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Norco/massive anxiety
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Norco/massive anxiety

I need some advice/help.  I have been in and out of hospital three times in past couple months.  I just finished a bowel resection a month ago.  I was given Norco, about 10 a day plus other IV meds during this time.  I was on the Norco for about three weeks, then weaned down fairly quick...10, 6, 4, 3.5, 2, 1.5, 1.0, .5 to nothing.  I have not had but one tablet in 7 days.  As I weaned down, anxiety has set in really really bad.  Restless legs accompanies this but I have had this in the past and was on Vicoden 2 at bedtime for a year for this.  I am going crazy.  I feel like I am having a mental breakdown.  I cry four hours a day.  I feel like i'm shaking like a leaf, my skin is sensitive, legs and forearms hurt and the anxiety is crippling.  I went to a psychologist and he asked me what I was anxious about...hell I don't know, I'm anxious because I'm afraid I'll always be anxious.  I saw my physician yesterday and he advised me to go back to one Vicoden at bedtime to relieve symptoms and help me sleep.  Well I don't feel good about that being that I was six days off!  He advised me to start Lexapro.  I said I wanted to hold off until I saw how my symptoms played out and if it was the Norco withdrawal or if I was truly going apeshit.  
   I am scared to death.  I wake up in panic attacks about NOTHING.  I'm so scared I will be stuck like this.  I have been taking Passion Flower and Valeria at bedtime, drinking sleepytime tea, etc.  I sleep 2 hours, up two hours, sleep two hours, up two hours.
   I am scared to be alone and feel like I am crippling my husband by crying to him constantly.  I am doing the best I can to distract myself and deep breathe, etc but I can't get calmed down!  It is horrifying.  I don't want to drug my mind with Lexapro..most SSRI's are found not to really work and are dangerous.  (I'm a nurse) I worked hard to get off Paxil by decreasing 10% a month for a year and a half.  
   Any advice would be wonderful.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear lady, you are still getting over a bowel resection--even though you might feel better, that's not the same as feeling all well. Bowel resection is a big surgery! Your body has taken a tremendous hit. It takes at least two months until your body has repaired itself and is stronger. Add to that a rapid taper of pain medicine, and I am not too surprised that you are having a really hard time. Have you had a long history of anxiety, or is it coinciding with your surgery?  When you said you took 2 Vicodin at bedtime for a year, does that mean this past year leading up to your surgery, or awhile back? And another big question: have you abused opiates in the past? The two Lortab a night is NOT abuse if you haven't been taking more and more over time, or abusing other drugs. And if you have been taking Vicodin for a whole year leading up to your surgery, that explains your poor body's reaction when you took it away rapidly! But if you are trying to quit and having an awful time--truly that awful, and you have some pain meds left--do you think you could do a taper instead? Takes more willpower in some ways, but not quite as rough as stopping cold. I seem to be in the minority on this forum for advocating tapering off, but each person is different and should do what is best for them. I wish you all the best and hope you will feel lots better soon, whatever you decide to do. Please write again soon and let us know what's going on.
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21 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Hang in there.  I am on day 1 and struggling as well!  You are awesome at day 6 or 7!!  I havve not been around the site enough to offer anymore but hopefully someone can assist.
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Hello and welcome to the forum and congrats on 7 days. The anxiety should be subsiding fairly soon so hang in there. Have you tried licorice root it helped me through my w/d. Another thing I found (beleive it or not) was 1500 mg of pharmacuetical grade fish oil that has at least 250 mg EPA & DHA omega-3 oils. I wish you great success in you road to sobriety and once again hang in there you are doing great. God Bless---Rick
