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Acetaminophen Addiction? Withdrawals?
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Acetaminophen Addiction? Withdrawals?

I was taking Tylenol extra strength for about 5-6 months and Ibuprofen before that, taking about 8-10 (or more) caps a day. At the time i didn't think anything of it cause it would help with the pain from a labor intensive job i had.

So around the end of December (2012) my wife convinced me to stop taking them cause they were terrible for my liver, After reading about them I agreed to stop. well the first week of January was my first week without them, I was having panic attacks, anxiety, no appetite really sick... no sleep.. you name it. I went to the doctor thinking something was very wrong with me, but all the tests came back negative.

I had panic attacks and anxiety once before and that was from quitting smoking pot, I had them for about 2-3 weeks and then they subsided.

So i talked to doctors and different people who all told me that there was "NO WAY" you could be withdrawaling from Tylenol extra strength.. this was very demoralizing because now i believed I was losing my mind.

After hunting around on the internet ive found a few articles about long term use of acetaminophen and over the counter pain killer abuse and withdrawal effects (yes including over the counter basic Tylenol).

So my question to you is, I had 1 week of solid anxiety and panic attacks after i stopped taking the pills... but it tapered off at the end of that week and then I went a whole week feeling a little crappy but no panic attacks... I thought YAY ITS OVER... but now this past Monday (start of week 3) I had another panic attack when i went to go to bed, and its been shaky up and down all week. Im about to start week 4 off these things... I feel like a bloody sissy cause can this really be from simple Tylenol? its not cocaine...  its all very upsetting

I don't miss the pills or feel like "OH GOD I NEED A TYLENOL"... but i think my body might think differently

Is it possible to have withdrawal panic attacks taper off in the first week, have a good 2nd week and then come back on the 3rd week? ...  

-J
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4113881_tn?1415853876
You said you read a bunch of articles about long term use of acetaminophen. Here's something I found on being addicted to it and withdrawals.

"People who abuse acetaminophen medications may suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drugs cold turkey. A person who only takes acetaminophen when appropriate, such as for an occasional headache, should not experience any symptoms as the pill wears off. A person suffering from acetaminophen addiction, on the other hand, may suffer from nausea, anxiety, excessive sweating and other withdrawal symptoms if he or she stops taking the pills. These symptoms of withdrawal and similar symptoms can occur when a person is addicted to over-the-counter acetaminophen or a much stronger prescription medication containing acetaminophen."

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-signs-of-an-acetaminophen-addiction.htm
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"Acetaminophen addiction is more common than you would think. It is also a source that has been linked to some suicides. A person can damage his or her liver permanently by taking an excessive amount of acetaminophen. Taken with alcohol? Ouch, double trouble for the liver in those cases."

http://addicthelp.org/addictive-drugs/acetaminophen-addiction-trouble/
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Basically, people can get addicted to anything. Opiates, food, sex,the internet.......acetaminophen. You would think that after a long period of using so much, your body would definitely have a reaction. I'm sure a lot of it is mental as well. I completely cut sugar out of my diet a while back and withdrawled from that...yes, I felt pretty bad the first few days. Im not sure how long you will feel like this but I do believe you are experiencing withdrawals/long term effects of your addiction. (IMO) I guess you could treat it like any other substance and just start taking care of yourself. Your body will hopefully heal over time. You said your aware of the long term use and what it does to you. If you abused it like you say, Id entertain the idea of having a liver biopsy or at least the non-invasive equivalent blood test called FibroSure that will assess if you have any liver damage (Fibrosis/Hepatitis/Cirrhosis)

I'm happy you decided to stop...hope you stick with it...

Good Luck
9 Comments Post a Comment
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4113881_tn?1415853876
You said you read a bunch of articles about long term use of acetaminophen. Here's something I found on being addicted to it and withdrawals.

