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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:41 am 
Hi friends! Hope everyone is having a good week so far.
I've been feeling pretty stable at my current dose of 2-3mg/day for several weeks. I've been breaking my 8mg tabs in half and then breaking the half tab again for my dose each day. Some days I break it pretty much exactly in half to make 2mg and some days I break off a bit bigger than half to make about 3mg. I haven't taken an extra piece in the evening or anything either. So I'm at 2-3mg/day now. I haven't been struggling with cravings and haven't had any straightforward physical withdrawal symptoms either, just have noticed some decreased motivation but nothing unbearable.
I've just been hesitant for some reason to take the next step and go with just a straight 2mg/day dose, but I want to make the step. I feel like I'm ready and I can't see any reason not to continue to taper on down very gradually. As has happened with me before, I'm at the point again where I feel a weird effect after my daily dose.....that almost full-agonist effect-not 'high' just a little nauseous and a hot flush feeling especially in my face and kind of a tingly feeling (hard to explain.) Anyway, for me, this has always been a signal that it's time to decrease.
Okay...my question for anyone who's made it to 2mg/day or less: Did you notice anything in the way of withdrawal at that level? I seem to notice some leg aches in the middle of the night (this was one of my most prominent and painful w/d symptoms coming off full agonists.) I have also noticed more PAWS-type symptoms as I get lower....a slightly depressed mood and decreased motivation. Is that even possible....to experience PAWS while on lower doses of Sub?
I realize we are all different, but I'd appreciate any feedback on your personal experiences. It seems like most of what I've read indicates that people don't have much trouble until they're under the 2mg point. For some reason, getting down to that dose has become a goal for me.
Let me know what you think. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:02 pm 
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I was lucky because I had essentially no problems tapering from 12mg to 2mg. I did that by decreasing 2mg about every 2 wks. It was going below the 2mg level that I got some minimal sneezing, yawns, and rls. If you are having some difficulity getting to the 2mgs, I would suggest trying 1.5mg in the morning and .5mg in the evening. Splitting my daily dose to 3/4 in the am and 1/4 in the pm helped me get below the 2mg and may help you too. After stablizing, I was Ok dosing once a day.... which I did before the next decrease.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:36 am 
I was hoping to hear from some others. Maybe there aren't too many of us right now that are at 2mg/day or less.
Well, it's been about a week at 2mg for me. I'm happy to report - no problems. I actually feel pretty good. I suppose I could still have some issues from the drop, but I really think I would have felt it by now if it were to be anything dramatic. My plan is to stick here for a couple more weeks at least. After that, I may do my next decrease the way I've done the others and switch to 1.5 alternating with 2 every other day. Then maybe do that for a few weeks and switch to strictly 1.5/day for a while and then go on down to 1mg/day. I hope to be at 1mg/day or less by my one-year anniversary on Subxone which will be July 7. We'll see how it goes. Just the thought of actually being able to taper down is amazing to me. That would have NEVER happened with the pain pills!! I'm just so thankful for this drug!
I know there are at least a few of you regular posters on less than 2mg/day. If you can remember back when you had just gotten to 2mg and started reducing further, please let me know how that part went for you. I seem to hear several people say that it was a total walk in the park until they got to 2mg/day. Is that true? Did things really change dramatically when you got under that dose? There's bound to be enough variance in absorption, individual metabolism, etc to have everyone be a little bit different. Right? or no?
And I still would love to hear opinions, especially Dr. Junig's (if you're reading this), as to whether or not it's possible to experience PAWS symptoms even though you're still on a little bit of buprenorphine. Also is it likely that after about 5 years of opiate abuse and a year or so of Suboxone, that one would need to be placed on an antidepressant? Does that help with PAWS symptoms at all? I have zero history of depression or anxiety or anything like that. The only time I have struggled with that sort of thing is during my trial at abstinence-based recovery. I may post this question over on the new "Mood" section too.
Anyone? Thanks guys!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:23 pm 
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Hello,

I have been given 8mg and I been on that for quite some time. My doc said that being on opitates over time casues the brain to become almost "rewired" that is why there is such cravings. She related that you need to be on a dosage that is right for a period of time that allows your brain to come back to normal -This may sound odd but I am kind of thinking she might be on to something. Taking 8mg allows me not to have any cravings at all. I am worried that if I go down in dosage too early the "cravings" will come back. AND I have to tell you life is so great right now I am normal again.

