Monday, January 31, 2011

What do you do when your friend is addicted?

What do you do when you find out your friend is addicted?
The friend that was my maid of honor at my wedding many years ago called about an hour ago. 
She seemed frantic, as she usually has each time she's called me over the past year.  She's still seeking Ambien from any Doctor that will give it to her.  She calls me hoping I know a Doctor that will write her a presciption.  I don't know any Doctor's.  I've told her this in the past.
Seems she has been getting the medicine from a relative, and she hasn't even told her husband she's been getting this medication from them.  I'm sure her husband would flip his lid if he knew she was getting medications without a prescription.
She kept telling me she needed the medication because her days were too long.  So I asked her if she was taking the medication to sleep at night, or if she was taking it during the day.  She takes it both day and night.  She wants to sleep her days away because they are too long and she has nothing to do since they put her on disability and will no longer let her teach.
I told her you don't sleep during the day simply because you are bored and your days are too long.  I told her you do things or learn things to do to fill them up.  I gave her examples of things to do and places to go to learn things.  She doesn't want to pay to take classes, and I understand that because money is now tight for them.  I suggested she learn new recipes and such.
I told her even if you're bored you don't take pills to sleep during the day.  I explained you somehow learn to live with periods of boredom.
I think she was going to start volunteering somewhere, but had a car accident.
I don't think right now while her mind is wandering that she can focus well enough to be driving.
I explained to her I think that she's now addicted to the Ambien and needs to go somewhere (drug rehab, though I didn't say that phrase) to get dried out just like alcoholics do.  I tried to explain to her that the longer you take sleeping meds, the less and less they seem to be effective.
Then she said that yesterday she mentioned suicide to the same relative that had been giving her the Ambien.  The relative doesn't want to give them to her anymore.  So the relative called the police on her because she was talking about suicide.  She also said the relative lied and told the police that she was threatening someone too besides.
She said the police came to her house, but that she was able to convince the police the relative was lying.
So, what do you do.  She wanted phone numbers from me for the insurance company we both have.  She's bound and determined to find a psychiatrist or primary Doctor that will prescribe these pills for her.  I don't think any ever will. 
I don't know why she can't talk to her own family about her needs and how she's feeling when she is down.  I'm not a psychiatrist and pray that she finds a new one that will help her.  Apparently her present one isn't.
It must be horrible to have a frantic mind and only want to sleep to escape it.  I mean I have health problems too, physical in nature.  I have a lot of physical pain with my condition and I don't seek out prescription pain meds, nor do I drown myself in alcohol or any illegal substances to dull my pain.
I really think people sometimes need to find their own way to help themselves with chronic illness, whether mental or physical.  I don't think the Doctor's, whether psychiatrists or medical in nature really get it, unless they've been through it themselves.
I talked to my husband and asked him if I thought I should try and call her husband at work and talk to him.  He told me "No."
Her husband has physical medical problems and is still trying to work.  We already know her daughter is tired of everything with her mom.
So, I just know that I will call the police next time, if needed, if she talks of suicide.  I'm not trained in this and I can't be responsible anymore to try and talk her down, or reason with her.
I try, but she doesn't seem to remember what we talk about from one phone call to the next.
It's draining me emotionally.  I'm feeling like I can't deal anymore. 
So what would you do when your now know your friend is addicted?


  1. Wow, what a difficult situation. I would encourage her to seek help with the doctors that you both share. Even if she thinks she is going in for a prescription, hopefully the doc will see through it and get her some real help. I was hoping that maybe you could approach the husband, but it sounds like that is not an option...

    Do you live near her, can you go and take her for a walk? Maybe send her a card for each day? Try to remember what used to make her passionate (animals, kids, etc.) and see if you can't pull her heartstrings to get her involved with a specific cause to volunteer? I don't know, grasping at straws here...

  2. That is not only scary, but dangerous. And I cannot believe people are actually giving it to her. She needs professional help with her depression and ambien is not helping it. Google Ambien and Depression.

    I would probably try getting her to see a doctor. Or at least try to go along with her to do things, take her out of her house and get her a good dose of sunshine. I am so sorry she is going through this, it is definitely a hard situation.

  3. That's a really hard situation. I don't know what I would do. I recently heard on the news that there were some proposals for prescription drug regulation since they were wildly abused. Such a shame.

  4. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. Unfortunately I know what you are going through, only my circumstance was a little different. It is sad to say, but unless the person really wants help, they aren't always going to listen to reason. I have watched someone in a similar situation (different drug) fall to their lowest, ruin lives, and still never get the point. I have even seen this person almost lose their life and lives of loved ones. I think these people do need love and support, but they also sometimes need to be confronted by what they are doing. So many people just sit back and watch. You could try confronting her, letting her know you know she is dealing with a lot,but you think drugs are ruining her life and that she needs to get help. From there I believe she will have to be ready and want the help. I really don't have any real advice as the person I know never got it.

  5. Thanks for all the great comments. I don't know how much my friend is retaining from each conversation we have. I think little. She does now have short term memory loss from Neuro Malignant Syndrome. So I know this plays into some of her feelings and chemicals in her brain.
    As far as taking her places and getting her out of the house, I rarely drive and only have a vehicle when my husband is home. When my husband is home there are things he wants to do and go to. So, I doubt if I'd ever be able to take her many places. I don't think I'd feel comfortable with her driving us around in her car. I mean could I ever truly be sure she hadn't taken medications (legal or not) that shouldn't be used if you're driving? She just recently had a vehicle accident. She won't tell me if it was her fault or not.
    I'm just praying for her. I listen when she calls, but I won't enable her by giving her names of Doctor's that I think may give her the medications she's seeking. She doesn't want to see the last Dr. I told her to see a few months back, anymore. Seems that Dr. won't give her the meds she wants. She's going to be a Dr. jumper I'm sure, because I don't think many are going to be giving her the meds she's seeking. I just hope that one family member that was giving her the meds she wanted doesn't start giving them to her again.

  6. Wow. Im so sorry to read this. Unfortunately, as a prior addict myself to Alcohol she will likely only get help when SHE IS READY to get the help. Addicts like to be in control (even though they are completely out of control)... ironic I know. Its so sad as well that physicians out there dont pay attention to this stuff and continue to prescribe meds. I wish I had some grand words of advice but I think the others have covered it pretty well. You have been an awesome friend to her so far... hang in there!!