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This may have been answered in the past so i apologize in advance.
How long after stopping an Opiate addiction before your head becomes normal (assuming it's possible) once again?
Please list daily intake and time using said D.O.C.
I heard 18 months and right now that is a terrifying number!
It depends on DOC, if its methadone, a long time, probably at least a year. Most other opioids the receptors completely reboot between 6-9 months normally. The daily intake or what drug (besides methadone) isn't really much of a factor, from a cold turkey detox the time is about the same be it hydrocodone or oxycodone (for example) only the intensity of the w/d until it passes (7-10 days usually) at that point you're about 70% back to normal, after 2 months 85%, the last 15% is what takes 6-9 months, but being 85% even 70% feels excellent and you're very functional.
Hope this answers it, everybody's different, but this is close to what you can expect.
This is the first time I've read actual statistics quoted of when normal brain use returns! Where did these numbers come from, Cat? I'm very curious...
NumbOne, I don't think it's that clear-cut, personally. Each person IS different. Each day is an improvement, it's not that you have to wait out months on end to feel clearer. Just as our disease grows progressively worse over time - our recovery progressively improves over time.
I believe you'll see improvement with each passing week, gradual, but nevertheless, progress. My experience has been that most are restored to darned close to full-functioning. Permanent brain damage seems to be surprisingly rare, considering what we put ourselves through!
The major complaint I've heard over the years is difficulty with short-term memory. Then again, with age, everyone struggles with short-term memory, so who's to say it isn't age causing the trouble?!?
For me, I was surprised by the short term memory issues, as it seemed dramatic, in my opinion. But, once I thought about it, I'm sure I was pretty "numbed" to deteriorating short-term memory as it was happening - so it all came on rather suddenly, when I stopped.
It comes from personal experience and averaging in stats from the thousands of w/d testimony's I've read, plus other sources I've read and studied along the way.
You're right, everybody's different, that's why I sprinkle my answers with words like "about", "roughly" and "around", but from all the people I've helped over the years I've pretty much got the time frame nailed down. People are usually more alike physiologically then they are different.
I purposely didn't talk about PAWS, because not everybody gets it, but it can increase recovery time even more, that I don't have a stat for.
Great Information CATS, very encouraging! Thanks Artist for trying to clear it up a bit more.
I was hoping people would chime in with their own experience, as i realize we all process a little differently.
I would have thought a heavier user might have a more prolonged mental recovery. Case in point, My friend that turned me onto Roxies needed 4/30mg snorted at a time to get high. Realizing it was a no-win and life or death, he left town and moved in with his mom. That was this past February. He has been clean as nothing is available where he now lives. However, still a daily drinker (so that could contribute to my concern for recovery time).
He visited over the Holidays, knew i had Roxy in my house, and i could see his desire overpowering him...he kept on complaining about a horrible headache and how he's so sure just one would "make it all go away". Eventually i caved. But what scared me the most was his general headspace. He basically seemed a shell of his former self.
As for me, my Opiate addiction has numbed my mind to any and everything. Each time i have tried quitting there has been such a sudden rush of everything i havent been feeling; it's just so overwhelming. The percentages and timeframe is very helpful as i look ahead
it depends on the opiate. For instance Methadone is a much longer detox than say oxy's. What is your intake and DOC?
Originally Posted by numbOne
I was taking roxycontin 30's. I would split them in half and swallow. Been off and on for 3years, progressed to an everyday thing over the past year...all in all about 3 or 4 total a day.
The info that CatsMeow provided was golden. It was exactly what i was hoping to hear and contradicted what i had heard. It is too easy for me to use When the future looks bleak or the road ahead seems too long...cause then my mind will resume playing tricks and i will start thinking about Nostradamus and 2012 and the quality/quantity of life thing.
After 7 years heavy use of hydrocodone (up to 40 norco 10's daily), an addictionologist put me on subutex and I took my daily maintenance dose of 16 mgs for five years. I tried to stop the hydros myself so many times, only to start again when the physical withdrawals became too much. I did well on the sub, I never had a craving for hydro during those five years, but my insurance cancelled on me in Feb 2009 and I was faced with cold turkey from sub and it was awful....
However, I met some people during this time who were into cocaine and I got into that. I instantly loved it and after a period of 6 months, I ran to a longterm treatment facility and spent 6 months, just trying to learn how to think again. Honestly I felt really good, physically and emotionally and mentally within about 90 days. But, while I was learning to live without THOSE drugs, my doctors there were putting me on a new med every few weeks as my depression started to get so much worse.
