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    Old 01-03-2009, 08:57 PM   #1
    Rolex
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    Question Am I addicted

    Hello,
    I am new to this topic on Healthboards and I need some opinions. I have an artificial disk in my neck, had that surgery in 04' took percocet for awhile and stopped, my neck and arm nerve pain finally subsided about 1-1/2 years after surgery and I was doing well. Fast forward Aug.05' and was rear ended by a big truck. Had ongoing low back pain and leg pain (chronic=everyday) had epidurals, PT, nothing helped. Surgeon prescribed Hydrocodone in Dec. 07' I was taking twice a day to make it thru the day. It is a miserable way to get thru life with back pain everyday, MISERABLE. I have also read that chronic pain damages the brain, even when sleeping the brain is firing and is not truly at rest, etc.

    I had microdiskectomy in March 08'. Horrible excruciating pain after surgery. It has been nine months, the pain is getting much better, but now have arthritis in my facet jonts. I had the nerves burned (killed) in Nov. the pain down my leg and hip is better, but still pain. I take hydrocodone, one in the morning and one about 4pm, sometimes only one per day. It helps the pain and helps me function, go walking etc. Back surgery and chronic pain is horrible. I thought the pain pills are for exactly that, people in pain, like myself. They really do help me make it through the days. With this small dose (IMO) am I addictied to Hydrocodone?
    It is the 5-500m.? Unfortunatly, back surgery did not completely work for me, better but still pain. In addition, I wrenched my back the other day and now have new pain down the other leg. Isn't pain meds for people like me and what are my dangers of becoming addicted. I have about 10 pills left, and after reading all this, I may stop and if I do will I have withdrawels? And will my pain get worse?

    Thank you in advance for any opinions and advise.

     
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    Old 01-03-2009, 09:51 PM   #2
    legallyblondied
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    Re: Am I addicted

    Hi

    Usually if you ask this question, it is because you are! However, after reading your post, sounds to me like you are
    taking the medication appropriately to relieve chronic pain. I
    would not go off the medication. I would explore alternative
    medicine treatments, such as acupuncture, and meditation.
    I have been sober for 26 years and went through hip replacement surgery two years ago on motrin and acupuncture. Sometimes the pills make you feel worse. Just
    take them for the right reasons and it seems like you are.
    Good luck and stay away from surgery if at all possible,
    Karen

     
    Old 01-04-2009, 01:00 AM   #3
    Lotty667
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    Re: Am I addicted

    I think that it is important to distinguish between being dependent and being addicted. Being dependent means that you need the medication to improve your quality of life. It means that you take your medication as prescribed, you don't take them for the high, you don't steal or lie in order to get more, etc. However, being dependent also means that if you stop taking your medication, you will go through withdrawls.

    Addicts use for the high. An addict will go through prescribed meds long before their prescription should be gone. Addicts purchase meds off the street.

    Lets put it this way, what if it were insulin you had to take? Diabetics are dependent on their meds and to quit would lessen their quality of life. You are probably physically dependent, but you don't appear in any way to be an addict. You don't take them for the high, you take your meds to alleviate real pain and you seem to be taking them as prescribed and you are on a relatively low dose.

    I have chronic pain. I take my meds as prescribed, never run out early, never ask for early refills, etc. If I were to quit taking them, my quality of life would go out the window. I wouldn't be able to take care of my family because the pain wouldn't allow me to function.

    Of course you must use your best judgement on whether to quit taking your meds or not, however, I wouldn't. If the small amount you are taking allows you to function better because of a descrease in pain, then the meds are doing exactly what they are supposed to.

    Take care and best of luck with your pain issues. Feel free to visit the pain management/chronic pain boards. There are a lot of us in the same boat you are.

