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Old 11-05-2004, 07:21 AM   #1
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Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

I am a 39 year old woman unable to detox off Suboxone. I'm looking for anyone out there who may be using this drug and also having problems. I began treatment at a private clinic in April 2004 for help coming off of Oxycontin. The psychaitrist/doctor started me off on a 5 or 6 mg. dose of Suboxone. This part went smoothly. The problem is now, six months later, I am on a very small dose daily of Suboxone, half of a 2.5 mg. pill, so, 1.25. After discussion with my doctor, we agreed that at some point I would "stop" in order to detox completely. He told me that I would experience a few days of flu-like feelings and then be done.

This was NOT my experience. I took my last dose on a Sunday morning. 24 hours later, I began to experience "withdrawl". These feelings lasted five days, until by the fifth day I could no longer take the pain, and took my regular dose of drug. After taking the dose, the pain subsided. The withdrawl was like this: a terrible, burning feeling throughout my body, like being lit on fire and crawley at the same time. The feeling of terrible discomfort, like the way you feel before you're about to throw-up; or when you have the flu and you can't get comfortable. On a "pain scale" of 1 to 10, I would rate the pain from 7 to 10, waxing and waning. (I have had two children and experienced kidney stones, so I feel like I "know" how to rate intense pain.) By Wednesday, I was nauseous and unable to eat broth or toast. I also began to experience diareah "until there was nothing left to come out" (sorry). During this time, I was unable to sleep except for about 20 minutes or so where I would sleep I think because I was getting exhausted, only to be awakened by the unrelenting pain. By day five, my blood pressure was way up and my heart was pounding. This really began to scare me, so at 9:00 that night I took my dose of Suboxone. Regretably.

My doctor and counselor tell me that, at this dose, I should not have experienced these symptoms. I asked if I could go to a detox hospital, and, after the doctors conversed, was told that my dose of Suboxone is so small that they felt my doctor should be able to treat me. My doctor tells me that "I must not be ready to stop" and should just continue on the dose until I am ready to go through the withdrawl again. He called the makers of Suboxone and spoke with the doctor who did the clinical trials. This doctor told him, again, that my dose is so small that I should not have had this reaction.

Obviously, I AM REACTING! I am terrified that I am not going to be able to stop this drug. I want to stop taking it, but the withdrawl was too much for me. My doctor can't give me any answers and a detox center wouldn't take me! I see my doctor again next Thursday, 11/11. My husband is going with me to try and help me plead to him to find another way.

Does anyone have any advice out there?

Carol
What am I to do? I want to stop taking this drug but feel that I cannot go through this terrible experience alone without medical assistance.

 
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Old 11-05-2004, 10:33 AM   #2
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Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Michael, thank you for your reply. I feel alone in all this because I can find no one to give me a defininite answer. Both my doctor and counsellor have said that at our clinic they have never actually detoxed anyone off Suboxone because it's so new. I neglected to share another part of the story. I contacted a hospital in our area that does detox for people on narcotics. I explained what happened and that I did not feel confident trying to go through this myself at home. (I am married with two children in elementary school. During my failed detox attempt, I had to make sure my kids were taken care of. Although my family is great and willing to help, it's tough for a mom to be out of commission for a week or more.) Anyway, my doctor and the hospital's doctor consulted each other and concluded that they could NOT HELP ME AT THE HOSPITAL. How can this be? How can they help people addicted to herioin detox but not me on Suboxone? I feel helpless.

C.

 
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Old 11-05-2004, 01:40 PM   #3
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Smile Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Carol,
You are NOT alone. I will help you in anyway I can. I read your post and want you to know what you are going thru is withdrawls from the oxy. All you are doing when you are taking the suboxone is prolonging the enevenable, I know I spelled that wrong, and your w/d 's will be a little easier.

I just got over what you are going through right now. Some history: I was on opiates for 3 years, I started of taking what the doctor prescribed, then hit the big time: 15 to 20 a day. My life was unmanagable. I was irritable, restless, and discontent. Nothing BAD happend, I just knew I was addicted.

So I did what any opiate functioning women who had the potential to lose everything if I didn't get help would do : I checked into rehab!

