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 Post subject: Could use some advice...
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:32 pm 
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So I made a thread here a while ago detailing my previous situation, I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to dig it up but I didn't even bother. Anyways let me update you on my situation...

So I had been on Suboxone for 5-6 months roughly. The story of my addiction is unique because I was not coming off of any previous opiate addiction, i just needed something to help me stop drinking (I was a fairly established alcoholic for ~year) and make the hangovers go away, and it was cheap and easily available. Clearly I was drinking as a form of self-medication to combat depression and whatnot, when i ended up realizing i was hooked on suboxone, i kept taking it not only because it was starting become obvious how hellish not doing so would end up becoming, but I also acknowledged that it was just another form of self-medicating. Started out taking doses from about 4mg to 8mg, only for a short while, though. The majority of my 5-6 months on Suboxone was 2mg a day. The last 3-4 weeks i tapered down to 1mg, then half, every other week basically. Tapering seemed to be bad enough at some points that sometimes i just considered scrapping the taper and cold turkeying to get it all over with. Then, at other times, it wasn't so unbearable (probably when i had gotten adjusted to each given tapered dose.) My last dose of Suboxone was 3 weeks and 2 days ago exactly. The intial 5 days or so was bad, but i got through it. I had been through trying to quit Suboxone twice before. First time lasted a week, second time lasted ten days. And now here I am at three weeks. It's never that initial withdrawal period that gets me, i can stick it out through that. It's the lingering depression, anxiety, insomnia and general hopelessness that drags me down. My doctor got me on Wellbutrin a week or so before my final dose. It seemed like it was helping while i was still at the tail-end of my taper, but that could have been placebo, as it's supposed to take time to build up in your system before it works on you. I am still taking it and have been on it about 4 weeks now and am unsure if i notice it or not? Maybe it hasn't really built up entirely in my system yet... I was even going full days without it and barely noticing a difference only a week or so ago, but my girlfriend, who had been on it when she was younger, told me that if i want to see results with these kinds of medications I should continue to take it because it has to build up. Still waiting for it to do something significant (or, at the very least, prevent me from wanting to tear my hair out nearly 24/7.) I had some Benzos (Ativan) for the first two weeks of withdrawal and they actually seemed to help alleviate anxiety, but my doctor said that i would only need one script of them to get me through the initial withdrawals... it's 3 weeks later and i could still use them, still feel like I am going to explode from anxiety and still can't sleep. As a replacement for the benzos, my doc put me on Ambien for sleep & anxiety. The first couple times i took it, it worked wonders, made my stress go away and knocked me the fuck out. Just last week, though, they started to lose their effect. I ended up having to take 2 at night to try and make me sleep and I still ended up staying up all night! Also, unlike the benzos, I can't take them during the day while i'm having panic/anxiety attacks because it will just fuck me up and make feel like I'm in some waking dream-state (actually mildly pleasant sometimes, but not really worth it in the longrun.) I'm sure you're all familiar with the Thomas Recipe as well, and I've been mostly following that. I haven't noticed any huge significant changes from following it yet, but I try to stay hopeful... I still have barely any appetite at all, have to pretty much force all my meals down, which makes it tough to be consuming 10~ vitamin supplements per day, since a lot of them are required to be taken with food so as to promote proper absorption.

In summary, It is now over three weeks of being off of Suboxone and i still feel like it's only getting worse. Battling crushing feelings of depression, on anti-depressant medication, which hasn't shown any signs of helping me yet. Feeling crazy anxiety & stress like I have never before felt in my life. No sleep. No appetite.

One thing that really confuses me is when people try to explain why Suboxone is so hard to withdrawal from like "The addict is not just coming off of Suboxone therapy, but also years and years of opiate addiction as well..." Sure, makes sense and all, but i got involuntarily hooked on Suboxone with abolsutely no background in opiates previous. I got hooked deep on Suboxone partially because I was an idiot at the time and didn't do any research on it. if I had, I sure as hell would have avoided it, as i have really only dug myself into a deeper hole now than I was as an alcoholic. I feel like week 3 of cold turkeying just from drinking would be fucking disneyland compared to this.