    Liz

     
    Old 01-05-2009, 09:59 AM   #4
    ANGELINMICHIGAN
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    Re: Am I addicted

    Hi Rolex!!!!! I do understand your concern about taking pain pills. I am going to tell you my story and where I am at today. I hope it doesn't get banned as I am very frustrated. I have been living with Chronic Pain for approx. 9 years now. I have had Chronic Neck Pain going down into my neck and shoulders and never goes away it doesn't matter which meds. I take. In the year 2002 I had neck surgery, a fusion and dysectomy. They fused 2 cadaveur bones in C5/6 & C6/7 with titanium pins and plates. After the surgery I could feel the exact same pain and headache that I had had for approx. 5 years or more by now. It was a terrible operation to go through to find out after all that, that it is "fibromyalgia" diagnosed by a rheumatologist and of course they don't know where the pain is coming from. It goes around from my neck under my eyes into my ears. I have also been told that I have TMJ, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myofascial Pain, Epstein Barr Virus , CMV, and now Fibromyalgia. Like you after the operation the neurosurgeon gave me morphine and percocet in the hospital. After about 3 weeks he changed me from Percocet to Vicoden which I took and knew it was just masking the pain. The Vicodin didn't work too well and I was not taking a lot just what the doctor prescribed maybe 3 times a day and ambien for sleeping at night. I also went through the same things, The Pain Clinic, having the nerves burnt (killed). That worked for a while but still didn't take all the pain away, had botox injections, steroid shots, cortizone shots. etc. etc. went to physical therapy, st. johns neuromuscular therapy, sacral cranial therapy, etc. etc. believe me there is a lot more. My family doctor knew I was suffering so he started me on oxycodone also then starting giving me Xanax. I was also given a prescription for "dilotid" by a maxillial facial specialist which I didn't feel right in taking. The doctor said I could take it for the rest of my life just like at the sleep clinic they said I could stay on ambien forever. I have to shorten this or nobody will read it. I am going to jump ahead to Sept. 3, 2008 with the help of my family I ended up checking my self into a hospital here in Michigan. I had to go through and "addictionologist" to get put in the hospital. Of course I was checking myself into an addiction clinic. They say they couldn't find anything physically wrong with me. I had a large bag with over 300 vicodin in it that my doctor had prescribed for me and bottles of all other kinds of drugs that my doctor had given me that hadn't worked plus the xanax hydrocodone and vicoden. I begged him to put me in the clinic. He told me at that time I was "mentally ill". I went into the clinic and the first night was the worst night of my life. I was the only one in the ward and I screamed and cried out all night for help. It was really really bad. They would check you every hour or so to see if you were still breathing. And then the next day they gave me the "suboxone". You hardly go through any withdrawl after taking that because your brain tells you that you are still on opiates so you almost feel like you have been feeling. Sorry again, this is long. Was I addicted, yes I was addicted very much so. I like yourself was on a very strict regiment and never ever took an extra pill but followed doctor's orders to a fault. I have been on suboxone for 4 months. My doctor has been weaning me off of it slowly and I went down to 1/4 of a pill and then finally an eighths. I was only on one sub a day. I finally decided to stop the suboxone after taking (the little crumbs that were left) and then off. I am off of suboxone now. This is my 6th day of withdrawl. I do not want to sugar coat it, I want to tell the truth. I have never felt so bad in my life. I can't sleep, not even a wink, I am figity, anxious, depressed, I can't relax or sit still, I feel like total crap. I don't know what to do, I have to think about the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I am not on any painkillers or no suboxone and the pain from my neck and shoulders is back fiercefully and I am not doing very well. I am trying to keep myself busy but it keeps on coming through. I know this hasn't helped answer your question but I took the pain pills exactly like you. Hope this helps. Lyn in Michigan

     
    Old 01-05-2009, 12:13 PM   #5
    10sox
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    Re: Am I addicted

    I myself an a chronic pain patient. I refused to take my pain pills for so long due to all the fears you have named.

    I am under the care of a Pain Management Doctor, Orthopedic Surgeon and also a Psycologist. The psycologist has been a life saver for me. He has echoed what I have heard so many times...there is a HUGE difference between addiction and dependence.

    When a person takes pain pills to have a quality of life, is not taking more than prescribed, is not obtaining them illegally...then NO, there is not an addiction problem.

    What will happen if I stop my meds tomorrow? I will become VERY sick. This is because my body has built up a dependence on them. In no way am I addicted to these meds.

    He recommended a book for me that explains how opoid drugs got such a bad rap. I am not sure if I am allowed to give the name of that book here.

    I too have read so many stories on this board about people getting addicted to pain meds when started for legitimate reasons. But the biggest difference between many of them and myself is if I stopped my pain pills (and went through withdrawal) I would have no quality of life. I have a chronic medical condition that is not going away. It's not the kind of pain I can just "work through". It is horrific nerve pain that I dont wish upon anyone.

