Hi Everyone, RE: On Day 3 of going Cold Turkey from Methadone: Many of you helped so so much last week when I had questions about having nightmares from taking methadone, etc. Thank for you for that. After reading and discussing everyone's posts, I decided to no longer prolong the inevitable, and so I am getting myself off all opiates once and for all. This cold turkey is hellish, no doubt. If any of you would be so kind as to help me out one last time, I would greatly appreciate it. Again, I'm not asking for medical advice. I do have a pain doctor but I felt he was the one who helped get me hooked in the first place so I'm not inclined to go back to him. Even my pharmacist questioned his high dosing on a drug he gave me that I never took (thankfully)--MSContin. Besides, I recently lost my medical insurance. Anyway, I'm only looking for people's experiences. They seem to run the gambit, but it's hard for me find anyone who has my situation. As I've said, I'm now in the middle (I pray it's the middle) of cold turkey. It is like having your body pressed in a vice--a clear demonstration how awful these meds are. I'm absolutely determined to go through this until I'm on the other side. One doctor said it would take up to 3 weeks with the worst being over in 3-5 days. Others say much longer but keep in mind that I've only been on 5 mg. of methadone p/day for 3 weeks, after being on 1/2 Tab. of Suboxone for 3 months that helped to get me off a 4-year Vicodin dependence for chronic pain. SO, does anyone out there have a similar experience to mine? It just seems that on such a low dose that this detox experience could not last as long as some people say--since again, I've only been on methadone for three weeks, even though I may still have a residue of the Suboxone in my system which might make detox harder. Is that possible even though I've been off Suboxone for three weeks? The thing I'm trying to understand is because I went from Vicodin to Suboxone to Methadone--is my body withdrawing from all of those opiates? I'm a bit confused how that works! Also, during this detox process, I've only been taking one Tramadol per day (in the middle of the night to stave off the pain enough to help me sleep) because I'm afraid of getting addicted to that as well. It takes a lot of discipline not to take more (Tramadol) believe me because the pain is so awful but I'm holding to my decision. Please, if anyone out there can help me by giving me their own experiences, I would greatly appreciate it while I'm going through this hellish experience. In some way, I'm almost glad I'm going through this because it's a great motivator to NEVER pop a pain killer again-no matter how much pain my neck may be in--ever again. Also, it gives me a greater compassion for those who are addicted to pain killers and have had to go cold turkey as I am doing right now. What keeps me going is what's on the other side of this. "Weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning." For me, that "joy" is finally being able to surrender my life to the One who gave His life for me. I've had that joy before and I long to have it again. Drugs, I can assure you are no substitute. piper
On Day of Going 'Cold Turkey' from Methadone...
- 7 Nov 2007 by piperlaurie
7 Nov 2007
Piper, good to hear from you again. If your withdrawals are anything like mine were, at day three you are feeling about as bad as it will get. About thirty six to seventy two hours were the absolute worst for me. The whole first week was bad and week two wasn't a lot of fun, but after that the only thing left was not sleeping and the shakes. I was drugged by morphine for 8 years, so I knew sleep would be a big problem.
If it does get worse, try to remember the price in pain you have already paid to get free of the dependance. I asked God for a lot of help for a few days and I believe it helped.
I hope you have something that is going to help you with the pain when you get through this. I hate to think of anyone living in constant pain.
God bless you hon.
7 Nov 2007
Good to hear from you, Gary. Thanks for sticking with me through my many (and rather lengthy) posts. BTW, per your offer, I tried e-mailing you, but it said you didn't accept e-mails or some such thing.
Anyway, I think you're right about the Day 3 thing. It makes sense when you realize that Methadone has a half life of up to 36 hours. Anyway, today I was forced to take one Tramadol when I just couldn't take the unrelenting Level 8 pain anymore. But, like I said, I'm VERY reluctant to take the Tram because it is, after all, just another addictive medication.
Hopefully one 50mg of Tramadol a day for five days won't cause me to be addicted to that as well.
