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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:54 pm 
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I've been struggling with opioid addiction for about 8 yrs. started with vics ended up shooting heroin. About 4 years ago I started seeing a psychiatrist who put me on 24 mg (if I remember correctly) a day. He also put me on a laundry list of anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety med etc., Because according to him I was doing drugs to self-medicate for some underlying behavioral disorder. I really wanted to be done with my addiction so I did everything I was told, took subs along with a handful of other med every day for about two yrs.... and still ran to my dealer every chance I got. I wasn't physically addicted to heroin but psychologically it was all I could think about. My life still revolved around my addiction.
After 2 yrs of what felt like being a lab rat for my sub dr I gained nothing but 80lbs. I had to move overseas to a country where Suboxone was illegal but they sold codeine pills over the counter. That was the end of my Suboxone treatment. In a few months I started looking and feeling like before-lab-rat myself again and swore off Suboxone along with any kind of pharmaceutical psychiatry. Having only taken codeine I could sort of control myself but upon returning to the states I went back to my old ways and pretty soon hit the rock bottom. That was about a year ago. I wasn't even getting high anymore actually drugs made me sick but it was nothing comparing to the WD I would face if I just stopped cold turkey. I was doing ALOT too. About five bundles a day. Desperate to stop I remembered about Suboxone. I made an appointment with a dr I found online and when I went to see her I told her the whole story. How I've been on Suboxone before and how I really didn't feel it was working for me. But I rembered when I first started Suboxone four yrs ago they put me on Subutex for a week and then switched me to Suboxone. I suggested we start me on Subutex because I knew for sure that Suboxone wasn't doing it for me. The dr agreed. That was almost 12 months ago.
I've been clean ever since. No slips, no cravings, no need for any other meds to treat the supposed "underlying cause" for my addiction. I'm a healthy, fully functioning person. My life turned 180 degrees from where I was just a year ago. I got married, we're having a baby in less than three months. The dream I gave up on years ago because of my addiction. Subutex and my dr who agreed to prescribe it to me instead of Suboxone truly saved my life.
Did anyone else have these kind of completely different reactions to Suboxone and Subutex?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:43 pm 
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It could be as simple as bad timing. You might not have been ready to quit everything when you were first put on suboxone. It's not an uncommon story. Suboxone works well for a lot of people, but the truth is that you still have to be in a place where you're just done with active addiction. I also question how all the other meds were making you feel? One of my best friends (a non addict) has been struggling for years to find the right anti-depressant. Each one has a different side effect that makes her feel worse than she did without taking ADs. Who knows what was causing what, if you were being treated with all sorts of medications.