Has anybody else been told this or going down to quickly if your mind is not readydoes it bring back cravings?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:21 pm 
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<b>setmefree</b> - I felt little or no withdrawal symptoms from 32mgs to 4mgs and was able to decrease my dose in 25% increments with no problems at all. Under 4mgs was the point at which I had to start decreasing by 10% and it began to take more time to level off. When I hit 1.5mgs and on down to .5 it took yet a little more time to recover. At the .5mg mark the side effects (constipation, constricted pupils, etc.) from the sub dissapeared. It actually seemed to get easier to taper when I got under .5mgs - I'm not exactly sure why that is... someone else might have an explaination. Also, others may have had a different experience with their taper, but that's how it was for me. I hope this is of some help to you. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, whether by PM or on this forum.

I took 25 micrograms this morning and actually felt the effect of that tiny dose within 5 minutes. At this level there are some aches and slight sleep disturbance before leveling off, but at no time during the whole taper have I experienced any depression or intestinal problems.

<b>darren1234</b> - I think your doctor is on to something. If I had started my taper during the first 6 to 8 months of taking Suboxone, I don't think things would have turned out the way they have. I remember still having cravings throughout that period of time. Conditioning?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:15 pm 
Thank you for your replies! I really appreciate your input.
darren - I'm glad you are doing so well with your current dose of Sub. Eight mg seems to be a real good dose to maintain on for a lot of people. It's high enough to keep your receptors 'loaded' and prevent w/d and cravings, yet low enough to keep most potential side effects at bay. I felt real good at 8mg/day and stayed there for several months myself. I have heard what your doctor is saying about the brain "rewiring" or "healing" so to speak and it makes sense to a degree. On the other hand, I've heard others theorize that it isn't really possible for any physiologic changes to occur because the receptors are still being stimulated by the buprenorphine. It would still seem to make sense to me, though, that some degree of healing could begin just based on the fact that we are no longer having the extreme ups and downs of regular opiate use. Things are least held at a more steady state with the buprenorphine and we are breaking that cycle of tolerance that we could never catch with full agonists. So I choose to believe that at the very least, the damage to my brain is arrested by the Suboxone, if not truly healing. Whatever the case......I am healing over all by putting my addiction into remission. And I agree with you darren, we should not try to reduce our dose to quickly. It seems critical to allow a good period of stability at one dose before trying to reduce further than 8mg/day or so.
Bronzebeta - Thanks for sharing your experiences as well. It is sounding like I'm going to be a good bit like you. I had no trouble at all dropping from 16mg/day down to 4mg/day. I maybe had a little bit of runny dose and fatigue with those drops and maybe just slight achey legs, but nothing noteworthy really. Once I got to 4mg/day though, I started to feel some cravings and just felt a little unsettled, so I slowed down and stayed there for a couple of months before dropping again. After that, dropping just a little bit, taking 3mg/day alternating with 4mg/day and did fine with that for a few weeks. Now I've taken a couple more steps and a few more weeks and dropped to 2mg/day. I don't feel like I've had any trouble once I kind of broke through the under 4mg/day barrier. I will stick at 2 for a while since I'm doing well before trying to go lower. I'll take your advice and go slow. And hope I come out as well as you have. You're really getting close now! Good for you! Proof that we can do it if we're really ready! Then once we've finished our tapers (if we are confident enough in our recovery to try life without Sub) we need to come back and let everyone know that we're staying 'clean.' Right?! Because that is the TRUE goal - with or without Sub - to stay off the full agonists!!
Thanks again!!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:11 am 
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<b>setmefree</b> - Yes, the taper is important, but it's just one battle in the war. The long haul is the important thing and I'll have to be ever vigilant. I haven't had any cravings in a long time though, and I've had the opportunity on two occasions to cheat, so at this point I'm feeling pretty confident. I've been reading a lot like I used to, and I'm finding other things to do to keep myself occupied when it gets a little slow.

