Can You Use Opiates Ever Again After An Addiction?

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mrspile
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/13/2008 9:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all. I have a very serious question. Once you have been addicted to Oxy, can you ever take it again, short term, without problems? I guess i am equating it to alcoholism.
For instance I am thinking about getting dentures. So having all of my teeth pulled will need pain meds for a few days. Then what about surgeries or any other normal short term usage of opiates? Is it possible? Or do you have to stay completely away from them for good, once you have been " addicted"? I think it would be impossible to go through life without ever needing "normal" pain pills, on occassion.
I will ask my dr. but she is the one who told me I would not be in danger of addiction with the dosage I was taking. Percocet 7.5/325 - up to 8 tabs a day. She was dead wrong. I just think docs are so misinformed, by the drug manufacturing co. I do not understand why she insisted I would not become addicted, then I did. Now I am worried about the future. I hope short term usage, for whatever reasons, that come up, is still possible.
Thanks to all.
God Bless.

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2203
   Posted 8/13/2008 10:17 AM (GMT -7)   
From what I've seen, people who struggle with addiction will always struggle with it. The question is whether you were really addicted or just dependent on the med. If you were dependent (see the post on addiction, dependence & tolerance for more info) then that means you would still go through withdrawal, but you wouldn't be destroying your life to get the meds. Addicts will seek out narcs regardless of the consequences on their family life, friendships or employability. They will lie, cheat or steal to get the drugs if needed. If you really have been diagnosed with addictive tendencies (a psychologist could give you a definite answer) then you will probably always struggle with it. I do know of a couple of people who struggle with addiction who have been able to manage being on patches/pumps under careful doctor's supervision. Usually their doc will only give them one or two patches at a time to prevent abuse. Sometimes pharmacists can also get involved in helping to manage this through distributing the patches throughout the month instead of all at once. Not all docs are willing to do this, but if your pain is keeping you from being able to do much of anything, there are probably options if you look around. Also, my neurologist is concluding a phase II study of a non-narcotic pain medication that is supposedly as powerful as narcs so that may become an option for people in the future. You never know with these things, but if that one doesn't work out, odds are there'll be something else that will come along later.

If you were just dependent, then more careful monitoring of the medication, taking periodic breaks and such can prevent dependency in the future. Most of the time I have been able to avoid dependency by doing this. Sometimes the pain is so bad I choose to get treatment even though I know the withdrawal period will be very rough.

As far as the dental work, I have a close friend who is a recovering addict. She has been sober for 13 years, but 2 years ago was worried about having to get several implants. The dentist was able to work something out for her to manage her pain without using anything addicting. There are a fair number of people who have that issue either from street use or prescription abuse, so check with your dentist to see what they might have.

Hope this helps!

take care,
frances

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 8/13/2008 10:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear Mrspile,
I don't have time right now to go ito an extensive explanation, but addition is not just an "emotional" issue. Please see the thread I posted on this topic which helps clarify addiction, tolerance and dependence if you haven't already, so you can try to see if you are talking about addiction or dependence. What makes you think you are addicted as opposed to dependent? One clear sign is difficulty taking medications as prescribed. Is there a history in your family of addiciton? Genetics can play a role in who becomes an addict versus the normal dependence any of us taking addictive medications develop over time. Someone with a genetic predisposition may become addicted to pain medication even without a prior history of addiciton because of gentics.

But addiction is also physical, not just emotional. I say this with some professional background. Once your body has developed a tolerance for certain medications, it may likely return to that level of tolerance quickly with future use. People who truly are addicts should see an addictionologist, who is a medical doctor with a specialty in Addiction Medcine. There are protocols to use for people who are addicts who, for example, may need surgery. The Addictionologist should be involved with your other doctors in outlining a plan of care, including pre and post surgical needs.

PaLady

Scarred_for_life
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1559
   Posted 8/13/2008 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Mrspile;

I agree with everyone else's post here. There is a huge difference between addiction and dependence. I am dependent on my medications as is almost everyone in pain. The biggest difference is that if you are taking your medications as prescribed then you are dependent on them to keep you from being in pain. I am on Percocet and do not go over my maximum daily amount but need them for the B/T pain to keep me from hurting all the time. Where as addiction you will take more just to get a buzz or feel stoned and will do anything to get that pill so that you can feel good.