    SOrry to ramble on here. I am sure there will be others that disagree with what I've said. My advice to you is to find a good doctor or psycologist to talk to. They have helped me in more ways than you can imagine.

    Good luck.

     
    Old 01-05-2009, 02:39 PM   #6
    ANGELINMICHIGAN
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    Re: Am I addicted

    10Sox, I am thinking to myself, if you have read my answer to TaCot, that I probably was not addicted but absolutely dependant on my pain killers. I know they did not take all of my pain away and near the end of taking them I was in withdrawl constantly for about 6 months and didn't realize it. I ended up having the worst case of "restless legs" that nearly ruined my mind and didn't realize that it was in fact withdrawl and my doctor didn't even realize it, he just gave me pills for restless legs syndrome. I realized it one day that it was withdrawl and the only thing that was going to help my withdrawl symptoms was to take more opiates and that is when I realized that I had to get off of them. So....here I sit in total withdrawl off of "suboxone" and no pain pills and I am in total pain constantly and have nothing to help me with the pain. The neurologist that did my neck surgery 7 or 8 years ago told me 6 weeks after the operation that the vertabrae below and above where I just had cadaveur bones and titanium pins and plates was also degenerating. Wouldn't you think to yourself after only 6 weeks after surgery that he should have known that when he went in to operate that that was going on, even on the exray he should have seen that. Well we went in for a consulation the next day, my husband son and I and my son asked that very question "why didn't you notice that on the exray first or why didn't you notice when you had her neck open on the table "sorry to be graphic!!!! My son was about 23 at the time and is very intelligent and he has been my rock researching and going to doctor's appt's with me for years and the doctor took one look at him and said "I am a Top Neurosurgeon" and you have a lot of nerve to ask me a question like that. He told my son first to leave his office and then told my husband and I to leave. He didn't want to discuss it and gave me two more names of other neurosurgeons and told me that I was not his patient anymore. So that ended very abruptly so then my family doctor sort of took over my care. Sorry I am long winded but I am trying to get my story out there. My doctor had me on so many pain killers and then he died in a car accident. I went to a new doc in the same clinic and everyone was horrifed at what he had me on. I am glad I am off of them but this suboxone withdrawl and the pain of my neck still with the 2 other vertabraes degenerating is a lot to handle. I am also going to a chiropractor that cracks my neck and I am sure it can be heard in another room. I have been going to this one for over a year and he wants me back next week because I stopped going. Well take care and sorry for this long post again. Lyn

     
    Old 01-05-2009, 02:54 PM   #7
    mk7657
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    Re: Am I addicted

    Hi Lyn.

    After reading your story, I think it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about going on suboxone therapy for the rest of your life. This pain that you are talking about does not sound like the phantom pain associated with addiction. It sounds like real chronic pain.

    My doctor said that Suboxone is a good medicine for someone who is an addict and has chronic pain.

    mk

     
    Old 01-05-2009, 09:06 PM   #8
    Rolex
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    Re: Am I addicted

    Thank you everyone for your replies and opinions. I feel I am taking pain medication for the right reasons and the hydrocodone does help me make it through the day. I know I am by now dependent on them, even though I only take two per day. For instance, I didn't take my afternoon pill at 4 like I usually do and by 6pm I could tell I was getting very irritiable.

    Lyn, AngelinMichigan, please please do not go to a chiropractor to adjust your neck! If you have disk problems it could make it so much worse. The chiro made my neck much worse and I now have artificial disk C5-6. It can also cause stroke. You can do a search on stroke and chiropractor and read about it.

    Thank you again everyone I appreciate everyone's reply.
    Good luck to everyone.

     
    Old 01-06-2009, 03:59 AM   #9
    10sox
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    Re: Am I addicted

    Rolex-
    I still struggle every day about becoming addicted to my pain pills. From what I have researched, there is just no way to know off the bat, who can take any kind of narcotic ocassionally without developing a problem, and who has the personality to become the addict with the first few pills.

    My advice to you and anyone else reading this thread...get yourself to a good pain management doctor to oversee your meds. Again, a GOOD ONE. I also have been helped so much by my psycologist too. He is really helping me sort through all of this. i am actually seeing him today and hate to admit that I still have reservations about taking my pills even though I can would not be able to function without them. This is sad, but what society has taught us about prescription pain pills.

