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Dependencies/Addiction with sporadic usage
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Dependencies/Addiction with sporadic usage

I injured my thoracic back and right shoulder in April and I have been on a couple different medications since. I was almost off all the medications except Naproxen when I fell down on metal stairs and landed on my injured right shoulder and back. Since then I've had an MRI and found that I have a 30% rotator cuff tear and partial frozen shoulder - no surgery, just two really painful stretches held for 4 minutes each and 5 days of 40-50 minutes of cardio a week. The orthopedic surgeon said that my new program would hurt my shoulder a lot, but he doesn't treat backs so my thoracic back injury still stands.
Now,I feel like I have been expecptionally careful with my medication usage but everyone around me seems to think I'm getting addicted or dependant and I want some opinions, professional ones preferred.
I used to use Flexaril at night to aid with sleeping/muscle tightness, but I have completely phased it out and only recently wanted to add it back after the fall and with the new regimen to help me get through the pain and get my muscles used to working together again; I have used Methocarb tabs only as needed since August (was originally using Flexaril during the day too, but it made me too sleepy) and sometimes I have gone up to a week without taking any at all and then I usually try to stretch it out first; hydrocodone has been used from zero times a day up to four times a day since the fall. I had almost gone an entire week without using any and was going to start phasing out the Naproxen when I fell down; finally, I have been using Naproxen twice a day (morning/night) since I got injured.
So with that in mind, can I be dependent or addicted if I don't use them everyday or in the same amounts every day?
I never take anything for headaches or body aches - I usually just call in sick and rest for a day and it usually goes away; I don't take anything unless the injured areas hurt and  things like meditation, stretching and breathing exercises don't solve the problem. I always tell my doctor the truth about medications, my life in general and my reasoning behind usage/non-usage, I do regular follow up appointments with my primary and have the specialists I see forward their notes to her. I honestly don't know why everyone is so worried when I work so hard at being careful with them because I know they are addicting drugs and being open about my usage.
I'm a successful worker and student. I don't have time to be addicted to drugs that make me sleepy and loopy. I also have long standing stomach conditions that are aggravated by these medications. I don't want to take them any more. I view them as a means to allow me to do my exercises so I can fix the actual problem causing the pain, not the solution to my pain. They just make my life harder. I don't see how I can be dependent or addicted with that attitude. Thoughts?
Tags: Addiction, dependence, sporadic usage
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1700643_tn?1348985292
We r not doctors here.We simply share our opinions and experiences.From what I read u dnt seem to be going down the road if addiction because u r being so aware of the danger and precautious.U kniw how to mange ur medication and dnt take it when u dnt too.U skip days as well.There is obviously a world of difference between mental and physical addiction..U seem to be quite aware if the mentally addictive part and adamant not to let that happen and by not taking the meds regularly u r lowering any risk of withdrawl (withdrawal) physically.As u said medication is not the solution but something helping u with painful injuries/rehab.Stay vigilant I think u will be fine.U sound like u have the perfect attitude to not have an issue.I wish we all had it.good luck with ur physical therapy&bravo for being responsable.
23 Comments Post a Comment
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3122379_tn?1342382785
Hey there penny.  I've never heard of anyone getting addicted to Flexaril.  Maybe dependent on it but not addicted physically anyways.  Flexaril does have a sedative in it.  So that is why it is making you tired.  Naproxen is just Aleve.  Doctors sometime write scripts for it if they want you to take higher doses of mgs compared to what you can get over the counter.  What you need to watch out for is the Hydrocodone.  This is the one than 99 percent of the addicts on this site are addicted to.  If you have been taking the Vicoden(hydrocodone) since April, addicted or not..If you ever decide to stop, you will probably have some withdrawls.  Please watch out.  You are the only one that truly knows that if you are addicted.  Whether you are in denial or not, please keep caution.  All the warning signs are in your post.  None of us here chose to be a addict.  Almost all of here began the path of addiction by getting prescription meds from the doctor for one reason or another and then BOOM..it happens.  This might not happen to you...but I never thought it would either.  Being dependent on something is way different than being addicted.  You should talk to your doc about the stomach conditions and ask him the same questions you did here.  
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4204073_tn?1361835076
Like clong says, it can sneak up on you, even using it in small doses if you have been on it long term.  My b/f has been on it for almost a year and uses it pretty much the same as you.  Sometimes none and sometimes a few.  He halves his 5mg ones.  I sometimes think he is more dependent than adddicted, but I still worry when he says something about taking half one and feeling more energetic and motivated.  But then again I could be projecting my fears since that is. How i got started.  That's where we all start.  Now I will say that he had major hip replacement surgery done twice in the past year and they had him on some serious heavy doses of oxycontin and vicodin and he did go through w/d from that and it wasn't pretty.  And he was following the doctors orders.  So sometimes I wonder with him how much is mental vs really needing it since he has commented about it giving him focus..  He does take tylenol several times a day.  

