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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:08 pm 
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My sister has been on Suboxone for about 6 months. She has been pretty irritable and lost a lot of weight. For the last 4-5 months, she has had a COMPLETELY congested, stuffy nose. It has gotten to the point where everyone has expressed concern and asked her to get it checked out, but she refuses. My question is: does Suboxone cause this type of constant congestion, and, if not, should we be concerned that she's maybe using opiates again or something else?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:03 pm 
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I'm not familiar with those side effects as far as Suboxone is concerned.

The only reason I'm going to type these next few sentences is because you kind of brought it up. Her 'symptoms' sound a lot like mine when I was using cocaine, could it be opiates as well, yes, for sure. If she is snorting her opiates it would cause sinus problems. Snorting gets you higher and quicker, but it seems to wear off faster too, this could be the irritability? The weight loss, I only experienced that during my coke days, I didn't lose any weight while on opiates.

Her reluctance to get checked out by a doctor is suspicious as well. I know in my heavy using days I avoided the doctor like the plague.

I hope everything turns out well and most of all I hope I am wrong about everything I said above.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:42 pm 
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Very interesting that I got the same feeling that Romeo did while reading the original post. I would just about stake my life on the fact that Suboxone is not causing the symptoms that she is experiencing. I immediately, just like Romeo, thought she might be snorting it. Not wanting to get help and blowing off the symptoms is also something that I did when people asked me why I was sweating so much, looked bad, didn't feel well. Some of my medical friends thought something was wrong - some thought I was very sick with cancer or something and didn't know it. Of course I knew why I felt like shit and didn't want them to figure it out - and they never did. It all made sense later when I was "outed" and everyone found out about my addiction. Then there is the weight loss - which again is classic of drug abuse. People on Suboxone often complain that they GAIN weight.

Something here just doesn't pass the smell test. Not sure what you can do but digging deeper would make good sense. I think you may find something if you keep digging.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:16 pm 
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I second Romeo and donh - the first thing I thought when I read this post was: She must be snorting her Sub...or some other drug.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:48 pm 
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Thank you so much for your responses. That's what I was afraid of. I was hoping these were typical symptoms of this treatment, but it sounds like she might be snorting something and it's not Suboxone. I don't know what to do. To her defense, she is going through a terrible divorce right now, which could also explain some of the irritability and weight loss. But, something just isn't right. She can't sit still, avoids us all like the plague, fights with us constantly when we do talk to her, and lies about everything. What should we do? We don't have any family except for my mom, who has been battling cancer, so if we did an intervention or something I wouldn't even know who to call. Maybe her friends? I would have to be careful not to contact anyone who would contact her ex, as he is a horrible person who would try to use this against her for custody (yes, it gets worse..there is a child involved). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:05 pm 
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I have to agree with the others. All the signs, to me, indicate she's using crystal meth or coke or some kind of amphetamine (adderall, etc). All the signs are what you described - runny/stuffy nose, irritability, weight loss, etc. And if she's avoiding you and refusing to go to the doctor, AND she has other issues going on - divorce and custody, well, my opinion, the pressure of some type of intervention might simply be too much for her. I personally don't like the idea of interventions. You just can't force a person to get well. They have to want to do that for themselves. I'm sure others feel differently, and this is just my opinion. There's always talking to her - focus on how much you love her and are not judging her, that you're thinking about your niece/nephew and the possibility of a custody battle. Just be there for her no matter what and make sure she knows that. Tell her that when she's ready you will still be there and will help her. Planting the seed is at least doing something. I hope she wants to get well soon - for everyone's sake. You obviously love her very much. Good luck.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:35 pm 
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Hey mhall,

I would like to make a suggestion to you. It sounds like you are pretty much in the dark as far as addiction goes, I don't mean that in a condescending way, I'm just trying to say that the more you learn about addiction, the more you will be able to help your sister, in my opinion.

There is a thread on this site titled, What is Addicition. There is some good information there and there are some excellent links within that thread too.

Here's the link to the thread, http://suboxforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3087

I believe, especially where addiction is concerned, that the phrase "Know Your Enemy" is very important for dealing with addiction and having any chance in hell of living with it. I hope you find the information useful, I hope you search the internet on your own for more information regarding addiction too. I believe it will help you to help your sister.

