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Vicodin Withdrawal--Can I do this alone?
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Vicodin Withdrawal--Can I do this alone?

I've been reading past postings re: Vicodin withdrawal, and I find this forum to be a wonderful help and inspiration to kick my habit and "get my life back" (quote from someone's post). I've been taking 2-3 'low-dose' Vicodin daily for about seven months. Until recently, I convinced myself that I didn't have a problem because my daily dosage was so low, plus I've been able to "resist" the urge to increase my dosage, although I have built up a tolerance (ie, the "high" is not as great now as it was seven months ago). But lately I've realized that I am quite psychologically dependent on my daily "fix." And I am tired of planning my life around the ups and downs of these pills--worrying about my next script, resisting the urge to take more, etc. My questions are: what can I expect physically re: withdrawal from this low-dose, seven month addiction? Psychologically (I've already gotten panicky over the mere thought of eliminating my daily habit)? Am I better off going "cold turkey" or tapering (with such a small dose, would tapering be ridiculous)? Should I have a substitute med (what's this buprenorhine I've read about--anything I should consider)? I'm doing this totally alone, while working a full-time job, so any words of wisdom / encouragement would be greatly appreciated.
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, you deserve credit for dealing with this now, before it is a HUGE problem (as it will be if you don't deal with it now).  No, you should not try cold turkey.  Even at your low dose you ARE physically dependent.  Cold turkey will make you feel horrible and will decrease your chances of success detoxing.  I don't think you need buprenorphine.  It is a wonderful detox med (I've used it several times), and what it basically does is binds to your opiate receptors in place of the opiate, then is gradually withdrawn leaving you with virtually no withdrawal symptoms.  The problem is you have to get shots of it, and they usually only do it within the context of a program (i.e. inpatient or outpatient drug rehab).  Since you are at a low dosage, I think you can do a taper with good chance of success.  The best way to taper is to take your pills at the same time you usually do, and decrease your dosage by about 5-10% every few days.  By the end of the taper your symptoms will be mild--just some irritability, insomnia, chills, etc.  They last only a few days.  You may have some psychological symptoms that last longer (such as a mild depression and/or anxiety).  These usually go away within a month or so.  Remember, stopping now will be much easier than stopping later.  I too was on low doses of hydrocodone for many months, but eventually I got up to 25 or so a day.  Better to deal with the problem before it is out of control.  Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
No, you're not alone! You and I seem to have almost identical problem w/vic.Mine started a year and a half ago. Had 2 back surgeries and was given vic. Before I new it, the pain was gone but I'm still taking it for the high. I take 4 ES per day at night- never during the daytime. Isn't that nice of me? Ha ha.
Sad thing is I'm a nurse and should know better.I spent a lot of time wondering where my next script will come from. Now I have enough to obtain 180 of them. I start to plan my next doctor to get a refill when I get down to 100.It's easy for me because I have access to so many docs. I use different excuses each time and different pharmacies so no one catches on. I find myself planning activities around my pills. I get through the day easier knowing I can have my "reward" when I get home. I can admit now that I have a problem. I want to cut down and eventually quit. Here's what I'm doing:I bought a book on Presription addiction to get some insight on what's going on. Next- staring today I'm eliminating one dose at a time- tapering off slowing. I found that when I tried cold turkey, i got to nervous and edgy.Also, i belong to a health spa so I'm going to try and work off some of the "tightness"and stress. I have 3 "nerve pills" on reserve in case it gets too bad.Also, I've picked up reading to help me relax. But, most important I pray pray pray!!!Does all this work? I don't know yet. Just getting started. Please keep in touch and will help each other. okay?
We willmake it through this.