Now, I'm trying to break free from all medications, with the exception of my daily med for hypothyroidism. And now I'm doing some research on that, and finding that this thyroid condition causes depression, among other problems. And that my medicine for it should not be interacting with many of our antidepressants! I feel toxic and just want to feel somewhat normal again.
I'm thinking clearly now and I've been opiate free since April 2009. I am using small amounts of hydrocodone sporadically now, because I have a surgery coming up and in lots of pain. Best of love and luck to you! sheryl
When I mention the idea of clearing up mentally, emotionally and physically, I am talking about total abstinance from ALL addictive, mood-altering medications and alcohol. A person can not "clear up" at all if they continue to use another substance.
In other words, your friend will not (and can not!) clear up his thinking until or unless he is free from the booze as well as the pills. Drug-free (and alcohol-free) is the ONLY way that our minds and body can fully regenerate to whatever extent is possible. You are not going to see his clarity of mind return, if he is routinely abusing alcohol.
Same thing for RockerMom - opiate free means... no opiates. Not "sporatic" use of hydrocodone. There is no sporatic use when a person is addicted, as very nature of addiction means the loss of control. (Think of it as an alcoholic, if that makes it clearer: Can an alcoholic in recovery claim to be sober if they have "sporatic" use of a drink? No...) There is a SAFE way to be given painkillers in recovery, but that certainly is not by self-administration. We've already lost control - and that control can not be regained when 'real' pain comes up.
NumbOne, your looking at recovery with the wrong perspective, like it's a nightmare waiting to explode in your face when you stop the drugs. It really isn't like that. Yes, feelings will come up, but if you are immersed in a supportive environment (ie, a treatment center - NA - AA - regular counseling - a day treatment program, etc.) - it will not overwhelm you. It's not the same as when we run out of pills and get into a panic, overwhelmed emotionally, trying to find more pills -- no, the mindset is completely different. When we are devoted to staying clean, we look for solutions, not for another pill. And the solutions are all there, in the supportive systems I mentioned.
We all used to numb the "bad" feelings - and to try to feel "good." Yes, there are a lot of feelings that return after we stop. But that levels off in time, as our mind-body-spirit remains in recovery. Pills are the "quick fix" that doesn't truly fix anything. Feelings won't kill us! They are just part of being human.
On top of numbing the pain, you've been numbing the joy, as well. Believe me, there is incredible joy... waiting for you on the other side of this addiction. Not just joy, but peace of mind, self-respect, gratitude and a host of other wonderful things. It is ALL worth it!
My prayers are with you all,
Very interesting Cats
It's too bad the mental doesn't return as quickly as the physical. But then again, it would make things to easy and then possibly more people would relapse knowing they would return back to normal so quickly. For the last 3 years I haven't even gotten to a year clean. The longest I was clean was about 5 or 6 months tops and that was while using Suboxone. so I kept telling myself I need to stay clean so that I am able to find out say a year from now how I will feel, if I will be back to normal. I have to admit I have lost hope at times on being able to get back to my normalcy. I sure hope and pray that my body will get there.
Is there many people out there who have abused opiates that weren't able to get back to their normal self. I know everyone is different.
"If I NEVER use again, I will NEVER have to feel this way"
Hey "no more tram,"
Originally Posted by no_more_tram
Please don't be too hard on yourself for struggling to stay clean. I did the same - as many, many do. It took me 4 years of trying until I was finally able to stop - and stay stopped. As long as you keep trying, there is always hope.
Many gave up on me. Many times, folks who had seen me going in and out of AA (or NA) over the years would refer to me as a "chronic relapser." Well, I guess technically I was that - but that term itself was offensive to me. As long as I SAW myself that way, I'd make that "chronic relapser" label come true.
The fact of the matter is, this disease is characterized by relapse and denial. Surely, the goal is perfect abstinance. BUT... even if that is not attainable, then the goal is to increase the distance between the relapses - and shorten the length of the relapses. In time, total abstinance does become attainable. It did for me. It did for many. And it can, for you.
You are learning. Each time you get clean, you gain a little more strength. You learn something. You demonstrate your resolve and willingness to keep trying. Persistency is a gift! So many others just relapse and give up completely. So be sure to recognize how much strength it takes to keep trying.
By going through the humility of relapsing so often as I did, it had given me a gift that I couldn't have any other way - the gift of understanding the struggles of the next addict. I can't judge them for "failing" - as they are no different from me.
As far as permanent "damage" - from what I've witnessed over years of knowing countless addicts, there seems to be little, if any, permanent harm. Most of all, the complaints are about short term memory loss, as I mentioned in an earlier post - and that is manageable. For some, there is liver damage, but remarkably, not as often as I would expect! (Thankfully, the liver does have the ability to repair itself after we stop using.)
