How long does it take for withdrawal symptoms to go away?
Hello everyone. I apologize if my post appears twice. I posted it as a comment to an ongoing discussion, but then decided to post it as a question. I've enjoyed reading each and every one of your comments in this forum which makes me feel better to know I’m not alone in this journey. Just to give you a quick snapshot…I’m 42, a retired disabled veteran and off the meds for 4 days. My wife of 22 years died of cancer two years ago, a week after I retired from the military. I was initially prescribed Percocet 10/325 for my injury related pain about 4 years ago. Although at the time I was extremely naïve about pain killers and prescribed narcotics, I soon learned the truth. Although I wanted to put away the pills, the transition from being a happily married family man with a beautiful wife and a career to a retired widower dad in a week was too much for me to handle and stopped me from quitting at the time. About a year ago I decided I wasn’t going to let pills rule my life anymore so I weaned myself off of them very gradually. Even though I still felt lot of the withdrawal symptoms you all have described, the physical aspect was not as bad as the psychological. I became extremely depressed and began mourning and reliving my wife’s death again and it got worse. I couldn’t handle the depression and lack of interest in life so I began taking the pills again. I have never purchased any illegally since my doctor continues to prescribe me a low dose (10/325) 3 times a day. I had been taking anywhere from 3 to 4 and on occasion 5 a day, but never taken larger doses. 4 days ago I decided once again that it was time for me to put away the pills, but I went cold turkey. I’ve been experiencing all the symptoms you all have described…cold sweats, the shakes, horrible body and head ache, nausea, diarrhea, sleeplessness, restless leg, and of course depression. For some reason I don’t feel any better today than I did day 1. Wondering when this horrible physical feeling is going to end because I thought I would feel better after a couple of days! Does the depression go away along with the physical side effects, if ever? Any advice, comment, support, or suggestion you have would be greatly appreciated. Good luck to all of us.
Sounds like you're in a fairly usual withdrawal. I know it's awful...You should turn the corner with the physical part in the next two days. Insomnia and decreased energy hang around for a few weeks. You really need to push now. Are you eating and drinking well? Getting any exercise? Taking vitamins?
As far as the mental aspect goes...Do you take antidepressants? If not,you may want to speak to your doctor about it. You are a good candidate,in my opinion,because it appears depression brought you back to the pills in the first place.
Keep posting...lots of support on the forum...just ask!
Keep pressing on my friend. The mental games last a little longer than the physical ones and are harder to manage in my opinion. I think you will find that there are breakthroughs around the double digits in days clean. By the start of your second week, your depression, lack of energy, lack of motivation, etc, should subside. I am almost to three weeks clean and am amazed at the results. Now, everyone is different, so there are no promises or cookie cutter formulas...IT IS HARD WORK AND IT TAKES TIME. Remember...your body cannot possibly recover in short order after years of abusing mind altering drugs. But, it does get better and there are rewards down the line.
Keep fighting...keep posting...keep reading...stay active...stay healthy...you will win the battle...
Thank you both for your encouragement and kind words. I have been on anti-depressants since my wife first became ill and have been prescribed different meds, but to be honest with you, none of the anti-depressants seem to help. Even though I didn't feel euphoria or a high with the Percocets (at least not after the first couple of weeks and most likely because of the long-term use and dosage), for some odd reason it seemed to help with my depression and lack of interest in general. Unfortunately because of genetic flaws (from my mom's side of the family) my siblings and I already have a predisposition for depression. I can honestly say that I can handle the pain without the pills, but the depression is overwhelming and unbearable, and it's the only reason I started using again after been clean for a while.
Okay...Did you give the antidpessants enough time to work? Sometimes it takes a month to build up blood levels and,also,an increase in dosage or a switch to a different drug works.
Have you attended any support groups? AA/NA or therapist?
I do know what you mean about the Percocet helping in this department. That's what kept so many of us using our different drugs of choice(mine was Fioricet,a barbiturate).
Getting off the drugs and staying away is hard work but it can be done. But with your deep tendancy toward depression it may be a horrible battle for you. I would really try to get to THAT so you can feel better in your own skin. A substance abuse therapist may be of help along with your MD. You need to really reach out in that direction, I think. Also,there are some anxiety meds that could work for you but they should not be taken over the long term.
