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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 3:24 pm 
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I just found this forum and it looks like a wonderful resource. A little background on my husband... He was addicted to pain meds for the past 4 years. In January he finally took the plunge and started looking for help with his addiction. He had been suffering back pain and migraines and that was the original reason he started taking the pain meds. He is now on his second doctor for treatment. The first doctor he went to only wanted to do injections and wean him off of the meds slowly without offering the help of any subs. He has found a new dr and has been prescribed 8mg of suboxone to be taken two times a day. He had weaned down to 1 1/2 pills a day. He has been on the suboxone for about 3 months. He has refused to obtain any kind of counseling, he says he can do it on his own with the help of subs.

He had a appointment earlier this week and his dr also prescribed him ativan to help with sleeping. He was prescribed 2mg ativan and to take 1/2-1 pill a night as needed for sleep issues. That's where the problem starts. He doesn't seem to have problems sleeping if anything he has problems staying awake while not using the ativan. Yesterday I noticed he had been taking the ativan to work with him and asked him why he needs to take it to work when it's supposed to be used as a sleep aid. He got angry and defensive with me (which is not like him, even when he was taking the pain meds daily. he's not a angry person, defensive yes but not angry) when I asked him to leave the pills in the house while he was at work. He did bring the pills in the house last night before he passed out. I counted them and he had taken 11 in a three day period. I knew something was up when he was nodding off and not at all aware of his surroundings. Last night was the last straw though when driving home from a dinner party he was so spaced out he almost got into multiple car accidents. He was falling asleep at the wheel. The scary part is he thought he was completely aware of what was going on. My 4 year old daughter and myself (I'm 3 months pregnant) were in the car.

Tonight when he gets off of work we are going to be having a long talk. I know this probably sounds like a lot of rambling but I'm so confused on how to handle this. If anyone can please offer me any support on suboxone and ativan taken together I would be grateful. I know that they are sometimes prescribed together but it seems to me he is abusing the ativan. Also I counted his subs this morning and he has only taken two of them since Monday when it seems like he should have taken at least four and a half of them. If you need more info feel free to ask and I will answer anything I left out. Thanks again for taking the time to read this mess and offer any advice or support.


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 5:31 pm 
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Welcome asmommy. Although I'm sorry for the situation that brought you here. It definitely sounds like he is abusing the ativan/lorazepam, which is a benzodiazepine (benzo for short). I'd say you have two problems. I'm don't want to and am not trying to frighten you, but I want to be honest.

Problem #1 - He doesn't seem to be ready for recovery yet. Or willing. Because he's still using - although not pain meds, but he is still abusing drugs.

Problem #2- Mixing benzos and suboxone can be very dangerous. ESPECIALLY when taking too much of the benzo. The only upside I can see is that he isn't taking much of the suboxone. They both depress the respiratory system, which is dangerously risky.

When talking to him I wouldn't come off angry, although you'd have every right to be. Be supportive, ask him how he's doing, what he's feeling, what's going on with his recovery and listen to him. I think you'll get more accomplished if you avoid getting his defenses up. Once the conversation is in a good place I'd then tell him how dangerous what he's doing is.

I'm so sorry this is going on. This is the last thing you need right now, with a family and a new baby on the way. Hang in there and remember to take care of yourself during all of this. We're here for you. Hang in there.

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:08 pm 
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Thank you very much for responding. I need someone to be honest with me. I'm tired of everyone either sidestepping the issue or telling me what I need to do. I just need advice on how I can deal with this from someone that has been in his shoes.

The funny thing going into this is I'm not angry with him, I understand he's an addict and needs help. I want to be there to support him and help him. I know I can't force him to help himself but I do want to steer him in the right direction and let him know I am there for him. I really think he needs to get some sort of counseling. I just don't know how to get him to agree to it. Right now it feels like he's putting a band aid on everything, taking care of the the physical aspect of the addiction but not getting any help for the emotional part. And it looks like the emotional part is taking over. He's always been a very closed person and it's hard to get him to talk about his feelings. It always has been, he bottles everything up until he can't deal and looks for a easy way to make everything go away instead of dealing with the root of the problems.

Do you have any advice on getting him to go to counseling? I think that is going to be the toughest battle. Thanks again for your response.


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:32 pm 
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I think you're right - therapy is a huge component to recovery. Plus considering he's not very in touch with his feelings, I really think he would benefit from therapy, too. But it can be really hard to convince someone. I've been trying to get my husband to get a therapist (I have one) for years. Finally last year, after I'd been "clean" for about 10 months, we started marriage counseling. Let me tell you, it's helped a lot. Do you think it would be easier to start out with couples counseling first? Maybe from there he would see the benefit of having his own therapist?

