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Stigma-sure-but what if????
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Stigma-sure-but what if????

Let's face it, no one wants to deal with the stigma of being labled a recovering "drunk" or "addict". But, given the absolutly miserable life that either suffers through, the torment of being thought of as one has to be better than living as an active one.

So, what happens if one decides to seek help and get treatment for opiod addition to break the cycle but ends up finding out that prescription narcotics are honestly the only way to releive one's pain enough to function? This is my concern:

I'm sick and tired of running about a week short of my monthly Rx of Norco 10-325. I'm also on Avenzia 120mg once per day and Lyrica. The last 2 I do take as prescribed and those take me to the next monthly Rx.  Obviously that 1 week is pure hell with the withdrawls and again I'm sick of repeating the cycle. Therefore, I am looking into seeking help to get off all of it. I've researched that website "Turn2helpnow.com" and have learned that I may be able to attend out-patient care and will more than likely be prescribed something called "Suboxone". It claims that in some cases you don't have to come in for daily doses but rather an Rx may be prescribed. But here is my concern:

I would imagine that if you see a Dr to start this process, like others, you'll have to sign a patient agreement stating that you will not get any other narcotic medication from any other Dr's. I'd be perfectly fine with that "IF", I was able to get off all this crap "AND" that I could find some other way to be releived of my pain enough to have some normal quality of life. However, what if I do sign such a document, start the treatment and find out that my pain can't be controlled without narcotic medication? Haven't I essentially cut off any access to doctors who could write prescriptions to control my pain? Then where would I be? Which is worse?

The reason I ask is because something almost like this happened to me before. I was homeless once after a divorce and had to live at the VA hospital for a while. While there, they refuse to write Rx's for narcotic pain medication. During that time, I went almost 2 months without any but could barely walk or stand for over 5 minutes. God knows that I wanted to get back to working again and get out of there! While there, I had weekly appointment with a VA pain Dr. At one point, he finally had to admit that the VA was a little behind on their pain managment program. He said that he hated to admit it but that my best option might just be to get back with a civillian pain Dr to prescrib narcotic pain med so I could get back to work. That is exactlly what I did. I found a Dr., got the right level of treatment and went back to work. This was almost 3 years ago and I've been gainfully employed since.

However, as we all know, the body builds resistance to the Vicodin and it requires more and more for relief. Further, your body starts to become dependant on it to avoid the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. The Dr's (for a while) will gradually increase the dossage and/or frequency until they get to a point where they don't feel comfortable prescribing any more. That's where I'm at now. I am prescribed 240 pills of the 10-325 dosage each month. I'm allowed to take 2 every 6 hours (8 per day). But, I'm at the point where I need 10-12 per day to curb the pain and fend off the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. They have already increased the other meds to the point where they make me far too sleepy so I just can't tolerate anymore. As I stated, I do take those exactlly as prescribed. It is only the vicodin that I take more of. If I don't, I lose all energy, feel achey (achy), and become depressed.

So, again, my concern is what happens if this "Suboxone" can help me ween off the other pain meds but my pain becomes unmanaged, how can I ever seek the care of a pain managment Dr again? I will have been listed in the system as an addict but will be unable to get the pain med I need in order to work for a living. BTW, I have neuropathy of the lower extremeties. (Not diabities though).

So what do you think? Also, does anyone have any experience with this "Turn2helpnow" program or this drug "Suboxone"? Any info before I set up an appointment would be greatly appreciated! Best of luck to all you who are trying to beat this horrible addicction. God bless all of us and those who offer real help!
Tags: Suboxone, Turn2helpnow, Stigmas
20 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi-    Well, first off, who is going to list you in the system as an addict?  What "system"?

Have you researched Suboxone? It's a very potent drug and if you took an opiate while on Suboxone, the opiate would have zero effect on you.

Are you running out of your pain med because you're an addict or because your pain isn't covered by the ordered dose?

Being on Suboxone is an entire treatment modality which should include counseling, rehab, etc...it's not like going to pain management. It's an addiction treatment not a pain treatment.

If you're going to continue to need opiates and nothing else works...what is it you're trying to do?
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Avatar_m_tn
Vicki pretty much said all that needed to be said. I can only add that I have absolutely no problem telling someone that I'm an addict. A non-practicing addict that is. For me it's the same as telling someone that I'm right handed. It's a part of who I am. If someone has a problem with it then it's their loss, their problem. They'll never get to know the unique ray of sunlight that is moi.
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Avatar_f_tn
HAHAHAHAHAHA !    Yes Kyle!  I feel the same way, in case you ever wondered!

