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Methadone and Depression
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Methadone and Depression

I have been taking narcotic painkillers for about a year now, in response to a back injury last February that the doctors have not successfully been able to treat. I started off with Vicodin, but having had gastric bypass surgery several years ago, I needed a painkiller that I could more easily digest. I was moved to liquid oxycodone and continue on that for many months, but I acquired a tolerance to it very easily so I was taking more and more of it, having to increase the dosage every 4-6 weeks. In December my doctor put me on liquid methadone as opposed to increasing the liquid oxycodone dosage again. I take 5ml (1 tsp) every 8 hours.

I have always struggled with depression. I take 300mg of Zolft and 200mg of Wellbutrin daily. With the other narcotic painkillers, I felt like an depressive feelings were manageable and that I was able to still feel and function "normally." Now on the methadone, I can feel myself sliding downhill with the depression. I continue to take my medication, but I still feel myself being pulled down that familiar path of less energy, less motivation, all of the hallmarks of depression that I have known for years.

I am not sure what to do about this depression. Years ago after an ankle surgery I experienced depression as a result of vicodin use. At that time the psychiatrist told me I needed to get off of the narcotic painkillers. I don't think I am able at this point to get off these painkillers. I don't think there is a non-narcotic substitute that will allow me to function and work with the back pain that I have.

Has anyone else experienced depression from methadone or from any other painkiller? Were you able to continue taking the painkiller and yet be treated for the depression as well?  
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Hi Feliciadragon,

It's not uncommon for chronic pain to exacerbate depression. When you add a narcotic that depression can be difficult to keep at bay.

A change in your opiate may help. I would discuss this with your prescribing physician. Methadone gave me such a headache I could not tolerate it. We are all different and medications work differently on our systems.

I am blessed that I do not have clinical depression. Although I have had short bouts of situational depression I have always been able to manage through it. So I cannot offer you any personal suggestions.

Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

My Best,
~tuck
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