I was on Suboxone for 10 days only.... and he taperred me off . First 8 mg for 2 days, then 6 mg for two days, then 3 mg for two days, then 1 mg for two days, then BAMM!

When it was time to take my next dose of sub, I started hurting really really really bad all over, worse than the flu. My head like yours felt like it was on fire, my skin was crawling, I took 5 hot baths every day. I didn't sleep for 7 days , I couldn't get up I had chills all over my body 24 hours a day.

The reason the hospital gave me suboxone is so I could "wake up" and get into the program. The word around rehab is suboxone "makes a dead man walk"

But as soon as you get off of it... ouch!

WORDS OF INCOURAGEMENT: give yourself 7 days! Be in pain! Don't try to fight it, go with it. It takes 7 days to get it out of your system. If it helps to know what is going on in your head, I was told by my Doctor that your brain is telling your body that you are dying. Thats why you feel so bad. The other part is your brain is telling your body you are dying so you will take more opiates! Fight it! It gets better! I promise. It's 7 days of hell.

Do you have a clonidine patch on? I was on that, Bentyl for stomach cramps, and something for leg cramps, and tylenol for fever, and ibuprophen for aches and pains and boy did I have a lot!

Hang in there and please let me know how you are doing!

Love and prayers sent your way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


-Sara
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Old 11-05-2004, 02:22 PM   #4
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Thumbs up Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Hi.
I remember going through those the first time I re-habbed,except NOBODY warned me of any such WD.Maybe we are all different.
I went back on clonidine(High BP makes for the Nausea and headache) took a librium taper off cycle of 4 4 3 4 3 3 4 3 2 3 3 2 3 1 1 0 1. Librium is gross so you don't have to worry about getting hooked on it again(the least euphoric of all the benzo's.A non benzo sleeping pill like sonata or ambien,and juice,juice,juice and more juice...you're bodies water so you gotta flush it out.
I went to my sub Md today and ge chastised me for lowering my dose without his approval....you're story reminds me that the quicker I can get to a lower dose the better.
I'm doing it for 6 months myself this time,so you might have to remind me what I'm telling you.
Sara is right though...my sub detox was 6-7 days.It was a little extra terrifying as my MD didn' know what sub was,my Detox dr. didn't answer his calls,so he just treated it like alcohol detox.
I cried a lot,and my wife had to sit with me and go for walks(cut short by runs to the bathroom)..but hang in there..it won't last forever..it's like a week on the button.
I'll be there in about 5-6 months
------Baseball

 
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Old 11-05-2004, 04:09 PM   #5
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Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Dear Sara and Baseball65, thank you for your replies. You have no idea what a lifeline it feels like. Or perhaps you do. I feel very low and hopeless.

Sara, your story sounds a lot like mine. I began taking 10 mg of oxycontin for pain and was up to 12 or 16 a day. That's when I went to the clinic and they put me on Suboxone.

However, the next thing you told me has me terrified. Because....I went five days on that horrible pain and don't know if I can go through that again...at least not unassisted. I was basically home in my room while my husband took care of the kids. My mother came over and made me broth and toast, for which I had no appetite. I don't know if I can try and go seven days of that. And I'm also so mad at myself that I gave up on day five. The thing is, there was no way to know how much longer it would last.

My doctor spoke with the doctor at the detox hospital here. They felt that since I am already on such a small dose of Suboxone, that I can detox alone. I am very afraid because I don't trust this advice. I was so nauseous the entire time, with chills, unable to eat, diahreah, but the worst was that burning, crawley, unable-to-get-comfortable feeling. That was what put me over the edge. It was so unrelenting. It wasn't like it would come and go. It would come and stay, sometimes I clocked it at six or more hours. Then, it would only let up for ten minutes or so, then right back to the agony. I have begged them to admit me for assistance through this and their reply is that I can do it myself.

How am I going to do this? For the past three weeks, I have tried to take only a QUARTER pill daily. This is a 2.5 mg dose, broken in half, then in a quarter. I have kept a chart of how long I go inbetween doses, which averages about 15 hours.

My doctor has also suggested switching me back to a different narcotic, like Hydrocodone and try to taper off of that. Can anyone add any advice?

