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  #1  
Old 06-06-2006, 11:58 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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How hard is it to physically quit opiates

From what I know of opiates and the druggies I've known online, the consensus was that opiates are not extremely hard to quit physically, it is more the mental addiction that is hard to quit. So how hard is it to quit an opiate addiction that is purely physical? Is is just tapering off or switching to methadone, or is everyone's biochemistry too varied to really make a comparison? I remember one guy saying it was no worse than a bad flu when he quit, I'd assume with a tapering onto something like methadone it'd be even easier.

If anyone here has struggled with opiate addiction, did you ever consider or try ibogaine for opiate addiction?

http://ibogaine.org/clin-perspectives.html
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  #2  
Old 06-07-2006, 06:59 AM
Freudian_Slip Freudian_Slip is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark
So how hard is it to quit an opiate addiction that is purely physical? Did you ever consider or try ibogaine for opiate addiction?
The withdrawal process from opiates can be, er, impressive. It all depends on the level of addiction: I've treated people who looked like they've had a bad cold. I've also treated people who could go through a box of Kleenex in 10 minutes from all the mucus they were producing.

On a scale of zero to six, opiate withdrawal is a five (it's an old chart that I use for teaching - and unfortunately, I don't have the cite handy. Nor do I know what is at the top of the scale).

While there are impressive physical withdrawal symptoms from opiates, it is not just a physical addiction. Opiates (actually any drug of abuse) screws with the reward system of the brain. Further, it also screws with the brain in general - there are some nice PET scans that show how the brain isn't working at full speed for months to years after the last dose.

So, you take people who are addicted and "detox" them and let them go without any other treatment. Their brains (especially judgment and thinking centers) are not working clearly to make "good choices" if they can even suss out what those are. They're having to deal with life on life's terms (some for the first time in decades), without having normal coping skills except to use. Their reward systems are messed up, so nothing seems enjoyable. And, because of the wonderful process of conditioning, almost everything in their environments is a trigger to make them think about opiate use.

I've heard ibogaine mentioned before, but I don't know if it's marketed in the US. My suspicion (based on having heard the "it's the best thing since sliced bread" promises about medications before) is that while it may be of some benefit, it's not coping skills in a pill or a magic insight producer.

BTW, maintenance on methadone is one thing. Tapering off methadone is theoretically easier, but difficult to accomplish (low grade withdrawal symptoms are not well tolerated).

Hope this helps ....
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  #3  
Old 06-07-2006, 08:22 AM
Elza B Elza B is offline
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My withdrawals from 2 years of opiate abuse (from a prescription I was given for an injury) took a drug called Suboxone - it's a bit lesser-known than methadone, I think, but for me, it was exactly what I needed. I was in an outpatient rehab program, with counseling, and I honestly don't know if I ever could have done it otherwise. I know some people have had issues cutting out the Sub completely, but my doctor did a short-term (10 week) tapering program, and coming off of that wasn't anywhere near what coming off of my addiction was.

The physical part of trying to go cold turkey was nearly impossible by myself - cold sweats, tremors, electric-shock-feelings in my head, sleeplessness, etc. I tried MANY times to quit on my own, and always went back because I felt so terrible.

I've been off the opiates for over a year now, and I do feel like I'm even past the mental stuff. I have a great support system, so I lean on them, and a baby on the way, so even thinking about wanting to take something isn't an option for me.

Quitting opiates was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I never, EVER want to go through that again.

E.
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  #4  
Old 06-07-2006, 12:26 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
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Note: in this post I'm referring to opiates other than heroin (prescription meds). If you're desperate enough to get on heroin, I imagine the situation might be worse.

Anyway, it's about as hard to quit as it is to run out of a prescription/source, which is not very hard.

During my drug days I loved opiates, but they're pretty tough to come by, so I was automatically limited. I mean, unless you get really desperate or somehow have a very steady source, you just run out and you don't get a choice. I would be sad to see them go, but I would move on (and usually just go back to weed or some other drug).
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Old 06-07-2006, 12:28 PM
Nutty Bunny Nutty Bunny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elza B
The physical part of trying to go cold turkey was nearly impossible by myself - cold sweats, tremors, electric-shock-feelings in my head, sleeplessness, etc. I tried MANY times to quit on my own, and always went back because I felt so terrible.
That was my experience, exactly. The physical part is really hard, so you go back on the drugs for relief or stay on the drugs to avoid it altogether.