Just some ideas...I would begin with AA/NA and go from there.
My MD has changed my anti-depressant a few times and I'm at the highest dose of my current one, but none of them seem to help like they should. Last year I saw a therapist for about 8 months...honestly didn't get anything out of it. I realized talking about my dilemma and therapy were not helping me so I stopped. I'm going to deal with the psychological aspect of this once I'm over the physical discomfort. I hate to sound like a broken record, but like I mentioned earlier, I'm on day 4 and feel no better than I did on day 1. I didn't expect to get over this in a matter of days, but I was hoping for some kind of relief by now, but I haven't seen a light at the end of this tunnel. This morning I was up at 4:00 with the worse headache. I took some Advil but it didn't help at all, so I took some Tylenol about an hour ago...of course, no relief. All the symptoms I had on day 1 are still present. Like Free mentioned earlier, I know there is no cookie cutter formula or timeline for this misery, but shouldn't I have felt a little better by day 4? Just wondering...
Yes...I'd think you would feel a LITTLE better on day 4 but days 3 and 4 are many times the worst days. There are a few reasons for this: On day 1 you still have a tiny bit of the drug hanging around and also your brain hasn't quite realized the drug isn't forthcoming. And so it goes... Also,there are things you can do and take to get through the wd's better. I will ask again :) Do you take vitamins? The B vits are great for your brain. Calcium and magnesium for restless legs etc..Vitamin C is just overall good for cells. You need a lot of water to flush everything out. Eat bananas to replace electrlytes lost from GI symptoms. You need to eat 3 times a day. Your body is beat up even though your dose was relatively low. It takes time. In 2 days you should feel a lot better physically.
Also,you should flush any pills in the house. :)
I understand what you are going through with the depression. I quit c/t in October of '09 and made it to around twenty-five days or so and still felt depressed, anxious and had zero energy. Due to this, I relapsed and have been on my prescriptions since. I am trying to taper down slowly but I know no matter what it will only ease the physical withdrawal symptoms. There were a couple of things I didn't do the last time that I will definitely do this time. Exercise (gets the endorphins working), supplement with additional protein, multi-vitamin, Vitamin B complex and Sodium Absorbate (50g per day). All this and some much-needed aftercare (N/A or AA) should help considerably. Have you tried any of this or anything from the Amino Acid Protocol (in the Health Pages)?
Thank you so much. I do take multi-vitamins and additional vitamin C, but that's about it as far as supplements. I also have been forcing myself to eat even though I don't have an appetite...been eating my three meals daily. I would love to get some exercise or even go out for a casual walk, but I feel so horrible I can't get off the couch. Vickie, I see what you're saying about days 3 and 4 and I hope the God that's what it is because I'm afraid that I'll end up taking the meds again if I don't see any relief in the next 2 days. Even though I don't have any right now, I do have a prescription, which I have refrained from filling.
Again, that you all for responding...you're my only source of support since I have no other source of support. God bless you all and please keep the dialogue going...hopefully one day soon I'll be the one supporting and giving hope to someone else who's struggling.
You havent been taking very much oxycodone so I would say the physical aspect of your withdrawals should be pretty much gone within 8 days or so. When I withdrew off 160mg oxy/day after a 3yr long habit it took me 10 days till I felt fairly normal. But you should start noticing improvement after day 4 or so.
Hang in there, it sounds like youve been through much worse than an opiate withdrawal you shouldnt have too much of a problem in the end I dont think. It may not feel like it right now, but after you get through this and look back on it im sure you will agree.
Oh and regarding you not feeling any better on day 4, everyones body is different, that is just a general timeframe that ive discovered in my own experiences. I do remember days 2-4 being the worst when I withdrew from oxy. I would be very surprised if you still did not notice any improvement by day 6.
