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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:32 pm 
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Hello to those who may read this, There is no easy way to get to the point here so I will just give some of my history and tell my story. I am a 38 year old single father of two beautiful children recently divorced just over a year ago. I am in need of help, and here is why. My opiate addiction started nearly two decades ago at the age of 19. Like many of us I was prescribed lortabs, and then went on a 9 year run abusing many drugs but always having the opiate monkey on my back. I used mainly pills, but I did use heroin on occasion as well. I feel like I was doomed from the start as my father is a heroin addict, and has been for close to 50 years. after 9 years of trying to be a functioning addict and two treatment flops, I got treatment with suboxone in 2007. I was told that I would most likely need to be on suboxone for the rest of my life, and at first that seemed like a good idea. It worked for me, at least for a while. Just so I am being as transparent as possible, I was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety at 19, from an illness that nearly killed me when i was young. I managed to self medicate enough to keep my mental issues at bay until I had an accident in 2010. From 2007 to 2010 suboxone allowed me to get my life back, I got married, had a house, and a baby on the way when I fell and shattered my foot in 2010. I was put on pain meds and came off the suboxone during the surgery and recovery for a few months, and promptly went back on my suboxone . My son was born a month after my surgery, and my daughter a year and a half later. Life was good, but I started having episodes where I would turn white, my heart would start racing, and I would end up in the hospital. I was told it was severe anxiety, after a year of every test in the book, and being medically cleared. I was put on xanax (biggest mistake ever). Until about 2014 I was able to maintain, although my symptoms continued to get worse. My teeth were going bad, my heart was palpitating all the time, I had issues in the sun and heat, my head was always foggy, I had severe migraines, and it just kept getting worse. I decided it was time to start getting off both medications in early 2015 and for two years I have been almost sub consciously weening myself down off both meds. Over the course of those two years my health has deteriorated to the point that I am constantly in fear. I have no energy, I now have A-Fib, that I honestly think has been caused by these two meds, constant heart palpitations, dizzy, shortness of breathe, bad teeth, headaches, and the list goes on and on and on. I have lost my marriage, although I have majority custody of my kids, and I stand to lose the at home business that I have created, (Because I could not hold down a job anywhere else). My fear is mainly for my kids, as my dad was never around. I want to be here for them, but i fear that my health is so bad due to the suboxone that I will never be able to heal. When I started trying to get off this stuff in 2015 I was on about 16mgs, down from 24 in 2010, and 2 mg xanax. three days ago, I was down to 1.5mgs a day sometimes only 1 mg, and .0635 (1/4 of a .25 mg) xanax 2 to 3 times a day. It has taken two long years to get down that far, and the last two months is when things really spiraled out of control with the a-fib and all the other terrible symptoms that come with what I guess has been a slow withdrawal to suboxone and xanax. I went off completely three days ago and tried with the help of some clonodine to stay off, and my body completely freaked out. I was having heart pains, and all the classic withdrawal symptoms, but this time it was scary. It literally felt like I would not survive, so I was forced to stabilize myself on the xanax at .50 mgs daily, and back on the suboxone at 2 mgs a day. I am still having many terrible symptoms and I cannot do this anymore. I am sick of suffering with nobody understanding just what kind of trouble I am in. People around me think that counseling is going to heal me. LOL, if only that were the case. I feel lied to, and like my life has been taken away from me. I realize I am at fault here too, so please understand that. I NEED HELP. I know that inpatient treatment will do me no good because suboxone withdrawal and xanax withdrawal are so long lasting and miserable, and I cant afford to lose my kids, house, income. I am desperate and have no answers. I am in a battle for my life, I am in a battle for my children who depend on me so much everyday. I have had to stop doing the things I love to do, (Hunting and camping, and hiking), I can only work a couple hours a day if that, and I cannot go back up in dose anymore than I have because when I do I feel very sick like I am taking rat poison. FOR ME, this stuff feels like rat poison everytime I put it in my body, yet I have no choice. Then there is the other maybe even bigger monkey of the xanax. I need help, and guidance. AM I A LOST CAUSE due to the amount of time I have been on this stuff. PLEASE HELP. I have so many questions for anyone out there who was on suboxone long term and has successfully put it in the rearview. I would really appreciate anyone's thoughts, insight and help on this. THANKS


