... decade long addiction to prescription opiate medications, including going to a methadone clinic for two years, that only ended in relapse. It seems like I should be feeling like I've won some sort of a battle; my craving is not gone, yet severely diminished. However, I still do not feel what I would consider "normal" or any enjoyment from doing daily activities. It's like I'm a drone, just going along, not hurting anyone, but with no passion or desire for anything. I have attempted to become involved with more activities, have even started training for a marathon, but everything is just met with such a bland sensation. I Have an understanding that it takes some time for opiate abusers (espeically to the degree of which I was) to return to normal brain-chemistry wise, but does anyone have an idea how long this could take, and what I might do to alleviate the current staleness until then?
Hang in there ofmiceandmen,
You maybe suffering from a condition called PAWS or post acute withdrawal syndrome. You can google this and read about it. It can take many months for the brain chemistry to recuperate and you may need a short term run of an antidepressant. You sound like you are doing the right things, staying active, execising, but if you are still suffering then a mild antidepressant maybe helpful.
p. s. Good book by the way.
I can relate to what u are talking about, as if I'm reading my own story. I have been on Methadone for 11 years, 365mg. No Joke, they had to move it like that after I was in a near fatal motorcycle accident of which I was the passenger. A car hit us and I now have a right arm shoulder and elbow made of Titanium. Other pain meds were of course given, but the methadone helped the most and now I Don,t want to move down on the dose. Anyway, when u described the despair, the complete lack of desire to even answer a phone, or take a shower. I am 35, and have suffered with depression since I was little. Nothing compares to how bad it is if you are involuntarily or financially having to detox from methadone. I finally came to the conclusion that I will be on it for the rest if my life. I have had several attempts at withdrawal. The longest was in 2003 at a rehab in Florida that I was off methadone for 3 months.
Relapsed and did it again for a few months but I wasn't able to handle it. I also tried everything like exercise to get my brain making process going again, but no such luck. I at one point was talking to a psychology therapist that I didn't care about life, I had felt like a zombie for o long. I was in hell. Some people say its worth it to stick it out but its not for everyone. I looked at my situation w my husband and with the doc at the clinic learned that being on methadone long term is better than the alternative .I know myself, and without methadone, I would just get sick and eventually use something worse. I am not trying to encourage you from seeking off the drug, but I am just giving you another way to solve this if full withdrawal isn't for u. I have my resources on this topic and others on addiction and addiction meds. Good luck to you and please feel free to ask me anything. It can help to know that can understand our pain. Especially when it is completely misunderstood by society.
dear Steinbeck, you are in a tough place and I can relate. 12 years of prescription narcotics, ending with 5 years of methadone and cold turkey. That horrible dark emptiness is a problem, and yes, I still deal with it too. Daily. sometimes I think that it was there first, which is why narcotics are SOOO tempting for us. They seem to block, fill or help us ignore that empty blahness. Now, I'm not sure why some of us are this way, nature, nurture, brain damage from drug use. who knows? But I can share with you how I survive it so far, and what things seem to help. I strongly think that AA/NA meetings help, even if you go sporadically on your worse days. Doing the 12 steps helps even more. If you aren't into that and at some times I just can't go, do to life circumstances, I have discovered some other things help as well. a) starting your day with either a prayer of gratitude or a gratitude journal.
B) service to your fellow living beings (help at an animal rescue if you aren't ready for people, anything from regular volunteer work to mowing/ shoveling at a neighbors house.(helping anonymously is even funner). Helping anyone, in anyway, even a smile or a compliment for someone who might need one. C) anything out doors. exercise to a picnic or reading a book in the sun. d) counseling (yes, really, but someone tough, who will not let you feel sorry for yourself.) E) forgiving your self, every day is a new day, fresh and clean. F) MUSIC find out what works for you, it can turn me around really quick. I use different types for different moods. It is my miracle cure. G)Saraquil- this a prescription medication. It was prescribed to me for sleep, it is classified as a mood stabilizer, but I found that I did not sink into the depths of dispare last winter while taking it, and last year was the worst of my life so far(divorce hell). H) experiment, go back to what made you happy as a kid. Drawing? singing? playing games? Hanging with friends? skateboarding? rock climbing? kite flying? model building? any form of creativity, something must have helped you feel happy sometime in your life, if not there is a WORLD of things that you could try. I) make a bucket list and give yourself permission to do SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF. Give yourself permission to be happy. you do deserve to be happy. it is a choice. J)try faith, any kind, make up your own if you need to.
Avoid isolation at ALL cost. It will kill you. And, as you know, drugs and alcohol don't help either, it will just kill you sooner. Hang in there. Your brain can heal, but we are in charge of our own thought processes. Watch your self talk and negative thoughts, reverse them. If you need to talk more about this very real situation, let me know. I will try to help in any way I can. Life will get better, I promise.
Hi - You're describing the term "anhedonia" exactly. The feeling of taking no pleasure in anything, flat, no passion or desire. It sounds like the depression that usually happens after being free of opiates. But, it does get better, really. You don't say how long you've been off the opiates, but the older we are, the longer it takes to get back to "normal". There are lots of good suggestions here, but sometimes we just really have to fake it until we get there... several months. For me, I replaced all my hobbies with opiates many years ago when I was using, so when I got sober/clean, I wasn't even sure what I liked or wanted to do! But, it sounds like you're taking alot of action, so you should be feeling better each week. Don't rule out taking an anti-depressant, if even just temporarily. And, find a good counselor, if you can, meetings, and all the other suggestions given here.Good luck! Jillian
It seems as if my question was cut off in the middle and did not post properly. To add some background information that was originally in the question, I am 26 years old, and had been using/abusing opiates since the age of 14. My length of sobriety is just over the one year mark.
- Methadone Information for Consumers
- Methadone Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Methadone (detailed)
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