My son used to be an addict but when I caught him stealing my medications I went off on him and he realized that I was serious about the situation and brought them back to me. He came home in May and actually admitted to me that he had stolen more then I actually knew of just to get high. I was glad to see that he got off of this addiction and he told me that by me screaming at him and threatening to call the police made him realize that he was headed down the wrong path and made him turn his life around. This is a example of an addict.

Anyway, I would go to your doctor and explain the situation, that way they can have peace of mind.

good luck :-)
Scarred
HEALTH ISSUES: Herniated discs at S-1-L5, L5-L4, L4-L3. Two level fusion (2000); one level fusion (2002); Revision at L4-L3 (2003). Diagnosed with Failed Back Syndrome, Permanent Nerve damage and Chronic Pain

Medications:

Kadian, Lexipro, Percocet, Temazapim, Lunista, and Robaxin.


mrspile
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/13/2008 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much to all. I can only believe that I am physically addicted, (maybe) because there are many times I am not in pain but if I try to skip a dose, my body screams in retaliation. I get the severe RLS. My skin crawls. My bones feel like they are turning themselves inside out. I HURT in ways that is not even related to the neck pain, initially the reason for the percocet prescription. I have always consulted my dr about adjusting my dosages, and feel i have never abused the meds. I do not mentally "crave" the pills at all. I actually wish I did not have to take them unless for neck pain relief. Then when I try, it is not going to happen. My body won't allow it. So as I see it, the dependence is not so much what I am having the trouble with as the addicition (physical)? Does this sound right?
PAlady, I did get to read your thread, and understand it, thank you, it helps. But it is horrible when you don't want to take them ALL of the time, and your body won't allow you to skip a dose. So I need to get off these things ASAP.
God Bless.

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2203
   Posted 8/13/2008 11:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Only a doctor can say for sure, but here's an article that I found that can maybe help clarify the difference between addiction & dependence. The article is published in conjunction with the NIH, so it would seem to be a reliable source. Naturally, it's no substitute for a doctor.

http://www.cpmission.com/main/addiction.html

I've cut out a section of the article that hopefully can address some of your concerns:

Behaviors suggestive of addiction may include: inability to take medications according to an agreed upon schedule, taking multiple doses together, frequent reports of lost or stolen prescriptions, doctor shopping, isolation from family and friends and/or use of non-prescribed psychoactive drugs in addition to prescribed medications. Other behaviors which may raise concern are the use of analgesic medications for other than analgesic effects, such as sedation, an increase in energy, a decrease in anxiety, or intoxication; non-compliance with recommended non-opioid treatments or evaluations; insistence on rapid-onset formulations/routes of administration; or reports of no relief whatsoever by any non-opioid treatments.

Adverse consequences of addictive use of medications may include persistent sedation or intoxication due to overuse; increasing functional impairment and other medical complications; psychological manifestations such as irritability, apathy, anxiety or depression; or adverse legal, economic or social consequences. Common and expected side effects of the medications, such as constipation or sedation due to use of prescribed doses, are not viewed as adverse consequences in this context. ***It should be emphasized that no single event is diagnostic of addictive disorder. Rather, the diagnosis is made in response to a pattern of behavior that usually becomes obvious over time.***

Pseudoaddiction is a term which has been used to describe patient behaviors that may occur when pain is undertreated. Patients with unrelieved pain may become focused on obtaining medications, may "clock watch," and may otherwise seem inappropriately "drug seeking." Even such behaviors as illicit drug use and deception can occur in the patient's efforts to obtain relief. Pseudoaddiction can be distinguished from true addiction in that the behaviors resolve when pain is effectively treated.

Physical dependence on and tolerance to prescribed drugs do not constitute sufficient evidence of psychoactive substance use disorder or addiction. They are normal responses that often occur with the persistent use of certain medications. Physical dependence may develop with chronic use of many classes of medications. These include beta blockers, alpha-2 adrenergic agents, corticosteroids, antidepressants and other medications that are not associated with addictive disorders.