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear lady, you are still getting over a bowel resection--even though you might feel better, that's not the same as feeling all well. Bowel resection is a big surgery! Your body has taken a tremendous hit. It takes at least two months until your body has repaired itself and is stronger. Add to that a rapid taper of pain medicine, and I am not too surprised that you are having a really hard time. Have you had a long history of anxiety, or is it coinciding with your surgery?  When you said you took 2 Vicodin at bedtime for a year, does that mean this past year leading up to your surgery, or awhile back? And another big question: have you abused opiates in the past? The two Lortab a night is NOT abuse if you haven't been taking more and more over time, or abusing other drugs. And if you have been taking Vicodin for a whole year leading up to your surgery, that explains your poor body's reaction when you took it away rapidly! But if you are trying to quit and having an awful time--truly that awful, and you have some pain meds left--do you think you could do a taper instead? Takes more willpower in some ways, but not quite as rough as stopping cold. I seem to be in the minority on this forum for advocating tapering off, but each person is different and should do what is best for them. I wish you all the best and hope you will feel lots better soon, whatever you decide to do. Please write again soon and let us know what's going on.
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Avatar_f_tn
1.  History....have had anxiety throughout life, mostly situational but able to control through rational thought....this anxiety seems to have taken over everything.
2.  History....of a Paxil taper very slowly over a year and a half.  Been off Paxil for 10 weeks.  I also had a doctor three years ago prescribe me benzo's at a huge dose and I ended up in the hospital having seizures for a month trying to get off!  So I cannot take them and find myself ultra sensitive to benzos.  This happened when I was anxious attempting to get off Paxil too quickly and the physician on call put me on a whopping Klonopin 6 mg everyday by mistake instead of .5 mg.  After two weeks I was hooked on the junk and admitted to the hospital from seizures even tapering down.
3.  Have taken Vicoden 2 tablets at bedtime for RLS perscribed by doctor for 1.5 years.  Did not take in daytime or abuse until last six months when would need to sometimes take 4 a day for abdominal pain.
4.  Been in hospital three times in past four months, each time given massive pain meds to control pain (PCA of Dilaudid in hospital then sent home on meds)  This past stay was put on the Norco in hospital and on 10 a day for a three weeks.
5.  Since home from surgery, decided to get off all the opiates since the Vicoden wasn't helping much with the sleep.  It did help with RLS but I found I still wasn't sleeping well and getting a lot of headaches.
   So that is my whole history.  I am not an abuser per the drug making me "feel good" although it certainly did.  The doc prescribed me one Vicoden at bedtime.  Quite frankly I'm afraid to take it at this point.  Today is day 7 and if the anxiety is Norco related, I don't want a set back.  I'm afraid I'm apeshit!  With "normal" anxiety it waxes and wanes, comes and goes and this seems like constant panic.  I'm wondering what the hell is even going on.  I know the bowel surgery is a massive shock to my system as well.  How long can this possibly go on and do others struggle with massive anxiety like this?  Is this even drug withdrawal or have I lost it?
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Avatar_f_tn
No, I have not tried those supplements.  I'm taking so damn many vitamins now that something has to kick in
   B12 injection monthly, B50, multivitamin, magnesium, passion flower, and valerian root.
What is the fish oil to do?  How long can this possibly last?  I would think at 7 days the visit from Jeckyl/Hyde would be about over.
   I really don't want to screw with my brain per the antidepressant route.  No one knows really what they do in your brain and I worked hard to free myself of a horrible time getting off Paxil.  I'm scared its not coming off all the drugs and it is "ME".  
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Avatar_f_tn
Bad, bad day.  Cried nonstop.  No sleep but a few hours each night.  So far tonight a half hour.
Took 20 mg diazepam because my anxiety is so overwhelming that I can't sleep or eat.  Also took doctors advice to take one Vicoden at bedtime to help alleviate symtoms (symptoms).  Hated doing this at day 7 but I am very very close to a total breakdown.  I considered checking myself in to a mental facility but this is hard to do AS A NURSE!  
