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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:08 am 
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[font=Lucida Console] [/font] I was first prescribed Suboxone films 10 months ago. Started at 16mg/day (8mg 2x/day). Tapered to 8mg 1x/day, then 4mg (cutting 8mg strips in half), then went to the 2mg strips, all fairly easily. Withdrawals weren't too bad and subside after the first week or two after each drop. A couple of months ago I dropped to 1 mg, cutting the 2mg strips in half. You definitely notice the drop in dosage more once you drop below 2mg/day. I've read this is because bupe's ceiling effect is around 2mg, so once you go below 2mg the bupe acts more like a full agonist opioid so it's symptom relief becomes more dose-dependent. Even so, 1mg wasn't bad. Then I cut those in half: .5mg/day. Still not too bad. Bearable. Recently, started cutting THOSE in half, so now here I am at .25mg a day. It's a little tricky with the scissors trying to slice up a 2mg film into eighths to make .25mg doses, but on the plus side the little slivers dissolve super fast so it's not as nasty tasting. A plastic weekly pill box helps keep it straight and keeps the slivers from sticking together. Still bearable but getting a little more uncomfortable. More muscle aches, bleh feeling (emotional and physical), insomnia, random goosebumps, hot/cold spells, some fatigue, but not any of these symptoms are constant, and you get through each day and come out a little better on the other side.

To retain the best chance of permanent success, I feel like this recovery process -for anyone- should involve whatever arsenal of weapons is available to you to heal your mind, body, and spirit. Here's what's been working for me, besides the Subs. I know we've all heard this before but it really does work. Exercise - I started doing circuit training, basic yoga poses for achey muscles, and walking my dog more. Eating healthy meals with lots of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, Omega-3 supplements (good for the brain), Vitamin-B supplements (good for energy) and lots of water. Good nutrition gives your brain the basic building blocks it needs to heal itself, water to flush toxins out faster, and the exercise gives you natural endorphins and helps you sleep better. I'm also in therapy, to learn better coping skills, and try to get regular massages for the muscle tension/aches, anxiety, etc.

At the same time, there are withdrawal sypmtoms that no amount of exercise or diet or therapist can really stop, and it's not like any of us want to be on Subs forever so we have to deal with the withdrawal from it at some point. The withdrawal experience is going to be different for everyone. If you're having really crappy withdrawals from quitting Subs it can put you in a bad mindset where you're desperate to make it stop, potentially setting yourself up for some kind of relapse. Consequently, I'm not opposed to using other medications to help make the process more comfortable and tolerable. I've never tried Clonodine but hear it works pretty well. Ambien works well for the really bad nights, if it's really necessary. A Flexeril at bedtime for muscle relaxation helps subdue the need to thrash around, eases the aches and muscle tension, and generally just helps you sleep better too. I also think a small dose of Xanax is fine, but at the lowest dose possible, as needed for the really bad spells.

So here I am at .25mg. I was originally going to follow my doc's instructions and starting taking it every other day, but so far can only make it 36 hours and not the full 48. I'm hoping to start holding out for the full 48 hours by the end of this week. I'm writing this mostly to keep a log of my final taper/jump off, but hopefully someone out there will read this and it might help them through the process or at least prepare them for what's to come. Prolonged opiate abuse literally messes up our brain chemistry and how our natural receptors work. It takes time to let your body heal itself and the brain to rewire itself, so to speak, but the damage can be repaired and the brain does heal itself, which is a very hopeful thing.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:04 pm 
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Hello BreadHouse, and thanks for posting all the tips. Your suggestions could help someone out there who is going through this as well. Just curious...how long were you taking 16mg/day before you started tapering? Getting all the way down to .25mg is quite an accomplishment! It sounds like you are able to deal with your withdrawal symptoms pretty well. I am interested in knowing how long you stay at this low dose, and if you end up tapering any further, or just jump from .25mg. Good luck to you!!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:07 pm 
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[font=Lucida Console] [/font] Today is the first day that I made it the full 48 hours. My last .25mg dose was Saturday around 7pm, 36 hrs after my last dose Friday morning. I was really hoping to make it the full 48 hrs that time. But I was rolling around on the floor trying to stretch out the aching tension in my back, restless, uncomfortable and cranky (like PMS), and it was Saturday night for heaven's sake so I didn't want to feel like crap. I caved, took a dose and felt better in about an hour, and then a Flexeril before bed. This morning (Monday) it was hard to get out of bed and drag myself to work. It had been 36 hrs again and I felt like a wet peice of driftwood lodged in some sand. Once I got up and moving it got better, esp. after caffeine but I still had pretty low energy. I sneezed like 7 times before noon, and kept getting goosebumps. Distracted myself with work as much as possible. Did NOT feel like working out, but made myself go and felt better afterwards. Right now, typing this, I've made it 50 hours. Overall not bad. I think .25mg is a pretty good jump off point. Definitely like jumping off a curb, instead of a 10 story building. So far it's like having a little cold and having PMS at the same time.