**When drugs that induce physical dependence are no longer needed, they should be carefully tapered while monitoring clinical symptoms to avoid withdrawal phenomena and such effects as rebound hyperalgesia. Such tapering, or withdrawal, of medication should not be termed detoxification.** At times, anxiety and sweating can be seen in patients who are dependent on sedative drugs, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, and who continue taking these drugs. This is usually an indication of development of tolerance, though the symptoms may be due to a return of the symptoms of an underlying anxiety disorder, due to the development of a new anxiety disorder related to drug use, or due to true withdrawal symptoms.

Mrs. Pile,
Please be careful with the idea of getting off of your meds "ASAP". Regardless of whether your are dependent or addicted, your body has become habituated to having the medicine in your system. It is super important to follow your doctor's orders & let him know if your symptoms become worse. I don't know about your individual case, but I have seen people try to stop "cold turkey" and ended up with seizures and heart problems. You need to be careful when decreasing the dose & allow your body time to adjust to each lower level. You can get off them if you want to, but it needs to be controlled & carefully monitored by a doctor.

take care & feel better,
frances

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 8/13/2008 12:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Mrspile,
i'm not sure you do understand the article I referenced. Physical dependence and addiction are NOT the same thing, and so far everything I've read from you indicates more that you are simply physically dependent on the medication, which as has been said by many of us, happens with many of these medications. If you go to your doctor and say you think you are "addicted" and that doctor doens't have a good understanding of how to clarify the distinction (and believe me, some doctors don't, unless they're addiciton or pain specialists) it may get noted in your record in a way that could cause lots of problems for you down the road. Use the word "dependent', and discuss with your doctor that you want to discontinue this medicaiton and see about other ways to treat your pain. However here's the rub - most of us want the same thing. We don't want to be taking these medicaitons but find when we decrease or discontinue them the pain returns. The pain is the reason we're taking them to begin with. Certainly if your pain can be managed with fewer or less potent medications (or non-pharmaceutical approaches like physical therapy, acupuncture, etc.) then that's the preferable route. How I wish I could manage my pain that way! But most of us on this forum have found those things aren't enough and we're left to choose between having absoutely no quality of ife due to pain, or getting some pieces of life back with the best medication that we can find. That's why it's call pain "management".

Maybe you really need to work with your doctor so that you know inside that you do or don't need the medication, but if you find you do need it, then you need to take it as prescribed or you'll go through the mini-withdrawals that you're having now. And that can be dangerous. Better to take a lower dose of something that you take consistently then take a high dose to cover the pain then let it the pain return with a vengeance before taking more. Then it requires even more medication to cover the pain that's returned. Anyway, this is something to plan out with your doctor (hopefully a pain management specialist or a PCP who knows what he/she is doing with pain meds) and not play with on your own. But look at the symptoms described in the excerpt Frances posted above re: addiction. Do you find the behaviors to be true of you? If so, maybe you do need to discuss addiction with your doctor. But if it's only what you're describing in your previous post about what happens when you try to skip a dose, that's the physical DEPENDENCE issue.

Hope this helps!

PaLady

mrspile
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/13/2008 5:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Frances and PAlady, so much. I know I am being very hopeful about getting off of these Percocets, and the reality is another thing. I agree that I am dependent, because I do not take more than the prescribed dose and always have about 100 ahead each month. I do not ever feel a high from them. Barely, and rarely do they relieve my pain, when I do have it. But, I only have the pain about once a week now and am hoping that is going to be the same if I can get off the meds. I guess I am just trying to think positive and will myself to believe I don't need to be on them. I need to also be aware that I may never be able to live without pain management with meds. I am just going to try to get off them and see how it goes, step by step, day by day. I did go see my dr today. My BP was great so far. She was actually amazed at how dependent my body had become on them at the dose I am taking. (6 pills a day) Oh well, each of us is different. She is proud I am doing this, and hopes I can. But I may be living in a fantasy. I am aware that you all wish you did not have to depend on meds, as I feel the same. It just stinks to have such a horrible little thing, have such a control over your everyday life. Thanks again everyone, so much, for all your support, and help. I need it.
God Bless

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2203
   Posted 8/13/2008 6:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Glad you got support from your doctor.