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Carol

 
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Old 11-05-2004, 04:47 PM   #6
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Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

hI cAROL!!
Didn't your Md give you ANY benzos? That's what kept me relatively calm during the whole deal.You keep telling us what he didn't do for you,but did he do ANYTHING?

A lot of Mds these days just have "their" way of doing stuff and unfortunately ,it isn't always right...I can't picture an MD NOT giving somebody in WDS clonidine(bp) a benzo(mellow out) and a non-benzo sleeper...you end up in terrible shape when you have NO respite.
Also,there was another sub-user on the board who went through what you're doing.....he was posting about literally SHAVING the pills down with a blade at the end of the taper...SEE,you're already on to something..
anyways,his name is Joe,but I think his username is joesaddiction ...do a search of old posts and read what he has to say...I know he had a rough last 5 days,but yours' is the harshest story I've heard so far.
I REEEEALLY hope you find a way,and I know you will.You have to so we can all come whining to you when we have to taper!!!!

----peace
--baseball

 
Old 11-05-2004, 07:16 PM   #7
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Oh Carol. Please listen with all you have! This is very important. I have two kids as well. And I never purposly stopped taking pills. I detoxed for a few days at a time because I ran out of pills. I was taking more than I should have so I ran out of pills early. I was a crazy person around my kids for those days I ran out. And I was a "functioning" addict before that. Or so I thought.

Im going to put the bug in your ear. You absolutely cannot without a doubt, get off these pills by taking OTHER pills. I read that baseball was telling you to take benzos. Thats a whole nother can of worms that you don't want to detox off of. (I love you baseball but she needs to know what benzos can do to her) I know what you are thinking... Im only telling her to take them while she is detoxing. No, you can't take other meds that are addictive while you are detoxing. Detox is for getting off everything to give your body a chance to make natural painkillers. Carol, right now your receptors are filled w/ opiates so your body has stopped producing dopeamine. Oh and by the way just fyi..... out of the 100 people at rehab, the herion, cocaine, meth, and alcohol withdrawls were a heck of a lot easier to go through than the opiate withdrawls. And guess what was the worst of all? BENZOS!

I want to tell you this without sounding harsh. God thats the last thing I want to be when Im trying to tell someone what I learned while being a full time employee, a mom of 2 in elementary school, and a pill head all at the same time. I went to a rehab which was recommended by Dr. Phil. It was an awesome place. And you might be thinking how I got to get away from my job and my two precious kids who at at the age when if you blink, you might miss something. Well, I found out by talking to many different people that if you detox and do not get into aa and work the steps.. your chances of staying sober are zero. If you dont have the tools when you get through detoxing why would you stay sober? Your mid brain making you forget all about that horrid detox you went through. And all of a sudden you are back on the opiates again.

Carol, what I personally have found by reading the boards for so long, and by going away to treatment for 32 days, is that doctors cannot take care of you while you are detoxing at home like an addiction doctor could or a doctor at a treatment center. My blood pres was taken almost every hour for the 7 days I detoxed. It's very dangerous to detox from home. The women that did detox from home that I met in rehab (that had kids too) said they locked themselves in the bedroom and told them they had the flu while they detoxed. And their husbands took care of the kids as much as possible. But what ended up happening is that they could not take care of the kids because driving in that condition is dangerous.

There are many Out patient treatment plans too where you can detox in a hospital, and then go to the hospital for 4 hours a day and learn all about how you can stay off the pills. You could drop your kids off at school and then go there. You already know your detox is going to be horrid. If you have insurance.. detox safely in a hospital and you can relax (yea right) you know what I mean, not around your family and your kids. Your mom can still come bring you broth. (and love) And your family can come see you too. (I never let my kids see me in the hospital. They did without me for 32 days..... I even missed my 8 year old's birthday. But when I came out... Im more HERE for my kids than Ive ever been in my life! And God it feels good!

Carol, Im sorry if I overwhelmed you if I gave you TMI (too much information)
I wish someone would have cut strait to the chase and told me the truth instead of saying "oh poor Sara, why don't you see another doctor" actually not everone did that. There were friends of mine on this board who I consider to be my sisters and brothers in recovery. I will never forget what they did for me before I left for rehab. I love them!