I have never taken subutex, so I can't comment directly on that part, but I did have a slightly similar story to yours when I was on methadone. I never felt right or "clean" on methadone and therefor would continue to relapse here and there. I still took my daily dose, but I'd also use ever now and then. It just didn't click with me. I also gained a lot of weight on methadone, but that could have been because I was coming from H and was pretty darned underweight at that point. Anyway, as soon as I started suboxone treatment, it was different for me. It just worked and I had no desire live that way anymore.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:20 pm 
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You could be right about timing. I thought about it too. I was in a really bad place when I started Subutex and all I wanted at that point was to stop doing drugs because I finally realized that I had no future if I continue to live the way I was. I was not that desperate 4 yrs.
As for the other meds, he would switch me to different ones every couple of month. Effexor, Wellbutrin, Seroquel, Klonopin, Paxil, Lamictal, Lyrica for some reason are the ones I still remember but there were more. All of them made me feel like a zombie, a depressed zombie, at times suicidal. I never actually hurt myself but the thought had occurred to me. And I never had suicidal tendencies before or after. I remember Paxil was a nightmare to get off from. Horrible headache, night terrors.... Weight gain from all of them. Although I lost it all pretty quickly once I stopped taking them. Maybe it was such a bad experience for me because I didn't need any of those meds to begin with. I'm sure they help people who have a problem with depression but as it turns out I wasn't depressed or bipolar or whatever that dr thought I was since I'm not taking any now and I'm pretty stable. My current psychiatrist who prescribes me Subutex seems to agree. A lot of psychiatrist tend to see symptoms where there are none and over diagnose and over medicate people.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:36 pm 
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When I first made my big move from the east coast back to the west coast, in 2011, I had to look for a new doctor. I made an appointment with a nice Psychiatrist, who I thought I'd get along with great. My first appointment, I told her my hopes of tapering down and finally getting off, wanting to start a family.. etc... etc. She asked why I hadn't tapered down yet, I explained that my east coast Doc wasn't really helpful in that area and I had a lot of anxiety surrounding the whole process. As soon as I said anxiety, she was writing a script for Effexor. She told me I needed anti-depressants. I'm not an unhappy person.. lol. Sure, I was anxious about tapering and getting off suboxone after 6 years, but it's only natural to be anxious in a situation like that right? I told her I didn't want to take it, felt I didn't really need it, and that I had heard nothing but bad stories from friends trying to get off ADs.. I did NOT want to be trying to get off another med. She insisted that you can just get off ADs without any problem and you couldn't get dependent on them. I went to my car ripped up the script and found a new doc. I couldn't believe how hard she was pushing it on me, I was uncomfortable and wanted no part of it.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:58 pm 
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Good for you. I wish I did the same thing back than. I lost two yrs of my life moping around my parents' basement on all those ADs. I couldn't function. All I did was watch TV. For 2 yrs! Sounds insane now. Why didn't I put a stop to it when it clearly wasn't working? I really trusted my Dr and psychiatry in general. It didn't even occur to me then that the Dr could be wrong. Or maybe he had an ulterior motive for prescribing all that BS. Don't they get paid by pharm companies for pushing all those meds on us? But as I said I was in such a fog because of all those meds that it took me 2 yrs to finally realize what was happening and stop taking them.
You said you wanted to get off Suboxone. Did you? How long did it take you if you did and how is that working out? I know I can't be on subs forever. But I also know that I'm clean for the first time in 8 yrs. 12 yrs if you count other drugs I did before I discovered opiates. And it's all thx to Subutex. My biggest fear is that I'd suddenly have to get up and move somewhere where bupe is not legal. It happened before. My life is weird that way lol. And stopping Subutex cold turkey is really not a good idea. Been down that road with Suboxone and NEVER want to go through something like that again.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:15 pm 
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There were times in my life where I would have taken anything a doc prescribed me. By the time I reached this particular doc, I was already strong and healthy. So I had enough confidence to know what my body needed or didn't, but it hasn't always been that way. Don't beat yourself up for that.

Yes, I'm off suboxone now, with the help of the amazing doctor I found right after I left that Psychiatrists office. This time I went to an addiction and pain management specialist. His fees were through the roof, but worth every penny. He listened to me and understood what I needed. Anyway, all is well. I've been off subs 14 months and I'm pregnant. So exactly where I wanted to be! :)
I was on suboxone for 6 years though, after 2 years of methadone. I had a good long maintenance stretch which really allowed me to get my crap together. I needed it. It's hard to say how long it took me. I started at 24mgs and reduced my dose after a year or so.. for the remainder of my maintenance, I sporadically lowered my dose. The bulk of reducing was done in the last year though. It wasn't nearly as hard as I was expecting it to be (the whole process of tapering & quitting all together) but it was battle. It's really trying at times and other times surprisingly easy, with no rhyme or reason. But much easier than street drugs and pills, IMO. Staying clean is a whole other ball of wax too. It takes constant effort to remember where you don't want to go back to. I've had a couple minor slips on percocet since I've been off but immediately was reminded that it's not the way to go.