My point being after my long rant is that it can easily turn to taking it when you don't need it by rationalizing you need it to get through your exercises.  We all started out that way.  I think you have the right mind set, so discuss with your Dr if you have concerns.   Oh..and welcome to the forum!  :)  
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Avatar_f_tn
I already know everything you told me. This was not very helpful. I'm already being extremely careful with the hydros and I've done some online research. I was looking for medical definitions and explanations. I have already told my doctor all of this and she did not take me off the meds. In fact, last time I was at a meds check, she gave me way more than I asked for in my refill and I still have buckets left. I'm looking for a more informational response. Thanks anyway.
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Avatar_f_tn
That's also not what I'm looking for. I'm waiting on the followup appointment with my doctor to figure out what to do. Everytime I do what I should for my shoulder, my back muscles spasm so bad that I can't walk. Everytime I do what I should for my back it's against what the orthopedic surgeon said to do for my shoulder. Thank you for your time, but as I said in my post i'm looking for more medical definitions, not warnings. I already know all of this. I've studied psychology. I know some of these things, but I don't understand the underlying chemistry and I was really hoping someone could help with that. Apparently I came to the wrong website. I need information, so I can make the appropriate decisions and be prepared with a plan when I get in to see my doctor.
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1700643_tn?1348985292
We r not doctors here.We simply share our opinions and experiences.From what I read u dnt seem to be going down the road if addiction because u r being so aware of the danger and precautious.U kniw how to mange ur medication and dnt take it when u dnt too.U skip days as well.There is obviously a world of difference between mental and physical addiction..U seem to be quite aware if the mentally addictive part and adamant not to let that happen and by not taking the meds regularly u r lowering any risk of withdrawl (withdrawal) physically.As u said medication is not the solution but something helping u with painful injuries/rehab.Stay vigilant I think u will be fine.U sound like u have the perfect attitude to not have an issue.I wish we all had it.good luck with ur physical therapy&bravo for being responsable.
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1881798_tn?1339683833
What signs of an addict are others seeing in you?
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2083449_tn?1381358308
Hello Penny, perhaps you need to be a little bit more specific with your question. You asked for thoughts, and people are giving you their thoughts! You state that you already know everything that you were told, and that the responses so far are not what you are looking for! So, exactly what are you looking for? Are you looking for someone to tell you whether you are an addict or not? Because you are the only person who can answer that!

The members here are very compassionate and caring! They also volunteer their time and effort! I'm sorry you are not getting the answers you seek. Again, perhaps a bit more specific question is needed instead of just asking for thoughts.

Take care
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4149717_tn?1389507161
"So with that in mind, can I be dependent or addicted if I don't use them everyday or in the same amounts every day?" ...This is what you asked and I think others gave you  answer to this question.

Im with the others on this and think you have come off a bit rude and arrogant to people who are just trying to help.

Best of luck in your quest for answers
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1700643_tn?1348985292
Thanx Im glad everyone else saw EXACTLY WHAT I DID.That being said we have lost members as said above because people decide NOT2come&post to help because of new members being rude.We would love to hwlp but like we all said the question u actually asked we answered many times.WHAT IS THE QUSETION HUN?We cnt help if ur not more clear
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4204073_tn?1361835076
Sounds like you are looking for a medical definition of being addicted since your question was whether or not you can become addicted the way you are using your meds.  

Definition of an addict is that you are not able to control your usage as prescribed by your Dr.   You run out early, seek out more meds from other sources, justify taking more because it is 'prescribed', start an obsession about when one can take more, counting pills, worrying about running out,etc.  

Definition of dependent is that your body has become physically dependent on the drug due to long term usage (more than a couple weeks) so you will have some withdrawal symptoms when stopping.   The degree of withdraw will vary dependent on how much you use and for how long.  