If I were to do it over again, I would have probably dropped even more quickly from 32mgs to 4mgs, and slowed down a bit more between 1.5mgs and .5mgs. Though the taper has been relatively easy, there's still no way to get around experiencing some degree of discomfort, but that may be a good thing. I don't think I'll ever have to do this again, but if I do fall somewhere down the road, I'll know what to expect when I pick myself back up. Using again is not an option - I have things I want to do and people who rely on me. If I had continued on with the way I was going, it's more likely than not that I would have died. The older I get, the faster time seems to be passing by, so I want to make what I have left count for something.

Take care!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:27 am 
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Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to say thanks for the input. I look forward to the tapering process. I will be reporting my progress and leting you all know how I am doing. I think that it is soooo IMPORTANT to let people know how each of us are doing. Once we can gauge others we can realize that it IS possible and we can be one day completely "HEALED"

I am still so amazed of the difference between taking SUB and being on the "Search/OXY's"
I remember the emotional feelings of being on OXY's and it is soooo different then what I am today.


setmefree- you are 100% right that we must let others know how each of us are progressing after we are living without SUB
I truly believe that people's live's are at risk we must do all we can do to help. I don't mean being so over the top.


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 Post subject: Following your journey!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:00 pm 
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Hi setmefree,

I just wanted to let you know that I have been following your recovery and taper since you started here, or soon after. I have so much respect for you. You always give good advice and always seem to be there for anyone that needs advice is struggling or just needs a response to their thread. You have truly been an inspiration to me and I have to admit, due to you, and your success in recovery, it has driven me to want what you have. I am a little embarrassed to admit that my own recovery has been very rocky, and I have been very hesitant to post because of that. Because I was relapsing quite regularly, the last thing I wanted to do was to be a deterrent to anyone else's recovery. I also felt very guilty for abusing my sub. Maybe if I would have started posting sooner I could have got some help, but I can't change that now.

I am happy to say though that I am stable on my sub now, finally and am very happy about that. I don't have much of a support system, as my doc does not know a lot about sub, so I am basically on my own there. I only see him every two months and he has given me 2 8mg subs a day. I am sticking to that now, only because my recovery has been pretty rocky, and I also want to ensure the fact that I know that I cannot relapse on this dose. As soon as I get a little more stable I will start to reduce my dose. I have taken as little as 8 mg and been okay on that so I don't think I will have a problem tapering to that dose anyway. Beyond that, we will see. I am in no hurry to get off sub, and would be okay with the fact that I would have to stay on it for the rest of my life. I am a little concerned that my doc will not be around much longer though, and I have no idea how I am going to find another doc in this area. I am hoping that sub will soon be prescribed more and much easier to find here. I have several friends that really want help and cannot find a doc to prescribe it. As a matter of fact, I have to stop telling people that I have sub, because a few people have now started calling me and begging me to give them some. There is no way I would do this for several reasons. Also since I am the only one in this city being prescribed sub, if anyone was caught with my sub, it would be pretty easy to figure out where it came from. I do not want to lose my sub, so will have to keep tight lipped about it from now on, which is kind of sad. I was hoping if I started telling everyone about it, they would go to their docs and ask for it, just to get more docs prescribing it. So far, that has not gone well.

Anyway, sorry, didn't mean to ramble on, I mostly wanted to say hello, and let you know what an inspiration you have been to me. I guess you would never know how many people you reach every day, unless we tell you, so here I am. Thanks again for everything you do. You have a huge help to so many people, and I thank you for that.

