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Please help, can I wean myself from lortab?
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Please help, can I wean myself from lortab?

I have been reading everyones posts and the lortab addiction forums sound just like me. I started taking lortab when I was in my second year of nursing school because I fell down my stairs and broke my foot. At first it was innocent and simply for pain but then I realized how much I liked them and I began taking them simply for pleasure. Before I knew it I was taking 5-6 7.5 tabs at a time 3-4 times a day! Addicted? indeed. I am now 30 years old and I have been addicted for about 2 years. I am a registered nurse and therefore I cannot confide in anyone as I can lose my nursing license. I am scared to death and I have tried several times to quit but the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms are so intense that I cannot even function. My husband recently decided that he wants us to have another child. I almost feel as though he has made this decision because he thinks it is a way to get me off the pills as he is the one and only person who knows of my issue. I also want a baby but not until I can get off the pills. I presently am attempting to wean myself from them. I have tramadol as well but they make me nausiated. I have cut myself down to 5 pills once daily instead of three times daily. Starting tomorrow I will try 5 pills every other day, then 4 pills every other day and so on until I am free. Will this work? Has anyone every tried to wean themselves off? I NEED to quit, I feel as though my life depends on it. My father passed away at the age of 50 from liver failure due to alcoholism and pill popping. I am so afraid that I will suffer his fate. I also have to have IVF done in order
to conceive a baby and when they draw blood they will descover my addiction, I dont want that. Does anyone know how long lortab can be detected in your blood? I want to be clean when they test me. Thanks for listening, any input or just encouragement is greatly appreciated.
nurseinNC

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13 Comments Post a Comment
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271792_tn?1334983257
Glad you found your way to start your own post.

If you are going to taper, you will first need a schedule and also someone to hold and dispense the meds for you. In addition, you will have to stop taking more than one at a time..that is so important. The word taper, in and of itself, means gradual, and that is what it is.

The Lortab will be out of your body within 24 hours, and if they don't do a specific drug test, they will not find it.

If you need a schedule, let me know.
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352798_tn?1343321200
Vics were my DOC. Stop chewing snorting and taking 3 at a time. AS IBKleen said, one at a time. She will help you set up a good taper plan. Follow through on this. You can come though this.
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Avatar_f_tn
"If you need a schedule, let me know"
YES!!! Absolutely!! Please help me. I have tried to make up my own schedule but I keep changing it to fit my "symptoms". I thought I could handle skipping a day but I think it is to soon to skip a day because I cannot even move off the couch. I feel so bad. I have two son's, 10 and 8. They think I am sick and it breaks my heart that I am but in a way that I have done to myself. I dont want them to see me like this...It kills me. Please help!
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271792_tn?1334983257
It's ok honey. Listen, there are a few questions that I need to ask you in order to help, if I can. Since I may not see you here, click on my name and you can send me a message. I will see that quicker, and can ask the questions, and perhaps help.

Hope to hear from you.
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352798_tn?1343321200
Can a person who doesn't have a profile setup, still PM those of us who do? If so, that is real good.
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271792_tn?1334983257
Yes hun, you can pm anyone...profile or not....
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52704_tn?1387024397
I wouldn't suggest skipping days.  That would keep you on an awful roller coaster, throwing you into wd every-other day.  It seems it would also make it harder to break the pattern of using, because the pills would be providing such dramatic and immediate relief to pretty intense suffering.

Also, I would suggest anything that give you a "spiked" dose.  The object of tapering is to gradually wean you off the drug w/o having to go through withdrawal.  Taking 5 pills at once would be a spike that makes you feel great for a while and then like cr@p until the next spike.

When I successfully tapered before I started with my normal number of 10's on the first day, spread out evenly from 7:00 a.m until 11:00 p.m., which was 16 hours or 960 minutes.  I just divided 960 by 2 less than whatever the number of doses planned the day (since I was to take the first at 7 and the last at 11).  Say I started with 12 pills, that would be 960/10. which is 96.  So, I took the first pill at 7:00, the next at 8:36, the next at 10:12, etc., all the way to the last at 11:00 pm.

I took the same dose for three days and then dropped by one pill, until I got down to about 7 a day.  After that I started breaking them in half, taking one-half a pill on whatever schedule my formula gave (which was more frequently, since I had more doses), and dropping down one-half pill every two days.  I'll never forget how happy I was when I got to a level where I was taking them at less than the prescribed prn level of "one every 4 to 6 hours" -- by then they hadn't actually been prescribed at all for years, but it seemed significant at the time.  

As IBKleen suggested, it was imperative that I have someone else hold my pills.  I could make it through one day, sticking to the schedule and not taking extra, only because I knew I'd go into wd if I ran out too soon and my holder had committed to never, ever give me my pills early.  

