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Old 10-09-2007, 09:01 PM   #1
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emsmom HB User
Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Hi All,

Well, its been two months since I admitted my addiction to Oxycontin. I'm almost done tapering - from about 700mgs per day, to 30 or 40mgs per day.

Its been a tough couple of months to say the least. The wd's were/are tough however, the scariest part is whats to come...

Is this normal? I feel like I'm doing so well, with the taper, yet I'm terrified to stop completely. I feel like a coward, like I should just do it and stop procrastinating...

My doctors feel its best for me to take this last taper over a few weeks. After talking to many people about it, I'm getting mixed reactions. Half think its a bad idea to prolong it, the other half think its a wise idea. I'd like to think that my doctors know what they're doing, but do they?

I was experiencing some terrible sweats, shaking legs, anxiety etc. so one of my addiction doctors gave me clonidine. It has really helped (for those of you who may want to try). I found I wasn't craving the pills "nearly" as much, and I didn't have "any" sweats after I started. The shaking and restless legs decreased about 50%. Has anyone else tried clonidine? Its a blood pressure med (for folks with high blood pressure) but was found to help people suffering from wd's (from opiates) because it slows down the central nervous system.

The worst part of my taper has been the depression. I'm lucky if I can take my girls to the park for 30 mins I don't want to leave the house, don't want to do my hair/make-up, doing things around the house feels like I'm climbing a mountain. I find I've been crying so much these past few weeks. I'm feeling sorry for myself, having a pity-party, crying myself to sleep every night (if I can even get to sleep).

I want to stop the pills completely, but I am so scared. I don't know what to expect, moreso I'm afraid of the wd's getting worse, and the depression increasing (I am currently taking an anti-depressant, have been for 5 years.)

I have a loving supportive husband, two beautiful girls, great friends - I'm just afraid to turn into a monster once I'm done completely.

I talked to my hubby about going away (to the cottage) when I stop altogether. Is this a bad idea? I'm thinking if I'm alone for a week, then I can come home after the worst if over.

I hope everyone is doing well - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm confused, scared, and just tired of all this

All the best,
emsmom

Last edited by emsmom; 10-09-2007 at 09:04 PM.

 
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:17 PM   #2
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spark-o-cet HB User
Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

bout all you can really say is welcome to the world of opiates.no need to be scared,jump off at 30mgs and tough it out.if you can get away for a week or two it will help more than you know.just get away from everybody,if nothin else rent motel room for a week.your looking at a month at least before you are really gonna feel like half normal.take the clonidine.it helps more than anything there is.good luck-spark

 
Old 10-09-2007, 10:50 PM   #3
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Thanks Spark,

I have the option of going away alone. I'll most likely go to the cottage (its 3 hrs away) for at least a week - from what I've read, the first few days are the hardest, so a week sounds reasonable.

I'll continue to take the clonidine, it seems to be helping more than I anticipated.

Thanks for the advice,
emsmom

 
Old 10-10-2007, 05:29 AM   #4
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Hello emsmom

I tapered off Oxycodone ( like immediate release oxycontin). Personally, I would follow your doctors direction there and come off over many weeks. I tapered over months, not weeks, although I had had a breakdown before withdrawing began. If you have invested this much time into tapering, why the rush now? It seems you have the discipline to taper and it is a much milder step off from a long taper cold turkey in any manner. My taper began with too big a step down and I went into full withdrawal. It is not something to chance if we don't have to! Not an experience ever forgotten, trust me on this.

The taper is actually harder towards the end than in the beginning stages. As I moved into the end of the taper from Oxycodone, I was taking two 5 mgs tabs a day. I started making the cuts by eighths of a tablet at that point. It is fine to make smaller and smaller cuts as long as we continue to make the cuts and move forward. It is the percentage of the cut that matters in tapering. The rule of thumb is a 5%-10% cut each time. That is why the cuts are bigger in the beginning and smaller and smaller as we head towards the end. Actually, it takes a lot of discipline to keep the pace of the taper as slow at the end as it took discipline to keep cutting all along. When I did finally step off, it was a small matter. No increase in depression... as a matter of fact, my depression eased as I plodded along. I have also been on an antidepressant for many years. Coming off sloooowly allowed the antidepressant to finally be able to work again. Jump off because of being antsy to finish and chance a big step backwards in depression as the body will be sent into a tailspin.

