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Anyone else whose opiate addiction began by self-medicating Anxiety...
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Anyone else whose opiate addiction began by self-medicating Anxiety...

I just wanted to get feedback on this particular issue, which has been haunting me for over three years.  I used to think I was the only one who felt the way I felt, and I still think that way because I feel like no one else could have possibly been experiencing the physical symptoms I've gone through.  I woke up one day with anxiety and panic attacks, out of nowhere, which is something I thought I was never the "type" of person to have.  My Vicodin addiction started because when I took that first pill after dental surgery, it took all of that away and I felt normal again.  My addiction lasted so long because I never wanted to go back to that horrible anxiety.  I always thought I was different because I had a constant uncomforable feeling, accompanied by the obsessive thought that I had to concentrate on breathing.  I felt every ache, every pain, and every bodily sensation in a new way, and it was driving me crazy.  Everyone who knows about this problem and my drug use has tried to explain to me that it was my body freaking out from not being high.  (Before the pills, I smoked pot every day for 4 years, and had an addiction to Cocaine, then Ecstasy)  I have never believed that, because I had stopped doing drugs before for a few days at a time, and never felt like that.  This was instantaneous.  I smoked pot for the last time because I was starting a new job, and woke up with the new "feeling" I had.  I'm still not convinced that these anxiety problems came from drug use, (It's not that I'm in denial, I'm just afraid because I'd rather have a physical problem that is easier to fix) which is why I want to hear how other addicts felt when not using.  It is impossible to feel what someone else feels, and it is impossible for me to explain it to anyone.  I'd just like to try to get an idea of what other people with anxiety problems feel.  Thanks!
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16 Comments Post a Comment
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357326_tn?1198723371
so you are using vicodin, and it makes you feel like you will not have an anxiety attack. i just want to make sure i understand before i say anything. and yes i took it to make me not feel diff from others, but that is b/c i am an addict. if i understand your post it sounds like you need to talk to a doc and get something you take daily for anxiety hey have great meds that are not habbit forming (not xanax).
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Avatar_f_tn
When I don't have enough pills for the day or none for the next morning I feel very irratiable and have anxiety. It really sucks. These pills control you. Your every move, thought, and you have no control of your own body.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had bad anxiety when I started taking the meds 4 years ago, after a few traumatic overdoses on hallucinagens I started getting panic attacks and it was having physical manifestations such as ulcers and a perforated esophagus from all the stress (they shoved a camera down my throat and said my stomach was horrible for an 18 year old)  Anyway I've been clean for a little over a week now and I don't feel panicky at all, I feel at peace, its weird but I was more anxious on the oxycontin and tramadols than sober.

As for anxiety, talk to your doctor about Buspar, my sister has been on it for two years and it changed her life, it wont get you high so docs will prescribe it pretty much just by asking to try it, it's cheap (4$a month prescription plan at wal-mart) and my sister hasnt had a panic attack or anxious feelings since she started on the medicine. She said it's a wonder drug for her anxiety and even when she misses a few days of dosages (forget her script on vacation) she doesnt get withdrawal symptoms or super panicky.   I'm not in the mood to trade one drug for another right now but if I had to be on a drug to help me I would prefer one that doesnt get me high.
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Avatar_f_tn
well, i used to suffer very very mild anxiety and feelings of being inadequate before my addiction,...like i said very mild and manageable...but since stopping my drug of choice in may...i have now suffered severe anxiety, panic attacks to the point that i am now agoraphobic and dont leave my house but once a week for my therapy. (too many panic attacks in public, very embarrassing) generalized anxiety disorder-social anxiety disorder...and total loss of all self esteem, and sleep issues...so i am a firm believer that drug use has done this to me, when you cover up "so called mild issues" with severe drug use...numbing your true feelings, then when its time to get clean, your feelings are 10 fold in sensitivity...because you HAVE numbed everything for so long...you have not FELT the real you...i didnt feel anything for 8+ years...i am now making up for all those lost years of feeling nothing,now i feel everything, like i said 10 fold.
i have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia...which seems to worsen in severity every month, my flair ups used to be a few days here and there out of the month...now i only have a few days out of the month that i am NOT having a flair up...
VERY FIRM believer that drugs did this to me...that i did this to myself...which i find is extremely difficult to accept.