While the physical part of recovery is temporary, the psychological part is ongoing. When I got pregnant and had back pain, I had cravings. It's a tough thing to fight. Even with a baby on the way, I entertained the thought for a second. The addicted brain just doesn't function like a "normal" person's. And I ended up looking forward to the pain medicine after the birth. It was hard only being on pain meds for a few days and then having to stop.
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  #6  
Old 06-07-2006, 12:49 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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Is Vicodin an opiate? My dad has been taking Vicodin for over a year now for a back problem (it's all prescription) and I am pretty sure he's addicted by now. His doctor said he'll be working him off the Vicodin in 2 months.

Is he going to have the sort of withdrawl problems you guys are talking about?
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2006, 12:50 PM
Elza B Elza B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutty Bunny
That was my experience, exactly. The physical part is really hard, so you go back on the drugs for relief or stay on the drugs to avoid it altogether.

While the physical part of recovery is temporary, the psychological part is ongoing. When I got pregnant and had back pain, I had cravings. It's a tough thing to fight. Even with a baby on the way, I entertained the thought for a second. The addicted brain just doesn't function like a "normal" person's. And I ended up looking forward to the pain medicine after the birth. It was hard only being on pain meds for a few days and then having to stop.
Yeah - I don't want to say that I've never entertained the thought, but it's been a lot easier to stop the thoughs, you know? (I suspect the same as your experience). One reason I want a med-free birth is because of my addiction - I'm worried that anything will trigger it. I don't tell people that, of course, but it's a huge reason. I'm certainly hoping not to have a C-section, but if I do, ElzaHub will be given my medication and will be in charge of doling it out to me because I just don't want to give myself the opportunity to take too much.

E.
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  #8  
Old 06-07-2006, 12:56 PM
Elza B Elza B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ
Is Vicodin an opiate? My dad has been taking Vicodin for over a year now for a back problem (it's all prescription) and I am pretty sure he's addicted by now. His doctor said he'll be working him off the Vicodin in 2 months.

Is he going to have the sort of withdrawl problems you guys are talking about?
Most of the folks in my email group for the treatment program I was in were addicted to Vicodin. I can't be sure if it's an opiate since I've only ever taken it once or twice (it didn't do a thing for me), but if it is, it grabs those receptors and has the same effects as the drug I was on (which was Ultram - which is a drug that's been touted as being 'non-addictive'...yeah, that's why drug treatment programs now have Ultram withdrawal programs... ).

IANAD, so I can't speak for your dad's experience, but I can just say that after a year on my medication, I was very much addicted to it, and it was also a prescription medication from my doctor. Hopefully, his doctor will have a good game plan worked out for him.

E.
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  #9  
Old 06-07-2006, 01:12 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Vicodin is an opiate, ultram is opiate-like, darvon (propoxyphene) is an opiate, as is nubain, stadol, demerol, and heroin and methadone.

All of the above have been touted at one time as non-addictive alternatives to morphine. And all the above have ended up being the monkey on the back of more than one person.

Opiate withdrawal sucks big-time (and boy do I know). Later I may add more, if I have time and the inclination.
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  #10  
Old 06-07-2006, 02:19 PM
Nutty Bunny Nutty Bunny is offline
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Originally Posted by Elza B
I'm certainly hoping not to have a C-section, but if I do, ElzaHub will be given my medication and will be in charge of doling it out to me because I just don't want to give myself the opportunity to take too much.
E.
I ended up with a C-section and my husband always knew how many pills I had left. I only had a few days worth.
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  #11  
Old 06-07-2006, 03:41 PM
BMalion BMalion is offline
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After an accident, while in the hospital, I had morphine for what seemed like a week, then demerol. After I was a little more awake I told my doctor no more demerol, I was terrified of being adicted. The withdrawl was the most horrible experience of my life. It took 2 days. I have never had an urge since. Never being one to try drugs recreationally my experience might be different than what you are seeking.

However, if the withdrawl can be withstood, then, for me, it was a simple matter of never deciding to try them again. Sounds like i did not have any of the triggers that were spoken of earlier.
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  #12  
Old 06-07-2006, 03:51 PM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
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Even months after getting off of opiates a lot of addicts still get the craving for them. It's like smelling melting chocolate and not getting to eat any and it just makes you ache for it. Hunger is the closest feeling to it, but you can always eat something. The craving goes down a lot deeper.