PS - I've been at .25mg for around a month now. In the beginning I'd tapered pretty fast from 16mg to 8mg (couple months) stayed at 8mg for a few months b/c I was scared to go from the 8mg films down to the 2mg films (more mental than anything, dealing with my issues), then once I was comfy on 2mg for about a month started knocking the dose in half every few weeks.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:30 am 
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Thanks for posting. congrats you're doing great. I'm tapering too after 3 years on sub @ 8mg. Currently at .75mg, will be at .25 in a few weeks...

I've wanted to share this for a while with the forum: I use a cutting mat, a see through ruler with a grid and and exact-o knife or razor blade to cut my films. My wife is a designer so she had that stuff around and I saw it and was like "this is just what I need!" I get the 8 mg films down to .25, .125 and I can even cut that in half if I wanted to. I use tweezers ala laddertipper's advice a while ago on here so I don't get sweat from my hands on the film while I'm cutting them.

I wish I had 2mg films but when I moved, my old doctor made sure I had enough films to last a few months and since I decided to taper after getting settled, I never got a new doctor in my new state since I came with more that enough meds.

Thanks again,
Gb


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:40 am 
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I just posted my abridged story this morning.. on Day 10 after jumping from .25mgs(but was at that level for almost six months). Definitely like jumping from a curb and not a 10 story building.. Keep the positive mindset, and keep with the exercise.. Yoga(I alternate between Power and Hatha) coupled with hot showers have been a lifesaver...

Keep with it.... You can do it.. our minds are much more powerful than we think!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:22 pm 
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Bee, great idea using a cutting mat, exacto knife and tweezers to keep doses even and not get 'em sticky. Good luck on your taper, it sounds like you're getting close to the edge of the woods, where you feel like you're finally putting the ordeal behind you. I stayed at .25mg for a good 3-4 weeks before jumping to make sure I'd adjusted and was fully ready.

No Suboxone since Saturday! I haven't needed it bad enough, just want to be done and move on with my life. Now closing Day 4. Each wave of physical blehs and mental mehs pass pretty quickly, just stay busy and distracted. There's this apprehension in the back of your mind that when you stop Subs, you're going to go through WITHDRAWAL again. That was my fear anyway. Not even close. Another poster that jumped at .25mg said that calling this 'Withdrawals' is an insult to 'actual' withdrawals. I have to agree. I went cold turkey off a 120mg Methadone/day habit, and this is NOT that. Uncomfortable, yes. The end of Day 3 was a little rough, the first half life point. For about half an hour I got antsy, couldn't concentrate, vague feeling of crawling out of my skin, sighing a lot, just feeling impatient and restless and distracted by how I was feeling physically. But I wonder how much of that was mental, knowing that I was at the first half life.

When will this subside completely? FeelingGood you're getting close to 2 weeks now - do you feel like it's almost over?

Looking back on my first post, I noticed that I compared the symptoms to PMS with a little cold. Ironically, turns out it was PMS! Good grief. What a great thing to coincide with my final jump! :oops:


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 Post subject: Heck yeah!!!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:19 am 
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Way to go, Bread!

Please keep posting your progress here, it helps people more than you know...

I'm going to jump around 1 month from today. My wife is going away on business and I will not be working. My loose taper plan has me doing 3 weeks at .25mg and then jumping.

Keep up the good work!

-gb


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 Post subject: Day 11
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:27 am 
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BreadHouse-
Actually felt great yesterday...no anxiousness, crawling out of skin feelings.. tried sleeping last night without Bezno's(just three benadryl).. went to bed at 9:30.. wide awake at 2:45am..(for the past 7 years I have been an early to bed 9-10pm up at 4:30-5, mornings are the only time I can really hit the gym)..
But Feel surprisingly good... As I said in another post.. yesterday just two advil, 3 shots of Noni Juice(long story on this stuff-even if it is psychosomatic it gives me a little pep)...

Hang in there and keep the positive mindset.. in a few days the worst is over.. I look back now and think: "not that bad"(well not all the time, but trying to stay positive)..
I think mine was "bad" just due to the extended time on low dose..
Hang in there!


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 Post subject: Day 7
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:44 am 
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Wow, it's already Day 7, off Suboxone for a full week now. I wish I could say "I Feel Fan-TAS-tic!!" but that would be a lie. My body aches and I can't blame it completely on working out. I feel pretty fatigued but can't blame it on lack of sleep. I feel sad for no particular reason and can no longer blame it on PMS ;) . There's that feeling like my nerve endings are burning embers and I just want to squirm around. (Still way different than feeling like a rotting hornets nest like full agonist withdrawal). I wake up in the middle of the night, wide awake and uncomfortable (But get back to sleep okay). I have weird dreams. Did I mention I feel sad for no reason? And anxious? So, the physical and emotional symptoms are there - the same ones that reared up and kept driving me back to using painkillers.... "I don't want to feel crappy anymore..."

