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Does long term oxy abuse cause brain damage?
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Does long term oxy abuse cause brain damage?

I read a bunch of old posts about how oxy affects the brain and how all these extra "gates" or receptors open up to accommodate the additional dopamine the opiates provide.  My question is....does years of abuse make a person psychotic or paranoid?  Please read the following.

Estranged husband was on huge amounts of opiates...80 percs a day plus oxys and morphine...then valium at night to sleep.  Then he was on an alcohol bender for 3 weeks where he cut down on the pills substantially.  He is back on the pills again but not as many but his behavior is strange.  He blurts out things that make no sense OR he will talk about things that he may have dreamed about, as if they're real.  Everyday he mentions something that is completely out of left field and when I tell him that it's not true or I have no idea what he's talking about, he shrugs it off and mumbles to himself.  He has little or no interest in seeing his children.  He has not addressed any of his business issues.

Is this just a withdrawal symptom?  Can this much abuse cause brain damage?  Can someone please tell me what he is going through?  
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Avatar_f_tn
I think the biggest factor with him is the alcohol. Mixing it with opiates is VERY dangerous. The opiates do enough to our brains then you add alcohol in there it is NOT good. I think the huge amount of opiates is overloading his brain and the alcohol is probably putting him into halucinations and such. Is he willing to get help? He is on a very bad path right now if not.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks Crys.  He has been off the booze for about 9 days now, but is still acting weird.  He is still taking the opiates and the valium.  Not willing to get any help.  Do you think permanent damage has taken place?  He's been acting less strange than in the first few days of withdrawals but I thought by now all of that would've been gone.  Is day 9 of tapering hard to go through?  
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495284_tn?1333897642
I would be really surprised if he didnt have some brain damage with all the abuse he has done to himself.  Without him getting any medical care it is hard to say why this is continuing.  How are you holding up?
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Avatar_f_tn
How many opiates is he still taking, if you know off hand? As long as the opiates are in his system he is going to be acting out of sorts. Is he trying to take an active role in recovering from this addiction? If he is tapering from a high dose, then he is going to have severe withdrawals in only 9 days. A dr's advice could help you out with this better? Keep posting, there is lots of info and support here from everyone:)
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Avatar_m_tn
Damage can occur, certainly. I suffered from terrible memory problems, including  "false memories" where I was totally convinced certain things had happened which most certainly did not.

Long term opiate abuse is believed by some to cause frontal lobe damage leading to, among other things, damage to the decision making process, do a search for Dysexecutive Syndrome for a description of how this might present...

Happily, the brain is very good at self repair so, if he has damaged himself, cleaning up will likely result in an improvement over time.
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree.  Some damage certainly has taken place.  I hope it is reversible.  I am holding up surprisingly well...thank you for asking.  Tomorrow is his 40th birthday and I'm just sad that he can't share in the excitement that our children have for him.  On the flip side, I'm happy that he's made it to this milestone.  
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Avatar_n_tn
It looks like he's taking about 20 percs a day now and maybe 80 mg of oxy.  He is on probably 80 mg of valium.  This has been his best efforts to taper off so all I can do is offer him support if he needs it.  In the past, I've always cleaned up his messes, lied and made excuses for him, rearranged his business affairs, etc.  This time I've just checked in on him and given him the tools to clean up his own mess.  Everyday that I wake up and hear his voice is a good day.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your post.  It is so helpful to hear of people's first hand experiences and the outcomes of their efforts.  I will look up that Dysexcutive Syndrome later on tonight.  In the meantime, it is comforting to know that there is hope for repair if he does indeed get clean one day.
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406584_tn?1333917818
Hello HollyCat.. I'm very sorry to read what you and your family are going thru.. I have first hand experience in what your husband is going through.. 3 years ago I had a Psychotic episode much like what you describe what your husband is experiencing..  I was consuming percs like candy just popping them in front of my family every few minutes. sorta in your face kinda thing I was also taking nurotin and drinking alcohol.. I started to believe my dreams were real I became very paranoid speaking to my husband of dead relatives that I thought were alive and conspiring against us. I was seeing things. I did not even recognize the home I have lived in for 27 years I thought my family had moved me to another town. my own room was not recognizable to myself my books nothing.. this went on for a couple of weeks becoming worse by the day.. I ended up not being able to write my name do simple math.. My husband finally took me to my Dr. and told of what was happening.. I was oding.. They backed me off the drugs and had me come in everyday for a few weeks I was also forced to see a psychiatrist.. it was that our be committed for 6 months with no family visitation.. My family decided that me being locked up would only be more detrimental.. I'm very grateful today that my family forced this issue as I'm now free for over 2 years.. seeing the shrink saved my life.. at first my family felt like they were betraying me but the were not They were saving me from myself.. I have regained my memories and have been able to move past this time in my life.. I just want you to know it does not have to be permeate.. I could not do it on my own as I was so far gone but with the right help I was able to move on.. I hope you turn your husband over to his Dr. Telling on a loved one does not mean betrayal you just may be saving his life.. Take good care of you ok for I know what I put my family through and I wish you all the very best outcome.. lesa
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Avatar_f_tn
That reminds me of my dad a few months ago when he od'd on hydro morph....it had built up so much in his brain, kidney and liver, he was falling down, halucinating, wanting to go play bingo?, just acting really weird for a few days....my mom finally took him to the ER and he collapsed once he was there his heart stopped and the used a narcan on him to save his life. Keep a close eye on your husband for fever and sweating, shallow breathing....the alcohol will make the organ function even worse. I'm glad your taking care of yourself more this time around, you and your kids are more important than his addiction, even if he doesn't see that, you do! Good Work:) I hope things work out for you.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was SOOOO wrong.  For 6 days, I checked on him 3 times a day to give him valium and clonazepam for the alcohol withdrawals.  I was dropping off meal supplements and gatorade but I had hidden his car keys and wallet.  After those 6 days, he seemed pretty good and I was convinced he was done with the alcohol, so I gave him back his belongings.  He started to clean up his apartment, was doing his laundry, went for a haircut and was just being normal again other than the odd weird comment here and there.  He was slurring a bit but I thought it was just the benzos.  