As I moved towards the end of the taper, I, too, was weary and wanted to just finish up. I was so tempted to just jump. However, I followed the lead of an older poster and kept steady at my pace, my plan. I was so very, very weary of it all, but I let discipline be stronger than my weariness. When I finally steped off, I was glad I had done it that way.

Cold turkey is absolutely the choice for some, taper is absolutely the choice for others. However, to switch gears in midstream should not, I believe, be done unless there are some really extenuating circumstances. It seems as though you are making great progress. Don't rock the boat!

Wishing you well
reach

 
Old 10-10-2007, 10:29 AM   #5
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

emsmom,
I always read your replies to others.. your encouraging words and positive outlook, but had never heard what was going on with you. That is so awesome, coming down from 700mgs!!! That is a feat in itself.. I agree with reach, I think you should continue following your Dr's advice and slowly taper.. why rush now? It's great that you can go off by yourself.. I wanted to be alone at a point in my recovery, but it wasn't that easy for me. Keep thinking positive and tell the fear where it can go!! Fear is nothing but another obstacle in the way. We're here for ya!

g8trgrl

 
Old 10-10-2007, 02:06 PM   #6
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spark-o-cet HB User
Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

EMSMOM,if you dont have to work and can get away for a week,two would be better,why not just jump off at 30mgs.after the first four-five days you will start feeling better.after the 2nd week has gone by you will start sensing glimmers of life before pills.you do what you need to do.if you have to work during all of this i would most definetly keep tapering down,but if you have some free time i would get if over with before the holidays are here and you are feeling like crap.lots of decisions.good luck-spark

 
Old 10-10-2007, 07:50 PM   #7
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Reach and G8trgrl,

Thank you so much ladies I really needed to hear that. I went to see my doctor today - I'm going to stay at 30-40mgs per day for a couple more weeks. I guess I was anxious to be done, and felt that I could stop. I realize now that my best option is to listen to my doctors and take their advice.

After talking to my doctor and husband today, I'll continue this path for now, then I'll taper once more (down to 20mgs - or 4 percocets per day). The plan is for me to do that for 2-3 weeks, then stop altogether. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to let me know. I read the board everyday, and take everything into consideration. I've read about people who have tapered, what had worked well for them, what did not work so well etc. I've come to trust this board and the suggestions/comments I receive, so if anyone has any other ideas for me, please let me know

I'm off to read my book...can't sleep tonight so I might as well get comfortable with a good book

Sincerely,
emsmom

 
Old 10-10-2007, 07:57 PM   #8
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Thanks spark,

I do have the option of going away for a few weeks. I love the idea of being "free" for the holidays. I talked with my hubby and doctor today, and we have decided after I drop to 20mgs (and stay at that dose for a couple weeks), then I'll stop the pills altogether and head up to the cottage by myself.

I'm still worried about "whats to come" however its more important to me to face this - rather than be afraid of it. I'll have my laptop with me and will be able to keep in touch with the board.

Thanks for your suggestions, hope you're doing well

Sincerely,
emsmom

 
Old 10-10-2007, 09:00 PM   #9
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spark-o-cet HB User
Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

sounds like a good solid well thought out plan.dont worry about what might happen in the future,deal with it when it comes.i think you will be a success story here if nothing major happens.i wish you the best of luck.-spark

 
Old 10-13-2007, 08:19 PM   #10
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Quote:
Originally Posted by reachout View Post
Hello emsmom

I tapered off Oxycodone ( like immediate release oxycontin).
reach
Reach, I was wondering, with the slow taper you still got depression? Because when I tried to come off cold turkey, I experienced that depression that I considered so extreme that I was non functioning. (couldn't leave the house, couldn't even get out of bed.) I had went through it once when I was on vicodin and tried to come off that before they switched me to the oxycodones and it was the same thing. THe depression made me have that agophobia. I didn;t even want to get out of bed to go to the bathroom and had to get someone to bring me water and food which I couldn't eat. I lost so much weight! So my decision to taper slowly with the oxicodones really came from the fear of that depression. I feel I could have toughed through the other stuff, but being that we live from paycheck to paycheck, I cannot afford the time off and that depression would not allow me to work. I am afraid that the depression will hit. I have already tapered down about 30% of my dosage and so far, no depression. I have some irratability, leg aches, anxiety, and impatience but I can still make it to work and function. I am wondering if the depression comes later or if I go slow enough, can I avoid it all together? Should I start an anti-depressant?

