Q. I am currently going through a separation from a marriage of 7 yrs. I have two children that are wonderful. But I struggle with ADD. I have trouble focusing and I feel an overwhelming sense of frustration, almost panic, but with more anger, when I am trying to focus or get through a task. I have been raped 3 times and I wonder if this has to do with it. I am always struggling with depression but I have found myself in a better mood since I have been 64 days sober from alcohol. I attend AA meetings all the time and they are really helping. I just don’t know where all the anger comes from. I have worked on it since the girls were born but it is a constant battle that I think I’m winning, I just can’t help the panicky feelings. I do medical studies and can’t take medicine. Strattera worked when I took it a few years ago but it stopped working. Ritalin was way too much! Are there other things I can do? Thank you very much!

A. Congratulations on being 64 days sober! You mentioned that you are now experiencing all sorts of emotions presumably that you have not experienced in the past or that have recently intensified. All of these emotions, frustrations, anger, panic, and so forth that you have described are probably the same emotions that you were previously burying by using alcohol. Now that the alcohol is no longer burying your pain, which is more than likely what these emotions are, you are in need of an alternate, healthy way to deal with them. In addition, you are ending your marriage. This situation is most likely contributing to your current symptoms. You need support not only from AA, but from friends and family, as well as from a good, qualified and caring counselor.

I do believe there are several things that you can do at this time. AA is a great start. I would strongly suggest seeing a therapist to help you work through these emotions and to help you grieve through your separation. Some people like to take medication when they first start therapy if they are experiencing strong, unmanageable symptoms and then slowly decrease the medications once they are fully engaged in therapy. You may want to try this approach if your symptoms feel unmanageable. In summary, continue in AA, garner as much support from your friends and family as you can, and consider a therapist to help you with your separation and to help you work through your pain. Good luck.