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anxiety after getting off opiates - help?
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anxiety after getting off opiates - help?

most of you know my story. well, most of my story.

it started with a procedure. a procedure that came with pills afterwards, and after that i was hooked. almost instantly, actually. i'm now on day 415 of sobriety and i wish i could say that i am 100% better now. don't get me wrong, i am not still experiencing WDs or anything like that. but i do suffer from SEVERE panic attacks. panic attacks that are to the point of me thinking i am about to have a heart attack and/or die.

obviously, me being an addict to vicodin and percocet, i was never afraid to go to the doctor's office in order to get the pills. it would be one ER trip after the other each month. a doctor visit or two in between there, you name it. i am sure that half of you can relate to that. it;s a horrible cycle but hey...no more. NOW, i am scared to go to the doctor period. i was literally forced to go see a doctor out here when we moved here because i sprained my ankle pretty bad and couldn't even walk. my blood pressure went up, my pulse was up to 168. long story short, it was a bad day in alex land, for sure. i was diagnosed with white coat syndrome. only, it doesn't stop there.

sometimes i wake up in the middle of the night and my heart's racing, making me feel as though i am about to die from a heart attack. i know that some would say this is health anxiety, and maybe that is what i'm going through. but i have never been through this before until i got off the pills. obviously, the pills calmed me down - even though it gave me the time, energy and everything else that i needed to get things done in my career as well as around my house.

so out of curiosity - does anyone suffer from this? and if so, what do you do to help this?
please keep in mind that unless i am on my death bed - no doctor for me.  :(
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I've read parts of your story regarding addiction so I have a general idea of what you've been through.  Congratulations on all that clean time! I can only imagine how much work it took to get to where you are now.

Regarding the anxiety and panic, I could have been you about 5 years ago.   My panic came at me out of nowhere - I woke up in the middle of the night with my heart rate at 170 bpm.   I thought "this is it, I"m going to die. I started hyperventilating which only made things worse.  I finally called my friend who took me to the ER and did some tests and gave me a major shot that calmed me waaaay down. I asked the ER doc what was wrong with me, and he suggested I get some type of counseling.  Not much help there.

Problem was, this kept happening, and when the panic hit, it wasn't just physical, but it was like this wave of bad feelings washing over me that scared the hell out of me - I finally sought help through a psychotherapist - and I KNOW you're not going to want to hear this, but he initially put me on xanax for a short period of time and then switched me over to a longer acting benzo, clonazepam.  We used biofeedback along with the medication to help me learn to cope with anxiety and how to stay calm when panic attacks hit.  It worked.  He then tapered me off of the meds and I'm now able to deal with anxiety without any form of medication.  

I know exactly how you feel, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but maybe you just haven't found the right type of therapist yet. There are some great ones out there.  And you can do biofeedback and other forms of therapy one on one without medication if you want.  

Good luck to you...

Sandy
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18 Comments Post a Comment
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1830012_tn?1336524593
first i want to say WTG!! u should be proud! i'm not off yet but the other day when i was trying to get stuff for the "Thomas Recipie" i ran across St. Johns wart & almost bought it thinking of all the depression i've seen people write about on here after quitting. I hope someone can help u better than I. Please keep up the great work!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I've read parts of your story regarding addiction so I have a general idea of what you've been through.  Congratulations on all that clean time! I can only imagine how much work it took to get to where you are now.

Regarding the anxiety and panic, I could have been you about 5 years ago.   My panic came at me out of nowhere - I woke up in the middle of the night with my heart rate at 170 bpm.   I thought "this is it, I"m going to die. I started hyperventilating which only made things worse.  I finally called my friend who took me to the ER and did some tests and gave me a major shot that calmed me waaaay down. I asked the ER doc what was wrong with me, and he suggested I get some type of counseling.  Not much help there.

Problem was, this kept happening, and when the panic hit, it wasn't just physical, but it was like this wave of bad feelings washing over me that scared the hell out of me - I finally sought help through a psychotherapist - and I KNOW you're not going to want to hear this, but he initially put me on xanax for a short period of time and then switched me over to a longer acting benzo, clonazepam.  We used biofeedback along with the medication to help me learn to cope with anxiety and how to stay calm when panic attacks hit.  It worked.  He then tapered me off of the meds and I'm now able to deal with anxiety without any form of medication.  