What should I do? I'm not about to relapse or anything... but if this doesn't get any better then i may just have to, It's absolutely too impractical too be wallowing in misery & depression for this long. I have a life to get on with. I have everyday obligations. I can't afford to get clean if getting clean takes so long and so much out of me. I know those are nasty words to be writing, but I have no other choice. Can't be out of work for this long. Etc Etc Etc

I wrote this very quickly and I must be off now, so I apologize if it's a tad disjointed. I will be back later to check up on the forum. Many thanks to you all for all the information i have gathered simply just from lurking.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:40 pm 
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Hello dirt,

I'm really sorry to hear you're having such a hard time. It's quite unfortunate that you were not given full informed consent about this medication before starting it. I don't personally think it's a medication that non-opiate addicts should start without a lot of consideration beforehand, as you have now learned. But, with that said, you can't go backwards now, so let's try to deal with the present, shall we?

First of all, I would say what you're going through is PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome). A large percentage of people that stop taking opiates go through this. What kind of a taper did you do before you "jumped" of sub? The best way to avoid what you're going through would have been to do a really long, slow, and low taper. I suppose going back on it at a very low dose (you'd need even less now than you did then) just to do a really long drawn-out taper is an option. I'm just not sure it's the best option for you. People who've done it this way report very few issues with acute withdrawals and PAWS. There's no way of knowing how long this PAWS will last for you.

With regard to your antidepressant, you've got a couple of options. Before I go on, please just know that I'm not a doctor, I've just been on antidepressants for the last 20+ years. Ok... If it's been over 4 weeks, ideally you should be feeling some improvement about now. You could return to your doctor and ask for a dose increase. That's not unusual and it just might do the trick. The other option is to go off the Wellbutrin (with the doctor's guidance of course) and try a different antidepressant. It's pretty common to have to try more than one or two in order to get the right one. I know it's frustrating to have to do this, but it's my opinion that it's well worth it. Last year I went tried two that didn't help me before settling successfully on Celexa. And let me tell you, I'm so glad I kept trying. Like I said, well worth it.

Again, I'm so sorry you're in this really shitty position. Try to focus on NOW and what options you and your doctor should discuss in order to move forward. I wish you all the very best. Please keep us posted on how you're doing.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:40 pm 
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Definitely a tough spot to be in, but if you don't have the long ugly history with opiates that most of us here on this forum have, then you should be able to fight through this in a relatively short period of time - "short" in this case meaning 6 months or less.

I have to admit, though, that Hatmaker makes a good case for getting back on at a very small dose and doing a very long, slow taper to ease the symptoms of PAWS.

And yeah, none of us are doctors, we're just addicts with experience using drugs and using suboxone.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:42 pm 
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hey dirt -

hatmaker and junkie have given you good replies. I too am sorry that you're feeling like shit. That sucks. I just wanted to add that Wellbutrin can be very anxiety-provoking. I have been off and on Wellbutrin for like 20 years, and many times when I start taking it again I also have to take benzos for the first month or so because it causes anxiety. It's a good antidepressant and it's one of the more "stimulating" ones, but that is definitely one of it's side effects. Also, Wellbutrin is one of the anti-d's that kicks in faster than some of the other ones, namely SSRI's. I've been on most of those too, and while they can take weeks to start working, I always found that I really felt the Wellbutrin almost right away.

Maybe one of the more sedating antidepressants would be better for your situation? Definitely something to consider talking over with your doctor.

Another option for anxiety when it's related to withdrawal is clonidine It's not a benzo, so most doctors are more willing to prescribe it. It helps with insomnia as well.

