Never been the same after Narcotics withdrawals

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 8/9/2011 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   

(I re-read this and I am sorry about the length of it in advance!)



I was wondering what everyone's thoughts were about this since I can't seem to get a straight answer from any doctor, online resource, or anything else...


I am a 32 year old male, average build, below average health.

In February of this year I came off of 40mg x3 Oxycotyn and 60+mg Vicodin after being on them for about two years.  It was the worst experience of my life and lasted nearly three weeks, but I prevailed.  The only problem is, I feel like I have never been the same since then.  Not mentally, physically. 


I feel weak, tired all the time, I have no motivation, constant headaches, and my stomach is out of control.  I have pain and diarrhea every morning 7 or 8 times and then don't go again until the next morning.  I kind of feel like I am dying a little bit.  I can barely make it through the day at work, so I can crawl into bed around 7 pm to wake up around 5 am! I can not live like this anymore.  The doctor can't find anything wrong with me and thinks I am a hypochondriac.


I know already about depression, I have always had that, and I have already changed meds/increased doses so that isn't it.  I never had any of these issues before, even when I was on the narcs for 2 years! 


I almost feel like the withdrawals induced some kind of autoimmune response or something!  I feel like hell, all the time, for no reason. 

And I get actually sick now ALL THE TIME, like every two weeks I fall very, very ill with something, and it drags on for way longer then it should.


Has anyone been through this?  *** is happening to me? 

I used to be normal, even when I had chronic neck pain for two years I felt nothing like this!


I don't know what to do and I have exhausted all of my outlets and ideas.



Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 816
   Posted 8/9/2011 4:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, wow, this is bad, I have gone thru withdrawals cold turkey, I will never allow this to happen to me again, I thought I was going to die.  But after about 2 months most of the withdrawal symtoms were gone.  Then i was left with the horrible pain, that I went off the meds for, just to make sure I really was in pain.  Well that question I will never ask myself again.  I am.
Have you seen a gastro sorry cant spell the rest but a doctor that checks for ulcers, and many other stomach related issues.  If you havent, maybe you should.  This is very sad, if you are not in chronic pain anymore after 2 years, then that is great for you.   But the other things are just as bad.  Maybe you can have your doctor recommend a stomach doctor that specializes in things that are going on with you.
Good luck to you, and I hope you are feeling better today. 
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1235
   Posted 8/9/2011 5:54 PM (GMT -6)   
There is something called PAWS- post acute withdrawal syndrome. Not all people get it but it does happen. That may be in part what you are dealing with. It may also be completely unrelated to the stoppage of your opiate medication. Did you abuse the meds or take them as prescribed?
PAWS can continue for some months, it is usually seen in opiates like methadone, and suboxone but has been reported in other opiate medications as well.
The good news is that it does go away, but it takes time for it to do so. I don't know how fast you went off the medications, or if you followed a tapering plan but from my understanding of this syndrome, it may be that you went off the meds too fast, and that is what is triggering your body's response.
I think if I were you, I would see an internist and have them do some bloodwork to rule out any other causes, and also a gastroenterologist to rule out any gastric problems before assuming that it may be related to the stoppage of oxycontin and vicoden.
I'm sorry that you are feeling bad and hope that you feel better quickly.
Motorcycle accident 1992, Back problems from 92 to 2005. August 2005- early 2006- Chiropractor care
March 2006- consult with surgeon -PLIF/TLIF L4-5, spondylolysthesis, canal and foraminal stenosis, multiple herniations
Post Op Cauda Equina Syndrome
Revision August 2007- salvage op
March 2011- 2nd onset of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Needs surgery to prevent paralysis

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 8/9/2011 6:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Kevin...I am so sorry to hear that you feel that you are slowly dieing. Please see an internist then he could do bloodwork on you and refer you to a gastro specialist .

You need relief soon and I think an internist is a good starting point.

I presently take oxy and vicodin and I realize I will have major issues when I go off of them.

Please keep us updated because I am worried about you.

crushed lower knee and vertical fx of yibia/external fixator placed/plates and screws and tried to place big pieces of cartiledge under knee cap/tremendous pain in affected legcontinously without improving/allergic to metal in left leg/leg isnt straight/need metal removed in July/wait 6 months for healing/then toatal knee replacement/straighten out leg/more phsyxical therapy/take opana er

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 8/9/2011 6:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kevin...Welcome to HW...I'm sorry that you aren't feeling well:(..

If I could ask a few questions that would help us understand a bit more..

Did you happen to taper from these medications in February with your Dr.? Or did you just decide to go off all the meds yourself cold turkey?

What were the original reasons that you went on pain meds to begin with? Are those pains still there or are you having just new ones?

I know that my PM has said that anyone who is on pain meds for more than 6 months or does take sometimes up to that amount of time to a year for our natural pain receptors to 'reset' themselves...The pain medicine starts to take the place of our natural our body has to relearn how to make these again.

As well as if you went cold turkey from those meds..then your body is kind of in 'shock' to go from one extreme to the other.

For the need to make sure you are not dehydrated to the point of being life threatening...So PLEASE make sure you are replenishing with water as well as glucose, sodium, and potassium..

I do agree that you need to see a Gastroenterologist or Internist and make sure there isn't anything else going on..You say you have 'pain'...but I'm not sure where that is..

Of course it's a personal decision to treat pain with opiate medication...but since you don't say why you went off may take (after making sure nothing else is going on) going to another Pain Management DR. and finding some other non opiate modalities to use to help deal with your daily pain.

I'm sorry that you had to find us because of not doing well...but it's a great group of caring people here..
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Oct 2006

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 8/9/2011 7:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Beyond what other have mentioned it is also possible that the meds have altered your digestive system in some way, like maybe causing Irritable Bowel Syndrome or something else like that.

