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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:36 am 
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A bit of background: I was addicted to opiates for 15 years. I'm a veteran so had the VA as support. They put me on Suboxone, which was extraordinarily helpful. When I decided, with the counsel of the Psychiatrist, to ramp down from Opiate Replacement Therapy, we cut back from 8mg/day to 4mg over two months then down to 2mg over another two months, (thinking "Hey! This is EASY!).

So, I was down to 1mg/day and went to .5mg for a week then zero. After 20 years of my opiate receptors being bombarded by the daily "fix", even coming off a HALF mg of Suboxone was TOUGH. And some of the symptoms were totally unanticipated!

I expected diarrhea, I expected cold sweats, restless legs, and Heebie-Jeebies. After they were past however, then came something I did NOT expect: the incredible FATIGUE that arrived AFTER the other symptoms were over by two weeks.

It has been a month since I weaned off Suboxone and while I am feeling a BIT better and have more energy, it's only 20% of baseline. And THAT'S what will keep me from ever use opiates again. I am still waiting for my brain's opiate receptors to heal. This is a long, loooong journey off opiates of ANY stripe. I recommend opiate replacement therapy but my recommendation: allow yourselves a full MONTH to get through the vestiges of withdrawals. It is NOT easy and will have you second-guessing yourselves about getting off Suboxone. But clean is better than altering your brain chemistry continually.

Still tired. Another week to go to clock 35 days. Hoping that will mark the end of all symptoms.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:19 pm 
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First off, congratulations for weaning off of subs. It's pretty awesome to hear about someone doing that! But I have a question....When you say fatigue, do you mean sleepy, low energy kind of fatigue...or do you mean brutal, crippling low energy...like every movement is an incredible, draining effort that makes you just want to find a place to sit or lie down and never move again?? Because that is what happened to me when I did a cold turkey detox off of methadone, a long acting opiate like bupenorphine. I have heard and read that this is typical when coming off opiates with a long half life, whether you do it cold turkey like me, or taper, like a sane person would do. Also, probably how long you've been flooding your brain with opiates has a lot to do with it, and that was easily almost 2 decades for me.

When I say how I felt was a nightmare, I'm not exaggerating. Just getting up to walk across the room wiped me out, sent my heart rate skyrocketing. I've never felt anything like it in my life, I'd take 3 extra weeks of all the gastrointestinal symptoms any day over that " low energy" symptom. It was that feeling that made me feel I had no choice to start subs, I just could not function feeling like that. i barely noticed any of the mental symptoms after the initial detox was over, because I was so focused on just pushing my body through every day. Every loooooong day. There'd be a day here and there where I'd feel a little better, but then I'd go right back to feeling awful.

So yeah, if that is what you are talking about, I understand! When I started subs, within an hour the "fatigue" vanished. But now that I'm on subs, I know that when it comes time to get off of it, I'm probably going to go through the same thing. Please keep posting about how you are doing, and how you are dealing with it.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:03 pm 
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Hi and thanks for the reply! And yeah, the feeling that it's going to take ALL my energy merely to walk across the bedroom to get DRESSED...that pretty much says it. But I can't even THINK about going BACK on Suboxone because I need to not have to depend on even 1mg of the opiate replacement in order to have energy. I mean, particularly after nearly four weeks off it and hitting "reset" on my brain's receptors after two decades of opiates! The reset hasn't happened yet but another psychiatrist once told me it takes a loooong time the the brain to get back its "normal" place after continually bombarding it with opiates.

My current VA psych just advised me that I may have to put up with another two-four weeks of this lethargy as it appears I'm apparently having a tougher time of it than is his experience, but knowing it's TEMPORARY is helping me get through it. As long as I can see the light at the end, then I know I'll make it.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:18 am 
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Then you and I must be on the extreme end of the symptom scale when it comes to the fatigue. The way you describe it, that is exactly how I felt, and there are a few others here who said they felt the same...I am not exaggerating when I say it was absolutely unbearable for me. I dealt with it for 3 weeks that seemed like forever. Going to work was the hardest part. But, other people have gotten through it and so will you. I tried everything to fix it, but nothing worked. only going on subs helped... I'm telling you, though, just thinking about dealing with that again is what will make it so hard for me to quit subs, now that I'm on it.