I sure hope you can keep us up to date with your efforts to help your sister, I'm going to say the VAST majority of members on this site have been where your sister is and I think if you keep in touch with us and keep us updated, we could continue to be of help.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Quick update: things are worse for my sister than I thought. I recently went to visit her - she lives several states away - and she has lost so much weight, she's almost skeletal. Her nose looked swollen and was constantly stuffed, and her eyes and facial expressions were just weird, for lack of a better term. Unfortunately, she had recently reconnected with some party guy she used to know in high school, and he spent the entire weekend in her house with all of us, including her child. She told me he'd only been there for a couple days but I found out from a mutual friend that he'd been there for a few weeks. He doesn't seem to have a real job, and I'm guessing she pretty much paid for everything. I think he was getting her drugs as well. She was so confrontational and irritable that at one point she tried to hit me and my mom, after which we left the house immediately and had her name removed from all of mom's bank accounts (moreso out of concern for that guy than my sister). I called her suboxone doctor, and he has been trying to reach her but she won't call him back. He advised that there were only two options: (1) go to the courts and have her committed or (2) get her to his office. I don't want to go the courts as that would push her over the edge and also give ammunition to her horrible ex-husband. I'm trying to get her to the doctor's office on my next visit to see her in May. She is so angry at me and my mom, though, that she barely speaks to us - she says we didn't help her during her divorce, we are treating her like a child like her ex did, etc. Anything I say to her or text her (she mostly responds only to texts now), results in a flood of obscenities and accusations...and then we won't hear from her for days. The worst part is my mom is still recuperating from chemo and doesn't need all this, so she's pretty much cutting off all ties to my sister at this point. I still try to stay in constant contact with her because I'm afraid of what will happen if she stops talking to EVERYBODY. One positive note: I think the guy has (temporarily) left her house.

I plan to spend some time checking out that thread on addiction and reading more about it now that I'm back and have time. We are all scared that something really bad will happen to her or her child if we don't do something soon. I seriously can't believe that this is happening - my sister is the most amazing person on this planet, and has always been my best friend and my touchstone. Why would she destroy herself????????????????????? None of this makes ANY sense WHATSOEVER. Thanks for listening, and any further suggestions or advice are greatly appreciated!!!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:52 pm 
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I'm so sorry to hear things have gone from bad to worse. I can tell it's like torture having watching it happen. It must be hell for you. I think you did the right thing by contacting her doctor. Just because he can't release her medical information to you doesn't mean you can't give him information about her. You really were out of options.

Remember, it's the drugs that are doing this to her. And I hate to say this and scare you, but it's my opinion that addiction rarely has a status quo - there's either recovery or disaster. I believe it is a progressive disease, getting worse and worse unless recovery/remission steps into the mix, and that is terribly rare. Maybe it's time to think more about the kids than her and start to consider going to the courts - IF it comes to that. Just put it on the back burner - would you do it to save her life or the lives of her children?

You also asked why she would destroy herself. We addicts don't set out to do that, yet we do know that's what we're doing. But this is a disease that has changed our brain chemistry - it even affects our impulsiveness. We don't want to live that way - really we don't. But we don't know how to stop it. This is why suboxone has been so much of a lifesaver for so many of us. It's allowed us to get off a roller-coaster that was about to jump the tracks and there was no other way off.

You're in an impossible situation with no good options. I wish I had some good answers or advice for you, but this is all I've got. In the midst of this chaos, just remember to take care of yourself in some way each day. You can't help your family if you don't take care of yourself first. Hang in there and vent as much as you need to.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:06 am 
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It's pretty obvious to me that she's snorting an upper of some sort. Most likely, it's methamphetamine. I did that for a year in my teens and I was skeletal and pissed off. It makes you totally irrational and paranoid and you snap at the slightest thing. It's an awful drug. This is not Suboxone, or if it is, I've never heard of it presenting this way. What are her sleep patterns like? The fact that her face looks weird makes sense. People on meth are always tending up their faces and they look strange. Does she have any weird bumps or sores anywhere? Does her hair look like it's falling out or thinning?

As Hat said, interventions can backfire. However, where there's a child concerned, I think you have to play hard ball. Meth is beyond dangerous. People lose their minds and freak out and it happens fast. Meth actually makes holes in your brain. People get so little sleep that they cannot think straight and they do things they would never do otherwise. They bring people around that they would never associate with otherwise. You have to protect the child. I'd let her know you know about the drugs and you need her to level with you. If she levels with you and agrees to treatment, you will do everything and anything to support her. If she doesn't clean up, she will most likely lose her child anyway. She has to know that she cannot have her meth and her child too. I'm telling you that is what has always helped me get my stuff together. Whenever it has been made absolutely clear to me that I will lose the dearest things in my life if I don't turn it all around, I find the strength to do just that. And honestly, I wouldn't want my kids around me if I was on meth...for their own sakes.

