...the cumulative hangover would literally kill me.
July 1, 2014 12:02 AM   Subscribe

Basically, I've been drinking up to two thirds a bottle of liquor (or equivalent) a night for the past two years. Decided to stop, didn't sleep for five days save nodding off where I had terrific nightmares and just thrashed a lot before waking up again. Now I'm not sure what to do. Looking for advice/anecdotes. I'm in kind of a unique place. [Warning] gory details if you open the can.

Okay, so for various reasons I began drinking heavily ≈ two years ago. I am now ready to actually face the things which drove me to drink in the first place, so (after roughly tapering off) I stopped. On the whole, I felt really good. But I did not sleep. The first night was fine. A little restless leg feeling, I laid awake basically for the night. Got up at six AM and got some coffee and went about my day.

I was actually kind of excited by this fact thinking I might have time to read or do whatever, but by the second day I was useless. I couldn't focus on anything, my thoughts were scattered, and I was extremely physically uncomfortable. When I was able to finally "sleep" (usually between eight and eleven AM), I had the most ridiculous nightmares, mostly involving gore and warfare (not sure if this is relevant, but it might be, so for instance of watching a person cut his own cheeks off for no apparent reason) and unpleasant physical sensations.

So basically I was able to lay on my floor until I couldn't stay still anymore, then pace the house, then maybe go run an errand or something, but I REALLY didn't want to leave the house.

Basically, this went on for five days just getting worse and worse, so, as I had to work for two days, I went back to drinking. But I don't want to do it anymore. I have no desire to drink. I do not have an addictive personality, I quit smoking three years ago, and I'm confident to in my ability to not drink. It's not a big deal to me. But I need to function.

Oh, and as a bonus, I was in pain the entire five days from doing crossfit the day before, and the day I decided to quit, but without sleep I had no chance of recovering. And my appetite never came back, so I didn't eat much the entire time.

For various reasons I can't go to rehab or a detox facility. I thought of going to an urgent care clinic or drop in center, but I have 80 dollars to my name. No job, no insurance, I haven't seen a doctor in eight years, etc etc. It's not a bad thing. It is what it is.

So my questions:

Has anyone experienced this? Is what happened normal?

When I stop again how long will this last? My research tells me alcohol can affect sleep patterns for months. This can't possibly mean I wont get a full nights sleep for that long... right?

Is there anywhere I can go to give me something to sleep? Is medication the right path, or even an option?

There are many more details but I'm at a loss as to what is relevant and what is not. I'm also having a hard time sweeping everything together. What should I do?

yup... oh, 27 years old male, upstate ny.
posted by IfIShouldEverComeBack to Health & Fitness (40 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You need medical supervision to try to quit drinking again. The DTs can, quite frequently, be fatal, and nightmares and agitation a few days after quitting drinking are symptoms of them. They can be managed with medicines, but in your case that may well need to be under inpatient care.

You should look into getting on Medicaid or getting treated by a hospital under their charity care program, because what happened to you was quite possibly a serious medical emergency, and clearly you can't keep drinking that much or that will eventually kill you too.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:25 AM on July 1, 2014 [34 favorites]

strangely stunted trees is 1000% right. I have a family member who just (accidentally) dried out enough to go through DT. She's a closet drinker (of about your volume) and didn't tell the medical staff the full truth. Thankfully, another family member was there and told the ICU team the whole story. After 10 days in ICU having seizures and hallucinations, she was just released last week into a rehab facility to learn how to walk again (the seizures damaged her brain). The medical staff believes her neuropathy pain may end up being permanent.

This is all to say that you MUST have medical attention while going through this. If you are still experiencing symptoms, go to the ER and tell them what you've told us. The social services team may be able to help you get financial assistance. The best of luck to you.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 12:42 AM on July 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

Just in case you don't know the jargon, 'the DTs' = delirium tremens, the physiological symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:53 AM on July 1, 2014 [7 favorites]

Since others have covered the bases pretty well, I'll just chime in that this is no joke. Your financial situation is meaningless if you're dead, so forget about the $80, and turn up at the emergency room and tell them what you told us. Hope to hear an update from the other side.
posted by colin_l at 12:57 AM on July 1, 2014 [13 favorites]

What you should do, ideally: Go see a doctor, even if it's just at urgent care or whatever. They may want to admit you to the hospital, but they may also let you do this outpatient, and the drugs and monitoring will make a difference. OASAS may help you find something that will help you for free or cheap.