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:47 am 
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Hey Elkman,

Gosh, heartbreaking post. So sorry life is the pits for you. I just can't imagine. I had a couple of your issues and they were decimating. So hard. I don't fulfill your requirements of a long term bup user bc only on 1 yr. I got my life back bc of it, got off benzos while on it, May will be 6 yrs off both. We had eyedotz and triphippe successfully stop after 14 yrs and quite a few others whose names I don't recall. The deal is most that who leave bupe in the rear view mirror - get outta here and get on w their lives and don't look back. They just don't. So it may take a long while before a long timer on and now off bup - responds. Also, I and most here know that bup is a lifesaving medication and treatment. Sometimes I want it in the water supply turned on where addicts live. I'll not repeat your words for it, but here, that won't do bc we in no way see it that way. Also, read around lots here bc your frustration w bup is actually not bup's fault, its really a frustration w addiction. So if you can understand that and maybe be open to help from those w less time on and off bup... I think you'll get more of a response. Wishing you well tonight! P

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Stopping went well -- its the staying stopped -- where the real work begins.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:16 am 
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Pelican, thank you for your reply. I appreciate it. Well first things first i guess i agree with you that suboxone is a great treatment option for detoxing and if used properly. It helped me get my life back like so many others. What i will never agree with, and trust me i have a ton of experiencce with this is that it should be used long term. It can and does have detrimental side effects on a number of levels like the ones i am dealing with. I also fully believe that it is the reason for the start of my mental issues coming back among other things. I am not here to say who is right or wrong, and i think anyone who has been on this drug lomg term will tell you how trapped you feel. At least i do. The reason for my post is because i need help. I am in desperate need of help from somebody who has been through what i am going through, but any insight is much appreciated. I am 38, and my symptoms are getting worse. It would be a shame if people didnt respond because of my beliefs. If you ever decide to respond, how long were you on benzos, and how did you tackle that while on suboxone? Which one should i tackle first?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:24 pm 
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I do not have experience coming off benzo and suboxone so I'm not much help to u there. What I will say is when I was in inpatient rehab, I did witness ppl coming off buprenorphine and benzo. They were far more concerned about coming off benzo. I don't know all the side effects of it but isn't it possible that the benzo is causing some of ur issues? There's many doctors that refuse to have their patients take any kind of benzo with suboxone, mine is like that. But there's others that are ok with it. U obviously have anxiety issues, but suboxone hasn't ever had these effects on me.

I believe in long term suboxone treatment if u truly need it and I've been taking it for 5 years and I don't have the trapped outlook that u do. I have no ill feelings towards u for ur beliefs on feeling the opposite, so let's not get into that debate. If someone is ready to stop then I totally understand, only u know what is best for u. Everyone is different right?

I know there's ppl on this forum who do take benzo with bupe, hopefully they'll be along to help u better than I could. Regardless, I hope u find the answers ur looking for.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:36 pm 
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Thank you for your response. Yes i agree that the benzos are probably an even more scary prospect than the suboxone, and is probably causing some of my symptoms, that is what makes all of this so hard, i need to get off these meds to see the extent of the damage, but now that i have gotten my doses at least more manageble, where do i start, and what is causing what. Im just tired of feeling this way. Thanks again