I know every time I admit that I'm an addict...I'm in good company!
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Avatar_m_tn
Vicki - I kind of guessed. And we ARE surrounded by some of the very best people in the world. Just look at this forum and the hours we spend trying to help and support others - sharing the most personal details with complete strangers.
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1579159_tn?1388706849
come on guys, vicki you know how much i love ya, and Kyle i have allot of respect for you as well as vicki, but this guy chuper, is really reaching out and i can so relate to his story.  For chronic pain suffers it is so difficult, and the docs just keep giving you more and more meds, i mean $h!t my doc wanted to put me on methadone for pain, thank god this site talked me out of that one.  And as for you too being able to admit to others that your an addict, and have zero problem it with amazes me, but as for me and many others that is a very difficult task to conquer.  I am completely ashamed and even hate to say that i am an addict, maybe one day i will have some tough skin like y'all, but i am far from that.  Klye, you are right addicts are some of the BEST people!!

Chuper, i completely understand your predicament , you are on allot of meds, so was i, i personally do not believe in sub, i think you can taper off the the meds and do great, thats what i did. vicki, is the best one on helping you with that.  unfortunately it is very difficult to discuss taper on here.  The only way to see if you really need the opiates is to come off them get some clean time under your belt and then see where you are at, its so worth a try.  good luck to you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Loud and clear Dana!  That's why I want him to research Sub. He can't take adjuvant pain med if he's on it...

You all know how I feel about chronic pain. Treat it ! But that's just me...
Maybe the OP just needs to take less to feel better. Well see...

Oh...and admitting to being an addict...I really think a lot of my attitude has to do with age and maybe security.  I don't care if anyone judges me! I really don't. And I'm not one bit embarrassed! I know who I am and what I am...
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1579159_tn?1388706849
OHHH "mama bear" i forgot your old!!!!! LMAO
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Avatar_m_tn
For some reason admitting that I was an addict was easy and very helpful. It explained why I did some of the things I did and acted the way I did in certain situations. (I NEVER used it as an excuse for anything). Until I admitted it I would drive myself nuts trying to behave like normal people. My wife has thrown away sooo many vics, or refused scripts over the years. I never could, no matter how bad I wanted to.
Vicki and I offered chuper hope; the stigma and embarrassment can't affect you if you don't allow it to take hold, and you deny both by understanding, accepting and yes, even joking sometimes about being an addict.  You need to let the shame go and instead focus on the recovery work you're doing. Be proud. Enjoy your progress and try forgiving yourself, just a bit.
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Avatar_m_tn
All, Thanks for the invaluable feedback! It is very much what I'd hoped to get. I'm interested in hearing all views and perspectives. That is the very reason I wrote.
Just to clarify a few things though, first, by definition, I suppose I am an addict. I do take more than prescribed but honestly I've never done it to get "high". After along time of taking it, I found that I began to feel terrible inbetween the times for my nest dose. So, I figured out (after reading on sites like these) that I was probablly experiencing withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. So, I took a little extra and felt "normal" again. I was able to do my regular routines throughout the day. Naturally, as time passed, the times inbetween doses where I started withdrawling becames shorter and shorter. So, as you all know, I use now to both temper the pain but also to avoid the terrible withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. This didn't happen overnight. I've been on pain medication for over 6 years. It's just that I'm at the point now where if I'm not taking 3 pills every 4-5 hours, I start feeling it. So, if that's an addict, then I'm an addict.
On the second point, let me make clear that I am by no means criticizing anyone who have been brave enough to face the fact that they had a problem and sought help; no matter what the term for the addiction is. I commend everyone who has done that. The point I was making about the stigma is that whether anyone wants to admit it or not, it's there. If you don't believe me, try explaining to 3 adult children why at 49 years old, you were homeless at one time because you are an addict. Trust me, there is NOTHING in the world that will ever allow your kids to fully respect and trust that you will ever be the "DAD" they thought you were. Also, as competitive as the economy is right now, no matter how skilled or educated you are, try telling someone in a job interview that you are claen and sober but at one time "had a little proublem". I'll guarentee you that you'll learn what stigma is associated with the moniker.
Now I do think it's great that there are forums like these where folks can be honest with themselves and others to get well. I think you have to admit a problem to get better. But to clarify the real point of my concern is that I'm afraid of being caught in a catch-22.
In most states, the Dr's and pharmacys have data bases that track narcotice Rx's. If I try to get off my pain medication but the pain is overwhelming, my current pain Dr will know that I had tried to get off the narcotic medication. Suppose I give the treatment program 2 weeks or so and the pain isn't mamagable. My current pain Dr will be very hesitant to write an Rx for pain med who went to a place to beat the addiction. Then where would that leave me? Do you see what I mean? If it was just a matter of getting off a drug that I had abused recreationally for years and then just wanted to stop, I wouldn't be writing this. In fact, I would have gotten off this crap years ago or probally never started. I've never had any "fun" dropping any pills whatsoever.
So again, thanks folks for the feedback. Any info or stories you want to share just makes me smarter in trying to do the right thing. I wish all you the best of results.
Thanks,
D.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey - you're a good writer! I enjoyed reading this. I guess my approach to your initial post was too simple for your situation. You have legit pain issues and don't seem to abuse. I came at this by addressing the stigma the general population has relative to addiction, and for me, I have lived it for too many years to let it concern me. And there is one point were my experience was different - I told my wife and kids. They trust and respect me MORE because of my honesty and being open with them. I AM the dad they thought I was. Society is changing. And as far as doctors and needing med in the future -  that's something that I've worked out with my doc and pharmacy and family. I may have to take meds again but I will have help. All I can do.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks Kyle. I'm so glad you and your family were able to come to terms with your condition and are appearently supportive. Do everything in your power to ensure that they never have to regret it. You may never get another shot at it. But I'm positive you've already figured that out.