Other than that, exercise and meditation are good tools for getting through w/d and PAWS. I hope you feel better soon.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:23 am 
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Dirt, join the club, I went from 2mg to 1.5mg 45 days ago, I'm also on wellbutrin, have felt like shit all 45 days... Always tired, bad sleep ect. ect. ect... I was very stable at 2mg. What are they going to have to do bury me with my little orange pills. Dirt were on the very same page, Mike


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 Post subject: Let me add this:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:42 am 
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All of this over about 13-15 stupid ass Tramadol 50mg pills per day( I was hooked ), that made me feel good after my spine surgery, never had depression in my life, GO FIGURE


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:50 am 
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What you describe sounds all too familiar and yes.....a slower taper would probably help with that. But if you are bound and determined to do this I suggest you try getting some neurontin from your doctor which will help with the sleep issues and anxiety. It will do nothing for the fatigue and depression unfortunately. I didn't find Wellbutrin did enough for the PAWS. I also don't buy it that when you come off sub you are coming off of everything else you ever took. I think you are coming off of sub. I got through the physical part as well. But as far as I am concerned, PAWS IS physical. It is different than anything I have ever felt in my life. I went 3 months and still felt like crap for the most part, although it did get better VERY VERY VERY slowly.

I am so sorry you are in this position. I think we all feel pretty stupid whether we took a painkiller for pain and got hooked or we picked it up for a brief recreational stint or you were using it to come off of alcohol. Had any of us known we certainly would have made different choices.

I wish you the best in getting through this safely.

Cherie

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:53 am 
Dirt, You've already gotten great replies and suggestions. I don't have much to add, other than that I feel for you too. Your situation certainly is unusual in that you were never an opiate addict, yet wound up on Suboxone. I'm surprised you tolerated it, as most who try to take it with a low opiate tolerance, can't handle it. Suboxone is some strong stuff! As many of us know, even when we get as low as 2mg/day or so, we're still getting a LOT of bupe. So much so that it makes tapering below that fairly uncomfortable most of the time. And stopping it altogether.....well, impossible for some, difficult for others, and relatively easy for a fortunate few others. That fortunate few being those who are patient and persistent enough to taper oh so slowly and get down to just tiny, tiny doses before 'jumping.'
I'm still working at getting below 1mg/day myself with plans of taking up to 3 or more months to finish my taper. My biggest concern is winding up exactly where you are right now......in a horrible daily hell of dealing with PAWS! I have been there before and that is primarily why I ended up starting Suboxone over a year ago in the first place.
As Sullimi said, I wonder sometimes too if "they're gonna have to bury me with these orange pills!" That is not what I want. I want to be able to live my life without them. But really "live" it and I know the way you feel right now is not "living." I have said that living with PAWS was like waking up each day with concrete blocks for feet and then getting through the days was like trying to walk through quicksand. The depression and lack of motivation and joy for life was just too much to take. Starting on Suboxone immediately changed all that and I will be forever grateful for it. I don't (at least not at this point) have regrets about starting it as I felt I was out of options at the time.
The thing is though, whatever got us here is in the past. We can't go back and change a single thing. As Jackcrack said "..we all feel pretty stupid.....had any of us known we certainly would have made different choices." But it is too late now for that. We've got to keep trying to push forward, keep looking for answers, and keep hoping for a better day. You're 3 weeks out now after 6months or so on a fairly low dose of Sub, right? Something tells me that you will turn the corner soon if you'll just keep pushing. The others have given you some ideas and I agree that all those suggestions may help, especially continuing to work toward finding an antidepressant that will work better for you. If you've had problems with depression/anxiety that led to your problems with addiction/alcoholism, it will be key for you to find something to address that or else I'm afraid you're going to wind up not only continuing to suffer with PAWS, but worse yet relapse to alcohol or something else.
Anyway, I wanted to add my support for what you're going through....it really is horrible. And hard for people to understand if they've never experienced it. It doesn't seem to matter how strong a person you are or anything like that....it's just hard, harder than the acutes by a long shot! It just messes with you mentally like no other! There is hope though.....I know it will get better for you. It's just a matter of time. Hang in there and please keep posting about how you're doing. Sometimes just talking about it helps....and knowing that people understand and care! Oh, and I think someone else already said it, but the exercise thing seems to be key. That is one thing I have promised myself to do better with this time. I already work out some, but I'm going to commit myself to much more while I finish tapering because I know our brains are basically screaming for endorphin activity when in w/d or PAWS. So we HAVE to get that stimulated in every way possible.
Best to you and hang in there. Keep posting. Hope to hear that you have some improvement soon!


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