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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:16 pm 
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Hi all,

So I'm on day 12 after jumping off 5.6mg zubsolv (equivalent to 8mg suboxone) and just wanted to share my experiences so far in case they are of any help or comfort to others. I would also love to hear from others who've been through the maelstrom.

Pertinent Facts: I'm a 30 yr old male, 140lbs/6'1", who was on (equiv. of) 16mg of suboxone for two years following a two-year IV h habit. Like many people here, I feel pretty confident I'd be dead were it not for subs. I was happy to have a baseline feeling of normalcy that got me off the sickness-cravings-copping cycle. Together my with my doctor (who's an addiction psychiatrist) I made a lot of progress laying the groundwork for recovery post-suboxone. My doctor, however, was not keen on aggressively reducing my dosage and since the insurance I had was so good (I paid only $15 copays for therapy and $0(!) for zubsolv) I didn't have much of an incentive to try to taper or reduce. Bear in my mind I also didn't notice (which isn't to say I didn't have!) side effects at the time, so unlike many of you who felt miserable on subs (my heart goes out to you!) I saw really no reason to stop.

Ok, so long story short, I lost my great insurance right after picking up my last 60 5.6mg zubsolvs. On the basis of exactly zero research I figured my best bet would be to just jump from 11.2mg (ie 16mg) to 5.6 (8mg) and then to jump off that two weeks later. So that's what I did. Jumping down to half dose (5.6/8mg) was ok, I felt a bit sleepy but not at all terrible. Forthwith is an abbreviated journal of the first 12 days cold turkey.

Days 0-2: I count the day of my last dose (Sat.,9/27/15) as "Day Zero". Obviously felt normal. Sunday and Monday (Days 1-2) I felt ok, a little wooly-headed, and I slept like a bastard (16hrs/day maybe?). I thought kicking would be a piece of cake.

Day 3-5: WRONG! Utterly wretched. All the classics -- back aches, cold sweats and chills, *wild* mood swings, anxiety/depression, crushing lethargy. Fortunately no diarrhea or nausea. I'd compare my level of discomfort to being something like 24-36hrs into full blown agonist WDs --- by no means as bad as 72hrs into h WDs (when the sane start praying for death), but certainly no picnic. Definitely the worst 48 hours were these. Make it to day 5 and it's almost all downhill!

Days 5-7: Noticeable improvement in physical symptoms; mental outlook less bleak, pains subsiding. Still plagued by lethargy (15 minute dog walk has me on the couch for an hour, easy). Getting sick of the sour-sweat smell often reported. (Avoiding caffeine helped this for me, btw).

Days 7-9: Improving every day; more energy, interest in life, general "zest". Feeling tons better. Symptoms following normal wave-pattern decay as chills/goose flesh/aches diminish in frequency, duration, and acuity. Sneezing starts. *Really* noticing how muted everything was on suboxone -- smells and colors are intense. Sobriety is trippy y'all!

Days 9-12: Wretched perfidy! My body has betrayed me. I feel like I'm having symptoms similar to (albeit milder than) Days 3-5. First bad depressive spells. Anxiety. Aches and pains and the first stomach problems. Hoping by day 14 things will be better. It seems to me from reading this forum and elsewhere that there is anecdotal evidence to suggest the "week two flu" (which term I just made up and like) is somewhat common for users detoxing off relatively higher doses. Anyone have any thoughts? If we graphed the intensity of WDs over the first 30 days (say), would the wave have one peak or two?

Anywho, that's where I am now. I'll try to keep updating at least til I get to day 30.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:32 pm 
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I've written a number of times that from my observations, patients have a major setback between days 12 and 16 or so. If they make it past that setback, they usually describe feeling a little better every day. So if you are like my patients, I would expect things to start slowly improving as long as you don't use opioids.

Remember-- it is the withdrawal itself-- the absence of activity in endorphin pathways-- that stimulates the formation of new receptors. The misery is the route to getting better... so hang in there!!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:18 pm 
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Thanks Doc! Glad to hear this kind of thing is actually common. I've been trying to look at this as a "pay the piper" moment. But the way you describe things makes me think that I've been looking at this all wrong. The question isn't "how much longer do I have to suffer?" but "how many more days do I get where each one is better than the last?" Looking forward to weeks of steady progress ahead is far less disheartening than thinking of another two weeks or so of misery. I'll try to take that to heart and keep the journal up to date as things move forward. Thanks again for all your great work.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:13 pm 
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Hope you're doing well. Remember, you have the knowledge that feeling like crap = the brain healing. You'll never heal if you don't feel like this and you're more than halfway done! It will be a thing of a past soon enough :)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:45 pm 
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Hey Carbon, just wondering how things are going and wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts. I hope it is getting easier for you! I only pray that if I ever decide to jump, I have the strength and courage you do! I started a year ago August at 24 mgs. I have just dropped from 8mgs to 6. Today is day two at 6 mgs and so far so good. I know some people have no problem getting down to 4mgs and then it starts to become more difficult. It is crazy the mind games I play! I was on 2 4mg strips a day. I asked my doc to write the script for 2 2mg strips twice per day so I could start to cut out one strip. I let my brain do a number on me so I am now dosing one strip three times a day. This is not how I wanted to do it! But, for now, it is working. Please post so we know how you are and can continue to support you!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:07 pm 
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Thanks for the kind words LDC and Michelle! I'm on day 13 and am feeling much better than I was on days 11-12. I got my first 6hrs of sleep last night and that definitely helps. One thing I've noticed is that my appetite has gotten all out of whack --- I can physically feel the hunger but have no desire to eat --- anyone experience that? But otherwise I'm cautiously optimistic that the worst is over.