I think you should see your doctor ASAP and tell him about your issues and symptoms and see what he has to say. You may even want to consult a gastrointerologist.

It is not uncommon for people on many kids of medications to have problems with their digestion...constipation, diarrhea, changes in appetite, etc when they are starting them, are on them, and after stopping them. For most these problems usually go away within a couple of weeks, if not a few days, after stopping the meds. (Talking about after quitting meds only)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 8/10/2011 9:19 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry Kevin... it sucks... I know..

I like you was on pain meds (Opana, Oxycodone) for about 2 1/2 years for severe constant neck pain also... I quit my meds the first time after being on them for 6 months.. I just couldn't handle the side effects.... I did it cold turkey because I had no idea about withdrawls..... YIKES!

After my cervical spine surgery... C2-T3... this March 2011... my surgeon wanted me off all my meds... this time I tapered and was given Suboxone by my pain management Dr.... it was a bit better but not much since the Suboxone caused me to vomit....

I can tell you that I felt exactly like you... I would have to ask my husband to- tow me- up the stairs because I just didn't have the energy to make it up on my own... I hated the lack of energy feeling it was the worst and like you felt something was wrong.... it takes time.... sometimes months.... but it does get better..... I feel totally normal now even though I still have a lot of muscle, tendon & ligament pain from surgery.

C3 through C7 right open door laminoplasty, C2 through C10 hemilaminectomies, C2 through C7 right forminotomy, and left C5 through C7 foraminotomies, C3-C5 structural rib allograft and local vertebral autograft & C7 with the same allograft & local verterbral autograft & Vertex instrumentation C3-C5

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 255
   Posted 8/10/2011 9:31 AM (GMT -6)   
requiem_aeternam said...
Consider hypotestosteronism.  Frequently (at least 1/3 of the time) patients taking long term opioids will develop hormonal abnormalities, and in men, low testosterone is frequent.  This causes lethargy that can be extreme.  A simply blood test will tell you if that is what is happening.
I agree, This is big problem with the male population that is almost always overlooked. When you take opiates for a long time your testosterone levels drop and will take many months to hopefully come back to normal, Sometimes it can take 6-9 months for you to feel the way did before using opiates. This is why so many people just start using the opiates again to feel normal. I've had 20plus yrs of experience in the use of opiates. on and off and know first hand how you are feeling. Get those levels checked and stick with it you have gone thru the worst and hardest part. Good Luck..Beck

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 8/11/2011 8:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks everyone. This all helps.
Actually, I made the doctor check my testosterone levels.
To her surprise, they were ridiculously low, 145 with the normal being 450 - 1500
Well she had them do it again and it came back at 515 (or so) and she said that the first one was just a fluke. I don't think so though. The first test I felt extremely bad and the second day wasnt as bad, and that's kind of how it fluctuates up and down (like everyone does). I just think that instead of feeling really great or not as good, I either feel like total crap or super platinum crap, that's my range now. That could be part of the problem. I don't know how to demand that she do something about that though when she doesn't think she needs to...
Sorry to *****.
Thanks for the help.

spinal soldier
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 687
   Posted 8/11/2011 8:56 AM (GMT -6)   
it takes a good while once the abstinence syndrome is over (first 3 weeks),to "normalize". your brain and CNS, in particular the opioid receptors have "up-regulated" or got "wind-up"syndrome. that is new findings so the treatments are only so good. if you stopped cold-turkey it will probably take a year to get normal, you are not far off.
 some amino-acids that are help balance out are D-phenylalanine, which inhibits the enzyme; endorphinase and enkephlinase, these are responsible for endorphin/enkephalins/opioids degradation. L-Tyrosine will bump norepinephrine up, it is a feel good neurotransmitter, L-glutamine is the precursor for GABA a calming neurotransmitter and can breach the blood-brain barrier easily.
you can take GABA, 1-2grams 1 or 2 times per day. L-tryptophan or 5-HTP (be careful with the anti-depressant and this, it can be done but you should be monitored by someone qualified, serotonin-syndrome is probably the risk) 1-2 grams 1-2 times per day or 50-200 mg of 5-HTP 1 or 2 times, last dose a bedtime.
an amino-acid complex should be used with individual amino acid therapy and to give you a protein source for the functioning of the CNS. a multi-vitamin and mineral and B-complex is needed for cofactors. extra B-5 is good for a stressed system.
 an amino-acid found in green-tea called L-Theanine induces a calm state. "SOURCE NATURALS" has a product called THEANINE SERENE that has many good things. if there is a good addictionologist in your area i would get a consultation about detoxing again with Buprenorphine slowly with a constant Clonodine patch to stop sympathetic kickback. best of luck to you, it will end. NICK
(edited for eaiser reading) Please split up your paragraphs, so that those with tracking, and poor eyesight can get the full benefit of the information you are posting.  It will help us greatly. Thanks! SE wink

Post Edited By Moderator (Screaming Eagle) : 8/11/2011 8:14:07 AM (GMT-6)

spinal soldier
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 687
   Posted 8/11/2011 9:39 AM (GMT -6)   
thank you

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 183
   Posted 8/11/2011 5:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Prior to my accident,I had no thyroid or testosterone problems.After over 12 years of quite heavy morphine dosing by my Dr.,I now require a 1.75 ml. shot of testosterone every three weeks and a 200 mcg. pill of synthroid daily.I think requiem_aeternam is on the right track when he say's that a "free testosterone" test with the blood drawn before 10 am. is the numbers that the Dr.'s need for a proper diagnosis.Before I got on the testosterone and thyroid meds I felt so weak I could barely get up to go to the table.I hope they get it figured out soon for you Kevin.Take care and God Bless.........Rod.
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