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Surgery & Addiction
Ok, so....what happens when you become addicted to painkillers, kick the habbit, and then need surgery? I know EVERYONE is different, so I guess I'm just looking to see if anyone here has been down that road and what happened.
Hello Kristin and welcome to the forum.
Originally Posted by Kristin13
If you kick the habit then need surgery basically nothing bad happens as you kicked the habit. You are clean so proceed with the surgery as warrented. Just be sure to tell your surgical team as well as your primary or whomever is the focal point or coordinator for all this that you were addicted to pain medication and what kind. The more knowledge they have the better and it is all for your benefit. Believe me that they have heard it all so there is no need to hide any information from the professional medical team you are with.
The only concern is that once the surgery is over they will most likely script you some sort of pain medication while you recover. Here in is the danger. We addicts are much more prone to relapse when taking narcotic pain medication after any procedure. At first it starts off innocently enough and most take it as instructed. Then when an OTC pain medication be it acetaminophen or an NSAID class med would suffice more often than not the narcotic is taken and the replapse starts. This is a very good reason that your professional medical team should know of this past addiction. There are other medication that can be given other than narcotics and although they may or may not work as well as a narcotic, as you stated everyone is different, they can combine it with other meds to make it more efficient. Incidentally speaking of scripting meds don't be surprised if they also script an antidepressant in what I call the "tyline" class. This will usually be a med called Amitriptyline or another one called Nortriptyline. THEY ARE NOT SCRIPTING IT FOR DEPRESSION so please don't misunderstand the purpose of this script. They may or may not explain why but just in case they don't the reason is that they have found that when the "tyliine" class of antidepressant is given in along with the pain meds it enhances the effects. This class of antidepressant has been found to relax smooth muscle tissue quite effectively which is why you so often also see it scripted to patients with gastroenterological issues. Ulcerative colitis, IBD, IBS, as well as many other conditions.
Serious self control must be used at all times if they script you a narcotic pain med and you decide to use it. Being an addict in remission myself I would highly recommend that unless absolutely necessary and I do mean absolutely that the narcotic pain med be avoided. The temptation is just too great.
Good results on the surgery and let us know how you are!
Henry - Thank you SO much for the reply! I'm not scheduled for surgery any time soon. I just know that sometime in the next 5 years or so I'll be going down that road. Your post was extremely informative and sets my mind at ease. I will for sure tell them all about the pain med addiction when the time comes. Thanks again friend!
Good morning Kristin,
Originally Posted by Kristin13
I am glad you took it positively. Sometimes folks that are here take things the wrong way when the intentions were well meant.
Having gone through this myself and after helping many people get over their addictions it is very important that we all let our medical professionals know everything about our addictions. There is nothing to hide from them after all we go to them for help and they are there to help so it would not make sense to hide information from them. I fully understand also that as addicts we have tendencies to try and hide our weaknesses but in revelations we become stronger. A good example would be a person that is hooked on subs. As you probably have read on here that many doctors and medical professionals really have no clue as to the proper usage of subs. My own doctor for example first scripted me Suboxone 8mgs tablets 4 times a day for a grand total of 32mgs of sub per day! Now at that time not knowing anything about subs I took the script but as I was getting it filled something just didn't sound right so still being naïve I decided to cut it in half and take 16mgs. Man did I feel terrible! Lucky for me I stumble across this forum and Robert. He inducted me at, you are going to love this I did, only 1.25mgs total per day!!! I followed his recommendations to the letter and was done and clean in no time and this is after many years of various opiate pain medication abuse. I just celebrated my 2 years clean last November 11th and don’t even have any cravings for it nor do I miss them. In fact I had opiate pain meds scripted to me since for various injuries or surgeries and decided to just use Ibuprofen and although I could have been more comfortable I just plowed my way through it and was done.
The danger of not telling the medical team especially when on subs is that most often they use opiate based medications sometimes prior but especially during and post surgeries and if one is on subs for what ever reason that can cause some very ugly complications.
Ruth (Artist658) posted a VERY interesting post regarding THIQ and it is not only very interesting but answers a lot of questions, https://www.drugs.com/forum/need-tal...ion-58760.html, as to why and other reasons we become addicted, stay addicted, crave, relapse, etc…
The sad thing about medical professionals is that the vast majority, if not all, of them have never been an addict so they really have no clue what we addicts have gone through. To them it seems an easier manner to “just quit”. They have no clue what it is like worrying about our next hit, counting pills, money wasted, relationships destroyed, friends and family issues, etc… One of the things I have always said was that for a medical professional to be able to treat addiction especially with the use of subs is that a prerequisite should be that they be former addicts themselves. Their bed side manner would improve for sure as well as their compassion and consideration for what we all face.
I am very glad that you stand fast on your convictions to attain the knowledge prior so you can plan correctly before hand. WAY TO GO!!!
Hope to see you around and have a great day!
Henry has given you a lot of good advice, he surely knows his stuff. I just wanted to add my 2 cents worth, in case this helps.
Advising your doctor and surgeon of your history of drug addiction IS essential, yes - but I do not trust that is enough to keep an addict "safe" from relapse. Sadly, many, many doctors are rather ignorant about addiction, and do not realize the full ramifications of prescribing a narcotic for a recovering addict.
So I keep one more safety net in place if/when I need a narcotic, like after surgery. I do not ever handle the prescription or the prescription bottle, as I KNOW my disease, and I can't trust where one pill might lead me. When that drug enters my body, all bets are off.
I always rely on my husband (a non-addict) to hold onto the prescription, keep it very well hidden, and dispense it to me to take as prescribed. I trust myself completely when I'm clean and sober - but that does not hold true once a pill is in my body. My addict brain doesn't know the narcotic is there only for relief from the surgical pain; it reacts as an addict, regardless of why I took the drug. The best i've been able to describe it is, "One pill is enough to hijack my brain."
I take the narcotic for the shortest time possible, and turn to other, non-addictive meds soon after, as Henry mentioned.
This is just the safeguard I keep in place to protect my cherished recovery. I worked long and hard for this gift, and I don't take chances with it.
You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.