And Michelle -- from what I've seen around the forums, tapering starts to become difficult once you drop below the 4mg(ish) level because at lower dosages bupe acts more like a traditional narcotic. So for some people (YMMV) jumping off 0.4mg can be just as bad as 4mg. Of course for others the taper method is nearly painless. I didn't do any research before going cold turkey but I think I would have done basically the same thing I did. Sending you good mental vibes!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:13 pm 
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carbonbased wrote:
Thanks for the kind words LDC and Michelle! I'm on day 13 and am feeling much better than I was on days 11-12. I got my first 6hrs of sleep last night and that definitely helps. One thing I've noticed is that my appetite has gotten all out of whack --- I can physically feel the hunger but have no desire to eat --- anyone experience that? But otherwise I'm cautiously optimistic that the worst is over.

And Michelle -- from what I've seen around the forums, tapering starts to become difficult once you drop below the 4mg(ish) level because at lower dosages bupe acts more like a traditional narcotic. So for some people (YMMV) jumping off 0.4mg can be just as bad as 4mg. Of course for others the taper method is nearly painless. I didn't do any research before going cold turkey but I think I would have done basically the same thing I did. Sending you good mental vibes!


I feel you! 8 days ago I jumped from I wasn't on very long and not TOO high of a dose.. but this morning I was so hungry that my body was screaming at me to eat, yet the thought of eating made me sick. My depression and lack of energy was really bad today. I don't know how much longer I can feel like this :(


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:00 pm 
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The lack of appetite is sooooo frustrating! I'd had nothing but soup and ensure/boost until yesterday when I forced myself to eat some chicken and rice. I don't know if that was such a great idea; it made my stomach feel like I had just eaten 10lbs of lead. Hopefully getting some legit protein etc will help speed along body repair. But just remember to take it slow when you do eat again!

And just a general update: on day 14 now (hooray!) and feeling similar to days 5-9 still. I think this is the end of the week two flu (or at least I hope). Symptom-wise: back aches, chills/sweats, lethargy and RLS are all still very much in the mix. Milder than before but certainly annoying and getting to be kinda mentally exhausting. I'm hoping that if I just stick it out another few days the physical symptoms will become less onerous. Mentally I'm doing pretty well: feel much more chipper and positive, albeit somewhat weary. I've also been very fortunate in that I've had basically zero drug cravings. I was able to watch a TV show (AHS:Hotel) that featured pretty graphic needle usage (ususlly a real "trigger" for me) without a problem. I even found a full 8mg suboxone in my desk two days ago and flushed it (I know, not really eco-friendly) without a second thought. I credit this to being on subs for a few years: I'm so far removed both temporally and spatially from my using days that copping seems as feasible as flying or time travel. Having no connects or friends who use where I live now certainly helps too. If I was in this kind of state AND craving every minute I probably would have given in already.

Anyway, that's about it for now. Let me know how things are going LDC (and Michelle), I'm rooting for ya!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:32 pm 
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carbonbased wrote:
The lack of appetite is sooooo frustrating! I'd had nothing but soup and ensure/boost until yesterday when I forced myself to eat some chicken and rice. I don't know if that was such a great idea; it made my stomach feel like I had just eaten 10lbs of lead. Hopefully getting some legit protein etc will help speed along body repair. But just remember to take it slow when you do eat again!

And just a general update: on day 14 now (hooray!) and feeling similar to days 5-9 still. I think this is the end of the week two flu (or at least I hope). Symptom-wise: back aches, chills/sweats, lethargy and RLS are all still very much in the mix. Milder than before but certainly annoying and getting to be kinda mentally exhausting. I'm hoping that if I just stick it out another few days the physical symptoms will become less onerous. Mentally I'm doing pretty well: feel much more chipper and positive, albeit somewhat weary. I've also been very fortunate in that I've had basically zero drug cravings. I was able to watch a TV show (AHS:Hotel) that featured pretty graphic needle usage (ususlly a real "trigger" for me) without a problem. I even found a full 8mg suboxone in my desk two days ago and flushed it (I know, not really eco-friendly) without a second thought. I credit this to being on subs for a few years: I'm so far removed both temporally and spatially from my using days that copping seems as feasible as flying or time travel. Having no connects or friends who use where I live now certainly helps too. If I was in this kind of state AND craving every minute I probably would have given in already.