I know exactly how you feel, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but maybe you just haven't found the right type of therapist yet. There are some great ones out there.  And you can do biofeedback and other forms of therapy one on one without medication if you want.  

Good luck to you...

Sandy
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Avatar_f_tn
I wish I could help you with this.  Maybe in a few months I willbe able to share with you my exp.  Just how did you get the courage to c/t?  BTW Congats! on your 415
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1767882_tn?1331412769
congrats on 415! AWESOME!!!!! I'm at day 11. Not so much fun, this detox/withdrawal stuff. I can relate to your panic attacks. I've had bouts with
it for many years. Had one last night. Finally went to sleep early in the a.m.,
then had a pill dream! The longest periods where I've been free of the panic attacks just happen to coincide with two 4-year periods of clean/sober time and working a 12-step program, meaning actually working each step, with a sponsor. That's my experience. I know I always wanted a quick fix (like I did last night, but for me that's suicide). Hang in there. This too shall pass!!
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495284_tn?1333897642
Have you thought about talking with someone about these panic attacks?  There is something that is driving this.
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Avatar_f_tn
YES! I too have that going on still, but getting less with each clean day. I was blaming it on taking sleep meds, but after stopping those it still hit me now and then. What I do honestly is have a talk with myself......ya know, calm down, alls ok, this will pass.....that kind talk. I drink camiole tea, not sure if it helps but it makes me feel like I'm doing SOMETHING. Hoping this will pass for all of as as we continue to heal. Cograts on all your clean time.
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Avatar_f_tn
Aww my friend...i picture as superwomam..the one and mighty girl with a cape and a brain of knowledge...i never ever think you've got problems lol. Haha.. That's my way of complimented you. Your the bomb in my eyes. So much younger in years yet wiser than me!!

But back.to the panic attacks..i used to get them in 01 02. I would drive and forget where i was.. I thought Im.gonna crash my car from.a heart attack..so i know about panic attacks. They scare the @#%& out of you.

If you go to therapy and yes they prob put you on a benzo while teamwork with you thru the p.a....then they will taper..i get the fear of doctors..i was right there with you in the addiction phase..now i wanna run when ibsee a white coat lol..n but please.get help...i need ya girl..i lean on you.

Oh and the good thing about psychics..no whit coats. So do what ya got to.do.  P.m. Me if you want to ask what to expect.
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1827057_tn?1397523877
Hi,sounds like panic attacks and alot of the people that get them don't start having them until around 25-35 yrs old.Alot of these ppl I know didn't drink or use drugs either,so it is very possible it could be unrelated to your drug use.There is a program called attacking anxiety and depression by Lucinda Bassett.This is a great program and I used it for depression before and also for calming.Watch out for caffeine and cigarettes for these things can exascerbate and trigger the panic.Also panic is alot like relapse in that it almost always has triggers of some kind.Good luck  and best wishes to you !  hope this helps
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi ricart how are ya today? I think of you alot!!! You help.so many of us to the other side...if it wasn't for you...i don't know where id be...your such a blessing to this forum..you always jump in to help! I can't thank you enough... Please.know your a beautiful person...i know i know your a man so ill say handsome..but you are one of a kind
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Avatar_f_tn
Sorry to hijack your post for a sec. Addict but ricart was the first person i met here and he's special.to me.. But you addict are too. I love ya girl..my supergggirl...
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1959859_tn?1331744757
Good morning people.  I was posting on another topic this week regarding this.  Around day 27-30, my heart was racing, I could not breathe and literally one day had to put my head down and breathe in a paper bag. i thought I was losing it but after reading the other posts that day, understand this is normal.  My take on it is that we are learning to deal with our feelings and our mind has been dull so long it starts racing and then affects our body such as heart and breathing.  