Yes, God is helping me through this, I know it. I also thank God that I never did escalate the methadone dose or I'd really be in worse shape than I am right now.
As far as what will happen when I'm mostly detoxed , well I'm believing God to heal me from the root of my real pain (vs. pain from drug withdrawal). The thing is that after being on pain meds for five years I don't even know what my "real pain" feels like anymore.
I can assure you that pain meds will never be an option for me again. They made me passive and detached from life--consequently, they derailed me from the destiny God has for me. I can't think of anything sadder than not living the life you were created to live--a life we will all be held accountable for on the day we "slip the surly bonds of earth."
It's funny, today I actually made a "big trip" (about 60 ft.) down my driveway to my mailbox and despite my considerable pain I could actually feel the beginnings of life (no I'm not pregnant) stir in me again. Tomorrow I'm going to take a real walk (no matter how I feel) while this amazingly beautiful 72 degree weather still holds. I take great comfort in knowing that next week at this time I'll feel better than I do today.
Thanks again for your encouragement and support. These boards are so important because even those closest to you can't begun to understand what we go through with dependency and detox. That's one reason I'm doing this cold turkey thing by myself--it would make feel worse than I already do to let anyone who loved me see me like this.
Well, the Tramadol is starting to wear off, so writing this is becoming difficult. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
7 Nov 2007
Not sure how diffrent it is for a person using chronic pain relief doses, but Ultram can make the withdrawl worse rather than better. It has some mixed agonist/antagonist action and I know its one of the medicines I was told to avoid completely while on methadone maintenance. Of course, that's a daily dose of 80+mg not 5mg for pain. You would definitely not have suboxone in your system at this point, but you are going to be recovering (endorphin wise) from a period of opiate/opiod use that spans your use of the multiple drugs. The withdrawl from methadone is sometimes considered to be worse because of the duration, but the acute withdrawl isn't as bad as getting off a short acting opiate. (at least for me) The toughest part is early on when things get worse and worse for a few days. After two weeks you'll probably have some discomfort but it will be easier to look back and see that your body is getting better.
(just never as fast as you'd hope or like!) I spent quite a bit of time incapacitated but I went cold turkey off a high dose. People who taper down to a 5mg and less dose before quitting still go through a rough spot when they hit 0mg but it's not as severe or debilitating. You MAY experience post acute withdrawl symptoms for six months to a year, but they're generally on a level of irritation and just recognizing that your body and brain need time care and rest goes a long way.
8 Nov 2007
Thanks again everyone in sharing your experience. Today is Day 4 and last night was the worst (hopefully the worst!) in that I suffered from complete insomnia and anxiety. It was awful--not worth even lying in bed for. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I'm going to call my doctor today and ask for something to help me sleep. (Someone suggested Lunestra for that problem.)
How long does this insomnia last and does anyone have any suggestions as to how to deal with it other than, or in addition to sleep aids? I took two Valiums (a drug I have never used before) and it did absolutely nothing to reduce the acute feeling of anxiety.)
The good news is that I feel I turned the corner in terms of overall pain--slight improvement, bearable enough where I may not take a Tramadol. I'm certainly doing my best to avoid it.
I'm also crying a lot--over weird things. (Like Jane Seymour being kicked off Dancing with the Stars which I didn't even watch.) But maybe that's a good thing because for four years I've felt so detached and removed from life.
Today, despite how I feel, I'm going to force myself to wash my hair, do some cleaning and take a walk. I have to get out of this house where I'm now feeling like a prisoner--that might be contributing to some of my anxiety.
Thanks again for sharing your experiences. I assure you, I am not going back to where I was before I started this process. Several scriptures I'm using to help me get through this (along with prayer) are: "Weeping is for a night, but joy comes in the morning" and "For I know the plans I have for you, say the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
8 Nov 2007
If you can ask your doctor for some xanax, I know trying new prescriptions is probably not what you want at the moment. However xanax is in the same family as valium (benzos) and that may help you sleep and help the anxiety. I to when trying to quit opiates used valiums and like you didn't feel anything from the valium. I was then switch to xanax and it worked. I actually got some sleep and was an overall lifesaver at the moment. I went back to opiates again though, I wish I just stayed clean, but I ended up thinking I could control the opiates after having some clean time and tried a different opiate quitting method and this time tried without benzos and now on methadone. Just make sure you quit xanax as soon as you feel better, the withdrawls from opiates will be noticible so you will now when to quit xanax. Thats if you can get it. Sorry about arguing with you the other day about that other non sense and realised we are here to help.