And frankly, a lot of opiate addicts don't really want to stop. Once they are off of them for a while they realize that they actually would prefer to be on drugs. It just feels better. No 12-step program can help someone who feels like that.
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2006, 04:03 PM
tashabot tashabot is offline
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My father is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He says that he, even after almost ten years of being clean, still gets the urge to go out and snort, shoot up, pop some pills, get drunk. It's not a matter of weakness, so to speak, but the fact that once a drug addict, always a drug addict, physically and mentally. That's why once you start going to NA or AA, you're not supposed to stop.

I've seen him, at a very young age, mind you, go through withdrawals for many different kinds of drugs (we were lucky in that he wouldn't sell our shit to get his fix, so there were times when he'd run out and go through the DTs in our living room). Heroin was the worst, we actually called the ambulance for that, but methadone wasn't much better (it is, after all, pretty much synthetic heroin).

Unfortunately, my dad has chronic pain throughout his body and is on a long-term hydrocodone (the active ingredient in Vicodin) therapy, which means he has something other than cigarettes to be addicted to. Even more unfortunately, he has to have high dosages of it to even affect his pain because of all of his years of drug abuse. And the clincher: he gets bitchy if he's run out of his pain meds cuz he's going through the beginning stages of the DT's, and if he's actually on the Vikes, well, he turns into a jerk in general. *sigh* Oh, yeah, morphine withdrawal was ugly, too.

The point I'm making is, I've dealt with a lot of drug addicts; part of my fathers program was helping other people get clean, so a lot of people have crashed on our couch, and I volunteered a lot at the local Alano club. And while I can safely say that a lot of addiction is mental, quite a bit of it is physical, except for marijuana, which has been proven to be non physically addictive, but the worst kind of mentally addictive. So while a pill could help you get clean, it ain't gonna help you stay clean.

~Tasha
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  #14  
Old 06-08-2006, 12:03 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elza B
... I'm certainly hoping not to have a C-section, but if I do, ElzaHub will be given my medication and will be in charge of doling it out to me because I just don't want to give myself the opportunity to take too much.

E.
Slight hijack (no direct experience with opiate addiction) but if you do have a c-section, you can hopefully get by mostly without narcotics. I had one with my second child and had precisely one Percocet; the rest of the time I got by OK with prescription-strength naproxen. They did put a dose of morphine in the epidural just after the surgery which provided good pain relief - no clue as to how that would affect the brain of someone who had a history of dependence, but I'm guessing it would be better for you than taking it via IV or pill form.

I had a vaginal delivery with my first child and tore badly enough that I was on narcotic pain relief for most of a week, so c-section can actually be better in that regard.
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  #15  
Old 06-08-2006, 06:19 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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I've been thru prolonged opiate withdrawal not once, not twice, but three times. The first was tempered with a methadone taper, and not so bad. The second I just got some clonidine to blunt the worst of it, and I was pretty miserable. The third, they said "what the hell, withdrawal won't kill you" and I did it without meds, and that was what we call a real opportunity for personal growth. In the same way that having a week of severe influenza combined with vomiting, diarrhea, a migraine, constant sensations of impending doom, anxious depression, constant cravings, and profound self-loathing is an opportunity for growth.

Fortunately that last time was 16 years ago, and I've been clean and sober since.

And I've had opiates since, for medical procedures, and it was fine. the medication was not controlled by me, it was used only for legitimate medical need, then it was over. I beefed up my recovery program to ensure I didn't get "stinkin' thinkin'" and it was not a problem.

However, I no longer expect opiates like codeine or vicodin for mild to moderate pain. I get by with ice, ibuprofen, tylenol, relaxation, distraction therapy, etc. Opiates are for moderate to severe acute pain, or malignant pain. At least for me.
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  #16  
Old 06-08-2006, 06:44 PM
Loopydude Loopydude is offline
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This testimonial is going to seem pretty lightweight, but I had a somewhat dark experience with hydrocodone in my early teens. I had badly impacted wisdom teeth early on, and the extraction left me looking like a nut-hoarding chipmunk in anaphylactic shock. Far worse than eating yoghurt through a straw for two weeks was the astonishingly acute pain, which would have been all-but impossible to sleep through without that wonderful, wonderful Vicodin the good oral surgeon prescribed for me. My instructions were basically "take for pain", and did I ever. I took just two simultaneously once for a particularly bad afternoon, and, according to my mom, I babbled like an idiot at her for half-an-hour before collapsing on the couch and sleeping in near post-coital bliss well past dinner.

My face deflated steadily, but I was still popping a Vicodin at the slightest twinge until the last bottle ran out. I remember it like yesterday: I felt an ache in my mouth, went to the medicine chest, pulled out the bottle, and it was...empty.

Empty.