The last time I tried that I made it all the way down to 100% clean without suffering any withdrawal.  I was feeling very good too.  I had started using the Thomas Recipe (less the benzos) and I had slowly started to exercise, along with resuming things like eating on a regular basis and sleeping more than 3 to 4 hours a night.  

Yes, I completely conquered my addiction and I did it without anyone (except my brother) have any idea.  

I thought I was pretty slick, except I started using again within 30 days and was almost immediately in worse shape than before.  I had far too much pride to let my little brother find out that I failed after all the help he had given me.  So, from then on I became a complete lone ranger when it came to fighting my addiction.  

Suffice it to say that I did not fare well with that approach.  Over the next two-plus years I quit and went through wd more than a few times.  Once I made it to 58 days before I caved, several times I made to to just shy of 30, but usually I caved before I made it to the end of wd's.  Each time I went back my addiction stepped up a notch and I was using more and more.  I had been at 12 or 15 a day when my brother helped me, but a year-and-a-half later I was taking between 35 and 40 10's every day.  

In the end it took going off to long-term in-patient rehab to get me into Recovery -- I had to stay there for 122 days, but I haven't used since before day-1.  

Long-term rehab saved my life.  I promise you I had a million reasons why I could never, ever go to rehab -- I thought that move would destroy everything I cared about.  It turned out that my addiction destroyed all that stuff and then I was free to go to rehab.  If I had gone to rehab back when I first knew I was in trouble, I actually could have saved all those things.  The belief that rehab was going to ruin my life was just another lie that my addiction used to remain active in the host (me).

You might check out what professional assistance programs NC has.  In most states a nurse can get help and save the license, especially if the help is requested rather than forced by the Nursing Board.  

Take a look at http://juns.nursing.arizona.edu/articles/Fall%202002/hrobak.htm, which speaks about the issue of addicted nurses in NC.  Also look at http://www.farleycenter.com/, which specializes in treating addicted docs and nurses and working with state boards.

A couple of books that might help are:

End Your Addiction Now, by Charles Gant and
Seven Weeks to Sobriety, by Joan Larsen.

Also, take a look at http://www.tlctx.com/ar_pages/paw_part1.htm, which explains the problem of PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) and what to do about it.  That comes from another good book, Staying Sober, by Gorski and Miller.  Yet another is Staying Clean and Sober, by Miller and Miller.

Gotta run.  I'll pray for you.

CATUF
Day-947
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Avatar_m_tn
I am pretty sure you could see a doctor and they have to keep it confidential. See a new doctor and don't tell him you are a nurse. Don't use your insurance. It might be expensive, but your life is worth a lot more.

Good Luck
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333612_tn?1302886990
Here something for you to read....it talks about tapering.
Skipping days only drags out your hell. The purpose of a taper is to keep the levels consistent in your system while lowering the dose.-when you get closer to quitting you can break the pills in half and then into quarters....Keep posting. You can do this!!!

Time for some technical talk... One of the things which increases "dependence" is a spike in drug blood plasma levels. Addicts do this on purpose to get a "high". They do it by Snorting (Very fast delivery), IV Injections, Chewing up meds and taking on an empty stomach.

The above all produce the most amount of drug in the blood in an attempt to get a buzz. These spikes are one of the reasons we addicts get hooked faster than a COMPLIANT Chronic Pain Patient.

Being compliant means they take only as directed. The goal of compliance is to maintain an even blood plasma at the minimum amount to treat PAIN and NOT to produce euphoria (a high).

Since the blood plasma levels are lower, the levels of dopamine at the synaptic cleft do not spike so the receptor sites do not downregulate or decrease in number in response to the initially MUCH higher level of dopamine released as a result of spiking.

Addictive dosing behaviors, the large doses associated to Spike the blood plasma level, vs the lower low dosing and more often which is the KEY factor to the physical changes the brain makes which cause dependency.

Dependency is the actual physical changes to your body which cause withdrawal. Addiction is the BEHAVIOR of taking the drugs to get high, not as prescribed, and when not needed for clinical reasons. It is the un-manageable behaviors associated with lack of control.

Which comes first... Dependence or addiction? Usually it's addiction, but it can be the other way, but the key issue which causes the progression of addiction are the behaviors.

Addiction is what makes you take more and more, spiking doses, etc. This in turn increases dependence. The higher your dependence the higher the tollerance... Round and round you go. The addiction merry-go-round.

How to break the cycle? The only way is to change the behavior. That is a very difficult thing. Pain is usually a very good motivator. So is Euphoria. When the pain out weighs the euphoria one starts to consider breaking the cycle. Unfortunately the pain being eliminated by the drug is a driving force. Then the addict associated the RELIEF of th pain to the drug instead of the drug being the CAUSE of the pain.