Tonight he didn't answer my calls, so I went to check on him.  I found empty bottles of vodka, hidden.  He denied having any booze until I showed him that I had found the bottles.  That's when he admitted that he'd been drinking since the day I returned his keys and wallet to him.  

He is refusing to stop....claiming that he can't.  He was off the booze for 6 days and was through the painful part of the detoxing.  Why couldn't he just go back to the pills?  It's this whole combination of both that is scaring me.  

He won't go to any doctor or hospital.  He is just emotionally blackmailing me.  He is curled up in pain, crying and telling me that if I don't get him some booze, he's not going to make it through the night.  He blames me and us being separated for his substance abuse.  

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406584_tn?1333917818
It is obvious he is Blackmailing you emotionally. You are not responsible for his addictions... tell him you will call a ambulance for acute alcohol wd and that is it. at some point you have to take care of you and yours.. he has been offered the opportunity to get clean and has not taken it.. this is not your fault.. the addict themselves have to accept help before they get clean. we have to be accountable for ourselves.. I knew in the end it was die of my addiction our try to live.. this is now his choice.. I hope you find the strength not to enable him any further..
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Avatar_n_tn
Can you just enlighten me a little bit please?  He is normally just a pill popper but he went on an alcohol bender for 3 weeks.  Can you please tell me how he can go 6 days straight with no alcohol....take all the valium he needed to get through those painful days, then turn around and start drinking again?  I don't get it.  I understand how he could go back to the opiates but the booze is what was hurting him the most to stop.  I really don't understand his line of thinking.  When he was on the pills only...he was able to function and still be a somewhat normal father and businessman.  On the alcohol, he can't even keep himself hygenic.

I don't want to enable him anymore.  My boundaries this time are much different than in the past however, he is showing absolutely no interest in stopping the pills or getting help.  He is begging me to help him wean from the alcohol but I did that for over a week and the minute he was given some freedom, he went back to drinking again.  He expects me to do all the work so that he doesn't suffer.  I don't want him to die but I know I can't do this for him.  

Thanks for the support. I really do appreciate it.
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406584_tn?1333917818
He is a alcoholic.. a addict.. a uncontrollable urge to use whatever drug is handy.. He was very early in his sobriety and even then that was questionable because of the drugs.. It takes awhile for our brains to heal and to learn to live clean.. getting outside support like AA NA are recommended as it is a everyday process.. what it really boils down to is the addict themselves.. we all have different bottoms and sometimes they can go very deep.. It sounds like his best bet would be rehab but as you say he does not want professional help. he knows how to manipulate you..... as addicts we are the best at this.. You are the one who needs to take a stand . They have a support group for family members of addicts called alanon you can learn how to cope and not to enable him in his disease.. it also gives you support for what you are going through.. as you are suffering also.. when we are active in our addiction we really do not weigh the consequences of our actions.. feeding our addiction is a priority.. till he is sick if his life of how he feels.. Then he will get clean till then check into alanon ok it would be a great resource for you..
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Avatar_m_tn
He is an addict, stopping that behaviour is difficult and can only be done by him. For an addict to quit successfully they have to want to do it and REALLY mean it. So, while loved ones or doctors could forcibly put an addict through physical withdrawal as soon as that control is released the addict is likely to jump straight off the wagon again. They are still psychologically dependant, still want to continue to hide from their world and the terrible mess they have made of it.

The pills/booze stuff looks like displacement activity, in that he is getting as much off his face as before with the reduced pill intake, not really the sign of someone trying to clean up.

Until he really wants to sort himself out there really is little you can do, other than not enabling as you say. You need to look after yourself first as it is easy to be dragged down too in these situations and you do not deserve that.
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Avatar_n_tn
thanks...i need to know and understand as much as I can otherwise I will go even more crazy trying to figure him out.  In typical co-dependent fashion, it's killing me that I can't rescue him.  I've been to therapy and between that and this forum, I do know that I need to take care of myself first.  It's just so hard to watch him do this.  Our kids love their dad so much.  
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495284_tn?1333897642
Do they have Alateen in your area?  
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Avatar_n_tn
The kids are 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 years old.  They just don't get it and they still believe everything their dad tells them no matter how many times he lets them down.  It's his 40th birthday today and he came by to see the kids before he picked up his bottle.  He said that he would be fine for cake and pizza later but we both know he's going to be too wasted to string a sentence together, let alone hang out with the kids.  
Time to move on for my kids.....it's a selfish disease and I am NOT going to beat myself up for not being able to get him clean.  Been trying for 10 years.  You all have been great here....thank you.
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