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:22 pm 
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I am by no means an expert and new here, but I am fairly knowledgable about the long term use of benzos - not personal experience, second hand. Xanax is quite a monster in the long term, messing with GABA receptors in the brain like massive doses of alcohol would. Xanax has increasingly been indicated for short to moderate term usage opposed to maintenance partly due to the issue you're having now. I highly recommend you to seek an addiction psychiatrist in your area and be completely honest with your current state as well as with every substance you take (Xanax withdrawal can be fatal). There are OTHER, "safer" benzos that have longer half lives and will successfully taper you down to a point where quitting will be much, much easier on you. Once you've addressed the Xanax issue (which empirical evidence shows to be more dangerous) you could then see what suboxone is doing for you and decide where to go from there. Just my two cents, I'm no doctor and I wish you the best. I experienced the withdrawals from the alcohol side of CNS depressants and I know it is very hard to make it through, but your brain will eventually heal and return to normal!

Edit: I want to add that many of the symptoms you're suffering are actually more likely caused by the Xanax. Once the body is dependent on a dose of a CNS even minor fluctuations of the levels of that drug in your body can cause every single symptom you describe. There is NO way I know of to keep a constant level of Xanax in your body. It will fluctuate with dosing and metabolization, and the low periods of that fluctuation will be some state of withdrawal (symptoms of which again are very similar to your complaints). Suboxone being a maintenance opiate would actually HELP those symptoms in most people.

-M


Last edited by Orion87 on Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:30 pm 
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Thank you for your response. That is sound advice, advice that i will be taking. Sometimes even with all the research there is so many differwnt awnsers that its hard to knownwhat to do. But that sounds like a very sound plan to me. I jave a psychiatrist who prescribes my xanax and i see him in a few weeks. I am sure he will prescribe me a differnt benzo. Any idea which one is the best in this situation?? Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:36 pm 
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Elkman,

I really hope you do bring this up with your psych! Librium is the drug most commonly used I believe, but that would be entirely up to your doctor. He/she will know what works best. If they don't seem very educated on addiction/recovery I still recommend looking for a psych or doctor that specializes in addiction medicine - you'd be in safer hands and given resources to help you cope and survive the tough time ahead.

Are you around Colorado by any chance? The "Elk" bit makes me think of all my family out there, they love the outdoorsman life and I am always so jealous when I visit them. Anyways, haha, best of luck and I'll be following your progress!

-M


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:08 pm 
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Orion, No I am not in Colorado, But in my outdoor heaven that is Idaho. I love the rockies. I love to hunt, study, and photograph elk, mule deer, all animals. anyways I am very optimistic about your plan you laid out. I have been going to the same psychiatrist for 7 years. He is an addiction specialist and trades his time between his practice and one of the only treatment facilities around. He is a good guy but what frustrates me is that when I started having these terrible panic attacks and anxiety 5 years ago I wish he would have said, the xanax is only a short term solution, I can only give it to you short term of the consequences are very bad. He has just continued to prescribe me both suboxone and xanax because he trusts that I would not abuse it. And I havn't. I could make it through a nuclear war with the meds I havn't taken. (It seems I may need too with the way things are going in this world). all of that aside he will be more than willing to help me with this plan, maybe get on like Klonopin or something, I'm not sure about librium, will have to ask him about that. The only good news is I have spent two years getting myself down to pretty low doses on both. From 16 to 24 mgs of suboxone, to right now 2 mgs daily, and from 3 to 4 mg's xanax, to about .50 now daily.
I know I have a long road getting off the benzo's as I will have to do a taper that allows me to be somewhat stable with the new diagnosis of A-fib. That scares me. But that is what I am going to do. One of my biggest issues right now aside from the symptoms I experience is my anxiety and worry. I need to get that under control. I am thinking maybe an SSRI, (he has tried to give them to me in the past, but I was scared to take them) with the other meds. Maybe an SSRI will help me start to heal my brain as well, but I will have to talk to him about that, and do some research as well. Thanks for your insight, it has given me a path. SEE, all I needed was some hope through the fog. Also, when I first go clean on suboxone, I was an addiction counselor for a couple years, and went to school for it, so it doesn't matter who you are when you are going through this nightmare. Thanks again. Elkman