EMPTY??? Oh NO! Really? Empty? Was there another bottle? If I look behind this door will I find one I forgot or something? No? This is...this is awful!

Not many times in my life has such a wave of panic and depression hit my like that, and I've had a couple pretty shitty things happen to me that far more warranted an angst-ridden response than not being able to pop a stupid pill. I was despondant for the rest of the day, and on several occasions afterward I felt this drive to go get a Vicodin. Scared the crap out of me. I never had any unpleasant physical symptoms of withdrawl, but the emotional attachment I'd apparently formed to even this brief and low-dose episode of opiated joy stands out as one of the more unnerving episodes of my life.
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  #17  
Old 06-09-2006, 01:00 AM
tashabot tashabot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loopydude
This testimonial is going to seem pretty lightweight, but I had a somewhat dark experience with hydrocodone in my early teens. I had badly impacted wisdom teeth early on, and the extraction left me looking like a nut-hoarding chipmunk in anaphylactic shock. Far worse than eating yoghurt through a straw for two weeks was the astonishingly acute pain, which would have been all-but impossible to sleep through without that wonderful, wonderful Vicodin the good oral surgeon prescribed for me. My instructions were basically "take for pain", and did I ever. I took just two simultaneously once for a particularly bad afternoon, and, according to my mom, I babbled like an idiot at her for half-an-hour before collapsing on the couch and sleeping in near post-coital bliss well past dinner.

My face deflated steadily, but I was still popping a Vicodin at the slightest twinge until the last bottle ran out. I remember it like yesterday: I felt an ache in my mouth, went to the medicine chest, pulled out the bottle, and it was...empty.

Empty.

EMPTY??? Oh NO! Really? Empty? Was there another bottle? If I look behind this door will I find one I forgot or something? No? This is...this is awful!

Not many times in my life has such a wave of panic and depression hit my like that, and I've had a couple pretty shitty things happen to me that far more warranted an angst-ridden response than not being able to pop a stupid pill. I was despondant for the rest of the day, and on several occasions afterward I felt this drive to go get a Vicodin. Scared the crap out of me. I never had any unpleasant physical symptoms of withdrawl, but the emotional attachment I'd apparently formed to even this brief and low-dose episode of opiated joy stands out as one of the more unnerving episodes of my life.
That's actually normal. Hydrocodone is EXTREMELY addictive. I can't even take the stuff, myself (it makes me see things...do you think it's psychological or I'm allergic to it?) and I'm really glad I can't. My dad does that sometimes, when he runs out of pain pills - starts tearing the room up, swearing he had two more somewhere.

Sure, your story is "tame" in comparison to some of the others out there, but it's every bit as valid and even more scary to me - after ONE BOTTLE you were having addiction problems. Imagine what would happen if you'd continued taking it for years?

~Tasha
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  #18  
Old 06-09-2006, 09:18 AM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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Have there ever been any studies for those who are going off of major addiction (whatever it is) and using Complementary/Alternative meds to help with withdrawl?


i realize that junkies are not the most reasonable humans and probably not prone to following directions that are complicated other than " Take pill every day."

My thinking, as a non addictive personality - so bear with me - and I've shared my thoughts with my homies ( coffee addicts, mostly. We are hardcore, to say the least.) is that because of the Pharmaceutical Industry, Movies and Word of Mouth, we are conditioned that Withdrawl With Suck. Yes, I know parts of it will suck to a very high level of shittiness that I will never comprehend, but maybe there are other ways out there to help.

What if when you decide to go cold turkey, to have a battalion of multi-vitamins, juice drinks ( not exactly energy drinks, those are an addiction themselves and many contain Benzene. Google it.) but say, Wheat grass and the entire granola hippie goodness stuff ( It isn't as bad as you think.) and whole grainy good ness in bread to just flood your body with nutrients. Maybe a couple of days worth of laxatives to really jump start the purging and a hot as you can take it bath with an entire box of epsom salts and baking soda to help detox yourself moreso via sweat. (and some apirin, tylenol or other OTC headache remedy.)

That way it confuses your body from " Where in the hell is the dope!!!" to " What the hell is this? Vitamin A? Vitamin C? Oh dear...I know where these go. Wooooo...Let's get crackin'!"

I would think that it would be a welcome thing for the body, to do something like this after all the neglect. Really, for say, a month of this, just a month, it couldn't hurt. ( As too much of specific vitamins will cause liver damage.) Really , the body needs all of it to function at a decent operating level.


