Socially acceptable drug addiction

…one bottle of Valium, which I’ve already procured from my mother, who is, in her own domestic and socially acceptable way also a drug addict – Renton, Trainspotting


Four months lost from work last year didn’t just give me issues with anxiety or crush my confidence – it also gave me a drug addiction which I’m delighted to say I’ve now managed to overcome – unlike a huge number of people that each day struggle with an addiction that they would give anything to leave behind them. It’s funny when you are looking to help resolve a problem you are facing at the time, how little we look to the future problems the ‘cure’ might bring with it!

I read a report in September 2012 claiming that one in seven Scots is prescribed anti-depressants, I could’t quite believe the number – 1 in 7! Is this down to our willingness to over-prescribe, or our ‘fix it now’ culture? Are we more depressed as a nation than others? Can it be attributed to our climate? The more I thought about it though, the more I am convinced that a significant number of them are probably trying their best to get off them. For most, it takes a huge amount of time to release themselves from the grip of craving the drug – halving the dose, putting longer and longer between doses until you can finally claim to be ‘clean’. For others, they simply can’t give them up, so addicted are they.

I loved Renton’s quote from Trainspotting when I saw it at the time, but never considered that at some point I would find myself in the ‘socially acceptable’ camp!

I’m now free of the addiction, so goodbye Citalopram – goodbye random nausia, insomnia, wild nightmares, whooshes, dizziness and hearing loss. Hello clarity of mind, self-determination and 2013.

Image credit: takgoti.

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6 thoughts on “Socially acceptable drug addiction”

  1. Andrew, Like you I was on the wee red pills for a while in the Army. So dangerous – if you were down when you took them you went down further – if you were happy you went so high you were even more dangerous. Having seen some terrible things and not slept properly for months, I was stuck on antidepressants. I once broke down crying in the middle of an exercise and had to be hugged by my Boss; a Major(QM) with 33 years service! Kudos to you getting off the things. It took me a year way back in 1989 – at least nowadays when teaching if I get a wee bit fed up I can talk to my S1 and S6 and they always cheer me up! As does the grandson 😎 Take care – you always were one of the good guys and people in the frontline of education thought highly of you.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, Dave – I really appreciate it. I was prescribed medication due to anxiety, but no longer being anxious I was determined to come off them. A good thing too – I’ve never felt better!

  2. Andrew – I look forward to the resumption (with renewed vigour!) of your contributions to learning in Scotland.

    Your valued input has been missed, and we need every voice to be heard at this crucial juncture of our development of learning for the digital age.

    Look forward to seeing you ‘out and ABout’ !

    1. Walt – thanks for the kind words. I’ve been back at work since August, but don’t really talk about work here. Presently, I’m much more involved in the ‘learning’ side of things than the ‘tech’, so I’m far happier – albeit more intellectually stretched!

  3. Hi Andrew – I think sometimes the flip side of this is that drugs can be a temporary fix, and very necessary at times for many folks. I shudder to think of what suicide rates might be if we didn’t use meds like Citalopram, and others. I’d hate to go back to an age of routine ECT.

    I’ve had to take drugs like these on and off for some years now, and can honestly say they helped. I still have to take a specific drug for generalised anxiety, which is an unfortunate but common characteristic in folks like me with Asperger’s. You get used to the side effects which for me outweigh the problems I have without the drug. I guess I’ll need to take this medicine until they come up with something better. I’m glad your sojourn down this road was thankfully short. I do think we live in a ‘fix it now’ medical culture, and perhaps if we invested more in counselling, particularly in the workplace, we’d have to prescribe these drugs just a little bit less…

    1. Hi Jaye – I don’t doubt that for many the drugs are a lifeline, and for that I too am thankful. I couldn’t agree more that counselling in many cases would reduce the amount of prescription. I’m a great believer in the notion that talking helps!

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