And one more thing, I know this sounds like the last thing you want to do right now but exercising really does help a lot. Sitting on the couch always seemed to make the withdraw go by wayyy slower, anything to get your mind off it helps. But in my experience just sitting on the couch/at the computer watching tv I found myself fixated at the clock, wishing I could somehow speed time up. I started going for short walks around the block, did up to 10 of them a day because it helped pass the time. That part is key in my opinion. You will be much more likely to relapse and it will also be more painful if you ride out the entire withdrawal on the couch.
Thank you so much for your responses. Sounds like you're a very strong and determined person. I'm hoping that by the end of the weekend I feel some relief, but I would say it's the increase in anxiety mixed with fear that's getting the best of me. The last few days have been horrible, but I haven't felt this anxious before...my heart constantly pounding and I feel my blood pressure has risen. I'm wondering if these are also associated with the withdrawal symptoms. I had a few Xanax from a previous visit to my doctor and have been taking one in the day time and one at night, but it's not helping my anxiety. I don't know...I just wish I had never started down this path. I'm going to force myself and try to go for a walk, but I feel so awful that I feel like I'm gonna black out when I stand up, so I'll see how that goes. Take care and thank you again for your kind words.
An increase in B/P is part of the withdrawal. You should get that checked..esp. with rapid HR and dizziness. There is a good med for that which also helps with withdrawals. A high B/P could also explain why you still feel like day 1 and have a headache. Can you get that checked out somehow? At a Walgreens or something?
Thank you, I'm going to get that checked out this evening. As a matter of fact there's a Walgreens not far from my house. My blood pressure has been running a bit high lately, about 130/90, which is more than my norm of 120/80, but I feel like it's even more than that. After all we know our own bodies better than anybody else, right? I may have to make an appointment with my doc if it's too high. I will definitely keep posting...thanks again.
P.S.- Even on day 8, feel like I was eaten by a coyote and shat off a tall cliff. Absolutely NO energy, listless, just can't seem to find the strength to even pick up something I set down...
From reading other posts, looks like we may be in for at least a couple of weeks of this before the energy level starts back up. Hang in there brother- thank you for your service, and thankfully you are retired and can stay home and deal with this. I am starting a new job in a couple weeks, can NOT imagine doing this while getting up to go to work and cope with kids at home etc! (shudder)
P.P.S.- My meds were all under the supervision of a pain management doctor, still have pain but just got pissed that this poison has been robbing me of my life for this long. I have 120 pills left in a bottle and am damned if I will ever take one. I am taking a page from my father, who quit smoking in 1959 carrying around half a pack with him for a week, after finding out that my mother was pregnant with me and there was not enough money to their name to buy another pack. Dad's a WW2 vet and was a POW, he is hardcore.
"I feel like I was eaten by a coyote and shat off a tall cliff"....I love that description....chuckle...
I am not laughing at your situation,just your description.
I also love your attitude..You can do anything you put your mind to do....You just have to put up with the short term pain for long term gain
I took normal doses of opiates,but found myself looking forward to the high rather than the pain relief.
I knew I had to stop and did....and suffered withdrawals and detox while I put in long days at work.I was able to control my rheumatoid arthritis pain and my rebound pain with otc pain meds.
When I realized I did not NEED the opiates for pain relief I did not crave them either .
Thank you both for your responses. Yes, Kickedit, it seems you're a strong man like your dad and thank you for your kind words. I do miss being on active duty, but not the deployments!!! Even though I'm working part-time at the moment, I'm lucky enough to have some time off to deal with this. No matter how sick I've gotten in the past, I've never felt this horrible...I just wish my doctor at the time had never prescribed the damn meds to me because I never imagined the consequences, long-term use, and most importantly, getting off of them. Like I mentioned before, I rather deal with the pain than to continue taking this crap. I wish all of you luck and please keep posting...thanks.
Day 9- There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, and this time I don't think it's a freight train coming towards me, like the first week was. I have taken an Ambien the last two nights, and slept 8 hours each night-OMG what a relief! Still weak and under-motivated, but not that sense of gravity crushing me to the couch like it has been. I feel like I could get up and around, maybe take a short walk or go to the book store and lounge in a big overstuffed chair with a latte for a bit, just haven't made my mind up to it. Call your doc or VA ASAP and get something to sleep- all the things I've read say that sleeping through this hell is the smartest way to get through it. Some even get Benadryl and take it to drowse down and sleep or at least nap the day away. Get some Ambien or whatever your doc will go for, but get in there today! The body has to process this poison and sleep lets you miss some of that and restore some semblance of an energy level meanwhile.