What you should do, much less ideally: If you absolutely can't or won't get medical attention, taper off, drinking less, steadily, over several days. You can look up stuff about this online, but it's better to get in touch with some form of social services/professional help specializing in alcohol recovery. (Picture an arrow pointing back to the previous paragraph.) This will only work if you can stick to the plan pretty strictly (and, hopefully, someone to hold you accountable and check in on you to make sure you don't get worse, even if that someone is just a friend), and, with respect, I don't want to do it anymore. I have no desire to drink. I do not have an addictive personality, I quit smoking three years ago, and I'm confident to in my ability to not drink. It's not a big deal to me is something that alcoholics have been telling themselves since the dawn of time.

What you should absolutely under no circumstances do: keep stopping cold turkey and then start drinking again to function. This can make withdrawal symptoms more severe and dangerous.
posted by kagredon at 1:15 AM on July 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

I am a former nurse. To underscore what has been said already:

From your description, you are physiologically dependent on alcohol and you require treatment to withdraw from alcohol safely. You described a two-year history of very heavy alcohol intake, and then, on cessation, moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. Having begun to drink again, you MUST NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES attempt to stop drinking without medical supervision. The likelihood of seizure increases with number of unmedicated withdrawal attempts. You are at significant risk of seizure and cardiac arrhythmias, both of which are life-threatening.

Consider the ER. It's expensive but still cheaper than starting at Urgent Care and being transported to the ER, and much better than dying at home and leaving a mess for whoever is responsible for you (if you have loved ones, this is a particularly shitty thing to do to them, I can tell you firsthand. If you don't, I'm very sorry, but the roommate or cop or building super who finds you really doesn't deserve this either.)

Ask to talk to the social worker before you're discharged, if it's not scheduled into your stay. You don't need to have an "addictive personality" to need help to solve the basic problems of getting and staying sober on a low income.
posted by gingerest at 1:36 AM on July 1, 2014 [43 favorites]

I think if you could get to a big AA meeting (try a Sunday evening meeting, or call the local AA and ask them where/when the biggest meetings are held) and told people this was happening, folks would help you sort this out. They'll have seen people dealing with this before and they'll have some ideas about how to help, and they'll want to help, might be able to hook you up with a doctor who can treat you for $80 or whatever.

Take care! It's great that you are ready to quit and I wish you all the luck in the world with your next steps.
posted by hungrytiger at 2:07 AM on July 1, 2014 [8 favorites]

I have some knowledge and personal experience with alcohol withdrawal with people who drank as much or more than you and I want to temper the above comments a bit. Yes people can die or be severely injured from unsupervised withdrawal. But it is not as common as the posters above are suggesting. In the U.S., less than 50% to 60% of alcoholics will develop any significant withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of alcohol intake, and of these, only 5% of cases of acute ethanol withdrawal progress to DT.

I also disagree that based on your experience that you have been experiencing or are headed towards "DTs". The term DTs gets thrown around a lot but what it really means is "delirium" as in you can't distinguish reality and hallucinations, not merely shakiness or even vivid nightmares. From your description, you are having sleep disturbances and vivid unpleasant dreams but you are not hallucinating nor are you delirious (you wouldn't be capable of running errands much less leaving the house).

HOWEVER, this experience has caused you serious discomfort and you say it got worse and worse over five days. No matter if it progresses to something worse or not, you are suffering needlessly. And yes, it could get worse. The bottom line is that everyone's body reacts differently to alcohol withdrawal and you can't know for certain what will happen.

So based on your account (ianad), I think you could do this outpatient, without going to an inpatient facility (detox I mean, rehab comes later and that's another question) or even the ER. Find a place where you can see a doctor or nurse practitioner and tell them your problem. AA as suggested above would probably be a good resource but there are lots out there. They will likely test you using the CIWA (try it yourself) and then, based on that, most likely, give you a prescription for a benzodiazepine, b vitamins, and possibly an anticonvulsant. You will take the benzos for a week or two, tapering down as you can. The b vitamins you'll take longer, especially if your liver enzymes are elevated. If you can do this, you will save yourself a lot of discomfort and decrease the likelihood of something seriously happening.

So look, you could probably withdraw on your own without dying, but you also don't need to take the risk, nor endure all that discomfort. You probably don't need to go to the ER or inpatient, but you really should go to outpatient and get some meds, OK? Good luck
posted by banishedimmortal at 2:18 AM on July 1, 2014 [13 favorites]

Listen to gingerst. She was a nurse and has presumably seen people go through this at a professional level.

