Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan has opened up on his struggles with addiction and anxiety in the latest episode of the mental health podcast hosted by the eldest daughter of the late Chris Cornell.
Mind Wide Open, which debuted last month, sees Lily Cornell Silver discussing mental health issues with medical professionals, celebrities and musicians.
In the latest episode, McKagan recalled having his first panic attack at the age of 16, when he was taking a shower.
“Suddenly I couldn’t breathe, and I was sweating in the shower … and I remember just pushing the shower door open and crawling out on the floor, and yelling for my mom,” McKagan said.
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@officialduffmckagan and I discuss our experiences with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Duff talks about his experience with addiction as self-medication for mental health issues and how he takes care of his wellbeing now. Thank you Duff for your honesty and integrity 💙 For more information on guests, future episodes, and resources go to the website link in my bio. Content warning: drug and alcohol abuse, panic attacks
After Lily went on to discuss her late father’s battles with addiction, McKagan then opened up on his own struggles with alcohol.
“What happens is, with alcohol, there’s so much sugar in alcohol, with a guy like myself, and I think with your dad, as well, you can’t just do a little…. In my case … I got up to a full gallon of vodka a day,” he explained.
“And then I was doing cocaine, too … Cocaine is not good for panic attacks. … So I would take pills to bring me down from too much cocaine and alcohol.”
The podcast also saw McKagan recounting the incident in 1994 when his pancreas burst due to excessive drinking, a story he previously recounted in his 2012 autobiography It’s So Easy (And Other Lies).
He went on to describe his GnR bandmate Slash as a “safe person” in helping him stay sober.
It comes after the first episode of Mind Wide Open saw Lily speaking to Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, a trauma expert, author and founder and director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute.
For help and advice on mental health:
- ‘Am I depressed?‘ – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
- Help Musicians UK – Around the clock mental health support and advice for musicians
- Music Support Org – Help and support for musicians struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or mental health issues
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably for young men
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day