I agree with you about the pain, I can deal with pain- it mostly just pisses me off which motivates me to ignore it. Narcotics are more of an insidious soul and life-stealing thief that acts like your best friend until you gradually realize that he has been lying to you and egging you on the whole time.
After 10 years of opiates, I have had a CT scan and been diagnosed with cerebral atrophy- brain shrinkage commensurate with someone 20-30 years older than I am. My neurologist tells me that is a side effect of long-term use of narcotics. Thank God we only use 10% of our brains, right? But who the hell knows what is down the road to lose if it continued, memories, cognitive ability, vocabulary?? I'm ok with that if I'm 90, but that's 40 years away right now...
Pharma9- You can use that, got it from a delightful book called "Texas Crude", a collection of scatological inferences attributed to denizens of that great state used to describe everyday events in less than erudite terms... Each one has the common statement, followed by a very proper and scholarly definition- the combination will just slay you... okay, one of the more clean examples- "Slicker'n snot on a doorknob"- "A friction coefficient closely approaching zero". : )
I'm glad to hear you're on your way to recovery...keep pressing my friend. Sorry to hear about the cerebral atrophy. I'd heard that narcotics take a toll on the liver, but had no idea of the effects they may have on other organs!!! I'm not familiar with this condition, but I hope it doesn't have any nasty effects on your quality of life. By the way, I do have some ambien, which I've used on occasion in the past Vickie, but the length of my sleep and the pattern has been pretty unusual. Even though I've been able to go to sleep these past few nights, I've either woken up several times during the night or woken up at 3 or 4 in the morning and not able to go back to sleep. This weekend I'm actually going to visit my family who live a couple of hours away; I'm forcing myself to do this and ignore the awful feeling, hoping a change of scenery will do me good. Of course I've already told them I'm getting over a stomach flu as my cover. We're leaving as soon as my son gets home from school and will be gone through the weekend. Since I won't have access to the Internet for the next couple of days I won't be able to post, but I will as soon as I get back. Take care and have a great weekend.
HI everyone I have been sober for 10 months now and all of the symptom of withdraw have went away except now its the depression that is staying with me. Im sure I will not take anti depressants because I will not dare try to use another drug or anything of that matter that alters the brain. I just take vitamins, drink lots of water and eat healthy meals, sleep has helped, i personally don't recomend exercising if its to much on your head, exercise when you feel ready too, I also take a pill that helps serotonin and dopamine which has helped a whole lot I can say. it seems to get better and better. I hope the Best for everyone! im sure things get better but the body has to heal! in order for it to feel any kind of normalcy.
I started taking vicodine 5mg @ 19 years old. When I was about 20 I was taking 10mg percosets(bananas) for 3 years consistent about 5 a day @ 24 I was taking 3 30mg oxycodone (blues)... When I started with the percoset it was prescribed after my car accident and it all progressed from then. I have been detoxing for 9 days now and I am hoping this does not last much longer. My motivation to stop is seeing the outcome and distraction it causes 99% of users. The whole back pain is true but over rated GO WORK OUT. I hate to be a critic but its the truth. Take care of your health and self with the money you spend on those killer pills. Think of what you could do with all the money you spend on it. And if your being prescribed by a doctor ill say it how it is THINK of how much you loose if you sell it. If you care for your self help your before you loose too much and Fcuk Up!!!!!
There are many things in life that can alter the brain. It is not only drugs that do so. Foods, head trauma, a dramatic scene, and even excessive or moderate sexual activities can cause brain chemical imbalances. So keep watch of your daily activities and remember to stay strong; mentally and physically. I am with all of you, my brothers and sisters in pain. What keeps me going in life is the statistic that one person dies a second, one person is murdered every sixty seconds, and one person is killed in arms every 100 seconds. Peace be upon those who have died and of those who will go in the near future. I wish the best to all of you.
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