I know you'd rather be in debt a few months from now than die with $80 in your hands.

Keep us updated.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:23 AM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

As someone with hideous chronic insomnia, I can tell you that even if your sleep remains disordered long term, your body will adjust so you will get at least a little more sleep and feel more functional despite the sleep deprivation over time.

It sounds to me like your body has forgotten how to fall asleep or stay asleep without being wasted. Using other drugs is an option. You could try benadryl and see if it does the trick... it won't work long term but might help you ease over this hump. There are other OTC meds that are options too, but if benadryl doesn't do the trick, I would recommend procuring either ambien or trazadone. (If trazadone worked for you it would be better because you're less likely to become dependent on it, but you might need something that thoroughly knocks you out to start with.) (Ask a pharmacist if these can be dangerous if used by someone who was until recently a heavy drinker.)

Better, and you should do this even if you use drugs, is to improve your sleep hygiene. Google "sleep hygiene" for ideas and implement ALL of them ASAP.

Did you have trouble sleeping before you started drinking so heavily?
posted by metasarah at 4:31 AM on July 1, 2014

All the posts reflect personal and professional experience--as one who managed an organization that provided social and medical detox to hundreds (probably thousands) of persons the medically supervised is the "safest" but banishedimmortailty is also correct--serious medical complications for someone your age is relatively unusual ( I would not use rare) I would get yourself forthwith/immediately to as many AA meetings as you need in order to find an appropriate detox program/support for yourself--you do not have to be sober to do this--go to a meeting and clearly state what you need and your situation. If this does not get you a livable plan do go to a physician, ER or at least a friend/family who can be with you while you detox. My Best to you
posted by rmhsinc at 4:45 AM on July 1, 2014 [9 favorites]

You can start looking for programs that are low-cost or no-cost based on need. Nthing that detox is a serious thing, and that you need medical supervision.

I have no idea how reputable this site is, but here's a list of places that offer Free Detox, some on an outpatient basis. Check into them to see if there's one near you that can help you.

Hang in there!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:30 AM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Has anyone experienced this? Is what happened normal?

I started experiencing DT symptoms at around your age (mid-to-late 20s). They were most irritating/frightening when I was deliberately tapering off/going cold turkey, but in retrospect I was edging into having them at any time I wasn't drinking "on schedule"; i.e. any time (overnight, at work) that I went more than a few hours without a drink.

Said symptoms went from agitated/excited/can't sleep to auditory hallucinations/puking/seizures/utterly convincing daylight hallucinations in a very short period of time. In fact, the seizure thing came into play a lot earlier in the timeline than I initially realized; I thought I was just a restless sleeper, but I was probably actually seizing. So not only is what you describe "normal," OP, it is likely to get much worse and more dangerous.

When I stop again how long will this last?

My typical experience of DT symptoms in my final couple of years of drinking was that I'd feel awful for the first half-a-day or so of quitting, followed by a period of feeling much better, followed by a period of absolute hell (the serious hallucinations, etc.). This last would land somewhere in day two, usually. Once that was out of the way, there would be a few days of decreasing discomfort/distress, and then I would be basically back to normal functioning. Until circumstances conspired to "make" me drink again.

Is medication the right path, or even an option?

I'm not sure if you are talking about an ongoing regimen, here (which wouldn't exactly be feasible with no money), but at the stage you have described, you likely need medical supervision to detox. During this process, you will be given short-term anti-anxiety treatment and various nutritional boosts (e.g. large doses of potassium) to help level out your system. Inpatient, I assure you that you will sleep plenty soundly.

For various reasons I can't go to rehab or a detox facility.

Perhaps so, but if quitting now is agitating/uncomfortable, it will only be a matter of time (probably not much time, either) before you won't have any other option. And maybe a truly terrifying and dangerous self-detox is what it will take for you to really quit; ignoring previous medical advice to not quit unassisted was what landed me in a hospital for a week and finally drove the point home. Medical care is definitely an expensive hassle, but most facilities do offer reductions in fees and special payment plans for people with your set of problems (no money and a burgeoning addiction). My two cents is to just bite the proverbial bullet next time you decide to quit, and seek proper care.