All you can do is be there for him and try. The more you can get him to talk about things the more I think you'll get done. You want him to open up to you, but that might just take time.


PS - I'm curious, did he get the Ativan from the his suboxone doctor? If not, does his sub doctor give him drug tests?

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-As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 9:24 am 
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Hi! I just wanted to welcome you to the forum. Hatmaker already said everything I would have. My sub dr specifically told me not to take any benzo's while taking the sub. It can be very dangerous. If it were my husband i'ld call his dr's. But, thats just me and my type of personality. I hope you guys had a good talk and got somewhere. Let us know.

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Of course there's such a thing as angels. Only sometimes they don't have wings... and we call them mothers. -Unknown


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 3:54 pm 
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Hatmaker is right on. Getting men into counseling can be damn near impossible so I agree you may want to start going yourself and see if you can't bring him in on it at some point or try marriage counseling. My sub doctor REQUIRES that I go to counseling. I might call the sub doc and tell him your concerns. I am sure he can help find a way to help your husband without even telling that you ratted him out. OR.....you could just ask your husband if you can go to one of his sub appointments with him so you can learn more about it. Most sub docs are cool with that. Then you can ask about the mix of benzo's and sub. You can also mention he seems to be having a hard time staying awake. You can also ask if it might be better for him to go to counseling at the same time. It really depends on how your husband might react to different options. You know him better than we do so we can give ideas but you will have to make the call on if you think it would help or hurt the situation.

You are doing the right thing trying to confront the situation and not just letting it go though. Hang in there and let us know how things go. There have been a lot of family members who have come here for help and to be honest.....I really like the family members. I think most of us do.

Cherie


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 8:52 pm 
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He did get the Ativan from his sub doctor. I'm not sure if he drugs tests or not, I would think he does.

I tried to talk to him about everything and whats going on but he is saying I'm overacting and everything with him is fine. He doesn't think taking so much of the Ativan is a problem. Also today he was acting kind of funny and went out to his car a few times so I took a peek in there and found Soma that he does not have a prescription for. He said he found them while cleaning out his truck and wanted to keep them for a reserve. I know he's making up stories about the soma. Why would anyone going through recovery need to keep a reserve, I hate that he thinks he can lie to me and I will believe whatever he tells me. He also told me that he is in pain and that I should be happy he's only taking the Ativan and soma instead of opiates. I really don't know where to go from here or what he expects from me. I'm not going to sit back and let him fall back into his addiction when I have a family to worry about.

Since I didn't really get anywhere with him during our conversation I set up a dinner with his parents for this weekend so we can all try and talk to him. I'm just scared he's not ready to go through full treatment and it's sounding more and more like that's the situation. Thanks again for the responses!


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 11:06 pm 
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asmommy -

So he's adding Soma to the mix...This is not good. I'll bet that's also contributing to him to fall asleep willy nilly.

If he's telling you the Ativan is just fine to use/abuse with the suboxone, then I would hit the internet and find the contraindications for suboxone where it says benzos can be dangerous. Also check out Dr. Junig's blog post about benzos. I think it might say something there, too. Find info/articles/studies and could conceivably get through to him. Print them out and keep them on hand for your dinner and be ready to present them to him. You need to convince him that it IS indeed a dangerous mix - if the respiratory system is depressed enough, it could slow down and STOP completely. And you know what that means. Again, I'm not trying to frighten you.

I'm sorry, but to me it sounds like he's not ready to be in recovery.

Please take care of YOU and let us know how it's going. Good luck!

_________________
-As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 10:59 am 
It sounds like he decided to go off Sub and is using the ativan to get off of it. That in and of itself is not unreasonable, but with no counseling, meetings or active recovery he's very vulnerable to relapse. Also, benzos themselves are horribly addictive and have a nasty and tenacious withdrawal syndrome. If he won't listen to you, do you think he'd be open to reading some info. from the web? There's tons of info and forums for people going through benzo withdrawal. They scared the hell out of me, after going through opiate addiction I would never want to go through that, and I don't think he would either.

Bottom line is he's not going to get clean until he decideds to do so. Which leaves you in a bad spot. Please don't allow yourself or your children in the car with him behind the wheel. And get some support for yourself, like Alanon/Naranon, and get the family behind you. Ask for help and accept it when it's offered, especially when the baby comes.
My heart is with you.
Lilly


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