Ps. I'm starting to get liver problems from this. Found out the other day my liver enzymes are elevated twice the normal range. The doc seems stumped by this and wants me to see a specialist. I think to myself:Dumb ass doesn't know. But vic has a lot of acetaminophen in it that can lead to liver damage.so I'm putting off my appointment w/him until I can get this out of my system before I get "busted"
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm glad you are stopping before you get caught.  You would be amazed how many nurses get nailed because of their addiction.  I would recommend you take milk thistle which will help heal your liver (as proven by several legitimate studies).  Good luck with your detox.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes the combo can be dangerous. They can depress the "breathing center" of the brain. Why are you taking Valium in the first place? Secondly, Valium is also addictive and don't let anyone tell you differenty. If your only taking vic to get high, i would suggest you stop or taper off now. When you stop vic completely, use the Valium to help calm the nerves til you're over the rough spots. Do not increase the Valium doses or you'll be looking at detox from that as well. Good look and let me know if you have any other questions.Though I'm still struggling w/ my own demons, I'm still a good nurse

God's blessing to us all!!
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Avatar_n_tn
have been reading about the problems with the vics. i feel for you all. i too take vics,5/500s bout 2 meds a day. what i want to know is i take valium bout 10mgs a day. is this a dangerous combination? can it lead to a double addiction or could the combo be fatal? please rsvp asap so i can wein of one or the other! i hope you all get help with your addictions. GODS BLESSINGS on you for trying! thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Sharon,
It would be great if you tackled this problem at 2-3/day. Try it when you're up to 75 a day (yes, I said 75). I was buying it out the back door of a clinic, removing the aceteminophen (tylenol) in water (hydrocodone is water soluable, aceteminophen is not), and drinking the concoction. Of course, it took ten years of diligent vicodin taking to get up to that daily dosage. But with tolerance, there is almost no limit to what you can become habituated to. Imagine withdrawing from a 75 vic/day habit. (Unfortunately, I don't have to imagine it.)
Frankly, I don't think you can do this by yourself and make it stick. This is why: If you have all the classic psychological components of an addict/alchoholic, and you try this while still in your usual environment doing the same things you did while high, you will be bombarded by "cues" of all kinds to use. And you will. It's almost impossible to resist.
If you're truly serious about quitting, you need a full-time detox with heavy AA attendance during and after. (If you've never been to AA, it's actually a wonderful experience, one that you will need).
The easiest detox is in a clinic on tapered doses of Valium and Clonidine. But it should be accompanied by daily AA daily meetings, because the real battle isn't with withdrawal. It's with your mind.
If you do try to taper down, I recommend keeping some Imodium (immodium) on hand. Imodium (immodium) is OTC but is actually an opioid. It will hold back the runs and will generally help with all the withdrawal symptoms. Enteric aspirin or Advil, accompanied by frequent jacuzzis, will help with the body aches. But like I said, withdrawal is child's play next to keeping sober after you're off of it.
Also to Sandi: Whatever you do, don't go off of Valium cold turkey. That can kill you. I know a valium addict who literally bit off her own tongue while in a Valium-withdrawal-induced seizure. Don't even think about, Sandi!
Anyway, there is help and hope, but it won't happen in secrecy. Seek out a good AA meeting. It doesn't matter that it's an alchohol-based group. All of us are exactly the same. And there's no shame in it, either. It's called being human. Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree wholeheartedly with most of your post, with a few exceptions.  One can do a "home" detox and be successful if they are committed to it AND get some support through a program or an addiction specialist.  Second, I would say NA may make more sense for someone with a narcotic addiction.  If NA is not available, then AA is good.  Finally, loperamide HCL (Immodium) is NOT an opiate.  It works well for loose bowels but does not do anything for other withdrawal symptoms.  I think where the confusion with the drug may come from is the fact that in high dosages it can cause central nervous system depression which may require the administration of naloxone (Narcan) to reverse.  Since naloxone is a narcotic antagonist usually used when someone has overdosed on a narcotic, perhaps some people have come to the conclusion that Immodium is an opiate.  Trust me, if it had ANY opiate type effect it would be abused, and it is not.
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Avatar_n_tn
I think Tom had me mistaken for someone else. I'm not on Valium. Never have been. I'm on ES vic. Do you think "cold turkey "is still reasonable? My usual dose is 4-5 es vic at once per night. Never during the day. not even once.