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:10 pm 
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Through all of this my biggest concern is to be able to be a good father to my beautiful children, this is making that very hard, but I get up and strap up everyday because I have no choice.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:40 pm 
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It's nice to hear some background on what your hobbies are and where you're from, Elk! I hope that listing those sights and activities makes you hungry to give yourself the best chance of enjoying them again, as well as your children. Klonopin is also something that may be used, I believe its half life is 3x that of Xanax or so but I may be wrong. You've been an addiction counselor so you know this whole situation up and down, I'm sure, but there is a warning bell for me in something you said. I know you said you never abused your prescriptions but you have a stockpile of them at home? Your body is addicted to these medications and having easy access to what you're trying to quit at home will be setting yourself up for failure. Food for thought! I hope you can stay strong and I don't recommend changing your current meds until you see your doctor - Xanax withdrawal needs to be handled medically. The SNRI will also likely be prescribed to handle long term anxiety, they are the current safest form of maintenance.

You CAN do this, I promise, and you WILL feel better,
-M


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Hey Elk,
Some questions. Are you familiar w the ceiling effect of bup? its ~4-8mgs of suboxone. I hope you dig around here as well as the Talkzone. See the Talkzone link on top of this menu. its worth it!! Are you familiar w the difference between a partial and full agonist? when you are under bup's ceiling dose, it starts to act like a full agonist meaning it wears off quicker and some folks feel WDs w daily doses so they will either make slower changes -- go really S L O W and L O W to acclimate and/or will dose 2 Xs/day. Maybe you are going thru WDs between bup doses.

Agree w jennjenn and orion on benzos. Bup is a maintenance med but benzos are not. We have folks come here w real issues from benzos. Imo, I'd stop the benzo first. I was on my pain doc and 2 benzos - high doses for 10yrs. Stopped all in rehab but left at 30 days to start bup. I slipped on benzos twice after starting bup. I'll just leave it that those were a rough 30 days because I stopped all at high tolerances. Are you familiar w the tolerance concept? That's an important one to understand and even if you think you do I encourage you to learn it from Dr J and Amy here. I did find rehab very helpful bc it gave me a place to crash while I was voluntarily forced to stop these meds. You're at a low tolerance and even tho you said no to rehab, it did cross my mind that a longer term rehab might be of benefit to help you stop. While on bup, I did any and every kind of recovery work I could find. I found this work critical to me owning up to my role in and my accountability - my responsibility for my addiction and to make needed life changes - mental, emotional and physical. For me, doing this -- marketly changed everything for the better. best to you, P

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Did well on Suboxone. Stopped May 2011.
Stopping went well -- its the staying stopped -- where the real work begins.
Coming here 'keeps recovery green'.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:49 pm 
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Hello, yes i am familiar with ceiling effect of suboxone. That is why i dose 1 mg in the morning and 1mg at nite, currently. I agree with you about most of what you said, and I am familiar with the vast majority of it. I am on here to learn so i appreciate everyone who has responded. I am aware of my role in this as well, ive been using since i was 18, prior to that too in smaller amounts. As far as treatment goes i have been 3 times. The last time was 45 days and i was left on suboxone because i couldnt handle the detox when they took me off. Been on it ever since for 10 years. I am a father and have my kids monday through Friday. That makes treatment hard right now. Im just so tired, and sick of being sick. I agree, benzos is the first to go, but last weeks attempt was a failure, so i have to change my approach. Thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:40 pm 
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Hi Elk
When ready get help its really important and like bup the dosage reduction can be managed by a proffessional so as to make it as least painfull as possible. The good news is that many of the symptoms you have mentioned will be greatly reduced. The best support you can do yourself is attention to real wholefoods, hydration and as much exercise that works your body as you can force yourself to do. Yoga, taichi, martial arts and any moving meditaions will greatly help.
When you have come through the benzo period you can adress the bup with a clearer mind.
Goodluck, getting off the benzo wheel is the best thing you can gift yourself.


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