anxiety is also a quite normal withdrawal symptom....but can get worse over time.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Stacy,
Wanted to tell you that I also suffer from pretty severe anxiety.  I just quit taking pain pills 2 weeks ago and my anxiety is very bad.  I believe that the pain pills that I was on for 12 years worked with my anxiety meds to make them more effective or also worked well on anxiety.  It is only off the meds that I am so anxious.  I have panic attacks and have been afraid to go out since quitting the pain pills.  I am forcing myself to go out a little each day so the anxiety does not get the best of me.
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Avatar_n_tn
Lovebuckets: I don't use it anymore, right now I am on Suboxone, which is still a drug so it is also helping my anxiety.  I feel completely, 100% normal.  But I am afraid of this because I know that the time will come to get off of it, and I am scared that the way I felt before will still be there after the drugs.  I am hoping that the proper therapy while I am on the Sub will help this a little.  Before I started taking Vicodin, I was put on Xanax which only helped to make me feel doped.  I also tried Zoloft and Lexapro, which didn't do much, but like I said, it was a wierd feeling I couldn't explain.
Wait2long: What you said made perfect sense; that I've covered up my true feelings by self-medicating, and when I stopped they came back to me 10-fold.  I really did feel like I felt every single thing in my body, for the first time in a few years.  I think it threw my body (and mind) into shock.  The problem was, when I first started having those problems, I wanted so badly to believe there was something physically wrong with me.  It would be so much easier to treat a physical problem than a mental one.  But now I know that I am just a drug addict, and when my body doesn't feel high, it freaks out.  I hope to God that I will be able to go back to normal once I get off the Sub.
So, the anxiety I'm talking about isn't anxiety from not being able to have pills; It was there before I started taking Vic, and I stayed on the Vic because it felt like I had found the perfect anxiety medication.  Since I had never felt anything like that before, I was interested in hearing someone else going through it to actually try and describe what they feel.  I guess I still need reassurance that I'm not the only one feeling these things, and that there is hope.  Thanks everyone!  And what's up with this new format?  I thought the old way was just fine.
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352798_tn?1343321200
As others mentioned, there are a lot of things you can take for anxiety that could help. I think talking to your Dr might be a good idea. Don't let them prescribe anything addictive like the Xanax mentioned above. Anti-depressants can sometimes help.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hmm.  I don't think you guys understand what I am asking.  I don't have any anxiety right now.  If I tried a medication, I wouldn't know if it was working for what I felt or not.  The Suboxone lets me not feel anxiety, and before that, I was taking Vicodin for 2 years to self-medicate the anxiety.  When I come off of the Sub in the future, even with proper counseling, I'm afraid I will feel it again, and be like that forever.  I don't really need advice on what to do about anxiety.  I've tried everything, and will have to again if it is still there after the meds.  My question was/is that I want to know what OTHER people feel whose drug use has either induced anxiety or completely f**ked up their head.  I was never able to explain to doctors or friends what I was feeling, but I was sure I was dying (This is before the pills).  You have to understand, I don't think the problems I had were from drug use because I wasn't "addicted" to any kind of drug.  I had a 4 month run with cocaine, but then I simply stopped because I broke up with the guy who got me into it.  I did Ecstasy a lot for few months, but it was okay when I didn't have it.  I was a pot smoker after that, more frequently, but I would smoke a few days, then not for a week or so... off and on, off and on.  One day, I didn't have any drugs, like so many times in the past, and BOOM.  I felt funny all day, then had my first panic attack and went to the ER.  From that day on, I lived minute to minute with the most horrible feeling ever.  I was in and out of doctor's offices, hoping I had a physical problem they just hadn't found yet.  No such luck.  No one understood what was happening to me, and there was no possible way I could explain it.  That's when I was told I had anxiety, which was unbelievable to me because I had always been such a mellow person.  But like Wait2Long said, I was probably masking it for a long time, and my body freaked out when I had no drugs.  So, to summarize, I had the anxiety FIRST, and began the pill addiction because of that.  I posted this topic because I wanted to hear from other addicts who have also used opiates to medicate their anxiety, and I was hoping to get a sense of what it feels like for other people.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey, check out my entry for "What is normal" by angel 929.  I am going through the same exact problem as you are.  I dont wish it upon anyone else, but it is nice to be able to relate to someone else that is going through the same thing as I am.  I cannot stand feeling anxious, and vicodin does the same thing to me as it does for you; it calms me down.
Take care,
Love Angel929
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't know if this will help, because I'm not addicted to opiates, however my (ex) husband is and dealing with this news brought out my anxiety - felt like 20 elephants sitting on my chest.  I have a Pharmaca here in town (a compound pharmacy) and the people in there are great!  For me I take Stress Response (2 2x/day) and Exhilarin (1 2x/day) and it's amazing!  But, I don't know if it will help an addict - I'm hoping it will because today I went to get some for my husband who's having a really bad week with depression, etc.  I know I can't do it for him, but he wouldn't think to research some natural stuff, and on another thread someone mentioned coming off opiates and what helped that poster was L-tyrosine, milk thistle, etc. to help with brain chemistry and cleaning out the liver, etc. so I took his/her post with me and got the two stress medicines I just told you about, L-tyrosine, milk thistle and a B-complex.  Don't know what my husband will take, but I do know B vitamins are good for nerves for stress/anxiety too.  I honestly can't tell any of you this will help, but it's worth a shot, something maybe a little bit better for the body, to boost it up, naturally, to help it help itself.  I have hopes for this for my husband, maybe you might want to look into something like that too.  They're really nice in those natural pharmacies and take the time to listen - non-judgemental.  If they aren't helpful or they are judgemental, I'd find someplace else to go.  My place has great people.  Good luck to you!
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320944_tn?1245970199
I too take a pain killer to self medicate my addiction to tramadol. When i take the tram i feel great, lots of energy, and no anxiety. Only side effects from the tram for me are dry mouth, and loss of appetite. Loss of appetite is a good thing for me LOL. But seriously i am addicted to tram i have tried several times to quit, but as of yet i have not been able to. I have never been addicted to anything else in my life. I have used pot, cocaine, oxy's and morphine (pill). When i did not have them anymore no big deal i did not care. This tramadol is truly a drug from hell, and it is not even considered a narc!!!!!!!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Isn't that funny how the other stuff didn't have as strong of a hold on us?  Cocaine... no problem for me.  Crazy.
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Avatar_f_tn
i think i understand what your after here...you want to know if anyone else got addicted because of having anxiety to begin with. not the anxiety the drugs cause to begin with...right?  simply self medicating the anxiety, then turns into addiction which in turn makes the anxiety 10 fold?  do i get it...LOL!   not trying to be a smart *** here...just want to make sure i get what your asking...