Best of luck!
posted by credible hulk at 6:33 AM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

A few people have mentioned Alcoholics Anonymous. Just wanted to point out that AA is not everyone's cup of tea (see here and here, for example). Studies show that most people who get sober do so on their own, without the assistance of any rehab or support group. I'm not advocating against AA so much as pointing out that you shouldn't feel obligated to take that path, if you don't think it's right for you.
posted by akk2014 at 7:23 AM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Maybe inpatient detox and rehab would be an easier easier option for you. Try calling the National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service. They may be able to point you toward some sliding scale or otherwise affordable programs. I know you say that you can't go to an inpatient care facility for various reasons, and I'm assuming one of those reasons is the inability to leave work or having to explain to family and friends that you have been drinking as much as you have. Neither of those is a really good reason to avoid recovery.

Good luck, and remember you don't have to stop by yourself.
posted by Willie0248 at 7:23 AM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

akk2014--AA is not everybody's cup of tea--but there is no where else where he will find such a concentrated group of people knowledgeable about local support, services, and experience with detox etc. He might even find folks willing to sit with him or hook him up with someone to make sure that if he does detox and starts having medical problems they can get him to help ASAP. Continued participation in AA is certainly up to him--I have yet to see or hear ( I know I will now) of a long time sober AA member try and recruit to the program--
posted by rmhsinc at 7:55 AM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) and Smart Recovery are other options that are similar (in some ways) to AA and are alternative places where one might find people knowledgeable about local support, services, etc.
posted by akk2014 at 8:44 AM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

akk2014 - " Studies show that most people who get sober do so on their own, without the assistance of any rehab or support group."

Do you have a cite for this? How many studies are we talking about? Any data you've got would be much appreciated.
posted by Gilbert at 8:48 AM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

No job, no insurance, I haven't seen a doctor in eight years, etc etc. It's not a bad thing. It is what it is.

I don't know about the rest of this, but you are almost certainly income eligible for Medicaid. I know you feel like crap but you need to get the application in for that, like, yesterday. New York may or may not process faster than my state did, but it took awhile to go through. On the up side, retroactive benefits are potentially a thing if you wind up in the hospital before it all goes through, but try to get the process started ASAP.
posted by Sequence at 8:53 AM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you want to quit again solo--and aren't willing to go the better route of getting professional help--you need a taper schedule. That's how they would help you quit.

You can't go cold-turkey. No, really, you can't. It could kill you. Alcohol has one of the only W/D of all major drugs that can kill (along with benzos, as they act similarly).

Look up some good taper strategies online. They usually look something like "night 1: 80% dose, night 2: 60% dose, night 3... etc"

Good luck! You know, if you could go 5 days by yourself, and only gave in due to acute WD symptoms, you might be able to do this alone if you taper properly. You really should get formal help... But it seems like you're not going to listen, and in that case this would be your best strategy.
posted by jjmoney at 8:55 AM on July 1, 2014

Gilbert, psychologist Stanton Peele talks about this a lot in his book, The Truth about Addiction and Recovery (and probably some of his other books, too). For a specific cite, see this article, which references a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). I'll see if I can get more information about that study.
posted by akk2014 at 8:57 AM on July 1, 2014

Gilbert, here's the article from the NIAAA (it's very interesting, actually).
posted by akk2014 at 9:05 AM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I know you say that you can't go to an inpatient care facility for various reasons, and I'm assuming one of those reasons is the inability to leave work or having to explain to family and friends that you have been drinking as much as you have. Neither of those is a really good reason to avoid recovery.

Indeed. I was wondering about OP's "reasons," myself. The first time I did inpatient detox (the voluntary time, not the later EMTs-and-cops-escorting-me time), I was all like, "Yeahbut my job!" To which my family was like, "Um, you hate that job. And you're only stuck in it because you've burned all your other bridges." Getting on top of this issue now, OP, will improve your chances to land quality employment in the future. Just sayin'. And the risk of embarrassing yourself in front of friends and family kind of pales in comparison to the risk of, well, dying. I thought of myself as -- and arguably was -- a pretty high-functioning drinker, but virtually everyone surrounding me knew I had a deeper problem than I was willing to admit, were thrilled to hear I wanted to fix it, and were there for me when I decided to do so.
posted by credible hulk at 9:24 AM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Please call the NY State Health Care Exchange and find out what your options are for getting coverage. It's open year round for Medicaid applications.
posted by brookeb at 12:00 PM on July 1, 2014

Okay, thank you for all the advice. I have taken it all into consideration with what I feel is right for me. I don't think I am in danger of DT's but may be if I continue to drink heavily.