OH by the way.... something important... go get these books. Both of them saved my life. The first one I read before I went to rehab was "cracked" putting broken lives together, by Drew Pinsky. The other one I got while I was in treatment was "When painkillers become dangerous" by Drew Pinsky, (they are both by the same author.) VERY informative. Talks about the biological part of addiction, and recovery, and the different meds, and about the steps, aa, and so on.

I didn't mean to write you a book Carol. I just know or least I think I know what you are experiencing right now. And it's scary. And I want to help you. And we have something in common. Kids. And they deserve the best. And so do you!

Write back Carol and I am going to keep praying for God to be with you and your family and to guide you towards him and towards sobriety.

Lots of Love,
Sara.... 49 days sober and
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Old 11-05-2004, 07:41 PM   #8
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Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Hi Carol, I'm sorry but I haven't checked in for a couple of days. Your story reads like mine. I was addicted to oxy and turn to suboxone for help to get off of those damn pills. Everything was going fine for a least 4 months and then my doc wanted me off. I tappered down to 1mg a day for 3 weeks then I stopped. It was a b*tch! my skin was crawling and I couldn't sit still and forget about sleep. I called my doc the next day and he wrote a script for clonidine and another pill (can't remeber the name) to make me sleep. I took the pills on Tue and woke up on Thur and was so dizzy I had to hold on to the walls. When they wore off the withdrawals kick in. But with a good night sleep you can handle it better. The same night I took the pills again and sleep 12 hours and had withdrawals in the morning. But again with sleep its much easier to handle. All the withdrawls ended in 7 days and I have been dope free for the last 3 weeks. You were so close to ending it when you went to 5 days.My doc put me on lexapro in case I get depressed. I take that a multi vitamin every day. It feels great not to look at that damn clock and wonder where my next pill is coming from.

 
Old 11-05-2004, 11:36 PM   #9
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Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Hi Carol,

It's late, and I have 2 boys, 3 years and 18 months. So I know about w/d and kids. It's hard.
I will try to post more to you tomorrow, but wanted to add a quick note and let you know there is another one here that understands.

Your situation does seem a bit extreme, for suboxone w/d. Most report less intense w/d, but long and drawn out.

The first thing that comes to mind as a suggestion, would be to try and keep spacing out your dose as much as possible until you get to every other day dosing.
This would take a longer taper, but it would be more comfortable.
The problem (and the benefit...at least at first) with sub is that is sticks around a very long time.

Hnag in there.

 
Old 11-06-2004, 07:19 AM   #10
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Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Maybe you should try swicthing to another type of anxiety drug then try getting off of that, like a benzos. You have to be careful if your body doesn't let you get off the drug you could have a seizure or heart attack. best of luck

 
Old 11-06-2004, 07:33 AM   #11
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Exclamation Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Carol,
Good morning. I was wondering if you read my post to your thread yesterday, it's right b 4 Joe's addiction. I hope you are ok. I know for me it was the hardest when I knew I was truely addicted and when I knew that I was getting ready for a rough ride. And it's also very sad to have to give up your pills. Its becuase our mid brain thinks of them as survival and because physically weve spent so much time counting them before we go out for the day, and we are used to taking something.

Also, if you taper further apart, the only thing you are prolonging is the horrid withdrawls. Stay on the sub until you are ready to quit for once and for all, otherwise its just self torture. And when I was going through that it effected my kids-

I have to tell you something really cool.... last night me and my oldest daughter who is 8 where addressing her birthday invitations. She said some things to me that made me cry. I wrote them down because it made me so proud!

My daughter said I was different. I said "different how?" she said I had a better personality now. She said I pray when I problems come up now, (I did before, but my relationship w/ God has deepened and become sincere.)
She said that my hard work at the hospital I was in paid off !!!!!!!
And she said God gave me the power to get to the hospital. WOW!
And the thing that also really touched me is she said I spend more time talking to her and her sister now. WOW!!!!!

I remember how "disconnected" I felt when I used to read posts from people who were totally clean and sober. I COULD NOT RELATE TO THEM AT ALL!