Anyway, that's about it for now. Let me know how things are going LDC (and Michelle), I'm rooting for ya!


I feel you on the food part.. it's like our body is trying so hard to adjust without drugs that it doesn't know what to do with our food! Yesterday afternoon I ate some chicken and my stomach started doing hoops and I was in the bathroom every 5 minute for a half hour. Being hungry and not being able to eat sure does suck..


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:02 pm 
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Days 14-16: Feeling much better physically. Energy has returned in large part. Aches and chills gone, but still prone to sweats and the occasional Oh-My-God-Is-This-What-Dying-Feels-Like? moment of exhaustion after standing up. Restless leg is not gone yet, but I've noticed that the "build up of electrical charge" feeling doesn't always reach the point where I *must* move. It's a strange feeling. Appetite still dead but digestion solely improving. Sleep is now punctuated by only a few brief moments of wakefulness. I'm getting up much earlier than usual because my eyes are still quite sensitive to light. Using an eye mask helps me sleep past dawn but I think it makes the morning light feel even stronger.

Psychologically and cognitively things are a mixed bag. I am still very fuzzy headed --- doing a Monday or Tuesday crossword puzzle now takes as long as Friday and Saturday used to take --- and am still suffering from some serious depression. That said, I do feel an underlying happiness or optimism or whatever and have been enjoying spending family time and pursuing hobbies much more than when I was using or on subs. So I'm still cautiously optimistic that this funk I'm in and my lack of motivation to do anything are just residual PAWS-type symptoms that will get better slowly with time.

Ok, that's about it for now. I'm still aiming to update this thread through the first 30 days so people have something to look at that covers a longer time span. I'll check back in in a couple of days.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:15 am 
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carbonbased wrote:
Days 14-16: Feeling much better physically. Energy has returned in large part. Aches and chills gone, but still prone to sweats and the occasional Oh-My-God-Is-This-What-Dying-Feels-Like? moment of exhaustion after standing up. Restless leg is not gone yet, but I've noticed that the "build up of electrical charge" feeling doesn't always reach the point where I *must* move. It's a strange feeling. Appetite still dead but digestion solely improving. Sleep is now punctuated by only a few brief moments of wakefulness. I'm getting up much earlier than usual because my eyes are still quite sensitive to light. Using an eye mask helps me sleep past dawn but I think it makes the morning light feel even stronger.

Psychologically and cognitively things are a mixed bag. I am still very fuzzy headed --- doing a Monday or Tuesday crossword puzzle now takes as long as Friday and Saturday used to take --- and am still suffering from some serious depression. That said, I do feel an underlying happiness or optimism or whatever and have been enjoying spending family time and pursuing hobbies much more than when I was using or on subs. So I'm still cautiously optimistic that this funk I'm in and my lack of motivation to do anything are just residual PAWS-type symptoms that will get better slowly with time.

Ok, that's about it for now. I'm still aiming to update this thread through the first 30 days so people have something to look at that covers a longer time span. I'll check back in in a couple of days.


Thank you so much for your updates. I love hearing how good it can be once over the initial w/d period. I know it feels like your seeing things the way they really are for the first time in forever. Like even your eyes are sensitive. Really affects every aspect of your life. Keep posting:)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:16 pm 
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Thanks for the kind words! I'm on day...23/24? Something like that. I haven't posted much because there's not much to say: everyday is a slow, undramatic improvement. Certainly I can say that after the second week things were much much better. The only symptoms I'm still dealing with are RLS/sleep-related. I am finally sleeping a bit, but whereas I used to be a very heavy sleeper now I'm jarred awake by the smallest thing. So that's frustrating, but it is what it is and it will get better. I haven't been too depressed/anxious either, in fact, I've probably been cheerier and more pleasant to be around than when I was on subs. I actually like/give a crap about food, music, sex, etc etc for the first time in years. Again, sobriety is trippy y'all! ("The colors, maaan, they're so vivid!").

So I guess that's about it. I'll do one more update once I've got thirty days. I do hope reading this is of some comfort or help to others. So many people post only when things are going bad for them and that can give people the false impression that it's terrible for everyone. And sure, days 3-7 *sucked*, but lots of things are worse, even something like bad strep throat or a stomach bug. So if anyone out there is feeling like they want to get off subs (and feels secure in their recovery from DoC) please don't put off tapering/jumping. It's bad, but not awful; unpleasant but by no means impossible. If I can do it, you can do it!


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