    Last night, my husband had on some tv program about interventions. The second I started watching it, my heart began to beat really fast (almost a panic attack). I was literally watching something that I have been so afraid would happen to me (although, this was about a real hard-core user). Anyway, my husband said a great line to me that I have been saying in my head over and over again, and I think it's helping. He said:

    "That guy (in the show) chooses drugs"
    "You chose life"

    I wish you the best of luck and pray that your pain will eventually disappear.

    Last edited by 10sox; 01-06-2009 at 04:01 AM.

     
    Old 01-06-2009, 05:32 AM   #10
    ANGELINMICHIGAN
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    Re: Am I addicted

    mk Thanks for your advice about staying on suboxone. My doctor did suggest that once before he started weaning me off because he said he wasn't treating me for addiction any more, he was treating me for chronic pain. I chose myself to get off of it and I knew the only way I was going to start feeling better is to take more oxycontin and xanax and probably vicoden and I don't want to live that way. I meant that my pain level would be reduced or masked. I want my life back and I have chose to live in pain instead of on drugs. I don't like what any of these drugs are doing to me. I have been hesitating about going back to the chiropractor but he assures me after all of this time that it is totally safe, but I am still not sure. I am going to get back into water aerobics maybe and yoga and get on my treadmill and try to losen everything up. As I said, I would rather live with the pain than be on opiates and for everyone else that is on opiates for chronic pain that is wonderful if you can get through your daily life in no pain. I will be praying for you all. Thank you for your support on these boards. Thanks again Lyn in Michigan. Just a bit about me, I am 58 years old and have 2 grown children and 5 grandsons whom I absolutely live for and I don't want them to see me the way I was feeling, totally in withdrawl and crying, I want my life back for them.

     
    Old 01-06-2009, 06:25 AM   #11
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    Re: Am I addicted

    Angel- i am praying for you that you will find a way to be pain free without the use of pain meds. I know it is a very personal decision and one not easy to come to. I have no choice. I have a 2 and 4 yr old at home to care for. It is not fair to them to have a mom on the couch all day. Again, I pray for you.

    Rolex-Good luck to you too. I also saw a chiro for my back and ended up having an emergency surgery a couple weeks later. I don't trust them anymore. My back is far to damaged. And, I've had a few friends who are chiros show swear up and down they can fix me. I even tried one after that last incident. I stopped him after a month of treatment as I was starting to get a little worse.

    Good luck again to all.

     
    Old 01-06-2009, 01:19 PM   #12
    mk7657
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    Re: Am I addicted

    Good for you lyn. My prayers are with you in your detox and recovery. You will, without any doubt, get your life back.

    I admire your strength, honesty, and courage.

    mk

     
    Old 01-06-2009, 02:45 PM   #13
    MvingForwrd
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    Re: Am I addicted

    Hi Rolex. I am in almost the same place you are. I take 2 vicodin every day for chronic pain, mostly for headaches, but also pain from a few bad disks (one in the neck, one in the back).

    For the last year or so I have been absolutely freaked out with worry that I'm an addict. If I miss a pill, I DO get withdrawal symptoms (shakes), and that scares me. I've talked to my neurologist about this, and he says what others here have said, that it's a quality of life issue. Two vicodin a day sounds like a lot to you and I, but it really isn't. It's enough to cause physical dependency, but we're not addicts.

    I owe a lot to the people on this board, because reading the posts here has really helped me to understand the difference between addiction and dependency. I don't like having to take these pills every day, and HATE feeling the WD symptoms when I don't, but when I weigh that against the pain I would be in without the meds, the better option, for now, is to take the meds. BUT, you have to be very careful with it. Take them as prescribed, and don't ever increase your dose without consulting with your doctor. I really believe that being honest with your doctor is the most important thing you can do for your health. In my mind, at least, being honest with my doctor is what makes me a chronic pain patient with legitimate medication needs, and not an addict.

    Kathy

     
    Old 01-08-2009, 07:40 AM   #14
    ANGELINMICHIGAN
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    Re: Am I addicted

    Hi Rolex, how are you feeling now. Take care

    Lyn in Michigan

     
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