SOoooooooo what to do? Break the cycle.

Many have to hit bottom to do that. That's the point where the pain of using overwhelms the relief of using. It's an emotional point which is different for different people. Not every one has to hit a bottom to quit. The sooner you quit the less pain and suffering you have to experience.

For folks who are on smaller doses and their disease has not progressed very far, they have not felt the extent of pain addiction can cause. Only conceptualizing how bad it can get may not be good enough to motivate a person early in addiction to quit.

Intellectually we know what lays ahead. We hear the truth from others, but yet we continue to use. It is not until we get a glimpse of the pain that lays ahead do we become to believe we need to quit. One HAS to believe that in fact addiction does lead to the loss of everything and eventually Jails Institutions and Death.

Addiction is a lot easier to nip in the bud physically but maybe not emotionally because one has not experienced the pain first hand. Some need more pain than others to quit. Some don't make it and end up end stage and their addiction wins.

If you want to get off of the pills you have to change your behavior.

1) STOP SNORTING your pills!
2) Stop spiking your dose!
3) stop taking enough to get high

You will never quit until you do that. Weather you can or not is up to you.

You have to come to a point where you make the decision you want to quit. The en you have to make a plan then you have to execute that plan. SIMPLE .... but not easy.

The solution from a clinical point of view for you at your point of addiction is so easy. A simple taper, and change the behavior. In short break the cycle.

How to do a taper is easy. Changing the behavior is the HARD part, but you have to want to change.

If you are taking 6 pills a day... then start taking them in even doses and don't take like 3-4 at a time. 24 hrs divided by 6 = 4 hrs. So only take one pill every 4 hrs. Then take 5 pills in 24 hrs. That's 4.8 hrs. Then 4 pills a day... break pills into 1/2's so you have 8 1/2 pills. and take 1/2 a pill every 3 hrs. Etc.

If you can't stick to a taper give the pills to a friend to dispense.

Mean while .. you have to start changing the way you think and the things you do... You should educate yourself... Good place to do all of that is NA or AA. It's FREE and takes up time. It forces you to be doing something other than sitting around with nothing to do and just thinking about using.

It's not the only way, but it's a good place to start. Take what you need from it, and leave the rest.

If you take the same amount or less every day and don't spike your dose you will eventually quit.

30 mg of Hydro can be tapered to 0 in 2-4 weeks painlessly. The PAWS will be minimal too.

The ball is in your court. We can not make you do anything. Only YOU can.

When you are ready is up to you. If you need to stay "out there" using and see for yourself how bad it will get that's up to you.

My recommendation.. Start to QUIT now! It will be a whole lot easier.

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352798_tn?1343321200
So keep posting on your taper progress. By Jan. 24th you should be done with these things. Then you have the weekend to get over any w/ds that might pop up their ugly faces.
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Avatar_m_tn
Some really good advice you"ve gottin,,I have to tell you that I go to na meetings regularly and over the last few years I"ve seen at least a half dozen nurses who have lost their license due to pill addictions so it does happen. Ya came here for advice so I"m thinkin you"ll use it.Keep posting,,,talking is very important to get thru this  and the forum is a safe place,,,gl
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Avatar_f_tn
Well, tapering has already failed me. I guess I have an all or nothing type of personality. I have come to the conclusion that tapering is not for me. I know it may work for some people but I have very little will power and when i have 5 pills in my hand I just cant help myself. I eat them all and make up excuses. I have a different excuse every time. I make my self sick over it, I was so convinced that tapering was best for me. I think i did that because that way I got to keep popping the pills. I took the last of my pills last night. I am quiting cold turkey. I know I may suffer but this is the only way. If this doesnt work i might as well just hand over my nursing license and check myself into rehab. My husband flushed his pills, I have no way to get any more cuz I have always took his. Please, Please Please pray for me. Any advice on ways to lighten the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms? Any clue on how long I will suffer with bad withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms? I have the next 4 days off, I work friday and I have the weekend off...come Monday will I be through the worst of it? What days are the worst of it? I need to know where the light at the end of the tunnel is. Thanks all
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Avatar_m_tn
this is the best post I have read.  I only take 10 mg Hydrocodone twice a day.  what protocol would you follow to quit in two weeks?
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Avatar_m_tn
this is the best post I have read.  I only take 10 mg Hydrocodone twice a day.  what protocol would you follow to quit in two weeks?
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3955352_tn?1349100497
How long have you been on them? We are not allow to give taper schedules on here but I would to follow he above advice in terms of breaking them in halve and spreading them out reducing every few days . You are not on a high dose so his is very doable
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