   Does anyone know of Buspar?  I really don't want to reintroduce an SSRI Lexapro if this may be ending.  My doc thought the Vicoden may take the edge off and would only prescribe me one tablet at nightime to wean me off of that in a few month.  I feel like a loser having to swallow that one Vicoden tablet my my quality of life right now is so bad that I need a break.  
  please reassure me this is all the Vicoden/Norco that I have taken in my body the past year and especially the past four month.  I need to get over this bowel resection and I need sleep desperately so I can heal.
   Thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  I feel like a loser having to take the vicoden tablet tonight and the Diazepam.  Hoping Buspar may help if the doc will give me some.  The suppements do not help at all with the RLS and I NEED SLEEP.
  This is sheer hell.  Please help me.  I need reassurance like a baby right now, that is how pathetic I have become.  My mind is so much in a cloud with anxiety that I don't even know what to logically do next.
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Avatar_n_tn
Oh, honey! I'm sorry you are having a rough time. I hope you can start acting like your screen name soon!   ;-)  You are not a bad person or patient for taking Valium or a single Vicodin trying to get a little rest. As a nurse, you know that stress due to pain, anxiety, and surgery triggers the body to produce cortisol, which actually impedes the healing process if it is not dealt with promptly. Please do not feel bad about this. You can taper or quit after you heal more. You know, you taking Vicodin for 1.5 years made you so used to it that when you had your surgery, you needed additional pain medicine to deal with the surgical pain. Surgical pain intervention is different from taking opiates for funsies because in very unscientific terms, your pain "eats" the medicine. Other than getting sleepy--which is just what a fresh postop patient needs!----people usually do not get high on surgical pain management.
It would be a good idea if you called your doctor first thing on Monday morning and made an appointment to talk and see how you could best be helped. Your situation is a little different from most of the other folks here because you have had a big surgery recently and have been on small daily doses of prescribed opiates for 1.5 years. Maybe others might disagree with me, but I don't view you as an addict. Not yet, anyway. But if you feel you might get more dependent, or have to use more and more, or are taking it strictly for anxiety (not the best choice), that's different.
To sum it up, I think you need to make a full recovery from your surgery before you start tapering or quitting your meds outright. My opinion. You must do what is best for you, though. I hope you can get a nap today and start resting better soon. Post again soon, and I am thinking about you!
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Avatar_n_tn
Nurses ARE bossy broads!  ;-)
I'm taking HRT, and it's great. Not for everyone, but perfect for me. I talk to my HRT pill each morning just before I swallow it and call it "my sacrament"! It really is almost sacred, it makes me feel so good!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have terrible sort of free-floating anxiety.  Sometimes it's specific; sometimes not.  I have found Valerian Root to be very helpful, better even than Ativan.  I also take Calms Forte by Hylands and I try ti force myself to get out and interact even for a short time every day.  You may have come off your meds a little too fast.  Slow and easy is the best way to go.  Good luck.  I hope you get some relief quickly.  I know it's a terrible feeling.
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Avatar_f_tn
I slept three hours last night after the Vicoden and Valium.  I woke up in a PANIC...anxiety through the roof.  
I am 44 years old.  I asked the doc to take some labs per the anxiety but he said that he could take tons and that it was just anxiety so why bother with them...he wanted to start antidepressant right away.  I am anxious, not depressed.
I don't know what to do anymore.  I can't live like this.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was on Vicoden before my surgery...two to three pills a day.  Then in and out of hospital for pain and on narcotics each time.  If it is not narcotic withdrawal, then I don't feel as if I can cope.
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Oh heavens please stay away from Buspar...as a nurse I'm sure you know it's a strong anti-psychotic and screws with your brain chemistry more than the SSRI's....stay far, far away.

