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Addiction to Drugs/Pain killer abuse


Hi there I have some questions.

My mom is 51 and has been eating lorcets and xanax since 2001.

She has bipolar disorder.

I was wondering do you know the side effects of extended longterm use of these drugs?

I've noticed over the years that my mom's common sense and memory are slowly deteriorating to ridiculous levels. It's as if she is getting dementia.

It doesn't help she is also a pathological liar. I suppose this comes with bipolar disorder.

I became very alarmed, when today she asked me how to spell "Pittsburgh"

And she spelled it out loud--

"P e s i g e r b t"

and I said.... what?

"Pittsburgh. P e g i b r s t t."

I was.. I.. I don't even. My jaw was on the floor.

Can extended use of this shit do this to a person's brain???

Hi Kayla,

I apologize for the late response to your question.  I was away on vacation and forgot to hit the "hold questions" button.

Benzodiazepam drugs are not the healthiest thing to be putting on one's own body.  According to our doctor at my job, they are very risky for addicts and alcoholics.  One can become addicted to them as well.

I can't say exactly, but I think I remember reading there are cognitive losses associated with long-term use of these medications.

Here's one study that minimizes the potential damage:

But another study  appears to show that the impairment is reversed when people get off the drugs.

There may be another way for her to manage her bipolar disorder.  It might also be important for her to get a second opinion in terms of whether she really has the disorder.  It's massively over-diagnosed, and may be cyclothymia

You have reason to be concerned.  I hope your mother can recognize there are risks associated with these drugs, and make a plan to find alternatives, particularly if they are causing the cognitive decline you describe, which appears very significant for her age.

Thanks for your question,

Addiction to Drugs

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Peter L.


I am available to answer any questions about substance use, abuse, and dependence. I can also offer perspective on treatment options and how to motivate someone to get help. I have over 27 years of experience as a substance abuse treatment professional, working with adolescents and adults in a variety of treatment settings. I feel I can answer just about any question in this topic area but can also access reference sources, or direct you to these for additional information gathering or education on your own.


I am a professional addictions counselor working in a very highly respected treatment center, as well as having a private practice in two states.

Masters Degree in Behavioral Science Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor in three states. Also an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor

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