Knowing how you feel, I'm hoping it gets better for you soon!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:13 am 
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Thank you! I appreciate it. I'll try to remember to check in AFTER the symptoms finally go away, meaning my brain has reset.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:36 pm 
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After a full month, I thought that fatigue was behind me but after two days of renewed energy, that tiredness hit me again. Now I wonder if I'll ever get my wind back.

I am forced to walk over a mile daily from my bus stop schedule and work. I KNOW it's better than being totally sedentary, but (expletive inserted here)! I have to trudge here-and-there and it sucks.

I had been using opiates at one level or another for over 20 years, so it's conceivable this will take more time.

But for anyone considering abusing opiates: this is your cautionary tale! Do you REALLY want to go through opiate replacement therapy for years only to "look forward" to coming off Suboxone altogether and have NO energy to do ANYTHING at all for weeks and weeks?

If you're chipping, STOP it while you can.
I am...your Voice of Reason


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:08 am 
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Hi FB,
Your perserverence and ability to function is truly admirable. I can only imagine what you are experiencing, I have never tried stopping sub but yrs ago jumped off methadone + benzos and that was horrendous.
Do you have a plan to help see you through to sustaining a clean future?
Sending happy, healing vibes your way....


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:22 am 
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"Sustained plan?" No...one day at...nope. Not going 12-Step on your as*. I have family, including grandchildren. I have support AND very good motivation! Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:46 pm 
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I too am a month coming off subs. But I'm not the 'sane' person who tapered properly lol. I have very little motivation or energy, but I have a very physical job and somehow manage to push myself through it one day at a time. I don't know how.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:42 pm 
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Filmboomer wrote:
After a full month, I thought that fatigue was behind me but after two days of renewed energy, that tiredness hit me again. Now I wonder if I'll ever get my wind back.

I am forced to walk over a mile daily from my bus stop schedule and work. I KNOW it's better than being totally sedentary, but (expletive inserted here)! I have to trudge here-and-there and it sucks.

I had been using opiates at one level or another for over 20 years, so it's conceivable this will take more time.

But for anyone considering abusing opiates: this is your cautionary tale! Do you REALLY want to go through opiate replacement therapy for years only to "look forward" to coming off Suboxone altogether and have NO energy to do ANYTHING at all for weeks and weeks?

If you're chipping, STOP it while you can.
I am...your Voice of Reason


I'm not sure that I understand what you are thinking. Do you think you wouldn't have developed PAWS if you had just stopped abusing your drug of choice instead of going on sub?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:36 pm 
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Before suboxone, I went to inpatient rehab. I was on oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl....any type of opiate except heroin pretty much. I stayed the entire time and didn't do anything for 5-6 months. I was so miserable with paws and unbelievable cravings that I relapsed and I relapsed hard. My thoughts were...if I feel like hell being clean, then why not use and at least feel better some of the time. I had zero energy and depressed as hell too.

I'm sure coming off sub is not fun and extremely difficult. I'm not sure if I ever will. I just think it's bad coming off any opiate. At least with sub, u have the opportunity to taper down to a possibly small dose. That's something I wasn't able to do on my drug of choice. So yeah I agree with ya Amy, paws happened to me on my doc, miserably.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:43 pm 
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I'm saying that regardless of USING opiates for the high and going THROUGH opiate replacement therapy only serve to maintain the opiate receptor connection. One is adiction;the other is for slowly making the transition OFF opiates, with the goal of living a life without the addictive PROCESS. BOTH WAYS connect to the receptors.
Coming off ANY opiate or opiate replacement is STILL HELL!!!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:53 pm 
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Yes it is. And I'm sorry that I wrote that in a snarky sort of way. There are many people who come here to post who are convinced that suboxone itself caused their PAWS. I'm of the opinion, like you apparently, that any opiate use/abuse/maintenance can cause PAWS. I understand the feeling of frustration that anyone in recovery would feel over the weeks/months of depression and anxiety that come after doing such a great job at stopping the abuse of opiates. The rest of us can only hope that if/when it's our turn to taper off bupe, we don't experience PAWS so badly. I don't necessarily agree that coming off all opiates should be the goal. I think we tend to become addicted to whatever we use to help us off opiate addiction, like working out, or food, or shopping, or 12 stepping. I think any addiction to physical, mental, or spiritual healthy living is awesome, but that the addiction component of our lives sticks around.

So to sum up, I agree and sorry I was snarky.

Amy

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