Dear Dr. Archer,
I've been a lawyer for approximately 13 years. Lately, I find it very difficult to motivate myself to do work related activities. I have no problem going to Court, and rather enjoy the "in court" work, but I am unmotivated to do any of the office related work. I have found myself to be very tired, experiencing restless sleep patterns.
About seven years ago I began using methamphetamine on a daily basis, abusing it for about five years. I have been clean and free from any substance abuse for the last two and a half years.
I've noticed that my job performance has not returned to my pre-use performance, even after two and a half years of sobriety. Lately, my thoughts have been turning more and more towards relapse. Although I know intellectually relapse would only compound my problems, I still find myself thinking more and more about relapsing.
I believe I'm suffering from depression and don't know what to do. I have had bouts with these feelings in the past; however, they never lasted very long. This time, though, I've been laboring with the lack of motivation and overall depressed state for approximately six months.
Any psychological advice would be greatly appreciated.
Methamphetamine is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome. Even though you stopped abusing over two years ago, the drug actually stays within your body's fat tissue for several years. You can read more about this finding at Narconon and the Drug Rehab Center Network.
It's very common after meth abuse to lack motivation. The meth has been stimulating the brain chemical dopamine and it has been pouring out into your brain, providing energy and focus and then BOOM it’s gone and a long term crash is often the result.
Unfortunately, Steve, after taking methamphetamine, depression is common, another rebound effect from using the drug. This is because it damages brain chemistry, reducing the normal levels of dopamine. You can read more in Is It Depression or Withdrawal From Drugs? a letter from Jamie who was also a former meth user.
As for treatment: you need to see a psychiatrist. In cases like yours, anti-depressants can make a tremendous difference. They can actually normalize brain chemistry. Check out HereToHelp and KCI. Make an appointment and get checked out -- better to take an anti-depressant rather than relapse on meth.
If this is not enough, then get involved in your local NA chapter. I think you are right on the edge and need to take action quickly, and you need to know that this drug has a high relapse rate. For most meth users, a detox program, as well as long term counseling, is needed to have a chance at a normal life.
Please, I urge you to seek the help you need. It could very well be the one decision that will save your life.