Sincerely
Ginger


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:02 pm 
Hi Ginger. I'm glad you found the forum. It has been a huge help to me in my recovery.
Thank you for all the nice things you said about me. That makes me feel really, really good. In my 'pre-addict' life, I generally was able to feel good about myself in terms of being a person that some people could look up to or go to for advice or help. Having been a nurse for so long, a big part (really most all) of my identity was wrapped up in helping others and being someone who at least appeared to have it all together. And for most of my life, that was relatively true.....until that awful day (or days) sometime shortly after turning 40 years old, that I became addicted to opiates. That changed pretty much everything for me. As you know, if you've read a number of my posts, I have struggled with mountains of guilt and shame ever since. So for you to say that I have been any sort of an inspiration for you to get better, then that means the world to me!
I certainly have not been a poster child for 'perfect' recovery either. So try not to beat yourself up too much for your relapses or missteps along the way. We're all a work in progress! I think one of the most critical issues is readiness and you say you are ready to do this. It does take drastic steps sometimes....like you cutting off some of your contacts, or being firm about not sharing your meds. You're right, by doing that you are totally risking your own chances at recovery. I think you're also smart to keep your Sub dose up at 16mg/day for a while. You may need to do that for several months at least. Keep your receptors fully loaded, so that a relapse would be worthless and also your cravings should be much less at that dose. I think it's really true that the longer you can stay on just the Suboxone....the easier it gets. Don't even think about tapering at all until you've been stable for a good while. I know that I have started to taper before and had to really pull back and wait a bit because I knew I was playing with fire by dropping too low on my dose. I have to remind myself that this is not a race!
As far as my own taper goes right now....I'm okay at 2mg/day so far. Not great necessarily, but okay. I did add another 1mg in the evening a few days ago, but have only done that the once in the last couple of weeks. I will allow myself to go back up though if there are signs of trouble. It's kind of a balancing act sometimes between the desire to taper versus the risk of relapse. I just have to remind myself how much I do not and cannot afford to go back to active addiction. And that if I need to stay on Sub forever, that will have to be okay. Because the alternative is not an option!
I know how hard it is, especially when you don't really have anyone in your life who seems to understand what you're going through. But we, here on this forum, do understand. So keep posting and know that as much as we are helping you...you are helping us as well. Again, thanks for the kind words....not sure I am deserving, but it helps me to stay motivated to keep trying to make the right choices in hopes of saving someone else some of the pain I have been through. Addiction to me is like the devil.....out to steal, kill and destroy! We have to fight to not let it take any more from us! Look forward to hearing more from you.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:46 pm 
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Hi again,

It's great to finally be corresponding with you, I have looked forward to this for a very long time. I do know or had read of your history. I was quite upset to read what addiction had taken from you, as I am certain you were an awesome nurse. It is quite evident how much you care about people and I can understand why people looked up to you. I can also understand the shame and guilt that you have had to deal with. I believe that can be one of the most difficult struggles of a recovering addict.

One thing I have not shared yet on this forum is that I am a teacher and have been for over 20 years. I love my job, love all of my students and the guilt and shame that I have had to deal with since being in active addiction has been overwhelming at times. I know that I have not been a good teacher, for several years, and certainly did not do the best job I could have with the students. I teach at a school for very intelligent students with severe learning disabilities and ADHD, so they really need the best teacher they can get. Our school is a residential school and the students come from all over Canada, as young as 10, and old as 15 and they stay for one or two years depending on how they are progressing and how hard they are working. This is the big chance in their life to learn how to cope with their disability and really need teachers they are committed to doing everything they can for them. As I said I have been at the same school for my whole career as I really love these students even though they can be quite challenging. It is a very stressful job and most teachers only last at our school for a max. of 5 years before they have to move. I am ADHD myself so relate very well to these students. Anyway, there is not much I can do now about the years I was not at my best, I can only try to achieve that now with the students I have. There have been a few times I have been pulled up on the carpet, so to speak, about my problems that were starting to become very evident. I was mostly able to hide that behind the fact that I am also a recovering cancer patient. (that is what really amped up my opiate abuse)

I think you have an awesome attitude with your taper. I am pleased to hear that you are not rushing and are able to listen to your body, or mind, as to when you need to slow down, or need a little extra. I also have the attitude that if I have to stay on this for a long time, or forever, that is okay, as I do not ever want to go back to the life of active addiction. I agree with you that it is the devil, and has almost destroyed me. I have a lot of work to do, especially with my children as I have pretty much isolated myself from everyone and I am quite certain they are very hurt and have no idea why I don't want to visit them. They are both in university and have asked me several times to spend a weekend with them. Anyway, I am not going to get in to that now, it's so upsetting.

