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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:17 pm 
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So, my hard-fought victory has been won! It's been 30 days Sub free. If anyone wants to know how hard my ordeal was through the years while on Sub and how much I desperately wanted to get off it—but couldn't— just read my previous posts.

I'm a big advocate of the slow taper now. Having successfully done it, and while it was still very difficult for me to do, I can tell you that jumping off at 1/8 mg was far easier than the two times I tried jumping off at 2 mg...that was HELL.

So those of you who want to get off of Sub but feel that it is hopeless, please, please tapering sloooowly before jumping off. (If I had to do it over again, I might have tapered down to an even lower dose.)

Here's what happened. Please make sure you read to the very end if you want to know WHY SOME MIGHT HAVE VIOLENT SNEEZING AT THE VERY END OF THEIR DETOX...THERE IS A PHYSIOLOGICAL REASON FOR IT AND IT 'S ACTUALLY AN ENCOURAGING SIGN!

Back to my withdrawal experience...

Jumped off at 1/8...long 2 month taper starting from 1.5/2 mg p/day. Since I was not ready to deal with the physical aspect of the withdrawal (I was on pain killers for 2 years before being put on Sub--MISTAKENLY BY MY SPINE DOCTOR AS I DID NOT FIT THE CRITERIA FOR SUB MAINTENANCE), my doctor put me on a low dose of Vicodin. I alternated that with Tramadol in hopes that the two drugs covered different mu receptors; ergo, I wouldn't become dependent on any one drug...even in 2 weeks.

DISCLAIMER: If you were/are truly and addict vs. dependent on opiates, I do NOT recommend that you use another opiate to help get you off of Sub as more than likely you will be tempted to keep using them. While I was not a hard-core addict (never escalated my dose of Vicodin in 2 years...just used them for pain), nonetheless, I really LIKED Vicodin and therefore I knew that I could not trust myself to not use them..especially when I knew I was about to go through a lot of physical pain. So...I gave them away to the detox center right before I left that place.

Yes, I was prolonging my withdrawal by using those two drugs, but only because I had to due to the fact that I was taking care of my 93-year old father with dementia and could not afford to take the time to finish this thing. But also there was the reasoning that it would be easier to make the final jump off a short acting opiate vs. one with such a long half life as Sub. (I was actually right about that...more later)

Anyway, after two days off the Sub, insomnia kicked in...BIG time. I had horrible anxiety and I did not sleep more than 7 hours for 11 long days. Nothing worked to stop the insomnia. On the 11th night, I finally took 150 mg of Trazadone—a pretty high dose that triggered a migraine with nausea that took 24 hours to shake; however, it did finally knock me out. On the 12th night, I took nothing and slept for the first time in 11 days...about six hours! During those whole 11 days I was pretty manic--guess that it is what extreme sleep deprivation does to some people. :) But it was better manic than exhaustion as I was still taking care of my father during this first phase.

At the same time I was experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms like a bit of the runs, some loss of appetite (just a day or two) and mild sneezing. (Violent sneezing came later...what I am dealing with now.)

So there I was. Blessed sleep had returned but now I had to deal with the reality that I was still putting opiates in my body and thereby prolonging the withdrawal. So, mistakenly, I checked myself into a detox/recovery place in SoCal--nine hours from where I live. Big mistake. That turned out to be complete nightmare. (More about that in another post, because I think it's important to expose most of these places for what they are...money making machines).

I was at that place for a mere 2 hours (had driven 9 hours to get there). When they told me they were going to put me back on Sub, I screamed—yes, literally and quite loud—and after that I did not have to persuade them very hard to get rid of me. No doubt, I was their worst nightmare.

I did turn over the rest of my opiates and then checked myself into a 4-star hotel. I planned to go my close friend's house the next day as she only lived an hour away in a really nice place by the beach. If I had to go through the misery of the final phase of the acute withdrawal phase, I wanted it to be in beautiful surroundings with someone who would love and nurture me through this—not some corporate-run medical facility that had something to gain by my misery, if you catch my drift.