It has not been as bad the past few days, but I guess it is going to come and go for awhile.
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1926359_tn?1331591739
Morning addict...
You are an inspiration with your clean time and all the work you do to help others on this site.  
I am dealing with panic attacks as well-though nothing to the extent you are.  I know that it can be hormonal.  That the body gets in a pattern of 'fight or flight' and then produces too much cortisol (stress hormone) which can trigger panic attacks.  It can be very difficult to stop this response. It can fluctuate with your monthly cycle as well.  Like many conditions, the doctors just treat the symptoms, not the disease-and the DOC for panic is a benzo.  Well, these are not good options as far as I'm concerned (wish that I'd done my research about how hard they are to get off of).

  There are holistic ways to treat what's causing this...Biofeedback therapy as mentioned above has been very effective, as has cognitive behavioural therapy.  I've tried both in the past (pre-opiates) and had good results.  It takes awhile.  I'm currently on a wait list for both these therapies.  Like with addiction-you need to identify the triggers that cause the panic and they can be challenging to excavate.
Your CNS and parasympathetic nervous system are in a behavioural pattern and need to be re-trained.  

I hope this makes sense-my brain is very tired and I'm having difficulty getting my words out.  You are a very smart and strong woman.  I hope that you find some relief soon....

Lu
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1979360_tn?1328147465
thanks to all who commented and sent positive vibes my way. they're always welcome, trust and believe that. [ that was me trying to be gangster for a minute. fail. ]

this honestly has never happened to me before all of this. and while i understand that this could be stemming from other things, i honestly couldn't tell you what that would be. yes, i have given it some thought about getting into some sort of therapy for this. but like i have said before on this forum, we literally just moved here [ thanks to the military ] and we're still getting our ducks in a row when it comes to our paperwork with medical. in fact, i just faxed over the last little packet that was needed and our tricare stuff should be kicking into this area soon enough. fingers crossed, because you never know with the military.

and bama, you crack me up. i may wear my cape but sometimes people accidentally tend to put it on me backwards, and instead, i get a bib....haha. in other words, sometimes i can be a baby about certain things. but the good thing about the panic disorder that i'm going through right now is that it's not happening every single night, day or morning. in fact, they have gone down a lot - but that doesn't discount the fact that it's still something i need to get taken care of.

each and every single one of you are amazing. just thought you should know.
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1979360_tn?1328147465
okay, so i called the medical department for our insurance and i am good to go. so i looked online for therapists and specifically one that does CBT [ cognitive behavioral therapy ] and my first appointment is wednesday at 9am. is it weird that i am excited about this?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey, I m only on day 12 but I completely understand how you feel. I just had a terrible panic attack a few min ago. I've never taken any benzos so what I do is try deep breathing. I inhale for 6 counts thru my nose & exhale out my mouth slowly for 6. Just mentally counting to 6 over & over takes my mind off those "am I dying?" Thoughts. After a few min, my panic/anxiety is gone.
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1979360_tn?1328147465
congrats on 12 days!!

i know what you mean, thinking that you're going to die. it's horrible. absolutely unbearable.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi my name is Bill and I have been addicted to Diludid for close to 21 years now and my doseage has gotten to the point that I can no longer sleep through the night even if I take some type of sleeping pill that has been prescribed by the doctor, I had a very serious work place accident ,,make that two accidents and long and short of it is that I would love to get off these dam things before they kill me I am not sure where to start my doctor thinks I should try methadone but is that not just as bad? and I really don't know where my body is at physically if I was not doing the meds. plain and simply I am scared as hell to stop but just as scared to stay on them, withdrawls start simple enough with yawning fits then skin crawling then the shakes and that happens at  about four or five hours after last dose, is there some type of natural way to help with the withdrawls? I saw one web site and the guy was trying to sell his natural way to get off the drugs with something you can purchase from the supermarket but as I said he is trying to sell his formula and I wonder if any of you know which site I am talking about and have you tried it, did it work for you? This seems like a very caring commuity and I am just looking for some help to get myself started on this long road to recovery and to find some answers to the many questions I know I will have not only now but later as well. thank you all for listening to my story and I wish you all well and a speedy recovery to you with your stuggle. and if you can help I would really appriciate any help or tips you can offer me.
                                                           totally addicted Billy
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4605616_tn?1362006758
Congrats on so many days. Just curious as to why no dr visits for this? Or period? I don't know story. I have a feeling it's similar to mine now.
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