You are very welcome for the kind words, and yes, you are very deserving of them. I know there are many people out there that are really hurting that read this forum, but have yet to take that step in to recovery. I can only hope that my posting can save one person the way that your posts have saved my life, literally. Thank you for that, and I mean that most sincerely.

Ginger


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:34 pm 
Thanks for telling a bit more about yourself Ginger. I know how hard and almost scary it is to open up more about yourself. It all goes back to that guilt and shame thing. For me, it felt like it made it somehow worse to be an addict because I was in a profession in which it's totally not allowed, completely unacceptable to abuse drugs. I'd say it's similar to you being a teacher....same sort of thing. You're responsible for the wellbeing of others, therefore you're not allowed to have your own problems! Somehow the fact that you're educated, have a good career and a nice life makes it seem that much more inexcuseable to have let yourself become an addict....right? It just doesn't add up. I've asked myself over and over 'how could you have let this happen?' I should have known better. I should have stopped it before it got so bad. I can just go on and on with those thoughts. Almost worse yet is having gone through treatment, gotten through the initial withdrawals, and then turned around and used again! That's when I decided to give the Suboxone a try. Thank God I did. But still yet, I've had to realize that the medication isn't a cure-all. There is still a lot that has to be done and a lot I have to deal with. Addiction leaves a great deal of collateral damage. It damages our family relationships, our friendships and careers. I'm sorry that you're dealing with all of that too. Maybe now that you've decided to give Suboxone and recovery a real honest try, you'll be able to start to repair some of that. I would really encourage you to do so, while you still have a chance. You still have you career. I wish I had found out about Suboxone before I had lost mine. You should try as hard as you can to hang on to it. Or at least, if you decide you're ready to get out of teaching, it would be on your own terms. I'm sure you're still a great teacher even though your addiction has gotten in the way to some degree. Your committment alone to teach kids with special needs for all these years makes you extraordinary in my opinion. As far as your relationship with your kids....Yeah, I get that too. Another heaping helping of guilt! There again, it can be fixed. Your kids are young adults. You've gotten them this far and they've made into college. That is great! It's unfortunate they've had to see their Mom sick with Cancer and changed because of the addiction. But you can get better and be there for them from here on out. I can almost promise you that if you'll just stick with the Suboxone, don't take anything else for several weeks, you'll stabilize. Then you'll feel like going and visiting with your kids. Addiction is so consuming. It's like there's nothing left at the end of the day for anything else.
I've gone on enough. Just please do this for yourself. You deserve to get better and put your life back together. Our lives may never be quite what they were before addiction, but they have to still be worth living, right? We all deserve the chance to live without the addiction taking any more from us. Let me know how it's going!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:51 pm 
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Hi,

I was just thinking about you and wondering how you are doing with your taper. I've read many times that when you get down to 2mg in a sub taper that you can really feel a difference. I'm not exactly sure what that means, do you feel different now?

I am starting to feel a little better every day. The biggest problem I am having now is that as my head clears I am starting to really feel horrible about some of the things that I have done in the midst of this addiction. I will be almost asleep when I remember something I did or a lie I told and I get so upset and so shook up, there is not chance I will get any sleep that night. It's so hard to believe some of the things I did, that I would never, ever consider doing now!! The guilt and shame can get so overwhelming that I don't even know what to do with it. Mostly I just want to bury it all again and the only way I know how to do that is to get more pills. What a vicious circle it is! The one thing that got me in to all that trouble in the first place is the first thing I think of when I start to "feel" again. I know you have also dealt with a ton of guilt and shame, as most of us have, but what did you do with it? The stuff that haunts me in the middle of the night can be so traumatizing that it almost paralyzes me. I am seeing a therapist, but so far we have not got to that deep dark ugly stuff.

