on him, and had at that time been taking the drugs on a daily basis. Without the opiates that he was so heavily dependant on, Sorrentino was literally unable to get out of bed and dressed for appearance. Experiencing this level of dependency made him realize that he did in fact have a very serious problem, and immediately flew to Utah to check himself in to an inpatient rehab program.
Hoping to Inspire Other Addicts to Seek Help
The Situation left inpatient rehab in spring of 2012 and has not used prescription painkillers since. He feels that he finally has his life back and can now truly devote himself to the television and live appearances that he feels very fortunate to be asked to to. By speaking openly about his struggle with addiction, the reality star hopes that he may be able to help other addicts realize they have a problem and seek help.
Prescription drug addiction, which is very dangerous and quickly becoming one of the most prominent and fast growing substance abuse problems in the country, may be occurring at an ever increasing rate because while most drugs sold on the black market require at least an initial decision to use recreationally, prescription drugs are prescribed by a doctor for legitimate medical use.
Often a person becomes addicted to the drugs without even noticing, or notices long after they have already become chemically dependant. Any time a drug is taken past the time or amount recommended by a doctor, or when it is taken for reasons other than treatment for which they have been prescribed, a person is exhibiting signs of drug abuse. If you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs, or you believe that you may be developing a dependency, you should seek help right away.
Prescription drug abuse is fast becoming one of the most dangerous and problematic health issues facing Americans. An alarmingly high number of patients are addicted to drugs that are prescribed by doctors, and an even larger group of people are using prescription drugs illicitly by receiving them from other patients or means like buying them on the black market or taking the drugs from waste cans.
One of the groups of people hit hardest by this alarming trend is military service people, who are becoming addicted to potent pharmaceuticals at a disturbing rate.
An Epidemic of Prescription
Service people may be the demographic who is prescribed drugs at the highest rate, because of the nature of their lifestyle. Men and women in combat face a number of psychological and physical issues that are very extreme and not generally experienced by much of the rest of the American population. Exposure to traumatic experiences can lead a person to experience a number of severe mental side effects which can include, but are certainly not limited to anxiety, depression, paranoia and delusions.
Many military doctors treat soldiers who are displaying symptoms of these issues by prescribing them drugs to help sooth some of their side effects. These drugs, which are often very strong antipsychotics are highly addictive and carry fairly heavy side effects, even for a person who is not also dealing with the physical and mental stresses of combat.
Compounded by Combat
Because the soldiers who are receiving strong medications are still in a position where they must remain in combat, their problems may increase dramatically. Rather than removing themselves from triggers for psychological issues, soldiers remain in the very situation that is causing them strife. They are also under pressure to maintain the rigorous schedule and physical activity that combat demands, which may mean that at times, medics who are higher up prescribe secondary drugs to counteract the initial prescription, or to generally make life in combat in the midst of a mental health crisis more feasible in the short term.
Soldiers may, for example be prescribed a depressant or strong antipsychotic to aid with sleep and a stimulant like Ritalin to keep them alert during their waking hours. These drugs can have a very dangerous effect on one another, and can, among other things, be very damaging to a person’s cardiovascular system, which may account to the many sleeping deaths that are reported in the military each year.
Support for Soldiers Upon Returning Home
In addition to being very dangerous in and of themselves, many of the drugs that soldiers are provided in combat are incredibly addictive. This is a fact that is often overlooked when a soldier returns home and attempts to adjust to life off of the battlefield. A service person may very well be facing addiction without even their significant other knowing it, because the substance they are addicted to was prescribed by their military doctor.
When this type of addiction is overlooked, a person often does not receive the care they need to recover. This problem is frequently compounded by the fact that service people returning from combat often face alienation, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These issues, especially when not monitored by a mental health professional, put a person at very high risk for addiction.
The consequences of service person addiction are severe and far reaching. As many as half of all service people may be taking a drug of some kind, and to date, there does not seem to be adequate awareness about this issue nor the proper tools necessary to help soldiers recover and find their way back to health.
Millions of Americans tune in every week to watch the smash hit show “Duck Dynasty,” which follows the unique and eccentric Robertson family. Among the show’s most popular characters is Uncle Si, who is the brother of the family’s patriarch, Phil Robertson. Si had already garnered plenty of attention and curiosity from fans from the show, but a recent book he’s written, “Si-Cology, Struggles and Tales From the Robertson Family’s Favorite Uncle,” has shed even more light and interest on Si’s unusual life. One of the most interesting details Robertson divulges in his new memoir is that he has, in the past struggled with substance abuse and mental health issues.
A Family History of Mental Illness
In his book, Si reveals that he has a “faulty” mind, which is his terminology for naming his struggles with mental illness. Like many who deal with mental health issues, Si has a family history of psychological issues. His mother apparently suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to a number of mental health facilities when Si and Phil were young boys. It seems that the Robertson boys’ mother suffered from manic depression.
Developing a Drinking Problem in Vietnam
Si, who no longer drinks alcohol, is a recovering alcoholic. When he was younger, he served in Vietnam, which he recalls being a difficult time in his life. During this dark time, he began drinking constantly, and became heavily addicted to alcohol. He became troubled by the highly negative impact alcohol was having on his well being, and stopped drinking when he returned home. Robertson is now a literal teatotler – he drinks excessive amounts of tea on a daily basis.
The Duck Dynasty’s Rise to Wealth
As a sober and healthy person, Si is able to enjoy the company of his immediate and extended family. The family became very wealthy by selling a product called “Duck Commander,” which generates duck calls and can be used by duck hunters. Si plays an important part in the family business because he manufactures the reeds that are used in the callers.
A Message of Hope
Si’s story of recovery serves as a message of hope for any person whose life is being destroyed by an addiction to alcohol. Alcoholism is a very dangerous and destructive disease that attacks every vital part of a person’s life. When a person is addicted to alcohol, they begin to lose a grasp of their health, their personal relationships, and their ability to properly do their job. This often causes a spiral of depression, which triggers more drinking. Until a person is truly able to stop drinking, they are likely to watch their problems worsen and become more unmanagable.
When, however, a person like Si stops drinking and becomes committed to a lifetime of recovery, they may suddenly find all of the things in their life that seemed damaged or lost come back to fruition. Sober living means having the ability to maintain meaningful relationships with their family, as Si does with his wife Christine and their sons and grandchildren. Sobriety also brings about a level of clarity and productivity that can allow a person to perform at the top of their ability, and even play a huge part in a highly profitable family business.
If you are addicted to alcohol, or feel that your drinking has begun to spin out of control or land you in a period of depression, you should not feel that all is lost. A healthy and happy life is ahead of you, but first you must take the steps to stop drinking and start living the life you actually want.