If she was clean, she wouldn't be lying. People on Sub don't turn act that way. If she's clean, she should have no trouble taking a urine test right in front of you and she would be calling her Sub doctor back. I have four sisters, so I do know what that bond is. However, if one of my sisters was messing with meth, I'd go right for the jugular and let her know I would help her lose her child if she didn't get on board with recovery. Bottom line. The good news is that meth is a piece of cake to get off of. I think I slept four days and ate a thousand pounds of food and then I woke up and was fine and never looked back. It's nothing like trying to get off Sub. Maybe she got into a bad head space because of this divorce and then I bad person came back into her life. Maybe she just needs someone to help her break this cycle and set her free.

She's so lucky to have you as a sister. :)

laddertipper

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:07 am 
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Ladder is right - the physical withdrawals from crystal meth aren't too bad. The problem is the mental withdrawals. After quitting from extended use (which sounds like she's had), she'll actually have less dopamine in her brain as well as fewer dopamine receptors. This means she will not be able to find the normal pleasures in life without the meth. There's a lot of depression until those receptors "bounce back" and repair themselves, which can take time. It's really hard to go through such withdrawals because relapse looks so good to the addict - an easy way to regain the pleasure in their lives again.

This kind of withdrawal set of circumstances can, in my opinion, be helped with a good therapist, addiction counselor, and a great support system. And it sounds like she's got that started already with her family. So I really do believe this is doable. But like ladder said, you have to consider playing hardball with her. For the sake of her kids - and her life.

Please be kind to yourself and try to keep us posted on how the both of you are doing.

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 Post subject: Re: update
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:07 am 
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PLEASE: Do whatever needs done to protect the "her child". Your sister doesn't matter in comparison. Having a drug crazed mother and whatever boyfriend she has living their with them is far to much risk for the child. YOUR SISTER IS FULL BLOWN ADDICTED.

As a recovering addict myself I understand how powerful addiction is. I was always catered to by my mother. She was a great enabler for me. Once my son was born that all ended. My mother looked me in the eye and told me that the baby comes first now. She said that I didn't matter to her anymore if I was going to continue using drugs. I thank God for that now. Save for a brief one month relapse I've been sober ever since. My mother was right. Your sister will either do the right thing or she won't, but the child be safe and taken care of.

I feel so bad for families that have to go through this painful process. I tell addicts to "Do the next right thing." as general advice. The same is true for those that enable the addict. Good luck to your family.

mhall wrote:
Quick update:Unfortunately, she had recently reconnected with some party guy she used to know in high school, and he spent the entire weekend in her house with all of us, including her child.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:31 pm 
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Thank you all so much for your responses and suggestions. I'll talk to her doctor next week and come up with a plan to get her into his office at least once a week or threaten to go to the courts. It will be an ultimatum, unfortunately. I did tell her last week that she would lose her child if this continued, which is what made her get violent. I'm not sure what she's on - she went to bed late each night but also slept really late. It's sometimes difficult to wake her. That may be partly due to depression as this divorce has been brutal and so hard on her. Her hair and skin seem to be ok so far, but she had so much make-up on that it was hard to tell. She's so thin and weak, she would lay down on her bed sometimes to rest during the day. One friend of the family thinks she may be on cocaine as her symptoms are similar to our friend's brother who's been a coke addict for about 30 years. Also, is there any chance she could be snorting something that's over-the-counter? When I do get through to her on the phone, she does seem to be "at CVS" or "at Walgreen's" a LOT, now that I think of it.

In addition to the thread on addiction on this site, are there any books on addiction that you all would recommend? I just ordered "Broken" but am open to any other suggestions. Thank you!!!!!!!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:34 am 
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mhall,

It's been my experience that drug users usually taking more than one drug. I would guess the majority of us were taking 1 or 2 or 3 drugs concurrently. When I was on cocaine, I would use opiates to give me a "soft landing." I certainly don't mean to scare you, but I'm going to guess that your sister most likely is taking more than one drug.

Honest to God, I don't really think that it's all that important WHAT she is taking, the important thing to realize is that she is more than likely an addict and she needs help!

It sure says a lot about you that you are willing to learn about addiction. If I were you, I would go see a counselor/therapist for myself.....this has got to be hard as hell on YOU too. If you happen to get in with an addiction counselor, he/she should be able to explain to you just what addiction is. Reading it from a book, while great, is only going to get you so far.