"People who abuse acetaminophen medications may suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drugs cold turkey. A person who only takes acetaminophen when appropriate, such as for an occasional headache, should not experience any symptoms as the pill wears off. A person suffering from acetaminophen addiction, on the other hand, may suffer from nausea, anxiety, excessive sweating and other withdrawal symptoms if he or she stops taking the pills. These symptoms of withdrawal and similar symptoms can occur when a person is addicted to over-the-counter acetaminophen or a much stronger prescription medication containing acetaminophen."

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-signs-of-an-acetaminophen-addiction.htm
____________________________________________________________

"Acetaminophen addiction is more common than you would think. It is also a source that has been linked to some suicides. A person can damage his or her liver permanently by taking an excessive amount of acetaminophen. Taken with alcohol? Ouch, double trouble for the liver in those cases."

http://addicthelp.org/addictive-drugs/acetaminophen-addiction-trouble/
___________________________________________________________

Basically, people can get addicted to anything. Opiates, food, sex,the internet.......acetaminophen. You would think that after a long period of using so much, your body would definitely have a reaction. I'm sure a lot of it is mental as well. I completely cut sugar out of my diet a while back and withdrawled from that...yes, I felt pretty bad the first few days. Im not sure how long you will feel like this but I do believe you are experiencing withdrawals/long term effects of your addiction. (IMO) I guess you could treat it like any other substance and just start taking care of yourself. Your body will hopefully heal over time. You said your aware of the long term use and what it does to you. If you abused it like you say, Id entertain the idea of having a liver biopsy or at least the non-invasive equivalent blood test called FibroSure that will assess if you have any liver damage (Fibrosis/Hepatitis/Cirrhosis)

I'm happy you decided to stop...hope you stick with it...

Good Luck
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4787388_tn?1359324389
I did have my liver checked via blood tests and the doc said everything seemed normal. Today is day 20 off of the pills. I woke up and don't feel like im going to have a panic attack, still have high anxiety though...

This is crazy who would have thought that it would be so easy to get into that pattern of taking these pills.

Yea from what i read it can take months to start feeling even half normal again, But im no where near giving up, im just still shocked that i was stupid enough to fall into this crap.

Since this started ive been eatting much better and exercising like mad, so hopefully if anything these damn pills have at least forced me to take a different path in life... and for the better.

Thanks for your fast response, Its nice to be able to hear someone give some healthy insight to this.

Ill keep updating on here to show if its getting better or worse.
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4113881_tn?1415853876
Definitely post an update. It sounds like you have a plan. I'm sure it will take some time to heal but be patient and it will happen. Take care.
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4787388_tn?1359324389
you bet, I truly appreciate the support :)
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4787388_tn?1359324389
** Update **

This will be day 23 (start of week 4)

of stopping OTC Tylonel... AKA... (Acetaminophen or Paracetamol)

I woke up without as much anxiety but it still strongly presents itself throughout the day. I have moments where my heart rate increases and anxiety levels fluctuate, I will suddenly get sick of the people at work talking to me and get very agitated and then feel like i have to cry?? followed by nausea sometimes... out of nowhere. Its very crappy and makes me go WTF is wrong with me..

I found myself over reading into withdrawal symptoms and goggling way to much, I find that im always looking for a timeline of withdrawal that is somewhat similar to mine in the hope im not the only person whos experienced this feeling. I even find myself looking for symptoms of other problems that relate and scaring myself, I was almost convinced i had Mania or Bipolar Disorder today which almost gave me a panic attack (go figure)... but now that im not freaking out and think about it, I highly doubt that a condition such as that just started all the sudden, and its way to coincidental that all this started started the day after I stopped taking Pain pills.

when i first figured i was withdrawaling I said to myself well at least it will only be for a couple weeks... well now on week 4 and still having anxiety and minor panic attacks im afraid these symptoms have overstayed there welcome. I was stupid to try and put a timeline with a definite date of completion to something as crazy as this. And perhaps its my own feelings of failing to remove this curse in that time frame that is driving me into this negative attitude which probably fuels the anxiety?