I have decided to take another stab at it beginning with creating a formal taper schedule starting to-night. The HAMS website was rather helpful, though under their question "Can people successfully use alcohol to taper off?" The answer is "An unqualified YES." I think they mean unequivocal, but it made me laugh none the less.

Last time I checked I was not eligible for Medicaid, as I've had some decent paying jobs interspersed over the years, but I have never been able to keep them. So what I do is, work for a while, live off my savings until I'm totally completely broke, and then start working again.

And, feel free to argue this point, but one major reluctance to going to a hospital, urgent care, whatever is I do not want this on my medical record. It could have a huge negative impact down the line, and right now I'm dealing with past decisions I had no idea would/could affect my life in profound and frustrating ways. I think the help of a benzodiazepine medication would be great in the short term, but I don't see how I could get it without a mark against me.

Anyway, great resources, and maybe this thread will help someone else in the future. I am not seeking AA or other "support groups," but I know they are very helpful to certain people. If you have any further questions, feel free to memail... Thanks again.
posted by IfIShouldEverComeBack at 12:33 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think the AA thing is not so much about a support group as it is that the people there may know of some resources in your area for someone in your circumstances.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:43 PM on July 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

I work in privacy... Your health records are not a police record. There shouldn't be any repercussions and no one is going to check it. It's often not even "a document" (like a police record or credit report) that can even be checked that easily or comprehensively ...for this very reason. Any GP you ever acquire should know about this anyway, even if you DIY, and they will certainly put a note in your file so they remember to keep an eye out for certain things.

I work for the govt and had a medical and drug screening... But it was all about current health. No one asked for records, or otherwise questioned me much. Your health is pretty private. My work only wanted to make sure I didn't need any accommodations; they actually prefer not to know this kind of stuff so they can avoid accusations of prejudicial treatment. I know several people at work who don't drink for Reasons.
posted by jrobin276 at 1:31 PM on July 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

Complete fluke, of course, but I just found out that my sister's father in law (married one month!) died of alcohol poisoning in the last few days (found last night). I think he'd struggled with alcohol on (and off?) for a long time. His 22 yr old son, just back from his honeymoon, is planning the funeral. This is seriously shitty. Please just get the help you need, now or later, to get on top of this.

I'll say again that health records are private and protected by their very own specialised privacy legislation. Health Records are a Big Deal in my crowd. Me mail me if you want links to health records privacy info in your country.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:52 PM on July 1, 2014

I work in privacy... Your health records are not a police record. There shouldn't be any repercussions and no one is going to check it. It's often not even "a document" (like a police record or credit report) that can even be checked that easily or comprehensively ...for this very reason.

I also work in privacy; jrobin276 is correct. Generally speaking, and certainty in the US, health records are highly protected. The only parties that are routinely authorised to collect medical information about you are your own treating doctors and health insurance providers - that is only because you give them permission to do so.

So, it's possible that seeking treatment might affect your insurance premiums, one day, slightly. But seeking treatment is unlikely to harm your future employment prospects.

A police check would not, and could not, access your health information. In my experience, the fact that you had sought treatment wouldn't even affect a security clearance as long as you were honest about it to the clearance staff. There are a lot of recovering alcoholics with clearances.

And, in the end, the effects on your future prospects are irrelevant if you are not alive or healthy enough to have prospects. So, get the help you need.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:07 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

If OP ever applies for a job that requires security clearance, he/she may be required to authorize access to his/her medical records as part of the background check.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:19 PM on July 1, 2014

Huh. I work in privacy too, and I'd be less confident about the certainty of keeping everything private from everyone, but it's certainly not going to be an open book.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:33 PM on July 1, 2014

If OP ever applies for a job that requires security clearance, he/she may be required to authorize access to his/her medical records as part of the background check.

Indeed. My point was, unless the treatment was likely to constitute a security risk (which it likely would not if it were disclosed to the clearance staff as this would eliminate the possibility of blackmail), it would not be an impediment to receiving a clearance.