You don't sound like an addict to me by your description.  I do think that you might be physically dependent and may experience some withdraws (probably minor) if you quit taking it.   Even my boyfriend has some minor ones on the very low dose he is on since he has been on them for almost a year now.    

I hope this helps answer your question.   We all understand what you are going through with your pain and we all know how WE wound up here.   I am happy you are asking questions.  I'd rather have you be safe than sorry.    take care ~ D
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3122379_tn?1342382785
We can't make everybody happy here.  You asked two nonspecific questions.  Yes, you did say, "Professional opinion prefered.  If you would of read the details when you signed up to join this forum, you would of seen that we are professionals here.  

You came to a addiction forum claiming you are not a addict and justifying every reason why you are not and why you are using and claiming you know it all.  You also mentioned that everone was worried.  What kinda response did think you was gonna get here?

Medical definitions are everywhere online.  But what kinda definitions you looking for?  Maybe this isn't the place for you.  Maybe it is and you don't wanna hear it.  I didn't share my opinion but I will now.

I think you are in denial.  Yes I said it.  Every time I hear people talking like you do, justifying this and that and talking about how in control and how successful you are...It just screams denial to me.  I hope this is not the case.  I hope I'm wrong. Just sharing my "thoughts"  Good luck to you.

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4204073_tn?1361835076
I just re-read your post again.  The one thing I didn't see was how much Vicodin you are you being prescribed vs how much you are taking.   I noticed you said you are honest with your Dr about your usage.   Maybe you could clarify that to help us understand better why others might think you are addicted.    Some people don't understand the difference between dependent and addicted so they worry about their friends or loved ones being on pain meds.    

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Avatar_f_tn
The site is mis-represented on the internet search engine. It said that there were doctors on here as well to give out information and aid. I don't blame you guys. I was just trying to be clear about what I was looking for and I didn't like the assumption that I was an addict when I was asking for medical information. I now understand the site better and I apologize if I hurt anyone's feelings.
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Avatar_f_tn
Just that I have been on them for a long time - since April.
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Avatar_f_tn
I might mention that the continued overreactions are unnecessary. I'm not quite sure why you are so defensive over a website and a couple of responses that were not what I was looking for. And there are websites that have real doctors who give out information and like to help. Believe it or not, people do that. You may want to calm down. Are you all right?
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Avatar_f_tn
Ok, just to clear the water - this website was misadvertised on the search engine I used. I didn't research past that because I thought I understood what the website was about. And actually, mostly my questions were not answered, though kind words and stories were offered. A story is not the same as an answer; that doesn't mean that your answers are worthless. At the time, I misunderstood the point of the website. Good luck to you all, but I don't belong here. I'm sorry for annoying you.
Just as a piece of advice though, it's not the best to gang up on someone who made a mistake. People do that - and all of you have made the mistake of addiction. Mine was a simple misunderstanding of a website. Please calm down and play nice. I'll leave you all to it now.
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2107676_tn?1388977459
No problem Penny.  Please come back when you need us.  We will glady be here to help.  FYI addiction isn't a simple "Mistake".  It is a disease and we go through hell and back.  We are all here trying to recover from this horrendous disease and trying to help others do the same.
If you read this thread again, maybe you will realize how you came across to people who are just here to help.
Thanks for your apology though.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm glad that cleared up.  
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2083449_tn?1381358308
I truly hope that you don't make the same "mistake" that I did!
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3197167_tn?1348972206
Me too!
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1140115_tn?1348499315
Penny0605,

Our site offers forums that provide member support, as well as forums that provide advice from doctors and other experts.  You've been posting in one of our member support areas, but you can find the expert forums by clicking the forums link at the top of the page and looking at the right side of the screen.  

Here's a link to our Addictions Expert forum: http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Addiction/show/326

Claire
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Avatar_f_tn
This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for answering my question the way I requested it to be answered. That was very helpful. Thank you!
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Avatar_f_tn
I didn't think the dosage would matter, but if you'd like to know it's Hydrocod/Acet 5/325mg Tab. I take 0-3 depending on the day - label says take 1 tab 3 times a day as needed. The bottle says must last 30 days and I got it on the 2nd of October and they are still not gone - received 90 and I have 17 left.
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