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How To Quit Pain Medication - The Right Way
  1. #1
    Remiel26 is offline New Member
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    Post How To Quit Pain Medication - The Right Way

    Hello,

    Before I begin I would like to say that your doctor or healthcare professional should be informed that you would like to quit taking pain medication before anything else is done. This should never be done alone.

    I was addicted to hydrocodone and oxycodone. I had been taking them consistently for 2 years. My problem started when I was involved in a bad car accident that left me in severe pain. I tried to deal with the pain at first, but being 24 years old at the time, it was quite impossible. I was prescribed hydrocodone (Lortabs) 5mg each for the pain. While not yet on a pain management contract, my doctor had prescribed them to me for 5 months. The 5mg doses started to become ineffective so my doctor prescribed me 10mg of hydrocodone and also sent me to the 'pain clinic' Pills, unfortunately, are becoming a very popular method of abuse these days, even more so than most other drugs, especially with young people using it for recreation.
    My doctor put me on a reoccurring dose of 10mg hydrocodone tablets, 2 as needed for pain up to 4 times a day. It doesn't take long at this dose to become addicted.
    While never buying them 'off the street' as many people do, I was given some by a friend who also has a regular prescription. He gave me his oxycodone pills.
    My purpose for this story is to try and help other people quit the right way. I had been taking these pain pills for 2 years and it started to ruin my life. I stopped waking up to my alarm clock and was always late for work. I was moody, emotional, and mean. I also started to lose weight.
    I tried at first to just stop taking the pills. I was never told of withdrawal. That is a huge mistake. Nobody, whether getting pain medication from your doctor or off the street illegally, should have to quit talking pain medication abruptly. It is one of the worst ordeals a human can go through. Withdrawals usually cause severe depression, aches and pain, vomiting and diarrhea, sweating, crying, lack of appetite, and insomnia. The depression was the worst side effect for me. I hear of lots of people on these forums trying to quit suddenly and that is the wrong way to do it. There are lots of things that can tone down or virtually eliminate most side effects of withdrawal from pain pills and this next part will help you, from my experience, deal with it the right way.

    Before I continue there is something that is very important before attempting to quit pain medication. You have to want to quit. You also have to stick to it. I know from experience how hard it can be. I have a very situational mind and I like to justify things. I would think to myself that it would be okay if I just took one more today, because I can take one less tomorrow. When quitting pain medication it is very important to stick to the plan. Deviating from that plan will more or less delay the process and make the withdrawal last longer.
    For those of you who are on high doses of pain medication, it may be necessary to wean down the amount that you take before quitting can become possible. When you are at a manageable dose there are two options that I have found that work wonders.
    The first method is through the use of Suboxone or Subutex. Suboxone is a sublingual drug that is comprised of two different drugs, Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Buprenorphine is a narcotic that takes the place of the other you are currently taking. It prevents the body from having withdrawals from other pain medications. The other ingredient in Suboxone is Naloxone which reverses the effects of other narcotics. It is a narcotic itself but it blocks receptors in the brain that normally are susceptible to other narcotics. Naloxone prevents other narcotics from working completely. While on Suboxone, it is virtually impossible to feel the effects of any other narcotic pain medication. Suboxone is a good choice for people that have problems with restraint because, to put it simply, it makes other drugs not work. Unfortunately Suboxone is HIGHLY regulated and there are probably only a handful of people in your area that are allowed to prescribe it. They have to be licensed with the government and are only allowed to treat a limited number of patients at one time. Suboxone is done both inpatient and outpatient but from my experience, usually reserved for severe cases. There are speical detox centers all over the US that require you to make only an initial visit and then continue the treatment outpatient.

    Suboxone users will most likely experience some withdrawal symptoms as well, but nowhere near the withdrawals experienced from quitting pain medication.

    The other option is through the use of benzodiazepines (Valium) and / or alpha-agonist hypotensives (Clondine) I am a supporter of these methods if you can deal with the sluggishness caused by these two drugs.

    Let me explain why withdrawal from pain medications happens.
    When the body has taken pain medication for a long period of time, the entire body process is slowed down. Mental function, digestion, metabolism is all affected by narcotic pain killers. Your body becomes used to this state of being and when the pain medication is suddenly stopped, the body speeds up very quickly and abruptly. Digestion speeds up which causes vomiting and diarrhea, mental function increases along with the abruptness of removing something your body is used to which causes depression, metabolism increases which causes sweating and chills.
    The goal when quitting pain killers when using valium or Clondine is to slowly let the body adjust to the new pace. If this can be done, then withdrawal symptoms are much less severe. This is way alternative treatments such as marijuana, nicotine, and alcohol are used by some people to help control withdrawal symptoms because they are all depressants and they keep the body's regulatory function slowed down. While I do not condone the use of illegal stimulants I am simply stating the reality of why they work. There are of course, problems with using valium or Clondine. Clondine is a drug that is mainly used for controlling high blood pressure. Its purpose is to lower blood pressure so you must have your blood pressure checked by a professional to insure that you can safely take Clondine or it could drop your blood pressure to very unsafe levels. Both valium and Clondine will also make you feel very tired and sluggish. Stomach ache also occurs frequently. I have heard of a patient taking Clondine for opioid withdrawal. He was prescribed 0.1mg pills 4 x a day for the first day, 3 x the 2nd day, 2 x the third day and 1 x the 4th day. He also had a Clondine patch to carry through the 5th, 6th and 7th days. Most pain medications will be out of your body within 5 to 7 days but it can take up to a month before you feel 100% yourself. It will take some time to let the body adjust to the way it was intended to be but thankfully we only have that 5 - 7 days to worry about for severe withdrawal.

