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Addiction and Substance Abuse

It`s Not Me, it`s You...

02/18/2010

Question:

How do I get someone who is either Bi-Polar 2 or schizoaffective, to acknowledge his need for chemical stability other than cannabis?

BTW, the only reason I won`t leave is that I WILL NOT have our children exposed to his mood swings alone.

Answer:

It sounds like you are dealing with someone with a psychiatric illness involving a mood disorder as well as cannabis dependency. When someone has a mood disorder, the worst thing they can do is use a mood-altering drug including cannabis. We know that cannabis leads to depression with chronic use. It also leads to a lack of motivation and an “I don't care” attitude.

 

What you can do for yourself and your kids is to join Al-Anon and go to 12 step meetings where everyone there is there for the same support that you hope to get. There will be members there with some suggestions for things that helped in their family and can tell you what does not work. You need to set healthy boundaries with your spouse and hold them accountable and responsible for their actions. You do not want to rescue them and prevent them from suffering pain from their consequences. This pain often motivates people to change.

 

For your children, beginning at 10 years or so and going to around 17 or so, there is AlaTeen, which is a support group for teenagers who are affected by someone close to them who has addiction. Also telling your spouse's doctor about the cannabis usage is helpful as they can address it directly. Psychiatric meds do not have much chance of working when someone is under the influence of drugs. I hope this helps, good luck.

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Response by:

Edna M Jones, MD, MRO Edna M Jones, MD, MRO
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University