Twice today peers, both recovering addicts, have suggested that although I do not drink much, I may be an alcoholic because of my relationship with alcohol (and marijuana, for that matter). The statements ring true. Within me lives an alcoholic over whom I must exert tremendous control. I sense a strong genetic and biological predisposition to alcoholism and marijuana abuse. When I was 17 to 30, I self-medicated using marijuana to slow my thoughts and make me stupid, offering me relief from my hypomanic racing thoughts. Still today, when I see or smell alcohol or marijuana I crave it, and I find myself fighting that craving.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 50 percent of individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness are affected by substance abuse. About 37 percent of individuals with alcoholism and 53 percent of individuals with drug addictions have at least one serious mental illness.
NAMI Peer-to-Peer Class 6 Agenda