In theory this works in my head and when I've gone cold turkey from coffee fear me., I just do an aspirin and two multivitamins in the AM and suffer zero. (except pretty colored pee.)


I am really curious.
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  #19  
Old 06-09-2006, 09:27 AM
Elza B Elza B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest

i realize that junkies are not the most reasonable humans and probably not prone to following directions that are complicated other than " Take pill every day."


As a 'junkie', I found this sentence a bit insulting. I can assure you that many of us are more than capable of following complex instructions. If you've never taken pills that have a severe physical and emotional grip on your body, it has nothing to do with being able to follow instructions, it has to do with not feeling like you want to die.

As far as the rest of it, I did up my vitamin intake and ate as naturally as possible for awhile while my body was adjusting without the pills, but I don't think it would have had much effect to use that as my only defense. It's still not going to combat the effects of the physical withdrawals.

E.
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Old 06-09-2006, 09:53 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
i realize that junkies are not the most reasonable humans and probably not prone to following directions that are complicated other than " Take pill every day."
Gosh, thanks so much.
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  #21  
Old 06-09-2006, 10:11 AM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
Gosh, thanks so much.
As a fellow who stays away from "stink'in think'in" as much as I can and who like you is in the rooms.... I must say Shirley's statement is not altogether uncommon for the "normal" folk still out there. My wife for instance still drinks like a normal human being...and she only understands what we go through intellectually but with the absence of empirical data for her she will probably only ever know what we go through on an intellectual basis and no more...
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:24 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Originally Posted by Phlosphr
As a fellow who stays away from "stink'in think'in" as much as I can and who like you is in the rooms.... I must say Shirley's statement is not altogether uncommon for the "normal" folk still out there.
Yeah, I know. And I have no quibble with the "unreasonable" part of Shirley's assessment. It's the assumption of stupidity that gets tiresome. Us junkies can be just as brilliant or just as stupid as normies.
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Old 06-09-2006, 12:39 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elza B
... I'm certainly hoping not to have a C-section, but if I do, ElzaHub will be given my medication and will be in charge of doling it out to me because I just don't want to give myself the opportunity to take too much.
With my c-section (emergency), I was on whatever they put in my IV (dilautid and I don't know what else) the day of and then vicodin, as well as 3 OTC ibuprofen and 1 OTC Tylenol (uh...every four and every six hours respectively, I think) for a few days in the hospital. They gave me a prescription for one more week worth of vicodin, which my husband lost on our way into the pharmacy. I was too afraid of being branded a drug seeker to try to get another prescription, so I just took the ibuprofen and Tylenol for another week and a half and it was just fine.

So yes, like Mama Zappa, I discovered it's possible for at least some people to not stay on narcotics long after a c-section. I was VERY careful to take my OTC drugs on schedule though, not be late at all. It's much easier to keep pain away than to make it go away once it's started hurting again.
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  #24  
Old 06-09-2006, 12:46 PM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
Yeah, I know. And I have no quibble with the "unreasonable" part of Shirley's assessment. It's the assumption of stupidity that gets tiresome. Us junkies can be just as brilliant or just as stupid as normies.
Yep - you speak the truth!
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Old 06-09-2006, 12:52 PM
Elza B Elza B is offline
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Originally Posted by WhyNot
With my c-section (emergency), I was on whatever they put in my IV (dilautid and I don't know what else) the day of and then vicodin, as well as 3 OTC ibuprofen and 1 OTC Tylenol (uh...every four and every six hours respectively, I think) for a few days in the hospital. They gave me a prescription for one more week worth of vicodin, which my husband lost on our way into the pharmacy. I was too afraid of being branded a drug seeker to try to get another prescription, so I just took the ibuprofen and Tylenol for another week and a half and it was just fine.

So yes, like Mama Zappa, I discovered it's possible for at least some people to not stay on narcotics long after a c-section. I was VERY careful to take my OTC drugs on schedule though, not be late at all. It's much easier to keep pain away than to make it go away once it's started hurting again.
I'll keep that in mind. I've done pretty well with my back pain and sciatic pain with just Tylenol and heat, so I'm learning to deal with moderate pain without the painkillers (before, any little twinge, I'd pop one), so I'm hoping it'll be okay. I find that higher pain tolerance I had before my addiction started has started to come back, so hopefully, it'll all be good.

E.
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  #26  
Old 06-09-2006, 01:20 PM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
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You might find that if you are prescribed strong pain meds for real pain, they don't give you the same buzz. I love me some pills, but if I've ever needed them for serious pain I don't get the same feeling from them. It's as if the pain eats the painkiller instead of me eating the painkiller.