Physically I am so much better. I even welcome normal aches and pains now. I have started working out at the gym again and that has really helped. It just feel so good to finally start looking after myself again and to actually care what I look like. I used to always take pride in my appearance. I was not glamorous by any means, but always looked the best I could, had my hair done, nails done, enjoyed putting outfits together. When I was deep in to my addiction, I would throw on whatever was clean, no make up, no jewelry, hair in a pony tail, I didn't really care. As a matter of fact, it was so long since I had earrings in, that it really hurt the first few days, and I had to take my earrings out after after a couple of hours. Anyway, it just feels good to even care about how I look again.

So, just wanted to drop by and say hello, and see how you are doing with you taper. Also, if you have any advice of how to handle all that guilt, I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks again for all of your help,
Ginger


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:33 pm 
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I'm glad this thread is here, because this is something I have been thinking about lately. As I mentioned when I first came here , I have been getting and using opiates for decades. I finally discovered suboxone through my therapist who, after a few years of repeated relapsing, suggested I was a good candidate for it. I got on at 16mg and over a period of about 14 months weaned all the way down to 1mg.

I remember when I got to about 2mg, I started feeling a lot less enthusiastic about things...my work was suffering a bit, my hobby did not have the allure that it did at a higher dose (I am a home recording musician) and I actually started having some pretty strong cravings for drugs again, so I went back to my suboxone doctor and told him what was going on and he suggested we increase my dose back to 4mg per day. I am now stable at 4mg, for the most part.

However, I have DEFINITELY noticed that now that I am down here at this lower dose, while I certainly don't get "high" from the subs, I DO "feel" it when I take it. I dose once per day, even though my sub doctor prescribes it to be taken twice daily @ 2mg each dose, I agree with Dr. J that this is "old behavior" that should be changed.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:22 pm 
Hey there j781! I'm glad you posted on this thread. That's interesting how that happened for you.....getting down to 1mg/day, how you felt, then going back to 4mg/day and how that is feeling. It seems so similar to what's happening with me. Makes me feel like I'm not so weird!!
I had done real well sticking with 2mg/day for about 3 weeks, so I thought "Okay, I'll do the way I've done in the past and start alternating a little bit, throwing a 1mg/day dose in every 2 or 3 days while taking 2mg/day most days and see how it goes." Well, I did that twice....took 1mg a few days ago and then again today. I dose early in the a.m. ~7:00, and by 4pm my legs were aching, and I did not feel too good. I've also continued to struggle with the lethargy, low motivation issues that I've had ever since dropping to 4mg/day or so and lower. Okay, I was uncomfortable enough with the aching legs to do a little experiment and take an extra piece of Sub. I took 2mg, so that brought me to 3mg for the day. Within 20 to 30 minutes of dosing, my legs felt better. However....I have been pretty nauseated all evening.
This is so strange to me.....doing the 'dose dance'!! I probably just should have stuck at straight 2mg/day for a couple more weeks, may just go back and do that now if dropping to 1mg is going to bring on w/d. I'm pretty sure of one thing though.....my tolerance has got to be coming down. If I take more than 2 or 3 mg/day, I do not feel well. For some reason, that makes me feel positive about this journey I'm on. Like some adjustments or some form of healing or readaptation is happening in my brain. I believe what I must work on now is getting busy making my body produce more endorphins on its own. I have been a total slacker with working out lately so I'm sure that's part of the problem. I need to just keep walking through this part (the low motivation and 'blues') because for me, I don't think it's going to be fixed by upping my dose. I'm glad it worked out well for you though, j781. And if I were being hit pretty hard with cravings I think I'd go on back up and just tolerate the side effects till they cleared up.
Thanks again to everyone who's helping me out with this! I will definitely be taking 2mg for the next few days.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:29 am 
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I tapered from 8mg to 1mg at a rate of 1mg a week. I was definately detoxing and noticed that for 3 days after every reduction i would feel hypersensitive and not sleep much. By the seventh day i was fine and ready to do it again. The hardest drop was from 2mg to 1mg, it took 9 days to stabalise. I have been on this dose for almost a month with the intention of jumping very soon. Consider this: When the Army train SAS and deliberately keep them up without any sleep for a whole week doing a physically and mentally challenging mock operations and messing with them something fierce-the cadet on the verge of exhuastion and collapse is generally only understood to be using about 30% of his potential. Just saying.


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

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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