Good luck to you and thanks so much for the very important feedback.

D.
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480448_tn?1403547723
The fact is, there is a difference between addiction and physical dependency.  Addiction involves a LOT more than just tolerance issues and withdrawal.  It usually involves maladaptive behavior exhibited in order to obtain the drug/med, it involves physical and MENTAL cravings.

Sounds to me like you are physically dependent on narcotics for pain management.  It also sounds like your pain has not been adequately managed, leading you to take more than you should.  If you think that's the case, then you need to seek out a better pain management plan.  Suboxone wouldn't be appropriate for you, IMO.

"In fact, I would have gotten off this crap years ago or probally never started. I've never had any "fun" dropping any pills whatsoever. "

That quote right there tells me you're not an addict.

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480448_tn?1403547723
Me and another member just discussed this on the Anxiety forum.  Here's a little snippet I posted for her to try to explain the differences between addiction and dependency.  Hope this helps a bit.  There are links too that lead to some good info.




Although sometimes used interchangeably, the terms “addiction” and “dependency” are clinically thought of as two separate things. The National Institutes of Health says drug addiction is present when a person compulsively uses a drug despite negative and dangerous consequences and effects. A physical drug dependence means a person needs the substance to function and can have intense cravings, according to the organization.

Dependence does not always entail addiction. For example, some blood pressure medications can cause physical dependence but don’t lead to addiction, it says, and drugs like cocaine can be addicting without physical dependence. Withdrawing from cocaine can produce depression and other psychological changes, but don’t leave users with physical problems such as chills and other flu-like symptoms. The American Academy of Pain Medicine, the American Pain Society and the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in a collaborative effort, have adopted the following definitions:

•Addiction: “Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease, with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving.”
•Physical dependence: “Physical dependence is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a drug class specific withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug, and/or administration of an antagonist.”

Addiction is a chronic disorder with a strong potential for relapse. This means users who are trying to get clean fall back into old patterns of drug use and abuse. Because opiates are so potent, they have a particularly high relapse rate. Strong cravings and other withdrawal symptoms can trigger relapse, even after a period of abstinence.

http://www.opiates.com/opiates/opiate-addiction-opiate-dependency.html


Here's another good explanation:

http://www.alcoholdrugsos.com/Definitions.asp


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Avatar_f_tn
I am an addict.  Clearly.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks Kyle. I'm so glad you and your family were able to come to terms with your condition and are appearently supportive. Do everything in your power to ensure that they never have to regret it. You may never get another shot at it. But I'm positive you've already figured that out.