Please respond. Thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
I remember those days of just taking my few Lorcet at night.  It was never during the day for me either...until, after my first detox I relapsed.  Amazing how eventually you start taking them round the clock.  Anyway, cold turkey is reasonable but why do it that way when a taper makes it so much less painful?  I think the only reasons not to taper are as follows: 1) not enough pills to do so; or 2) can't stick to the taper (i.e. willpower); or 3) a detox using buprenorphine or some other drug.  Just my opinion, but I've done so many different types of detox I have WAY too much information about it.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was always trying to get vics anyway I could but then discovered Ultram. They are much eaiser to get and the doctors say that they are not addictive. Wrong!  It seems they are just as bad. I seem to go through worse withdrawls psycologically when I run out and then check my calender to see when exactly I can go back to the doctor to get somemore. It's all I think about. So you see, I do go days and days without, but know I am addicted to painkillers. Anybody having a hard time with Ultram?
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Avatar_n_tn
Ultram is very addictive.  Many people experience bad physical and psychological addiction to Ultram.  It can also cause seizures.  You would be wise to read some of the posts on the internet about Ultram addiction.  Do a search using hotbot or some other search engine and you'll find lots of people having a very rough time with Ultram.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am trying to get info on home detox from oxycontin.  I have gone thru the process "in hospital" before and I know the meds I need to do it succesfully at home...just can't remember the dosages.  What is the normal dose if I will be using Clonopin (Catapres) and/or phenobarbital?  Also, I've used Valium in hospital before and it works in combination with the catapress.  Any clonodine experts out there?  Many thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have gone from Lortab to Ultram as prescribed by my doctor for the past six months. Not a day has gone by that I haven't had about four doses of either one. I swore off  it all yesterday. I am tired of the dependency. But I started getting aches, pains and chills last night. I took one Ultram this morning in some sort of effort to "taper off." Can anyone tell me how long all this will last? I cannot join a group because I haven't the time. Thanks and good luck to you all!
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Avatar_n_tn
i related to your story. I've posted mine.Simlilar scenerio 2 vic es ,1mg.of ativan, red wine and asleep at 2;00am up again at 6:ooam. I'm a doctor and mom. NEED HELP! where to start? Thanks for any suggestions.
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Avatar_n_tn
i can tell you that if you have been taking vicodin as long as you
have you will need help.  an addiction specialist can help you.
cold turkey is not the answer.  you should be withdrawn under medical supervision. go to your md and be completely truthful as
to how much you are taking as well as any other meds, especially any sedatives (xanax etc) you can overcome this but do it with medical supervision.  most people that get into trouble
do not tell the whole story ie (meds from different docs)
get everything out in the open for a true recovery.  best of luck
dr white
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Avatar_n_tn
Good for you in trying to get off the Vicodin.  I have been through the same thing, you are right, it gets in control of you.  When you are off it you won't believe how much better you feel!! In answer to what will happen, I was taking low doses also, but even with that, the first five-seven days off the drug are very difficult.  Try to plan to take at least the first four days off work, you won't feel well enough to go in, believe me! You HAVE to go somewhere where you can't get the drug (maybe a friend's house, or trusted relative?) for at least a week, because after being off 2-3 days, you'll be craving it really bad and won't be able to resist it if you have any available.  Tell the person you're staying with no matter WHAT to get you any or let you leave! You want to have some kind of sedative to help you with anxiety, either prescription or over the counter type herbal sedatives, also some Imodium (immodium) for diarrhea.  I read that 48-72 hours after taking the last dose is the hardest time.  If you know this, you can tell when you'll start getting a little better every day.  You could try tapering off, but that never worked for me, I ended up using more than ever.  Cold turkey IS hard, but you CAN DO IT!!! PRAYER and trust in GOD to help you will get you through!!! E mail me if you need any prayer or support!!
***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
I can't offer you any help, but I'm sure in the same spot as you. Maybe someone can answer for both of us. I've been taking about 8 vicadin for alittle over a year. I work full time and lead a normal life except for these stupid pills. I think about them all the time - how many I have and if I will get more. I hate it. I've gone off them a couple of times (had nausea, jitters, and the runs - but all fairly mild) - my problem was the mental part of it. I went back to them after a couple of weeks. Wanted that high - up feeling. Everything is grand feeling. I'm looking for the answers you're looking for!
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Avatar_n_tn
OH MY GOD!!!! Tom, how did you ever get off of those pills after taking 75 a day I am currently fighting just to quit at about 25-30 7.5/650mg pills a day??????? I can NOT imagine 75 a day!!! Please tell me anything that you think could help me, even though, I must say just knowing you actually did it gives me a little hope!!!!! Thank you for any comments!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Sharon, go ahead and do it alone. I am withdrawing from hydrocodone as I type this. I am at the 73'rd hour and the worst has appeared to pass. I was taking at least twice what you are taking for about the same period of time. It is like having the flu, not very pleasant but also not severe. Drink a lot of water, get something for your stomach, and force yourself to eat. The second and third days are the worst. Try treating yourself as if you just have the flu and don't start swallowing other medications as a crutch. This is the second time I have been through this ( in three years ) after back and neck problems. If I can do it, you can do it! Good luck !