So Im talking to you as if I wanted someone to talk to me while I was still using , but wanted to stop. I hope Im helping and not get disconnected from you. I can relate. Im a mother who loves my children and at one point was in the depths of the disease but wanting out.

You are in my thoughts,

Sara
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-Sara

 
Old 11-06-2004, 09:34 AM   #12
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Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Dears Sara, Brenda, Baseball, Joe, Trivial and all of you who have replied, I cannot thank you enough for your replies. I have felt so increasingly and desperately alone in this and your words are a lifeline!

Sara, you addressed a very big question for me regarding trying to detox by switching to another narcotic, i.e. hydrocodone. Is it really just prolonging the inevitable? My husband and I are completely confused over what the right course of action is at this point, AND, we have questions regarding these drugs and their actions that no one (doctors) seems to be able to medically answer. Brenda, you suggested the slow taper. My doctor is advising me to stay on the quarter pill of Suboxone, which I take every 16 to 20 hours, and then trying to stretch the length in between. He says that I should give myself a few months to do this. But is this still just prolonging the inevitable? Is it valid to suppose that by taking a smaller dose over a long period of time that one's body gets used to having lesser and lesser doses? And, can this possibly make the final withdrawl any easier? How can being on such a small dose (1/4 pill, roughly .75 mg.) have such an extreme effect on my body?

Getting back to what Sara advised (against) regarding switching to Hydrocodone: is it plausible that a) Suboxone is very strong, and, b) the time release quality of it makes withdrawing from it more difficult? Brenda, you talked about that too. Is it possible that I could react less to another narcotic, lesser dose of narcotic? Or are these completely invalid assumptions? As I said, my doctor can't answer these questions. Maddning frustration!

Also, I'm feeling angry that my doctor feels I can go through the Suboxone detox at home, especially after reading that there are some drugs that can ease the nausea and inability to sleep. The crawley, burning feeling was hellish, yet it would have been helpful to have had a little relief from the nausea, and, as Joe shared, been able to sleep and get a little breather to be able to stick it out. I AM READY TO STOP AND NEED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE! Why do the doctors think not?!!

You guys, I hate these pills; despise being on them. I want to stop taking them so very badly. I feel very, VERY discouraged that I went through those terrible days for nothing. If only I could have known it would only be a day or two more. Yet, at the time, I couldn't stand another minute. In fact, I had been feeling that way 48 hours before and just couldn't any longer. How do I convince my doctor that I need to be admitted to do this? My husband and I have an appointment with him on Thursday, 11/11. Any advice in relating to him you can add to our arsenal until then would be great.

Breathe. Sara, thank you for sharing about your kids, especially what your daughter said. I am happy for you that you are living life on "the other side". Also, for knowing that someone else has felt so completely "mired in the depths." I said to my husband that I feel like the little girl from "the Exorcist"; that there is something evil embedded inside me that will not come out. Yet, you all have given me hope (not to mention good information!) that there exists a time when this will be over. I feel the same gratitude about my own two daughters, ages five and seven; they respond with love because they are good and sweet kids. My husband has been 150% understanding and supportive and I am blessed to have them. But I want my real life back; the one before pain.

I can't express you any of you enough over email how much talking to you is helping me. Thank you so very much.
Carol

 
Old 11-06-2004, 01:20 PM   #13
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Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

I have been pondering this all day; wondering how to proceed to detox and what to ask my doctor. Brenda advises a very slow, incrementally smaller over time detox, which I am willing to do. I think I really have no choice. However, when "the time comes" to stop, I would like to ask (convince) my doctor to admit me to a care facility. Can you all please share with me:

1. Where you detoxed, i.e. home or in a hospital/clinic setting
2. What the experience was like there
3. What meds did they give to help with nausea, etc.
4. What sort of doctor admitted you, i.e. psychiatrist, pcp
5. If you detoxed with Phenabarbatol (sp?), how do you get off of that? Isn't that still a narcotic?
6. Has anyone tried the detox with anesthesia?

My doctor is a psychiatrist in a private detox office. He's only been using Suboxone since March, and, as I shared before, has never had anyone there wean off of it. I know he is looking at the clinical trials' results to compare my situation, but after conversing with all of you, it is clear to me that there is much more pain associated with detoxing off Suboxone than they let on.