Good luck to you and thanks so much for the very important feedback.

D.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks Nursegirl!

The information was both interesting anf helpful. But regardless of the label, it still affects one's life to the point where hope seems to be lost. The other post that I read where it states that the drug Suboxone would do me no good almost makes me more worried. I was hopeful that I had found something that might help.

I'm a contractor so I move around frequently for work. Therefore, I have to find a new pain mgt Doc in every place I go. Since I've been to a few, I can tell you something that I've found to be the case in every case. There is ALWAYS an underlying impression from (somewhat the Dos) but moreso their staff and the pharmacies that you are just an addict looking for a score. I've had eyes rolled and snide remarks made in one form or another in almost every situaton. It has gotten to the point where I am embarassed to get my prescriptions filled. I've enven heard pharmcy techs say out loud, "Wow! You're on a heck of a lot of pain med aren't you?". Can you belive that? What happened to the Hippa laws? Anyway, I just have to deal with it but it really brings on some serious depression. One thing I didn't mention before is that the reason I became homeless at one time was due to depression, not addiction. But I became depressed because of the medication and by trying to ration my med to make it last. I could actually feel that I was becoming more and more depressed but thought I'd rather deal with that over the witdrawls. Turns out, Depression is FAR worse. The withdrawls only last so long as long as they don't combine to the point where you eat a bullet.

Anyway, the way I feel now is that I couldn't care less if I die early by liver disease or whatwever else prescription pain medication causes so long as I can be an active, working, contributiting citizen free enough from pain. The problem is, Doctors won't prescribe the right type or amount to allow me to do that. I think the DEA has leaned on these poor folks so hard they are afraid to give the care they think they should. (Had a Dr actually tell me that once!)

Okay, enough of my woes. Some of you have it 100 times worse than me. I feel very blessed that you guys have shared your advice with me. It gets kinda lonly living this way. But I'm sure you all know that.
Thanks guys! I'll make it. I have to. I have no other choice right?
D.
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480448_tn?1403547723
Just to be clear...I didn't say that Suboxone wouldn't do you any good...I think it is inappropriate for your situation.  I don't think you would get adequate pain relief with it...and like  other opiates, you would still have withdrawals if you didn't take it.  The tolerance issue is definitely less significant, however.

Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, while meds like Vicodin, Percocet, etc...are full agonists, and that affects their analgesia properties.  I think it's time to speak with your doctor.  I'm sure NO solution will be perfect for you...but you could maybe improve it a bit.

Check out the pain management forum, there are some great folks over there that would know exactly what you're going through.

Best to you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Have you gone to a pain management clinic? Those doctors generally prescribe pain med in amounts that WILL work to cover your pain...it sounds like that's what you need.  Have you gone that route? An actual pain clinic?
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Avatar_f_tn
I also took Vicodin for pain management, started with two a day and then my dr changed it after that stopped working (she added one more). I took them as was told and never took more then that. I started having problems when I would forget them. My pain stayed away for maybe two hours BUT this medication made me very emotional and I hated it. I threw it away a week ago. I did slowly go from three to one and then I threw them out. So far the only thing detox wise I've experienced was the fog and saddness. I figured I'd rather deal with the pain then the emotional side of this drug. I was really happy to find this site and prepare myself if things became rough. I was told I, "Dodged a bullet" and I really think I have. I'm trying other ways to mangage my pain. Good luck to you I know how frustrating it can become.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks all.
I do use the pain mgt Dr's. They seem to be the ones who are most fearful of prescribing too much due to issues with the DEA.
From listening to everyone here so far, I think what I'm going to try to do is first see a new Dr to see if Suboxone is right for me. If it is, I'm going to try to get through the withdrawl (withdrawal) period and then see if I can just deal with the pain. The way I see it is that I can deal with the roller coaster problems associated with dependance and sometimes deal with pain, or I can just deal with the pain 24/7. Not great options but at least I'll be off this stuff. It still amazes me how much you have to plan your life around the availability of having your pain med. I've postponed vacations, job interviews, and really everything if those times coincided with the times I knew I'd be running short. This is no way to live at all. Also, the sadness, depression, feelings of dispair when your out of the med is just devistating. I don't think there is a lot of pain that can be worse than that.
So, come monday, I'll seek out an appointment to see if I can get in to see a new Doc. Wish me luck and thanks to all!
D.
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