But you know what? I DON'T want to feel crappy anymore which is why I DON'T want to be ON any of this anymore. I just want to give my poor confused brain receptors some much needed time to heal themselves and start working properly again. When we break a bone, our body somehow knows how to heal it, and the broken bone heals heals, with time. People that have strokes that damage parts of their brain, their brains can actually heal 'around' the damaged parts and neural networks reform - they can relearn how to speak, how to do things. Our bodies want equilibrium, they want to function the way they're supposed to. We heal. Thank God for neuroplasticity!!! I keep reminding myself that by using psychoactive drugs that create a false sense of euphoria, and using these substances for extended periods of time, my brain got washed out with this stuff and forgot how to do it's job and create it's own endorphins on its own. That's why you end up using so much just to feel normal and get through a normal day. Leaving you thinking, 'remind me why I thought this was fun?'

Addiction, at its core, is the search for emotional satisfaction. It's reaching for a sense of security, a sense of contentment, of being loved, or even a sense of control over life, to escape the negative, or to escape yourself and your own whirling thoughts and to achieve some kind of oblivion. But the gratification is temporary and illusory, and the behavior results instead in greater self-disgust, reduced psychological security, and poorer coping ability. That's what ALL addictions have in common. So where does that get you in the long run? Is it worth the glimpse of heaven just to wake up tasting hell? Over and over and over and over? We all made a decision that enough is enough, that we wanted our lives back. That's why we're here, on this site. So keep that in mind when and if you decide you're ready to be done with Suboxone. I'm grateful for Suboxone. It helped me keep the withdrawals and cravings at bay so that I could focus on starting to resolve the underlying issues that were leading me towards addiction in the first place and hone some healthy coping skills. Those coping skills are now coming in handy during this final phase.

The good thing is - all the symptoms I just mentioned are like, 10% as bad as full blown full on agonist withdrawal. It's allergies and PMS instead of flu and major depression. All the symptoms I just listed aren't constant either. They're waves that pass. Today, I woke up and just layed in bed for the longest time, staring into space, with a vague sense of sadness. I needed to get myself out of bed and get going, get busy doing something. When I first got out of bed, my body fought back a little and just wanted to keep laying there, aching mentally and physically. So I kind of pretend that I'm hovering over myself with a remote control, and just force myself to go do stuff. "You will now get up" <click> I get up. "You will now take a hot shower, which will make you feel better" <click> and so goes the day. By the end of today, I'd gone grocery shopping, made a salad for lunch, gone out on a boat with friends, swung from a rope swing into the river a couple of times, ate a good dinner, watched a funny movie, and summed it up as a good day. Much better than spending a nice summer day letting myself lay in bed and wallow, staring into space, letting the sadness creep around the edges.


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 Post subject: Congrats!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:26 am 
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Breadhouse,
Your second and third paragraphs were so well articulated, it truly captured EXACTLY how I feel.
You are doing great!!!! In a few days you will look back and say wow, not so bad.. (I know I'm still and addict, and have only been off for 14 days).. The diet, mindset, and sheer will power will help get you through.. but I went to work this week and this Friday had six client meetings, while I was a little tired at the end of the day.. my mind is coming back strong.. my emotions are real, and(this may sound strange) but my creativity and sense of self is coming back..
It's taken me a bit to adjust to sleeping patterns, and you're right the dreams can be a bit crazy, but last two days have had a good 6-7 hours of sleep... I've had to use maybe .25mg of xanax a few times, but mostly bendadryl(I too have allergies)..

In the past few days, I have had some good conversations... fessing up my addiction to some of my friends who I hid it from.. most of them have battled their own addictions..(alcohol, benzos, pills, heroin- god sounds like I hang with a great bunch eh).. but in college we thought it was cool, the experimentation, the euphoria. boy were we wrong.. the over arching theme to most of these conversations resulted in us discussing how if we would have put the same effort toward other areas, what would could/can achieve.. While I have a lot of regrets.. the past is the past.. we can't control it... we can only control the future...

Personally, I am turning my focus toward, physical exercise(circuit training, yoga), work, and helping others through volunteering.. maybe its the emotional roller coaster but I seem to have watched a million inspirational videos.. (but that roller coaster is slowing)- The guy whose workout program I use puts up some of these videos on his blog.. may be of some inspiration, may not.. but here they are...
http://rosstraining.com/blog/2012/06/01 ... it-part-2/
http://rosstraining.com/blog/2011/12/01 ... i-succeed/

Theres a ton of them on there.. mostly geared to working out, but the message is the same.. persistence.. If your journey is anything like mine.. you will be feeling tons better in the 24-48hrs... so hang in there and channel that energy toward something positive!!!

Cheers and godspeed..


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