I mean..10 weeks free of Paxil, realistically your brain chemistry could still be adjusting....

I know that doesn't help much. I hate to say this, because I HATE the drug, but has your doctor considered prescribing tramadol one pill at night instead? it works like a mild SRI and if you took it for a week or two it might help settle out your RLS, your sleep issues, AND your paxil withdrawals...

I really do hate ultram. it's a nasty drug. but it seems like it might do what you need to do, and if you can take 1 at night for a week or two I think you would be ok....but lordy it's not something you want to be on long term or at high doses.
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Avatar_f_tn
Sleeygal. Just wanted to check in and see how you were doing.
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Avatar_f_tn
Sleeygal. Just wanted to check in and see how you were doing.
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Today was another anxious day but I have decided to just go with the flow and force myself to get out and do things.  Last night I did take the Vicoden and one tonight.  The doctor said he will never prescribe me more than one a night.  I'm OK that way...I don't crave the drug, I just want sleep.  Honestly it didn't help much.  I will continue to take the one tablet a night for now.
Benzo's are the devil.  So are SSRI's.  I need to embrace my anxiety so I don't fear it and spiral downward.  That is where my focus is right now.  no sleep, diarrhea, constant anxiety, RLS....
  I appreciate the support I am getting here more than any of you can know.  This is a vulnerable and ****** time!  Thanks for checking in on me.  
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Avatar_f_tn
So glad you are doing what you need to. You are listening to your doctor.and yourself. I had so.much anxiety last night it was hard for me.to sleep and then I was worried about keeping my husband up so I took my 4 blankets ( chills stink) and slept.in the spare bed. Take care. Kee checking in my friend.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi sweetie--
I've been thinking about you a lot this evening. Just got back from a party and I wanted to check in and see how you are doing. I am very glad that you have one Vicodin per day to help you rest a little. I know it's not much due to you being used to it, but it truly does help some. Our other friends here might have some OTC ideas for you. One idea I have to add to your feel-better arsenal is Aleve (naproxen sodium). I always use Aleve instead of Tylenol because Aleve (and ibuprofen) is an anti-inflammatory agent, not just a pain reliever like Tylenol. It really helps with the muscle aches, especially at night.
I wish you a better night each night. Are you going to the doctor tomorrow? I'm thinking about you...
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Avatar_f_tn
I do not see the doctor for another week and a half.  I took 1.5 Vicoden last night and slept much better.  I got up a few times and did some Yoga moves.
The anxiety is there and is relentless but I am forcing myself to keep going on.  Since I have been on 2 Vicoden a night for a few years before the surgery and then tons of opiates and IV drugs in the hospital on and off the past few months, I decided that taking just my one to 1.5 Vicoden at night may give my body some stability to get some rest to heal from this surgery, sleep better, and help me to cope with the daytime anxiety.  I can taper that off in the future but right now I need to realize I am safe from all these surgeries, my anxiety is very uncomfortable but it can't kill me, and I need to force myself whether anxious or not to get out there and do things instead of wallowing in the house feeling sorry for myself.
   I do benefit from the Aleve also but since I take the Vicoden at bed I just stick with that.
Thanks so much for caring.  I appreciate it.
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I just wanted to let you know I'm rooting for you.

I have what's called a transient reoccurring intussusception. So I know exactly what this feels like for you. I've had 3 surgeries multiple hospitalizations and numerous tests and procedures. The bowel stuff is really difficult to deal with in daily life and medically. I remember after the first surgery, when I got out I went through Morphine withdrawal. They had me on continuous morphine for 9 days every 4 hours! I had NO clue what was happening to me and I kept going back to the doctor and he would take blood and say I'm fine. Now looking back I realized it was ALL the morphine withdrawal. Sure I had vicodin but it didn't touch the morphine withdrawal. It took me a good month to feel normal again and then I ended up having another surgery! Such began my dependency that eventually turned into addiction.

If you need support please feel free to PM me. I know exactly what the bowel stuff can do to a person.
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Avatar_f_tn
Geez. I feel so bad for you.  Anxiety is awful.  I control mine with the Valerian Root but it seems like you need more than that.  There's no shame in needing something medically, as long as you don't abuse it.  Can you bump up your doctor's appointment and really talk to him and let him know just how badly this is affecting you?  You had a major surgery and that can take a long time to heal.

I've tapered down from a ton of stuff since March, but I'm still on a low dose of a narcotic.  I wanted to taper that but both my primary care and the pain team think I should leave it for now as I have something going on physically that they're trying to get to the bottom of.  They figure now isn't the time to taper it as I'm feeling pretty ill anyway.

I hope you can take something that will ease this anxiety for you.  I know how bad it can get.
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Avatar_f_tn
This afternoon my anxiety has let up.  I force myself to get out there and do things.  I mowed  three acres of lawn today.  Sure I broke down a few times but got my act together.  I am thankful for this break right now.  
There is nothing the doctor can do.  Right away they want to put you on an antidepressant.  That is sad.  That is absolute last resort after time has passed.  Right now I keep telling myself everytime I get anxious that this is good practice for me because I quickly learn that the anxiety is very, very uncomfortable and awful but it doesn't kill me.
  I think all the IV drugs and meds they give you in the hospital really play with you.  They send you home with bottles of meds to take for pain and never tell you how to wean down.  Even myself, as a nurse, went down way too fast.  There is no follow up and the docs look at you like you are bonkers when you are crying in their office.  Plus the stess of multiple surgeries, feeling helpless, and dependent on others plays havoc on your mind.  I am hoping it is all these things and I will be my old funny self.  Usually I am the laugh of the family and hell you would think someone died around here.  Who can smile when internally they feel as if they are fighting for their own sanity.
  I'm so happy I feel calm tonight.  Hopefully the Vicoden doesn't come back to haunt me that I am taking at bedtime.  Any thoughts?  I won't take more than 1.5 at night.
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