Hope that helps!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:59 pm 
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Wow congratulations on your baby :)Do you know who you're having yet? Glad you got off everything before getting pregnant. The closer I get to my due date the more I freak out about the whole baby going through WD thing. I didn't realize how much trouble my baby could be in because of Subutex. The docs made it seem like it was nothing. No one ever mentioned that I might not be able to take him home for weeks. But it's still better than him having a mom who's shooting up heroine or hunting down Oxys.
It really does help hearing your story. Mostly you read about horror stories how people stay on subs forever and never able to quit. It's great to know that there are success stories out there. Personally I think it's far too early for me to start getting off it. I mean after the baby's born in 2 1/2 mos. Both my doc and my husband think I should start tapering off soon. My doc is not one of those doctors who want to keep medicating you forever as long as you pay for your visits. One of the reasons I think she's great. And my husband never had a drug problem himself so he doesn't really understand what I'm going through. Although he's been nothing but supportive about this whole thing. I'm just so afraid that what if I get off Subutex and start doing drugs again? Right now I have no cravings whatsoever but I don't know if its because of subs or because my life is so different now and I have so much to live for. Something I never had before. I'm just afraid to screw it all up if I stop subs.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:09 am 
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It's definitely something to think about STBM,

I would say the chances of your cravings returning after discontinuing subutex are about 99%. That's why, if you plan on quitting them at some point, it's so important to do some outside recovery work. If you start now you will have a much better chance at success when the time comes to taper. I'm not trying to scare you, just being honest. Suboxone works best when you combine it with some kind of recovery work. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you think you will be able to quit them and never have a craving again!

It can definitely be done successfully, IMO...but you have to do the work and be aware of the risks of relapse!

Q

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:44 am 
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Hi SoonToBeMommy,

If I were you, I wouldn't quit Subutex until you really feel ready. Being pressured to quit or quitting before you feel ready is usually a recipe for disaster because most times those cravings do come back and if you're not ready to deal with them, you're in trouble.

Like Qhorse said, you could look into some recovery now if you hope to get off Subutex someday. The recovery work you put in now will more than likely help you cope with life and cravings (if you have any) once you stop Subutex. I know the recovery work I did while on Suboxone helped me once I quit Suboxone.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:34 pm 
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Thank you for your advice guys. I know this is gonna sound stupid but what exactly do you mean by recovery work? Like NA meetings? Because I tried doing those before I started Subutex and honestly I didn't feel that it was right for me personally. I mean I know they help a lot of people but it just didn't click for me.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:57 pm 
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Hi there! As far as recovery goes, I am not a big meeting person either. However I do like the idea of seeing a therapist to work out my own recovery plan. There are many other choices besides NA meetings. 1st, you might want to seek out a therapist or counselor, and 2nd-- getting online here and reading other peoples experiences is a type of discovery in itself. Glad you found something that has worked for you.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:16 pm 
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I tried NA meetings, but found my recovery really took off after I stopped going to meetings altogether. I learned several recovery techniques while in NA, but was never really able to make them work until I got out of NA. Just my experience.

For me, the bottom line with learning how to deal with my addiction is mainly my coping techniques. For SO many years, I drugged myself stupid and avoided coping with life at all. It started when I was young with the death of my sister. I had no idea how to cope with the loss. Her loss simply overwhelmed me to the point where I was shutting down, then drugs came into my life and voila, I could pretend to live.

Dealing with my emotions and myself once I quit Suboxone was a shock to the system. Some of the best advice I got was to sit there and experience the emotion. Feel it come on, feel and deal with the uncomfortableness of it, then breathe that sigh of relief as it passed. While this is uncomfortable, it taught me that I can cope.....without drugs.

Another thing my addiction counselor drilled into my head was to live my life in balance. I almost had to have him draw me a picture of what the hell balance was because living my life in balance was a completely foreign subject for me.

Learning that I used drugs to cope with myself and my life, then dealing with my uncomfortable emotions and learning to live my life in balance were the first and probably biggest steps I made in my recovery. Recovery techniques take practice.....and patience. You don't have to go to NA to learn recovery, although the Basic Text does have many good recovery techniques. You could work with an addiction counselor or try SMART recovery or use this forum as a piece of your recovery pie.

I'm a big fan of individual recovery. IMO, you have to find what work's for you, then practice them until they become second nature.

Also, a support group, for me, is key. My thinking still goes stupid from time to time and my friends and family usually catch it before I do. Their patience and guidance has saved my butt a few times.

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