Anyway, at about 8:30 that night, the Vicodin had completely worn off and the pain started coming at me with a vengeance. Centered largely in my neck and shoulders, the throbbing, burning pain reached about a level 8/9. I didn't sleep a wink and early in the morning I somehow managed to drive to Orange County to my friend's house where I fell into her arms weeping. She promptly put me to bed and I continued to take about 1500-1700 mg of prescription Advil to try and lessen the acute pain. It barely put a dent in the pain.

This acute phase lasted about 2 days. I would beg my friend to give me some of her Tramadol and she refused. (That's a good friend.) On Sunday night I actually slept a bit (despite the pain and the intense anxiety) and then Glory, Hallelujah, I woke up to a pain level that was half of what it had been! By Day 5, I was at a 5/6 with unpredictable times where my body would turn into lead and I could barely walk, followed by times when I felt almost no pain. Crazy.

Today--8 days after I took my last dose of Vicodin and 30 days since my last dose of Sub, I still have some pain (averages about a level 5), my body still gets that heavy feeling and I do have mild anxiety/rabid dreaming at night. My regular script of 200 mgs of Gabepentin helps with that, as does one low dose pill of Ativan.

During the day I am taking amino acids, and now Vit D, Bc and lots of C. Plus I am exercising...as hard as it is to do when my body feels like it weighs a ton.

But the most annoying and crazy withdrawal symptom is violent—and I do mean violent—sneezing. I must sneeze 50 times a day and I am not exaggerating. I sneeze so hard that it hurts—and even pee. :( Plus I have had a constant dry cough. Considering that I never remember sneezing (or having a cough) while on Sub, I was immensely curious to know why this has been happening.

So I Googled it and found this. It explains it perfectly...just in case anyone wants to know. It sure helped me and now I even find it encouraging as it means that I'm very close to the end of this thing!

Quote:
I get "burst" sneezing in uncontrollable bursts of 5-7 violent short sneezes. They hurt. At the movies is one thing, but driving is scary! I have learned to just spit food out. I have absolutely NO control when they hit.

Opiates suppress the cough reflex, and the orfactory (sp) nerves are suppresed too. I could not smell flowers and other things when on bup or morphine. Notice how everything effen stinks during w/d and after! Toast toasting in the toaster is enough to make me hurl. yech! This is all rebound from the suppression from the opiates. Morphine and H also stimulate the chemoreceptor trigger zone (nausea)

Look at it as your sense of smell waking up! Last time it lasted about 3 weeks for me. I even get paranoid that people will "know" what it's about and I'll be outted!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:57 pm 
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So you used opioids to get off the Sub that helped you get off opioids? Sounds risky bro. I'm 14 days in from a 2mg drop. Thankfully my experience was much less 'painful' than your seemed to be. I'm dealing with the heaviness you describe. I feel like this is the most annoying symptom. Your mind wants to run a marathon and your body feels like a newborn. Sneezing seems to be a common occurrence also. It sounds like your doing good man

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:49 pm 
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hope, how long were you on Sub? Reason why my experience may have been harder than yours—even at "only" 1.8 mg— ("only" being a relative term with Sub) is because I was on Sub for 5 years. With this drug. length of time on it has more to do with how hard your withdrawal will be then what dose you jump off of. I know because I tried jumping off a 2 mg and became suicidal n the process. Not just because of the acute pain level (a level 10), but because of the severe hopelessness and depression.

Then there is always individual chemistry—it can vary widely from person to person.

As far as taking one opiate to get off another—Yes, it was risky. That is why I made sure that my doctor only prescribed enough for 2 weeks and even when I had a few left, I turned them in...making sure I would not be tempted. I don't recommend this method for everyone, as my disclaimer in my post stipulated.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:45 am 
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Make that 126 times I sneezed today! I feel bruised and battered. Someone said that it could last three weeks. Yikes, I hope not...I don't think my heart, or my ribs, can stand much more of this (not to mention my bladder.)


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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