THIS week, I would like to look at the type of addicts that we have within our community and the substances they use, unknowingly that they have graduated themselves into a specific group of addiction. I will focus on what we will call a functional addict. This is an individual who can wake up every day, try as hard as they can to meet their daily targets with competence, but is on a booster or a lift me up.
We have individuals who in their office, you will not miss a specific medicinal drug, be it a painkiller, a stimulant or a depressant. I just did a managers workshop and out of this l realised that, there is an increase of functional addicts in our working class due to the pressures of work. A considerable number indicated that they were dependent on some medication to deal with their work related stress or depression. Of interest this drug was mentioned many a times during my one-on-one consultancy with some.
Amitriptyline is the drug that is being given to some of our functional addicts as we shall call them to help them cope with their stress or depression. But of great note is that Amitriptyline has a black box warning which under the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is an alert to the doctors and patients about the effects of the drug that may be dangerous. This then is the information on the black box warning of suicidal thoughts and behaviour. Amitriptyline can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour in children, adolescents, and young adults. Your doctor and family members should watch you closely for signs of changes in your behaviour or worsening depression when you start taking this drug.
The other warnings outlined are you might experience an initial worsening of your depression, thoughts of suicide and behavioural change when first taking amitriptyline. This risk may last until the drug starts working for you. Then this got me thinking, the cause of the depression is pressure at work, why not then confront the pressure and overtime, overcome the depression with a sigh of relief of victory and knowing how to go around the pressure, than to begin taking in chemicals ignorantly with the belief of overcoming depression whereas we are increasing its load.
The black box warning is one thing that the educated and elite do not look at when the prescribed medicine we usually call for the most potent, thinking that is for a quick recovery whereas it is the route to quick chemical dependency. Looking at the other warning of the drug that you might experience worsening of your depression which is why some of our colleagues never find their feet again or we find them now at loony camps. Interesting is that it further states suicide and behavioural change (disorientation) will be your experiences, so it is trying to remove a load by placing upon yourself a heavier and more dangerous load.
To be continued . . .
-Mthandazo Ndlovu is a Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation Specialist. For help and more information contact 00263772399734 or email email@example.com