We'll make it through this. You have a great attitude & that goes a long way. The pain does increase a little when you're first going off. Your body gets used to having the pain meds in its system so it doesn't make as many of the natural endorphins until the dose has been lowered for a while. I know that bothers me, so I'm planning to go do some water aerobics to try to get them back up so hopefully the pain doesn't get too much for me to handle.

Even if you can't get off of them right away, by reducing the dose you will be reducing the severity of withdrawal in the future. It helps me to think about that when I'm getting really frustrated that I'm not getting off of something fast enough. Then before you know it, you will be able to tolerate a lower & lower dose until you're off. We'll have to have a virtual celebration once you & me & Lesa (& anyone else) reach our goals! ;)

Keep going!
frances

PS -- but if for some reason you discover that you really just need the pain meds to make it through every day life, that's nothing at all to be ashamed of.

mrspile
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/13/2008 6:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Awww, thanks so much Frances. I am very excited to have the celebration with you and anyone else who can make it off these. I will look forward to it. I am giving myself a realistic goal of about a month and a half. I will bring the cyber wine.

ladyred
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 8/13/2008 6:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello mr and I am sorry to here about what you are goin through.
 
First what concerns me is that your doctor would tell you that that isnt a high enough dose to get addicted to.  I dont see how any doctor can say that as every person is unique and there for there is no constant in anything or any med.  There may be a majority but not a defendant.
 
Second I really dont think you have an addition problem either but a physical dependancy as others have stated.
 
My daughter is a recover herion addict.  She stole, lied, lost jobs, friends, and was willing to do whatever she could to get high and you defendantly do not sound like that.
 
But as always consult with your doctor and am glad that you are aware or your limitations and you concerns but just be aware that you should not at your own expence of suffering.
 
I am in that place right now and took myslef off of all pain meds expt napersion and I suffer everyday some days not even being able to fuction. 
 
The reason I do this is because I am afraid that my daugher will get my meds and relasp and I quess in some ways I am afraid of addition myself because of her...
 
But the thread about addition and dependance is a great artical and puts alot in to prespective I suggest you read it, it was very helpful to me.
 
Lara

tephillip
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/22/2014 8:40 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been prescribed pain meds for well over ten years. I didn't take them much when I drank but since I quit drinking, I have taken them religiously. I took them so much it ended my marriage. I never meant for it to go that far but I had erectile problems and then had a problem giving the meds up when I realized that was the erectile problem. I got a buzz when I first started taking but then the buzz went away and the need started. I got sick when I didn't take and now I am seeing this and wanting to stop. I have to ween myself off but am now on 10/325 Percocet 5x a day and I sometimes take more. End of month comes and I am out and I get sick. I am tired of the dependence so I am considering moving to Colorado where Marijuana is legal so I can take it for pain. They grow strains specifically grown for pain. I thinki this will save my liver and will help me around all together. I have lost custody of my child and have decided that I wont' go back to alcohol because of it. I drank heavily for 15 years, 30pk a day. Quit now over 4 years. No 12 step help! I think the meds took its place and that don't make me happy. I was prescribed them though, that is supposed to make it OK. wink wink... So, since I am single and can't see my 2 year old I am going to move to the pot scene and ski a little while I am still young and able. Have to get into low income housing so I will stay in a homeless shelter until I come up on the list which I am sure is a little bit of a wait. Will give me a chance to save some of my disability checks. I will camp in the park when I can and sleep in my explorer when I cant get a bed. Life is pretty bad right now!

nvrthesame98
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 5123
   Posted 3/23/2014 3:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Tep and welcome to HW. This is a very old thread and folks here can offer you a lot of advice but are likely to miss your post here. If you would please go to the top rt hand corner and click "post new topic" and make an intro post,you can copy and paste this if you want but I want to be sure you get welcomed and help and support here.

I will lock this thread so you dont get replies in 2 places. Its not uncommon for alcoholics to switch addictions but theres hope for you and your pain that wont interfere with your addiction.

Looking forward to seeing your new post.
Vickie
CHRONIC PAIN MODERATOR
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