    Other things that can help are:

    • Drink LOTS of water. Nothing better than to filter the body and help get rid of the junk in your body faster. The more the better!
    • Teas without Caffeine help. There is a tea called "Sleepy time" that really does wonders and will help you sleep as insomnia is a side effect of withdrawal.
    • Alcohol has been known to help somewhat because it is a depressant and keeps the body slowed down but I would be careful not to overdo it. Alcohol also dehydrates the body so this could be a negative thing. Watch what you mix it with as well (such as sodas). Caffeine is a stimulant and can increase withdrawal effects as well as dehydrate you.
    • Vitamins and natural herbs help. Anything you can do to give the rest of your body what it has been deprived from is a good idea. Watch out for herbs or vitamins that increase metabolism as the goal is to keep the body slow and slowly let it speed back up.
    • Food is a great idea. Food has never tasted better after quitting pain medication. I've heard that fruits with lots of citrus are a good idea.
    • The last piece of advice would be to stay active. It is easy to want to sleep all day or sit in bed when quitting pain medication. While this can make the time pass I think it is better to stay active. I personally started lifting weights again when I was going through my withdrawals. Probably not the best idea but find something that can take your mind off of the whole thing. It also helped to have people around me. As much as I wanted to be alone when going through hell, I am very glad my wife was here to support me. Nothing beats depression like a good friend to talk to.


    I hope this advice helps some of you but keep in mind that is just advice. I am not a healthcare professional and I do not know everything. No internet forum or blog can take the place of a doctor and as I said at the beginning of this post, no one should do this alone. It is a hard process but before you know it, you will be done and moving on to the rest of your life. Dependence on anything unnatural for survival is a terrible thing and we all have the right to live free from this. My life is a thousand times better now that I am not reliant on hydrocodone for survival. My marriage is better, I got a raise at work, my friends want to see me more. It was the best thing I've ever done in my life. Good luck and I will be checking back to this post to anyone that has questions or comments.
    Last edited by ddcmod; 06-16-2010 at 04:06 AM.

  2. #2
    want to be clean is offline New Member
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    Unhappy sober in May of 1988

    his was very helpful i got sober in May of 1988 and did great until i fell and broke my back in 2005, although i go to meetings and do not drink or use any drugs these pain killers are killing me. i recently have passed 5 kidney stones in the last 7 weeks {really 5} i see how i can not use these meds safely. my script is for 240 per month and it is not lasting the full month basically i need help!! i feel i can do it without a rehab but not without help i could not quit drinking without help and now i cannot quit this without help over the last few years i have stopped a few times but then the addiction takes control again i can ween off as i have not been honest with my docter and my wife has access to Valium i do not like valium but if it will help me stop taking pain killers then i am willing to try anything!! any response to this would be greatly appreciated

  3. #3
    ARTIST658 is offline Platinum Member
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    Remie,

    I can see that you are fairly new to our forum, and thank you for sharing your experience with overcoming addiction. Most of your points are quite valid, and have been expressed time after time all through this forum. However, your way is NOT the only (or only right) way, and the title and gist of your post are, well, a bit grandious.

    There are many ways to deal with painkiller addiction. Some folks CAN taper, but most addicts can NOT. (The loss of control over ones' drug use is one of the most common hallmarks of drug addiction.) Perhaps, some addicts can drink alcohol safely, but MOST addicts can NOT! Sharing any advice to moderate withdrawal symptoms with alcohol is quite suspect to me. I have never heard this kind of "advice" by any addictions specialist. Sometimes, benzos (like valium) are needed, but many times, it is ill-advised. Some folks work well with suboxone, and many times, it is not the best approach.

    I work in the field of substance abuse, specifically at a long-term treatment center for women. In other words, I frequently assist clients with drug withdrawal. Each person has to be considered individually, to determine what will work best for them. Whenever I see or hear the words, "The RIGHT way to quit..." or "the BEST way to quit..." - I cringe, recognizing the grandiosity of one person's own experience. It's arrogant for any of us to believe that we have the one and only "right" way to handle addiction.