I don't know if that makes sense or not, but it was my experience when I had some surgery. Morphine schmorphine, I still felt like shit and had terrible pain. There was no way to enjoy that buzz.
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  #27  
Old 06-09-2006, 07:02 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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I don't think Shirley meant it as an insult. I'm sure both she & I know several drug addicts, but they don't present themselves as addicts and we don't even know they are addicted to something or other. The people who are addicts probably hold down jobs and families, functional addicts. However people like she & I have grown up living with a media that equates drug addiction with being homeless and a thief/prostitute, not people who are functional addicts (which I'd guess most addicts are).

As for the statement about alt. meds, I was wondering the same thing about ibogaine. Supposedly it resets your neurotransmitter chemistry and works well for treating addiction with just 1-3 doses, but the trips people experience (it is a hallucinagen) are the most painful, damaging experiences people ever face in their lives.
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  #28  
Old 06-09-2006, 07:09 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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Thanks, Wesley.

I was thinking more along the lines of the horrors of withdrawl and everything I've heard, read, been exposed to via various media outlets and thinking that if withdrawl is so bad the rational part and tolerance probably drops considerably and the person who is trying to stop the addiction is probably not going to want to deal with a lot of little details ( many pill taking or maybe instructions.) I am just thinking of just how I am when I have a migraine. All I can manage is " Where the hell is my Imitrex..." and then go lie down. I cannot fathom what it would be like to go through a withdrawl.

I did not mean to offend anyone.
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  #29  
Old 06-09-2006, 10:51 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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On a few occassions I have been given prescription, codeine-containing cough syrup. Strictly for good reason, of course.

I found it very frightening to start refering to it a "my friend codeine" after a day or so. But it was my friend... I felt ever so much BETTER after I took it!

On the other hand, I never finished the second bottle. After a week my illness was much improved and... well, I didn't like the mental fuzziness my new "friend" was inducing. So at a certain point I just stopped taking it and eventually poured the rest of it down the sink. After it sat in the medicine chest for a month or so.

So no, I don't think I've ever been an addict, but I think I did get a teeny glimpse of how one can fall into that pit.

On the other hand, after I had the abcess drained, while the pills the doc gave me made me "comfortably numb" before the bandage changes they didn't seem to do jack after the gauze was peeled off, the silvadene scoured out of the wound with water, more silvadene trowled in, and new gauze strapped on. It hurt. At least after the new bandage was on and I could go sit in a corner and stop shivering after 10 or 15 minutes. Well, OK, that was only the first week.

I am not going into the "joys" of debriding here.

So I probably could have asked for and gotten something stronger for that medical episode, but like I said, the pain faded outside of the bandage changes and I could get a good night's sleep, which is really my biggest issue. During the day I can tolerate some pain, distract myself from it - but I really do need to get good sleep or I'm a wreck.
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Old 06-09-2006, 10:58 PM
Ring Ring is offline
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I donít understand. Iíve been taking two and a half Oxyco/Apap 7.5-500 for over two years for leg pain due to an L5 damaged nerve root in my spine. Every now and then the leg will stop hurting for a day or two and when that happens I just donít take them. And not taking them doesnít bother me in the slightest. How can that be?
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:06 PM
Ring Ring is offline
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That's two and a half per day.
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:51 PM
kaiwik kaiwik is offline
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I apologise for the length of this post, the subject hits very close to home

This is the first time I have truly attempted to look at what exactly happened to me regarding pain medication, both while on it and going off it.

I am disabled by several health issues, and I am in constant pain. I have a high pain tolerance, so if I am complaining about pain then I have been enduring it for a while and it has become big pain, major pain, making it terribly difficult to think or respond without sounding, well, bitchy and/or pissed.

Check my location, I live on an island in the Gulf of Alaska. When my body began to develop all the infirmities I now live with, my family physician had no problem giving me hydrocodone, with the instructions to take one 10 mg pill every 4 - 6 hours as needed. This was not a problem, as I mentioned I have a high pain tolerance, so depending on the day I took between 0 - 4 pills a day.