Also long time use of xanax is hard to quit, I didnt have trouble quitting my 1 month supply with little to no withdrawls. Others here may disagree with what I say, but me personally didnt have any. Hope this help. If you feel you are over the hump, and dont need any further meds, goodluck. And I hope you do ok.
8 Nov 2007
I remember having crying jags. There would be one point in the morning where just about anything would get me crying. The sleep thing may take a few weeks to really normalize out. I spent quite a bit of time being b*tchy and a little schized out in the head - I was constantly worried that I was going to start seeing things from lack of sleep. Never did come to that, and from early on I made a habit of laying down and going through relaxation exercises. I'd stay in bed for at least six hours even if I never felt like I was asleep and it seemed to allow some state of rest for my body. Lunesta works pretty well for me, I would have liked to have some. I used Rozerum (you can substitute over the counter melatonin and get about the same effect) and when things were really bad took a cocktail of that plus a little Klonapin plus a small seroquel.
I left inpatient detox early and I suspect I was coping with some benzo withdrawls from that - I got normal amounts of sleep there, not sure what they were giving me other than a whopping dose of phenobarbitol that was switched to Librium when I realized how long they intended to keep me on the barbituate and freaked out about it. Getting up and forcing yourself to go through normal activity will help more than the sleep meds. It's just tougher to do. Give yourself credit for doing it. For me there were times where it helped just to remember that what I was feeling was my body readjusting *not* who I am.
9 Nov 2007
Well yesterday was the day from hell. By 2:00 I was in my primary care doctor's office (she was new and didn't know about my issues really) writhing on the floor sobbing and in the worse pain imaginable. Just as bad was the feeling like I couldn't breathe--like someone was sitting on my chest.
She gave me a prescription for Xanax then told me I needed to see a shrink. I then went home and took my 5 mg Methadone because I just couldn't stand it one minute longer. The Xanax didn't even really help.
I felt like a failure but friends and family said I shouldn't--that it took guts to even make the attempt.
So, I called my pain doc (he's over an hour away or I would have gone to him yesterday) and told them I wanted to do a slow detox off the methadone. Cold Turkey... dear God I don't know how anyone can do it.
The thing I don't understand is how that could have been so bad for me when I was only on 5mgs p/day for three weeks. Is it because I still had a residue of opioids from the past? First Vicodin for 3 years, then Suboxone for 3 then straight to methadone for three weeks. That doesn't make sense to me.
Anyway, MPVT, if you are reading this, I read a past suggestion you had that people taper 10% of their dose of Methadone every two weeks--is that an official rule of thumb?
How would I do that if I'm only taking 5 mgs p/day?
Actually, I can't do that anyway because the Methadone gives me frenetic weird dreams and sometimes nightmares. SO, is there a way to switch to another opioid--one that is easier to taper down? To me, that would seem like a short acting opioid. Would that work to detox off of Methadone--has anyone had that experience with a pain doctor using that approach?
I'll be seeing my doc today but he may not have had experience with getting someone off of Methadone using another opioid to do it.
Please, if anyone can answer my questions, that would be most helpful!!
9 Nov 2007
Piper, I have been following your attempt at cold turkey also. I don't blame you for your decision and agree with your family and friends. Even the thought of going through this is dreadful. I'm actually impressed because I see you have a VERY strong will... Unfortunately an exceptional will is not always enough for us to get through this. This is some pretty crazy stuff I'm sure you know. But please do me a favor. Don't quit trying... Don't think you lost the battle. You NEED To try again. No xanax, no beuprophine. You relapse. no worries... Try again! Your body if you know or not HAS adjusted a lot to being without the drug. So don't wait long to try again. You will get there and believe me. I am getting to the other side now and it FEELS GREAT. I feel like spirituality has entered back into my life. I take walks now while looking at the beautiful sun and trees and just smile. This is what is in store for you... You can do it.