As I said, there are plenty of people with alcohol problems in their pasts that have obtained security clearances.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:47 PM on July 1, 2014

Metafilter member Maias previously mentioned that they are co-author of a book called Recovery Options: The Complete Guide which discusses, amongst other methods, using naltrexone and/or baclofen to reduce cravings for alcohol by blocking receptors, thus allowing the addiction to taper off naturally (and for some, very quickly). There are forums that discuss these pharmacological options and how to get them. One called The Sinclair Method has lots of info, support and discussion on the use of naltrexone.
posted by Kerasia at 4:48 PM on July 1, 2014

The problem is not stopping the cravings, but preventing fitting from acute alcohol withdrawal, preventing Wernicke's, preventing the OP from injuring themselves when their hallucinations about people carving their face off become more realistic and frightening..

Gingerest and I have looked after patients withdrawing from alcohol. Your story is textbook. You should not attempt to stop drinking without chlordiazepoxide cover, plus nutritional support. Please listen to the medical professionals in this thread, not the randoms with access to google and zero clue what they are talking about. Some people are giving you extremely dangerous advice that could kill you. Please seek do not stop drinking without medical supervision.

This will end up in your medical record, but so will you fitting from alcohol withdrawal, or having a huge variceal bleed, or cirrhosis, or whatever. I don't think you have any realistic option of keeping your drinking off your record at this point (frankly it sounds like it's way past that point) so there's not much point risking your life trying. You sound in a bit of denial about how serious this is.
posted by tinkletown at 5:08 PM on July 1, 2014 [6 favorites]

Just realised that sounds like I work with Gingerest - missed the edit window. She's completely right though.
posted by tinkletown at 5:16 PM on July 1, 2014

Something else to think of, and I am trying to be delicate about this: you need to realize that your decision-making is impaired right now. That's just part of alcoholism. You're getting a lot of good advice, but alcoholism will find an answer and an exception for everything to stop you getting help.

I'm pulling for you.
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:33 PM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

To clarify: I didn't work with patients undergoing acute severe alcohol withdrawal. The hospitals I worked at admitted such patients to the med-psych floor or to the high-acuity ward for close monitoring. (Typical management.) I worked with such patients after they were stabilized and were transferred to lower-acuity floors to address the other health issues that brought them to the hospital or that were found on admission.

The fact that even otherwise medically straightforward patients are admitted to higher-acuity floor based solely on the risk presented by severe alcohol withdrawal is the reason for my appeal to authority - given my experience NOT taking care of such people (because they needed to be looked after more closely than my floors could handle) I am concerned about withdrawing from a 160g/d alcohol habit without close medical management.
posted by gingerest at 6:06 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's a note of personal experience on the "Medical Permanent Record" front.

Two years ago I was involuntarily sent to inpatient mental health treatment. The only reason it was involuntary was that when I called the mental hospital, they said they didn't have enough beds to take people who call in, and they only accept patients from the ER. So I went to the ER, told them what they needed to hear to send me over to the mental health place, endured an obnoxious lecture from the emergency physician, and then spent three days (and the subsequent 4 months) getting my head screwed back on right.

What's the effect of having this on my "permanent record"? I can't buy a gun for a couple of years, not that I was going to anyway. No problem with job or job-related medical insurance. No problem getting a TSA Pre-Check clearance.

Unless, as others mentioned, you need a security clearance for some reason, you have nothing to lose buy getting treatment. And giving up security clearance jobs for health and clarity doesn't strike me as a hard decision.

Good luck.
posted by colin_l at 7:03 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Medicaid stuff changed substantially in January in many states, including New York. If you haven't applied since then--and actually applied, not just tried to decipher the information available online about it--please do. There used to be a lot of complicated stuff, especially for single adults who didn't used to be eligible under most circumstances, but eligibility rules are now different.
posted by Sequence at 7:06 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Okay a quick update:

First of all thanks to everyone who posted here.

It took MUCH longer than I thought, but I tapered off a couple times and then fucked it up by going out or justifying drinking for whatever reason, say "I have to sleep tonight because I have a job interview tomorrow." But then I did it successfully, though I had to drag out the end, one beer a night for five or six days. Haven't drank since the first of august, save one night at a party and I didn't particularly enjoy it, or find it otherwise useful. As a bonus I realized how much it screwed up the flow of the following days.

I still have trouble sleeping for a night or two, but every third day it catches up and I really sleep. Still some desire to drink at night, but it feels like I want to capture something long gone, rather then for the experience itself, and I remind myself it's not going to do any good.

Thanks for the advice and encouragement Hive. Onward.
posted by IfIShouldEverComeBack at 5:50 PM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

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