yeah, done tons of other drugs, anything you would put in front of me i would take, even if others were wary of it, not me, never wary of drugs, never an issue stopping either...until the opiates, never in my life has something had such a hold on me...WOW!
what makes some get addicted to coke but yet others simply dont, and then why do some get addicted to opiates but others prefer coke?? what chooses your drug of choice?  that is a question i would love to know the answer to, i did alot of coke, and tons of ritalin...just stopped, never an issue...but a whole different story with theses damn opiates...anyone know anything about this or even what i am trying to ask???   LOL!
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry, haven't checked this one in a while.  You are completely correct.  I wanted to know if anyone else had the anxiety first, AND I wanted other people to explain to me what anxiety feels like for them... and not anxiety from not having drugs.  Just regular anxiety not induced through drug use.  I appreciate everyone trying to help by giving me ways to alleviate my anxiety.  And that's great, except I don't have anxiety anymore.  I probably will when I get off the Suboxone, but I am hoping that the counseling I am going through will take care of that.  I just wanted to know what other people feel, because I've never been 100% convinced it was anxiety.  I guess I'm in denial.  As for the other question, I wish I knew too why some people are drawn to certain drugs.  Maybe it's genetic.  My father was/is a heroin addict, which is in the opiate family.  But still, I've never had any desire to become addicted to heroin.  Why him on heroin?  Why me on Vicodin?  That would be an interesting research topic to look up.
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Avatar_m_tn
After reading your post I started thinking - I might have started doing the opiates (any) during Vietnam - other things like loseing friends and such to a worthless war - most likely had some anxiety in there somewhere.......had my hat shot off my head at one point!! Lots of war stories...but which came first? I am inclined to think that the anxiety predated the narco issues - and now I have Boy Scouts that I have worked with since the age of 6 currently serving in the mid east. I hope that the powers that be take better care of them......
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Avatar_m_tn
hi stacy my name is bruce i been fighting opiate withdrawls for 4 years i wasw taking high doses of oxycoton and fetnyl around 300mgs a day but went on suboxone i was prescribed 4 pills a day only took two but the detox is the same i went through the program and wound up admitting myself into a rehab which helped alot unfortunatley i got a severe staff infection in my ear and was put on demoral tryed denying pain meds but they didnt care that i was a recovered addict it was to severe so i have been self medicating myself since feb with suboxone and today is the 2nd day i have been without and i am experiencing some of th worse anxiety ever and its not even full affect yet im scared because i beet this last time and dont feel can do it again but point being get off them while you can suboxone is no different gthan opiates i have found i would prefer to withdrawl (withdrawal) from vics anyday of the week and i have only been taking a quarter of a suboxone a day and its that bad recent styudies have stated suboxone is 40 percent stronger than morphine  if have the mind power and a good suboxone doctor then you may make it out better than me but my doctor practically told me may be on them rest of my life **** THAT is all i have to say









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