Mark

***@****

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Avatar_n_tn
I ALSO NEED HELP. BEEN ON 10 7.5 VICODIN FOR 5 YRS. PAIN IN BACK AND KNEES. WANT TO GET OFF MERRY-GO-ROUND. HAVE MED. INS. THE DEPRESSION HAS ME NEAR SUICIDE. WILL ALCOHOL OR SOMA HELP WITH WITHDRAWAL.
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Avatar_n_tn
BEEN TAKING 10 7.5 VICODIN DAILY FOR 5 YRS. NEED HELP TO WITHDRAW. DEPRESSION IS TERRIBLE AND HAVING SUCIDAL THOUGHT DAILY. DON'T WANT TO BE THROWN INTO DETOX AND SUFFER. TAKING THE DRUG FOR PAIN IN BACK AND KNEES. NEED HELP NOW.
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Avatar_n_tn
Please seek help from an addiction medicine specialist who is using buprenorphine for detox.  It will detox you in a nearly painless manner.  Alcohol does not help withdrawal, although Soma may calm you somewhat, keep muscle tension and spasms minimized and help with sleep.
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Avatar_n_tn
Been there done that.  Suzi, you need professional help to kick this thing.  Spend a little of that money on a decent outpatient program and get your life back.  Life sucks when you spend all your time thinking about the pills, trying to get more, counting, etc.  I know because I've been there.  I can honestly say that although I have occasional cravings I love life again.  All those things I made excuses not to do before I have a zest for again: socializing, exercising, just plain living life.  You can beat this thing but you will need some help.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yesterday was my third day going through withdrawl (withdrawal) and my first visit to this forum, after reading these posts for hours and hours I started to feel really hopeful that I too get through this and clean up for once and for all!  Well let me tell you that as soon as I heard a very familiar voice (my Vicodin connection) on my voicemail at work I was hopeful no more!  Just that fast I decided that maybe I was not ready to kick my "happy pill" habit quite yet.  I have been hooked on Vicodin for about 3 years now and they have completely taken over my life.  My whole life and every single thing I do revolve around how many pills I have in my purse.  I get so paranoid about running out that I dump out the entire bottle several times a day and count and plan my whole day around how many pills I've got.  I started off taking about 3 a day and now I am able to take between 40-50 a day.  A bottle of 100 lasts no longer than 3 days.  I spend about $1,000 a month on Vicodin.  I could have such nice things but instead I spend all my money on this ****.  
Does anyone out there actually think there is hope for me to get off the pills and live a normal, healthy life?
It's only 8:30 in the morning and I have already popped 18 pills... :(
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you Brian!  I have finally come to realize that I CAN'T beat this thing alone...I DO need to join a program and will be looking around for one near me as soon as (I hate to say this) but as soon as my pills run out!
Thanks again for your support.
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Avatar_n_tn
Great to hear you're going to find a program.  Please keep us posted on how you're doing.  Good luck!  Brian
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been taking 6-10  20mg oxycontin and crushing them up and taking 1-2 somas with them for three monthes now. Occassionally I mix in a few zanax too. I also have been on Paxil for two monthes. I take the paxil in the morning then do the pills in the afternoon. When I can, I get all the Norco or all the other low acetominophen combo pills I can get. But sometimes the pills just run out and I am left going cold turkey untill I can get a script again a couple of weeks later. I'm hooked (hook,line and sinker)
I know it, but dont want to quit just yet. Cold turkey is no fun!
But I do it, the paxil helps the depression.
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Avatar_n_tn
I've been going cold turkey for the past three weeks and still have the psycological problems.  Yes, I'm getting better a little each day, but really believe that one needs help when coming off these types of drugs.  Neeedless to say, I've been totally honest with my PCP and admitted myself to hospital.  They placed me back on the drug.  I'm really getting desperate.  Does anybody have suggestions?

Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm currently at 72 hours of vicodin es withdrawal, only because my script ran out, thats ok.  I'm facing sinus surgery this thursday, which the reason why I started this stupid habit in the first place.  I really want to get off of this stuff especially to see if my recovery from sinus surgery works!  How do i know if the pain and discomfort of a terrrible sinus condition is reduced from surgery if im high on vics.  I hope to continue my recovery from these devil pills, but we'll see.  Current symptomes include: tiredness, yawning, pain in my face(location is where the sinus surgery is to take place)mucsle aches, and depression, how optimistic huh.  I've been through this before and believe if one wants to get off these devil pill, one can, just make sure you drink alot of water go swimming and watch alot of the history channel. Good luck to all!!
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Sharon: Since your request was posted in March, and this is September, you probably have gone of the Vicodin already.  But, in the outside chance you still have a problem, here are my answers and my experiences.  Yes, you can do it alone, but it's better if you don't.  I have gone off Vicodin at least 6 times  (it has incredible power to bring you back).  One time was with medical support--the other 5 times were cold-turkey by myself.

My habit was worse than yours.  My most recent withdrawal involved a habit of 6 to 10 Vicodin ES' per day.  I realized for the 6th time that it was another dead-end.  The highs were becoming non-existent, at worst, and about 10 minutes at best.  That was with 1 1/2 ES' at a time.

Day One:  Easy.  Your body isn't convinced you're off, so it just coasts along, waiting for the next dose.  Toward the end of the day, you (with your smaller habit) may start to experience watery eyes and a runny nose.  You may also experience some mild abdominal cramping.  None of this is too bad.

Day Two: Not terrible, but worse than day one.  Your body now knows you've taken away its toys, and it is going to let you know it isn't happy.  The watery eyes and runny nose get worse.  So does the cramping.  You probably have been somewhat constipated, but that all comes to an end in spades on day two and beyond.  Your system will be playing serious catch-up in this area.  Toward the evening, your body will experience some malaise, combined with restlessness and, very much depending on your habit, it feels like your body wants to crawl right out of itself.  The temptation to go back on is great, since you will be incorrectly thinking that "even the addiction wasn't this bad."  But you will be wrong.  Hang in there.

Day Three:  A repeat of day two.  If your habit is not excessive, which yours does not appear to be, it is not worse, possibly even a little easier than day two.  You will still be struggling with the emotional attraction to Vicodin, but this RX drug, when abused, is so bad, all of the withdrawal symptoms are worth it.

Day Four:  You're almost there.  You will feel 90% better physically, but now that the worst is over, your mind will concvince you that the withdrawal wasn't all that bad (Vicodin has a way of shortening our memory)you will start to think that
since the withdrawal wasn't like what you see in the movies (those are heroin addicts) that perhaps you might use it "occasionally", and that's when you become as stupid as I have been.

Day Five:  With your minor habit, you should be completely through the tough stuff by now.  The only remaining symptom will be sleeplessness and temptation.  The sleeplessness will last, unfortunately for a long time--it could be years.  The temptation will be as strong as you are weak.  Fight it.  You don't want to do this again.  WHY?  Because IT GETS WORSE EACH TIME YOU GO THROUGH THE WITHDRAWAL, EVEN IF YOUR HABIT STAYS THE SAME!  Believe me, I know.  Each of my withdrawals was progressively worse.

Can you do it alone and continue with your job?  Absolutely.  I did it 5 times.  Is it easy?  No, but it's possible.  It's like going to work with an allergy and a mild case of the flu at the same time.

Truthfully, with your small habit, I think you can reduce everything I said above by 20-30% or more, if you're lucky.

Hang in there.  Do this, and do it now, before your 2-3 becomes 5, then 7, then 18.  It happens.  I read one true admission of a woman who claimed to be on more than 100 per day.  I believe her.  I know how this disease takes control of you.  