Im not stupid im 99% certain that all this is being caused by withdrawals from the pills but when your riding the anxiety train all day that 1% chance its another problem manifests in your mind and thats all you can think about (what if i have THIS.... what if i have... THAT) and on and on it goes...I constantly reassure myself that it will pass when its ready...but in that moment of anxiety and near panic attack.. it doesn't matter how smart or how well reserved you think you are... your body just takes over and says were falling out of an airplane now, and no we don't have a parachute enjoy your freakout :)

I have aslo read about Post Acute Withdrawal syndrome and demoralized myself thinking I won't be over this for years... but those were in the cases of "Opiate and Extreme Drug abuse" If I have PAWS from OTC Tylenol abuse then how the hell weak is my body and mind!

Again I find myself in shock that even at the start of week 4 im still feeling this crappy... I can't remember how long it took for me to feel better after my Marijuana withdrawal which also ***** cause it would give me some insight to how long this would take.

The reason im posting this is more for other people then it is for myself. If anyone happens to fall into a habit even off something as simple as over the counter Tylenol, and then withdrawals this bad, then please don't feel like your crazy cause im pretty sure that's what is happening to me. Even after doctors doubted and said that there was a very minor to non chance that this was withdrawals from Acetaminophen... here i am... the 1% that did get the withdrawals and lasted longer than expected.

I patiently wait for this demon to be exercised from my confused mind and can only relax and feed it positive things until its be relieved.

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3197167_tn?1348972206
You're eating better, exercising, not taking any thing for pain, have stopped smoking weed and you want to be free.  I really think that's admirable.
You have learned and shared something I knew nothing about.  I am a person w/chronic pain so am always interested in learning more.

Maybe now that you have done your research and have your answers, you can re-set your expectation levels and just go with it.  Put you mind and energy on something new maybe.  The anxiety and other w/drawal challenges will eventually pass.  You have been checked out by your dr and know your liver is ok.  So, maybe if you re-set your goals and give your brain and body as long to heal as you took the pills....then you can re-evaluate and go from there.  When my anxiety hits and my heart rate soars....if I can change what I'm doing and thinking....get my focus OFF of it....it passes quicker.  If I'm still doing some of these things a yr from now....then I'll maybe seek medical council.  If you are sure you are healthy and not at risk safety-wise.....then maybe try and move out the timeframe, promise yourself you won't obsess on it and just see what you enjoy, what makes you feel good, name things you are grateful for...all that helps me.
And attempting to reach out and help others always changes my focus, too.
Wishing you wellness~
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Avatar_f_tn
I stopped my over use of Tylenol Extra strength just yesterday and I had a hellish night that followed an entire day of increasing agitation and anger.  I had to sleep with the windows open and a fan blowing on me even though the nighttime temps dipped down to 20 degrees F last night.  I was sweating the entire night, clothes soaked sweating!  I also had a horrible migrane (migraine) along with intense nasea which resulted in a dry heaving spell at 3 am.  When I finally got up at 4:30, I took a dose of Excedrine Migrane (migraine) (500mg of acetaminophen) because I knew I couldn't deal with this head noise any more.  I felt instantly better so, yeah, I definitely had Tylenol withdrawal symptoms.  This Excedrine lasts 24 hrs.  I will take another dose tomorrow morning, if needed, until I gradually wean myself off the acetaminophen.  I WILL NOT be going cold turkey.  That was horrible.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Omg!!!!!   I didn't know this!   I am about 25 days off of a tremendous amount of opiates.   I am taking Tylenol in place of it like maybe five or six a day.  I was very careful not to trade on addiction for another or so I thought.   THANK you for sharing this I don't know what I will do if I have to face another withdrawal
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Avatar_m_tn
there's an easy way to find out if it's the pills...take one and see if it makes you feel 100% better if it does it's def the pills. I have taken tylenol pm for years and years and I stopped cold turkey a few times and didn't seem to have any withdraw symptoms, I just stopped taking them again but I have a pinched sciatic nerve that is getting worse so I started taking one or two extra strength tylonol a day for my back.
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