We’re at week eleven in my self-experiment with Lucinda Bassett’s Attacking Anxiety and Depression program. Just a couple more weeks and I’ll have completed this program although just like any area of self-growth and self-improvement it never really “ends”, but rather when you learn healthy life coping skills then you’re in a position to continue your healthy lifestyle habits.

It’s the same process whether you’re learning new eating and exercise habits or new ways of thinking, which by the way are more related than you might have ever thought and is one reason that I decided to do this experiment on myself here at Fearless Fat Loss.

If you are new to my series this is a 15-week self-experiment I’m documenting for you since so very many overweight individuals are also depressed and anxious. You can read the details of what this experiment is all about in my introduction.

Week Eleven – Using Medication and Alcohol to Medicate Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Week eleven covers the pros and cons of using medication for your stress and anxiety and the fact that most people who self-medicate with alcohol are also anxious and depressed. These areas are not core topics of Fearless Fat Loss, however if you use food as a form of self-medicating in an attempt to self-medicate to soothe your anxious and/or depressed feelings then you’ll be able to relate.

Either way, whether using medication, alcohol, or food to soothe anxious feelings nothing can take the place of learning to deal with the underlying issue by using healthy life coping skills, which you learn in the Attacking Anxiety and Depression program.

As far as using medication for stress and anxiety, week eleven’s lesson stresses the fact that of course you would never stop using doctor prescribed medication without consulting your doctor and at the same time the goal of the Attacking Anxiety and Depression program is to help you get off of these types of medication. Once you learn new coping skills then you won’t need those medications but again, you would only get off of them with your doctor’s help.

This lesson point out the fact that some people will benefit from taking medication for their stress, anxiety, and/or mild depression (if chronically depressed it’s often vital for an individual to be medicated) and as long as you don’t look at that pill as the solution to your issue then you’re on the right track. If you need it in order to even focus on learning new life skills then that’s one thing but if you think that taking a pill will solve your anxiety issues then you’re looking at it the same way that an overeater would look at a quick fix diet or magic fairy dust – those quick fixes just don’t do anything to solve the core issue, the underlying problem that is causing your symptom (e.g.: overweight, stress, anxiety, etc.).

Medication isn’t the solution for stress and anxiety just like a new diet isn’t the solution for overweight but if you use the medication as a tool to help you focus on learning new life skills then you’re going to make healthy progress. And certainly when it comes to weight loss you will need to change how you eat and if you do this along with working on your inner self then you will be guaranteed lasting success.

What I learned – (Why Would You Want to do THAT When You Could Just Take a PILL??)

Wow, this story really stood out to me in week eleven’s tape – a participant in the program shared her story of how she used to be on several anti-anxiety medications and after joining the Midwest Center’s Attacking Anxiety and Depression program over a period of 5 months (and under her doctor’s supervision) she ended up getting off of all of her medications since she learned how to cope with her anxiety by changing her thoughts.

After those 5 months she returned to the psychiatrist who had prescribed all of those medications to her (he would prescribe whatever she thought she needed) and she shared her excitement with him that she had gotten off of all of those medications. She shared how she had done this with the help of everything she had learned in the Attacking Anxiety and Depression program and he looked at her and said, “why would you want to do that when you could just take a pill?”

Oh my gosh, this is so opposite of where I’m coming from – I believe in healing the source of the problem instead of taking a pill or doing a quickie fix magic diet to try to solve the problem. In this case I’m talking about the issue of overeating and overweight of course but it’s the same with any health or other life issue. The symptom is the symptom, whether that is overweight, obesity, stress, anxiety, or other health issues caused by poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.

Medication and Diets are Bandaids for Symptoms – not Solutions for Causes

The problem is that if you only attack the symptom and try to put a band aid on it without ever looking at the cause of the problem (i.e.: Why are you overeating? What is at the core of that bad habit?) then you’ll never actually have a bottom line healing of your problem. Simply trying to diet yourself down to a different weight won’t change how you think or how you feel about yourself, your life, and food.

It’s the same thing with taking anti-anxiety medications – you don’t learn new ways of living and eventually you will need to keep raising your dose of medication. Really it’s all about what your end goal is – do you want to create a healthy lifestyle in body, mind, and spirit or will you choose the quick fix route? You’ll need to come to that decision yourself and if you do notice that you’ve been using food to quell anxious thoughts then you could check out the Attacking Anxiety and Depression program to learn how to make some life changes, which will have a direct effect on your overeating and hence your weight.

Another option is checking out my previous series on emotional eating, which is another excellent route to take since in essence we are still talking about emotional eating in today’s experiment. Really though, no matter how you get there as long as you’re working on healing what’s causing your symptom then you’re headed in a healthy direction.