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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19318
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Hello Im 19 years old and in the British army, I recently

Customer Question

Hello I'm 19 years old and in the British army, I recently split up with my girlfriend who I was with for 3 years. Since it has happened I've become a heavy drinker and addicted to gambling. I'm now £3000 in debt and I can't let my seniors find out because I'm scared I'll loose my job. Any advise??
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 years ago.
It will help if you could provide some further information:
Do you have the ability of being seen by a physician outside of the military?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No I'm currently working on a base in Germany, so I'm isolated.
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 years ago.
I'm sorry that you are going through so much difficulty. There are several options to consider in this situation, but most of the better options would involve professional assistance.

The usual approach to improve this situation would be a combination of counselling and specific medicines. Individual counselling, particularly cognitive-behavioural therapy, appears to be of greatest help. Group counselling also may be helpful. There are several medicines that may be helpful. Antidepressants helps some people in this situation, and the likelihood that an antidepressant is greater if you developed depression symptoms after breaking up with your girlfriend. An opiate antagonist, naltrexone, also has been used to help with alcoholism and pathologic gambling.

If you are able to find a means to be able to seek professional assistance, these options would be preferred. Until that is an option, there are some over the counter supplements that may be able to help. Certain vitamin supplements may be helpful, such as thiamine and folic acid (also called folate). An herbal supplement, St. Johns wort, has some antidepressant activity; it is not as potent as the prescription antidepressants, but it may help. SAM-e and 5-HTP are natural substances that are used by the brain to make the chemicals that are increased with antidepressants, so using these supplements may help increase the levels of that chemical.

It is worth noting that your superiors may not be as adverse to you seeking help for your problems as you may fear. It is more likely that they will have an issue if the problem gets so bad that it starts to adversely affect your functioning. If you seek help before it gets to that level, they will likely not be as judgemental as if the situation deteriorates to the point that it comes to their attention because of an issue with performance. Obviously, I can't know with certainty how they will respond, but if the over the counter supplements are not sufficient to help with these symptoms, it may be better to seek professional assistance early, rather than waiting until the symptoms are worse and can be detected by your superiors.

If you have any further questions or need clarification, please let me know.