You have what I lot of people don't have and that is you see potential and strong will... Please please PLEASE try again :) aim me. My nickname is Breastimus (old name from highschool lol)..I will help u get through this... Heck we can help each other get through this!! I comming up on day 4. I promise I will be there to hold your hand.
10 Nov 2007
You certainly shouldn't feel bad for taking the 5mg methadone.Going cold turkey on methadone is never ever prescribed (think of those poor buggers in jail that have to!!).
Now you see the difference between other opioids and methadone.It is a completely different drug and needs to be treated that way.
I see 2 options for you- 1)Get a pill splitter and cut the 5mgs in half .Take your usual 5mgs for a couple days then start taking 2.5mgs.Remember that it takes a minimum 5 days for that dose change.You may feel a little lousy for a few days but then you should pan out and be fine.Stay at the 2.5 at least 2 weeks but a month is better.
Now cut the half pills in half again making them 1.25mgs.Due the same thing as above.After a month at 1.25mgs you can either try and stop or start take the 1.25mg every other day.
2) Is going back to Suboxone and doing a 21 day detox with it at home.
One more thing I should mention is that propoxyphene(Darvon,Darvacet ect) is similiar in chemical make up to methadone and could be used at the very end of weaning down from your methadone.This method has be used successfully and most doctors don't mind odering propoxyphene because it's so weak the DEA won't bother them.I think it's a scheduale 3 in the United States.Anyway, that's it for now.Hang in there and go talk to your doctor and see what he says.Good luck... Dave
10 Nov 2007
Hi Dave and everyone else who has been helping me through this...
Well, I went to the doctor yesterday and I asked him to put me on the slowest taper possible--which he did. What a relief. I can't stress enough how important it is that we exercise wisdom and do these kind of things under a doctor's supervision. I tried doing it on my own and we all saw the result of what happened.
My taper off of Methadone will take over 3 months--hard to believe when I was only taking 5 mg p/day that it will take that long but that just shows you the power of these drugs over our bodies. (Dave... see my taper schedule at bottom of this post.)
For example, yesterday my body was reacting to going back on the Methadone--exaggerating my tendency towards bi-polar depression by thrusting me into a manic phase. I was "entertaining the troops" as it were, and though getting a great crowd response (a "high" in and of itself), inside I knew it was all self-absorbed behavior that went so far as to cause me to be very insensitive to my older daughter's personal crisis.
I can't help but ask, do we all really want that kind of force controlling our bodies--even if we don't realize the power it's exerting until we try to extricate ourselves from it?
Anyway, I hope my experience will be a lesson to anyone feeling like they can do anything less than a slow taper off these very powerful narcotics--be it methadone, suboxone or what have you.
But no matter how we do it, it's a worthy goal--one important enough to fight for. Because while pain can be a terrible master--as I myself know so well--so is addiction--especially because once relinquishing control to narcotics, it can be so very hard to distinquish our own motives for continuing them.
Having said all that, I'm just thankful for a loving, compassionate God who does not desire anyone to suffer but sent His son Jesus to suffer on the cross for us so that we don't have to--either in this life or the next.
"Surely He has borne our sicknesses and carried our diseases" This is my hope--and my faith.
Thanks again all of you for all your advice and caring. None of us can go this alone.
P.S. Dave, here is the taper schedule my doc gave me. I will ask him about what you suggested--using propoxyphene(Darvon,Darvacet ect)--when I get to the end of the taper.
3 weeks: 2.5 mg BID
3 weeks: 2.5 mg am; 1.25 pm
3 weeks: 1.25 mg am; 1.25 pm
3 weeks: 1.25 mg am
3 weeks: 1:25 mg am every other day
The doctor then wrote: "Hopefully off". To that I say, "Amen!"
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