Well, despite knowing people who are heavy into opiate/narcotic use, I was *blissfully* unaware of the pain pill black market in operation, both on the island as well as throughout the state. So I was unprepared when my doctor told me that he could no longer prescribe my hydrocodone, that I would have to travel to Anchorage - a 400 air mile round trip, plus cabbing around the city to doctor appointments - once a month to be seen at a "pain clinic". I have mobility trouble, along with some truly impressive pain, and travel only exacerbates the pain. The insurance would not cover an overnight stay, so I had to take the 7:00 am plane out of Kodiak, spend the better part of the day waiting in the clinic to be seen (for some reason they could never manage to schedule an appointment that fit in with the flight schedules in a reasonably timely manner, so I was spending a great deal of time waiting in the airports as well as the clinic) and do my best to make it back to the airport in time to catch a plane home. The clinic always overbooked, and more than once I spent the night in the Anchorage airport in the stupid wheelchair, reading a book and dozing, yee-freaking-haw.

I relate this in order to emphasise that it was no fun for me to obtain the medication, in fact, it was horrible every trip. I went for five years.

The first clinic's physician (and I use the term loosely, he has since had his license to practice medicine in Alaska revoked) put me on a mega dose of time released oxycontin to be taken twice a day, with instant release oxycodone to be used up to 6 times a day for breakthrough pain. (I may have gotten the 'contin and 'codone reversed) Plus a muscle relaxer to be taken several times a day. Then the big oxy problem became nationally exposed and the insurance would no longer pay for it, so he switched me to methadone for a month. Then he put me on morphine. I am a little hazy on the dosage, it was either 40 or 80 mgs of time released morphine to be taken twice a day, along with (I believe the dose was 5 mgs but it might have been 15 mgs) instant release morphine to be taken, again, 4 - 6 times a day for breakthrough pain. Plus the muscle relaxer. (I have been given, at different times, flexeril, soma, and skelaxin)

I did not/do not need that much pain medication on a daily basis. I was doing just fine on the small amount of hydrocodone I had been taking. However, the doctor knows what's best, right?

Fast forward five years. I have not been functioning, as I have been drugged out of my mind. I was unhappy with being physically dependant on morphine, but every time I tried to taper off the withdrawal was, well, I don't even know what words to use to describe it, but it was very, very bad. Finally, in October 2002, after my husband had left the kids and I to go red crabbing, the pharmacy in Anchorage, which I had to use as a condition of the pain clinic, sent me my instant release morphine, but not the time released. In order to keep from crawling out of my skin I ate a month's worth of instant morphine while waiting for the other script to be sent, which took two weeks. However, by the time it was delivered, I was in withdrawal, too sick to keep anything down, even the morphine. Lying on my bed, drenched with sweat alternating with cold chills, involuntary trembling, bizarre electrical type of pains shooting through my body, mentally just aware enough to know that I was in trouble, retching every time I moved my head the slightest bit, diarrhea with the complications of blacking out when I had to stand to go to the bathroom as well as the joy of sitting on the toilet holding a big bowl and emptying my body from both ends simultaneously, hallucinating, absolutely no sleep at all, and this went on for three days before I was throwing up and evacuating blood. I called one of my adult daughters and a friend at 3:00 am, the friend stayed at the house with the two younger kids while my daughter took me to the E.R. (It took both of them to help me get from my room and into the car, and once at the hospital my daughter had to get a nurse to come with a wheelchair to get me from the car to the E.R.

The nurse took my vitals, history, etc. after having to put the rails up on the gurney to keep me from falling off during one of my more intense trembling sessions. The on call doctor was a doc I am not overly fond of to begin with, and he could not seem to comprehend what the problem was. His assumption was that I was going through withdrawal and was looking to score some more dope. All I wanted was for him to give me something to stop the throwing up. Earlier that day I had called my doctor who offered phenergan in either injection or suppository form. As I knew that it would be unwise to try to take myself to his office I chose the suppositories, and used three before giving up. All I wanted was the damn phenergen injection, I desperately wanted to stop barfing and get some sleep. When I mentioned that I hadn't slept in three days and nights he told me flat out he wasn't giving me anything to help me sleep. He also told me that I was having anxiety problems..."Why look at how you are trembling!" and kept offering me valium. Oral valium. Duh, I had xanax at home, hell, I had morphine at home, just make the puking stop! Trying to take a pill wasn't going to help when I couldn't even wet my mouth without retching. Three hours later I finally got the phenergan injection (which hurts like you just don't even know!) and went home.

I doled out the morphine during the times that I thought I was going to die. Literally, die. I had friends checking in with me several times a day to make sure I hadn't died. There were times I wished that I would die, just to stop the physical hell I was going through.

The worst of the physical symptoms lasted about 2 - 3 weeks. The drugs had taken a severe toll on both my body and mind though. I was weak and just...not well for several months. Like 6 - 9 months. I still, four years after detoxing have enormous chunks of memory that are just...gone. Although I have always had a large vocabulary and have always been articulate, I still frequently find myself in mid sentence either blanked out on a word I wanted to use, or just have blanked out what I was talking about.