Thank you all,
Carol

 
Old 11-07-2004, 09:09 AM   #14
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Smile Re: Please can anyone HELP-Can't get off Suboxone

Carol,
Morning. After you read those books by Dr. Drew (When painkillers become dangerous, and cracked), you will understand this disease. If you want to know about people's experience in rehab or detox from home, Im not sure what you are asking? Do you want to know about the success of someone staying sober or the actual rehab?

Like everything else there are good and bad rehabs. You have to choose the right one. Talk to others that have gone there. The best way to do that is go to an AA meeting. I bet there's one close to you and I don't even know where you live. You can look up meetings online.

As for success rate of staying sober after detox? ? ? DETOX IS THE EASY PART! Staying sober is not. Yes, detox hurts like you are dying, but having the tools to stay sober is educating yourself on the disease so you dont go back there.

I remember what I said when I found out I was an addict and had the disease... Ouch! I denied it. But my actions from taking 15-20 vics per day told the truth. People who are not addicts just don't do that.

When I was in the hospital for addiction to pills, and going to meetings, focus groups, womens groups, and learning how to deal with the wreckage of my past from hurting others while I was on the pills was what I did from 6:00 to 11:00 everyday! 7 days a week for 32 days. It saved my life. And with all that said, I remember thinking to myself " now It makes sense why so many people end of relapsing its because they were detoxed but never got the tools to tell them how to remain sober.

There were people at the hospital I went to that have been to other rehab and did not learn a thing. Its all in where you go. My boyfriend had been to the one I went to so I knew it was a good one- plus Dr. Phil sends people there.

Lastly, the doctors you see that do not specialize in addiction are not going to help you like you need to be helped. It's like breaking my leg and going to a Gynocoligist. They just don't have the training for treating addiction.

I really hope for the sake of your sanity- you will get the medical attention that will not only detox you safely, but will give you the courage, strengh, and hope that will carry you to be a better person through sobriety!

Love always,

Sara
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Old 11-07-2004, 11:08 AM   #15
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Hi Carol.
After reading your story I was a bit concerned,for myself as well as you.I'll eventually have to taper myself.

I called a friend of mine who has a Phd. in Pharmocology.I never really told him when I was abusing,though he had a vague Idea( I NEVER went to his Pharmacy!!)..
I came clean with him and told him how much I had used(10-14 lortabs a day) and asked how long he thought I should do the sub.He recommended 3-6 months.

I also told him YOUR story and asked why you were so miserable(obviously anonymously as I don't even know you)

He said when you taper off a drug like sub,rather than going CT,Once you've reached the bottom dose,to stagger the taper e.g. 2mgs Monday at 8am,2mgs tuesday at noon,2 mgs wednesday at 4pm..etc..until you are actually skipping days,and then until you're actually skipping multiple days.etc.
You're then re-training your body rather than shocking it.

It made sense..I didn't get addicted in a week.It took months.

.Find a Dr. with a little compassion and communicate every symptom you had when you tried before.I used to write them down,because I was so confused,I'd forget thing from moment to moment.

The same industry that made us addicts,actually has some products that can ease the suffering of WD.As long as your intentions are clean and clear,you will NOT get addicted.

You have to take some kind of benzo to stay in your skin,xanax,valium,klonopin,ativan....the re's a whole bunch of them. they all work fine...you gotta stop that "can't be inside your own skin" feeling
When I had to go thru what your going thru last time,I was prescribed Librium.It works,and its not ANY fun at all...I can't see anybody getting addicted to it.

It's also critical that you get some sleep.A non-benzo sleeper like sonata or ambien will usually give you a little.4-6 hours can work wonders .....just a little respite.

It sounds like the stuff Joe took was seroquel.I took it and had the same sort of feeling.It knocks you OUT,and is a non-addictive antipsychotic.

and..its also crucial that your BP doesn't skyrocket.High BP will trigger Nausea,dizzyness,and sleeplessness.It's imperative to maintain a reasonable BP.

Let us know how you're doing.
-Peace
---------Baseball

Last edited by Baseball65; 11-07-2004 at 11:13 AM.

 
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