    As for your description of how painkillers slow the body down and sudden withdrawal will speed it all up - I'd love to know your reference material for this information. I'm not familiar with this particular viewpoint, despite advanced education in the field of substance abuse, and would like to read more about it. Could you let us know where this "description" came from?

    God bless,
    Ruth

  4. #4
    sue13 is offline Member
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    I am no expert at any of this stuff, but I surely got addicted to pain pills! Once I realized it was a full-blown addiction and I had to have more and more I came here in great despair and thankfully, Robert took me under his wing and through a taper and then a jump-off with (bearable) withdrawals I got through it.

    Exercise really helped, hot showers, whining on here when I couldn't sleep at night. Artist, you seem to be here a lot with good advice and I thought there were good points in the first post. I have known many to go on Suboxone (I am glad I did not take that route as people seem to have just as much trouble withdrawing from that).

    But do quit with some knowledgeable support from this site, or a doctor or I think now there are a lot of NA meetings that seem very helpful...

    Sue

  5. #5
    Help plz is offline New Member
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    Default Plz help me

    I have been taking pain meds since 07....omg I can't stop I can't stand the wd after 24 hours I'm freezing sweating sick but I want to stop ..I found a clinc I can goto but they only do intake at 6am problem is my husband don't knowim as bad as i am I'm afraid to tell him and I know you all will say to tell him but it's not that easy with him he's gonna call me an addict and never let me live this down plzz someone tell me what to do I have 7 pills left and don't get mine till next week plzzz I don't wanna do this anymore

  6. #6
    xoesmom is offline Member
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    Help plz, you are going to need support, can't you tell your husband? You may be surprised at how he reacts. You should also make your own post so others will see it and can help you along the way. Hope to hear more from you...Susan

  7. #7
    NoMoreOxy is offline Senior Member
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    Hello plz.

    As Susan said, go here: http://www.drugs.com/forum/need-talk/ and click the "New Thread" button.

    Give your thread a title and start typing. Start by giving us a little background about your history and drug of choice. How much have you been using and for how long? That kind of thing...

    I can tell you, I'm on day 11 quiting cold turkey and I feel pretty much normal. You will have 4-5 days of feeling really bad, and then all of the sudden you will feel improvement. It's the greatest feeling in the world when you realize you aren't taking pills and you are starting to feel better!

    Stay strong! You can do this. After all, there are hundreds of pill-free people on this board who have been right where you are.

    Good luck!

    NMO
    Last edited by NoMoreOxy; 04-06-2012 at 08:10 AM.

  8. #8
    jenny4499 is offline New Member
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by Help plz View Post
    I have been taking pain meds since 07....omg I can't stop I can't stand the wd after 24 hours I'm freezing sweating sick but I want to stop ..I found a clinc I can goto but they only do intake at 6am problem is my husband don't knowim as bad as i am I'm afraid to tell him and I know you all will say to tell him but it's not that easy with him he's gonna call me an addict and never let me live this down plzz someone tell me what to do I have 7 pills left and don't get mine till next week plzzz I don't wanna do this anymore
    I understand completely, my husband is the same way. I just had back surgery 4mths ago and been on pain meds for about 3 yrs.The last 2 times ive gotten my meds they have been stolen, still havent found out who done it but this last time i had just got them filled so now im trying to figure out what to do because ive been through w/d before and it was the worst thing ive had to go through( rather go through child birth lol) and since my nerve meds were stolen to i cant even have that to help me through.So what can i do to get help cause even though im taking it the way im suppose to if i go to get help they will look at me as a addict and ill lose my meds for good.

  9. #9
    cheeky is offline Diamond Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenny4499 View Post
    I understand completely, my husband is the same way. I just had back surgery 4mths ago and been on pain meds for about 3 yrs.The last 2 times ive gotten my meds they have been stolen, still havent found out who done it but this last time i had just got them filled so now im trying to figure out what to do because ive been through w/d before and it was the worst thing ive had to go through( rather go through child birth lol) and since my nerve meds were stolen to i cant even have that to help me through.So what can i do to get help cause even though im taking it the way im suppose to if i go to get help they will look at me as a addict and ill lose my meds for good.
    so do you want to get clean, or just get by till your next script... sounds like you are not quite ready to give up... and just want help to get by,,, meds getting 'stolen' is a big red flag... sounds like you are actually an addict but havent yet admitted it to yourself...

    you could get yourself to a NA meeting and talk to others about your situation... failing that, you need to have enough to try and taper your dose down...

    what dose do you take daily. ? and what dose are you supposed to take daily ? and what is it you take. ?

    really sounds like you are an addict, you dont have to be gettin them illegally and taking them for pleasure to be an addict, there are many people who become addicted by taking meds prescribed by their doctor, no shame in that. at all... doesnt matter how you get addicted, the fact is, that you are.

    how long do you have to get thru till your next script?

    i know lots of questions but it is hard to help without knowing the full story. also this thread is a couple of years old, i can see you must be looking hard for some help...

    welcome to the forum, hope you can get the answers you are looking for

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