I don't consider myself an addict, recovering or recovered. I am able to take pain pills when I am given a script, which is rare. I do not, and never have, taken more than the doctor told me to. I have never touched pain pills which were not prescribed for me. As an example, my #3 daughter had her four eye teeth pulled, her tongue clipped (she was tongue tied) and her braces put on all in one day. She was given a script for codeine, which I managed for her, and I was not tempted in the least to take any of them. Now that I am aware of the black market which is thriving even more now that the local doctors send everyone to pain clinics in Anchorage, so everyone has the "good stuff" and if I wanted it, I could have an impressive array of pretty much anything I wanted with just a phone call or two, if I were so inclined. I have days in which I would give pretty much anything for a legally prescribed pain pill (today is a bad day pain wise) but I would prefer to just shoot myself in the head rather than become dependant on opiates/narcotics. My choice is either go to the pain clinics and get a bag of major drugs and zombie out, or live with the pain. I live with the pain. I eat far too much ibuprofen, I have a script for soma, I have a heating pad, and there are nights when I have a hot toddy or three in order to get some sleep. The pain rarely allows me more than three hours of sleep at a time, but I cope. I take naps. Sometimes I cry. Life is precious though, and I find joy in very simple things. I love my family and friends, I try to keep my mind busy, especially when I am unable to keep my body busy.
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Old 06-10-2006, 06:33 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ring
I donít understand. Iíve been taking two and a half Oxyco/Apap 7.5-500 for over two years for leg pain due to an L5 damaged nerve root in my spine. Every now and then the leg will stop hurting for a day or two and when that happens I just donít take them. And not taking them doesnít bother me in the slightest. How can that be?
You're not an addict.

This is an important concept here - proper use of opiates does NOT lead to addiction. At least, not inevitably. Therefore, I would have to conclude your dosage is appropriate for what is being treated.
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:59 AM
Ring Ring is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick
You're not an addict.

This is an important concept here - proper use of opiates does NOT lead to addiction. At least, not inevitably. Therefore, I would have to conclude your dosage is appropriate for what is being treated.
Thanks for the response Broomstick. It still seems weird though. Iíd think, that from reading this thread, taking this stuff for 2 years would, at the least, cause a physical addiction.

I used to be addicted to cigarettes and alcohol. The alcohol was a snap to give up, but the cigarettes were hell on earth. Maybe people can be addicted to certain things but not to others.
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Old 06-10-2006, 06:45 PM
Phantom Dennis Phantom Dennis is offline
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I'll definitely second what Broomstick says. If you're only usuing opiates responsibly to treat pain, it's not very easy to become addicted. Addiction tends to happen when the user is taking high doses multiple times a day in order to experience euphoria, and even at this rate it may take several weeks or months to develop a serious monkey on your back (it all depends on the drug, individual body chemistry, etc.)

Unfortunatly I have trouble convincing my dad to believe this. He fractured his spine a few years ago in a car accident and has been suffering from severe back pain ever since. He's got a prescription for oxycontin that his doctor told him he could take once a day, but he's so frightened of becoming a "junkie" that he'll only take it once in a great while when the pain becomes unbearable. The rest of the time he'd rather tough it out.

Unfortuately the War on Drugs and the media's usual panic-mongering has convinced a lot of people that opiates are worse than plutonium, when in fact they can be a tremendous gift for those in pain.
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Old 06-11-2006, 01:18 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Fair enough, Shirley. Just keep in mind that the craftiest person on the planet is probably an addict in withdrawal plotting how to get his next fix.

Opiate withdrawal has two major components, the physical, and the psychological withdrawal.

Any person can become physically addicted, having been given enough opiates, and then deprived of them. Physiologic changes in the body happen, as does withdrawal. It's moderately uncomfortable, but not life-threatening.

Then there's the psychological addiction. Not everyone experiences this part. And some experience it only mildly. But a person with the actual disease of chemical dependency is far more likely to suffer a more severe psychological withdrawal. With a psychological addction, the person's mental well-being becomes more and more dependent on the opiate. Withdrawal then not only feels like a nasty flu (the physical side of it) but the individual will feel more or less hopeless, depressed, anxious, and unable to cope without the drug. Suicide risk goes way up. Time flows like maple syrup in the arctic winter.

Happy is the person who only needs to go thru the physical withdrawal.
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