The ideal time to do this is on a week-end, or better yet, on a long week-end.  By the time you go back to work, you will be a new person.  I hope you only have to do this once.  Good luck!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I broke both my arms before i ever took pill's. In fact i regarded people who became addicted to pain pills as weak and
unintelligent. I was the one who was unintelligent if your in pain long enough you simply have to have them for relief. Then
there is a line you cross where you are no longer using for the
pain but just to feel normal.The next stage is everything revolves around never running out because it has such a hold on
you, and your afraid to what limits you might go if you run out.
I became the person who in the past i had ridiculed.I myself after 16 months of 6 to 10 hp's a day or 10 to 15 es's made my
family leave our house for one week while i faced the unknown
withdrawl (withdrawal) cold turkey it was no more than a bad flu physically
i am still dealing with it mentally.I took my last vic august 2,
2000. I also did this with a medicine cabinet with 60 vicodin
in it.You have to want off the merry go round really bad before
you can do this. But it is now so sweet to leave my home without
feeling in my pockets to make sure i have my vic's!!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I broke both my arms before i ever took pill's. In fact i regarded people who became addicted to pain pills as weak and
unintelligent. I was the one who was unintelligent if your in pain long enough you simply have to have them for relief. Then
there is a line you cross where you are no longer using for the
pain but just to feel normal.The next stage is everything revolves around never running out because it has such a hold on
you, and your afraid to what limits you might go if you run out.
I became the person who in the past i had ridiculed.I myself after 16 months of 6 to 10 hp's a day or 10 to 15 es's made my
family leave our house for one week while i faced the unknown
withdrawl (withdrawal) cold turkey it was no more than a bad flu physically
i am still dealing with it mentally.I took my last vic august 2,
2000. I also did this with a medicine cabinet with 60 vicodin
in it.You have to want off the merry go round really bad before
you can do this. But it is now so sweet to leave my home without
feeling in my pockets to make sure i have my vic's!!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I too am getting ready to get off these evil pills. I was a daily drinker and the Vicodin ES was the only remedy that got me from craving booze. Since I was 16, I never could get 30 days from Alcohol until I found my vics. Being an alcoholic/addict-the booze still creeps into my life along with these bad boys.
But I don't drink like I used to. These posts really help me. I didn't know so many people take these too. I don't feel alone, even though I've tried NA and AA before without success.
I am up to 8 a day which is peanuts to some-but enough to get a nasty withdrawl (withdrawal). I would like to get more info on tapering off Vics. I can get a 120 bottle-which I will use to taper.
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Avatar_n_tn
To the contrary of what that doc said i have stopped cold turkey over 5 times, and its absolutely miserable, no question, but if you can just suck it up, lay down and play sick for a few days you will be OK. My average dose was roughly 12-14 10mg per day, and yah, when you just hit the brakes suddenly, your body is like wtf? and it kicks your as$. I Have a question though, if i have taken that down to 30 mg per day at the most for over a week now, do you think that saves you the horrible withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms? I figure i will still, but nothing like what ive experienced before. To be honest, this is one of the worst mediations to start liking, if you dont have a perscription they are very expensive. They control you. You dont even want to do anything if your not on them, idk. Ive payed for this habit over and over again, and im really at that point where you are honestly sick of it. I Would strongly recommend anyone with a drug abusing history Stay Away from these. Extremely addictive, and so many people struggle with it. Good luck to all of you with kicking this habit.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been on Vicodin (10/325)for over a year.I take 2 of them every 4 hours.I have really bad back pain and my dr just decided to send me to pain management.I tried before to stop and honestly I wanted to kill myself.(not really but Im sure you know what I mean.My question is this.Will this report on anything?I want to go to school for my RN for labor and delivery and Im scared they can find that and would hire me. Im wondering what the pain management dr will give me.My dr said the tylenol is going to kill my liver and he knows Im in serious pain but doesnt want to be responsible for doing that to me.If Im still in so much pain,will I just have to suffer.I dont feel HIGH when I take it anymore and that was NEVER a reason I took it.HELP!!!PLEASE.Not just help with the question on becoming an RN but all my questions but no offense Id like someone who has been thru pain management and not just what they heard.I heard those drs treat you like a crack addict too.IM SCARED.
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