So please - do not give up. The only failure is the failing to keep trying.
Well i dont know, Artist...It was the underlying issues that started me in the first place (lack of joy, hopelessness etc...Pathetic! i am!) I would love to think that i will get some satisfaction out of life - Chemical dependency free.
I stopped using Dec 28th. Went through cold turkey w/d over the long weekend (when i felt i should have been using to promote enjoyment) because i did not want to miss work.
Made it a week, then took 1 to get through something. Horrible mistake! It did not lead to total relapse as it had in the past, but amazingly brought back 3 days of physical withdrawal...all the while, mental is my biggest challenge so just feeling miserable in every way shape and form.
Then on the 13th i felt a huge desire that this was not working, wanted to feel better, tried hooking up; denied my DOC. Instead was given a couple something else...
Bottom line, is today is the 19th. Nothing is in my system. I still am having bathroom issues! Cannot warp my head around my work! Soon for certain i will be unemployed unless i can get some motivation to be productive...my office is stacks of papers! my house is worse!
But the real concern is that the drugs numbed me to all the foolish decisions i have made. W/out they are at the forefront - I don't want to face them. I feel i would rather Die...it all seems so hopeless right now. Because of this stress, and lack of a proper toolset to deal with the issues, i have internalized all this...normally it goes to my gut, get cramps and pains...this is right in my chest...i feel my heart, a crazy tension in it. I am a fool for not going to a Doc, but where my headspace is, this sounds uber crazy...i would almost rather die from that than take my life.
I have worked so hard over the past 10 years - Basically accumulating a house full of stuff. Things i love but now am a slave to and in complete fear of losing. It Sucks! i am at such a crux in life. 35 Male, torn between continuing an addiction that has helped me cope with life or stopping and feeling miserable. The 70% that 'catsmeow' quoted is not in line with where i am...i am more like negative 50! I feel so much worse.
Are you sure it's that bad? It shouldn't be, save for loose stools and insomnia, diarrhea often lasts for up to a month, take Imodium for that, at this point it should be mostly an inconvenience, insomnia however lasts a good two months, this it seems takes forever, I know it sucks. Sorry you're having such a hard time with it. I've noticed it seems the more times people relapse the more difficult it seems the w/d's become, not saying that's the case with you. When you're at your point in recovery nothing seems to help more then good vigorous exercise, I hope you're getting some, the more you push yourself the better you will feel, I know its winter, but try and get some sunlight too, and maybe take a multivitamin. There is light at the end of the tunnel, you're doing good, this will be all behind you, keep it up.
Tackling a Couple Pronounced Side Effects
I agree with CatsMeow. However, saying something "shouldn't" happen does not make sense. IF you have it, it IS what it IS. The diarhea can be helped with Immodium, Benefiber, script for Lomotil, and a big bowl of potato chips or tortilla chips. I have extensive experience with this as I am working with Intestinal Rehab following my Sept. and 10th bowel surgery and fighting and am winning over dehydration from severe diarhea. The chips does sound ridiculous BUT they DO help. Intestinal Rehab nutritionist suggested it. Other starches help also but chips starches is the best for me. As far as insomnia, once while in detox program after surgery a few years ago, the rehab doc prescribed Trazodone for sleep. VERY effective and docs are typically willing to write it. Cool thing is that it's sleepy effect comes on within an hour (so get to bed before can't walk well. I'm at a single 150mg dose 1 hour prior to bedtime. I'm 200lb male.), AND after 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep, like a light switch, I wake up. Every time (true for me) with no hangover feeling. Besides exercise, good sleep is necessary to improve head. Not a virtue to also suffer 2 months or more of insomnia. The body needs to make its own chemical adjustment, primarily mechanical in nature as opposed to wishing it away. Trazodone is not the same as garden variety sleep aids in that it can be stopped easily of reducing over a few days IF you want to. Its anti-depressive effects are helpful too. When I experienced these particular improvements other things started to fall into place. I got a good footing from which to clear head and deal with things needing to be done. Talk with your doc first about how these may effect YOUR particular system en totale (i.e. don't want to get too constipated for those who still have large intestine.) The very long term can be helped mentally. I try to tackle one thing at a time whether medication cessation or other issues. Having multiple withdraw side effects happening at same time makes identifying and troubleshooting very miserable and extra difficult as a whole. Hope this helps. Be well!
I didn't go in to why it takes so long, but please read this post by Justin, he explains it very well, it should provide some insight.