Ems Mom you were on almost the same levels as I was on (you were on a little more) but you only took 2 months to get down to 30mg which I think you are so amazing for doing!! I will be at 4 month in November and I will only be a little less than half done at that point. I chose the slowest route, not because I didn;t want to come off but because I can't afford to miss work and I am trying to let my body get used to functioning without the drug. I still have some WDs but they are very subtle and tolerable. Have you come off comepletely now? Was that last step hard??

 
Old 10-14-2007, 08:43 AM   #11
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Hey, When In Rome,
From all the threads I've read it seems that the depression may be inevitable.
I know it got really bad for me and I had to work through it all because I'm out of time off for this year. My suggestion would be to start on Paxil or Lexapro (anti-anxiety/anti-depressant) about a month prior to ending your taper. It usually takes 2-4 weeks for those to really work. I was on Paxil for 2 yrs, then the depression from withdrawal got so bad, my dr switched me to Cymbalta which I had every side effect listed. Now I'm tapering off that and starting Lexapro at the same time. After being off the Paxil for about 3 weeks now, I really have noticed how much it helped with my anxiety.
Just a suggestion. Best wishes and hang in there!
JB

 
Old 10-14-2007, 09:05 AM   #12
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Hi Guys

About the depression:

I was in full blown, horrendous clinical depression when I STARTED the sloooow tapering. The kind of depression that makes one totally non-functioning. I had had a complete breakdown.. emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

As I tapered sloooowly, the depression began to lift. The farther into the taper, the better I felt. Oh, I had the anxiety big time, but I had had at the very start. It ebbed and flowed between horrible and worse at first, but then began to hit mainly at the cuts. When it let up steadily a few degrees, I made another cut.

The anxiety was much worse tapering from Xanax (a benzo) than from Oxycodone ( an opiate).

I want you to know I am about 3 months or so done with the two tapers, a full year now since I began and joined this board. I have no abnormal anxiety now. None. Enev my sleep is getting better and better and this week, for the first time in many, many years, I can honestly say I have slept through the night every night.

Stay strong, Guys. Keep the tapers slow and steady. The body and brain heal as we taper... we must give it time, lots of time.

I keep you all in my heart and hold always the hope for recovery for everyone here. It is possible, it can be done. Do not ever, ever, give up the hope that it can happen for you.

Always with hope
reach

Last edited by reachout; 10-14-2007 at 09:05 AM.

 
Old 10-14-2007, 11:49 AM   #13
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Thanks for the words of encouragement Reach and I am so happy to hear that your taper is a success! It was just what I needed to hear this morning.

 
Old 10-14-2007, 09:06 PM   #14
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emsmom HB User
Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Hi all,

Reach, thank you for your encouraging words - they mean so much at a time like this.

WheninRome, No I have not finished my taper yet - I am still at 30 mgs per day and will stay at this dose for a few weeks (then stop completely and go to my cottage alone for a couple weeks, then come home for a week, then off to a rehab centre for 3 weeks).

Thank you everyone, for your concern and for your suggestions. I really don't know what I'd do without this board and without all of you

Hope everyone is doing well,
Sincerely,
emsmom

P.s Clonidine has REALLY helped with my withdrawals. I'd say it has helped me about 80%. Amazing huh? So, for those of you who are suffering, hoping for something helpful - ask your doctor about "Clonidine" and see if its right for you.

Last edited by emsmom; 10-14-2007 at 09:08 PM.

 
Old 10-19-2007, 05:22 PM   #15
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Re: Almost finished with taper - really scared to take the next step...

Hi Emsmom -

I read your post and had a few questions I was hoping you might answer for me. I am in the process of doing my own taper off taking 15 - 30mg of methadone for the past 6 months. I am doing this on my own because I was getting them from a friend of mine. My doctor gave me a script of clonidine 0.1mg about 8 months ago because he thought I was going through w/d from oxycodone. Long story there.... Anyways I have all this clonidne that I know will help with my w/d symptoms. My question is, do you take the clonidine while you are still tapering off the oxy? I was kind of scared to take it with the methadone. I tried it once already and it really helped me sleep, but I was hoping to get some input before I continued with it. I am down to 10mg a day and plan on getting down to 5mg by next week. I will get myself down to about 2.5mg a day before I stop completely just to try and have as little w/d symptoms as possible. I would die if my husband found out what was going on. Also, I have A*M*B*I*E*N* that I can take to help me just sleep off the first couple of days once I stop completely, do you have any idea if I can take the a*m*b*i*e*n* along with the clonidine? Any help that you can give me will be much appreciated. Thanks so much!!

 
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