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  • Am I addicted to opiates or just need them?

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    Old 11-28-2006, 06:39 PM   #1
    Join Date: Nov 2005
    Posts: 70
    apartipilo HB User
    Am I addicted to opiates or just need them?


    Everytime I try to get off my ms-contin, I experience terrible back and leg pain that forces me to resume taking it. My question to any experts out there:
    Is this pain a withdrawal symptom or could I just NEED the pain meds to manage my chronic pain? Since I've had 2 back surgeries, ( the latest one just over 1 month ago ), my pain doctor encourages me to continue on the opiates, reassuring me that it's not an addiction problem.
    The only way I think I'll know the answer is to suffer without the opiates for at least one week. If the pain begins to taper off after about a week ( the length of time withdrawal symptoms last, I think ) then I probably could be confident that it was a dependancy/addiction problem. However, if I find the pain continues on, unabated, then it's probably certain that I simply NEED the pain meds to help control my pain.
    Does this make reasonable sense? I want desperately to get off these nasty opiates ( I cannot stand the side effects ) but I can't go on suffering severe chronic pain. I just have to know one way or the other. Can anyone direct me to some information on a home detox program for opiates? I'd hate to be admitted to a hospital for this and leave my family.

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    Old 11-28-2006, 09:27 PM   #2
    Join Date: Mar 2005
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    JoeNJ HB User
    Re: Am I addicted to opiates or just need them?

    I suggest you let your Doc handle this. If he feels you no longer need the pain meds then he will work out a taper program to get you off the pills. He may also give you something to help you with the WD.


    Old 11-29-2006, 09:09 AM   #3
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    butrfligirl28 HB Userbutrfligirl28 HB User
    Re: Am I addicted to opiates or just need them?

    Do you have pain daily? I am in pain management, but still have significant daily pain....just at a more manageable level. If you are experiencing no pain when taking these meds, I would wonder if you need them anymore. I had to stop my meds for a medical test once, and the painful withdrawals were almost worse than my normal chronic pain! Do some research on the difference between dependance and addiction. Addiction is identified in part by a set of behaviors. My pain center says that people with an addiction cannot take their meds as prescribed, they take them for a high and not pain relief, they get meds from different doctors to take more, they lie about their use, they forge scripts or break other laws in order to obtain their meds, ect.

    I was terribly worried about going to pain management, as addiction runs in my family. My life was being taken from me however, due to chronic pain. I was unable to do any of the things I needed, or loved to do. I do alot of research, and keep a VERY close watch on myself and my meds. You have to be very strict with opiates in my opinion, and assume that anyone can become addicted if they are not careful. I have been in pain management over a year now. I am very relieved and happy to say that while I am dependant on my medication, I am not addicted to it. Anyone who is dependant on a medication will experience withdrawal symptoms from stopping the medication. This is a normal, physical response. Addiction is much more complicated.

    If you are very concerned, talk to your pain doctor about tapering off of your meds, to see where you stand. This is not an unusual request, as many people have surgery and really need to know where their pain levels are now. As I stated above, if you experience no pain at all from your injuries, you are over-medicated. The goal of pain management is to reduce pain by 50% to 80%. You may still need this med, but at a much lower dose. Also, many things can be done about side effects. If you need pain meds for chronic pain, but the side effects are too much to live with, talk to you doctor. There are many things they can do to help.

    I hope this info helps you! Keep us imformed, and I wish you the best of luck!

    Old 11-30-2006, 03:10 AM   #4
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    Join Date: May 2005
    Posts: 168
    Hollyday HB User
    Re: Am I addicted to opiates or just need them?

    I was prescribed opiates for chronic pain and at some point, after trying several times to get off of them, I realized that half of the back pain I was experiencing when I tried to quit was actually a withdrawal symptom. I didn't know lower back pain was due to w/d!

    I think you've got a good plan in mind. Quit for a week and see how you feel. At first it's really impossible to tell if you are hurting from your regular pain, or the pain of w/d. You have to give it some time.

    Oh, and try to move around a good bit when you're in w/d - even if you are hurting. I found that moving, walking the dog, even just stretching, helped my back pain A LOT.

    Good Luck!

    Old 11-30-2006, 07:14 AM   #5
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    Join Date: Feb 2005
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    Blasterboy HB UserBlasterboy HB User
    Re: Am I addicted to opiates or just need them?

    I think the advice about your behaviours is the main factor that will be defining. If you are truly honest with yourself you will know whether you take the pills as prescribed for pain suppression or acute management and that you’re not slipping using them for a high etc!

    Addiction in pain management has to be defined by behaviour I think. This statement is highlighted be your concerns about whether your pain is true or not; addiction is so powerful it would convince you in those 7 days that you needed the pills (if you are an addict,) it would act like a parasite and invade your muscles and whisper in your ears that you needs the pills; this is why I encourage you to be as honest as possible about your past and present behaviour, because surely the answer will lie there.

    Best wishes however you choose to do/see this.......

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