Please, continue to feel free to ask us questions, a lot of us have been where your sister is and I know our hearts go out to you and her and your family.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:05 pm 
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We have to keep in mind guys that there is a reason this drug exists, and that is because our addictions are not easy to quit. That being said, i don't think there is any drug that makes it 100 percent if that makes sense. there will always be a human element of struggle.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:40 pm 
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Well, my sister hit rock bottom, or somewhere close to it. She "accidentally" overdosed a couple weeks ago on Ativan, which it turns out she was taking to counteract all the cocaine she was using. She's temporarily lost custody of her child, was asked to resign from her job, and apparently blew through >$100K since January. She's already left two facilities in the last two weeks, getting high after each one. This week, she began an intensive out-patient program which I think might help. On the one hand, she's finally being very open about her problem which is really awesome, and says she feels such a relief to be in group sessions and no longer have to hide the fact that she's an addict. She even sounds almost happy again..sometimes. On the other hand, she's still surrounded by all the stressors that trigger her - says she still talks to her drug dealer almost daily (she says they are "friends"!!!??) and still has some bad days where she gets depressed and falls off the wagon. So far she tells the center everything, and they are trying to get her through this first 30-days, which is apparently the hardest. It feels like two steps forward, one step back... one step forward, two steps back... and over and over. Maybe this is normal, and how recovery begins? I hope so. Sometimes I fear she's become so mentally unbalanced from such prolonged drug use that maybe an in-patient facility where she has no access to phones or anything for a few months is the only option for her to get well. Is it possible for her to get well in her current situation?? If not, should we get her into a different program?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:24 am 
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Hi, I do not have an answer for you. I just wanted to say that I am sorry that you and your family are going thru this. You are a very good sister and I hope the best for your sister. I am happy that at least you finally know for sure what's been going on. I know one thing, if she is serious about recovery she has to end all contact with her drug dealer. The fact that she hasn't and still considers him a "friend" in my opinion is not a good sign. I wish I could give you advice but I really don't know what to say. Hopefully someone else will come along with some insight. Please remember to take care of yourself too.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:40 am 
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Hey mhall,

Bottom line, we addicts have to learn how to live our lives without the use of drugs......and that can be wicked hard. Many of us have been on drugs for a good while and that's the only way we know how to live our lives.

Getting your sister completely clean is only part of the puzzle, the long term challenge is getting her to learn how to live clean. In my opinion, your sister has blown through a lot of bottoms that not all of us addicts hit. Everyones bottom is different, but hers concern me greatly. If she were my sister, I'd try to get her into an in-patient facility. They do intensive work with the addict there. There's certainly no guarantee that in-patient will work, but it's her best bet, in my opinion.

Do you mind sharing how old she is. The younger they are, the harder it seems for them to stay clean.

If I may, I'd like to mention one more thing. Addiction is a disease of the brain. Our perceptions, our thoughts, our impulses are quite different from what you, a non-addict, deal with everyday. We don't act like complete idiots intentionally. Most of the time, we try as hard as we can to not use, but it's like some kind of fucking auto-pilot takes over and drives us to use. Addiction is VERY hard to explain. Our brains drive us to do ridiculous things, against our will!! Learning how to deal with a brain like that is really difficult. I know you love your sister very much, it's quite evident by your posts, it's not that she's not trying to get better, it's more along the lines of she can't get better.....not by herself anyway. She needs professional help.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:23 am 
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Hi,
She is 39 years old. She said she started taking pills (Percocet, etc) here and there about ten years ago when our dad died, and then started using coke last year around the time of the divorce. She then started mixing pills with the coke to help her sleep. Do you think in-patient's the only way to go, at this point? Probably so.. And not just a 6-week in-patient program, but maybe something like a 6-month one.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:51 am 
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Somehow, SHE has to want to get better. If I remember correctly, she already tried Suboxone, but she was using cocaine and who knows what other drugs while on Suboxone??

Suboxone is a great medication to deal with opaite addiction, but it won't do squat for other drugs.

I'll tell ya this mhall, I'm 43 now, I started using and abusing drugs at age 17. I tried every drug known to mankind. Weed, cocaine and opiates were the ones that really got my addiction going in high gear. Anyway, I've been off of Suboxone for well over a year. I haven't touched cocaine in God knows how long, same with weed. I had two brief slips on pain pills about 4 months ago. Point is, after 26 years of drug abuse, I'm cleaning up my act. I have some decent clean time, but this recovery stuff is work and if she don't want it, I mean really, really want it, then she will probably relapse again.

I wish I could give you something more concrete to work with, but I can't. I still think in-pateint is her best bet, though. I've seen a few people who were basically forced to go in-patient and have great success when they came out.

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