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lortab addiction
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lortab addiction

my son was prescribed lortabs for back pain and i am concerned that he is now addicted.  The  doctor who prescribed is very well known is our community for prescribing the most drugs for pain in our state. I need some advice on what to do.
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It's so difficult when someone we love is dealing with addiction.  Does your son want to stop?  That's the most important thing.  THere is a forum here for people who are living with someone with an addiction.  You may find by posting there you'll get some good advice.  Your son is not alone in this.  It happens sometimes.  He'll also have to figure out a way to deal with his pain somehow.
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I appreciate your response  He is 26 and has been on these pain pills for 3 years and I am very worried. I know he also drinks alcohol on the weekend so i have noticed a change in his personality. I know he is worried that if he mentions this to the doctor he might cut him off completely and he will not have anything for the extreme pain.  He hurt his back at work was off for 6 months and actually couldnt stand being at home doing nothing so he asked to go back to work.
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so i see this forum is all about everyone helping out with advice. I am still checking it out and I see you have your own issues.  I feel so bad for you.
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Thanks, but don't feel bad for me.  There are plenty of people worse off.  I've had a hard time finding the right things to help me with pain, but I'll get there.

I don't know if what your son is taking has acetaminophen in it, but if it does, he shouldn't drink alcohol as it can damage his liver.

What kind of doctor oversees his pain management?  There are many options for back pain that don't require narcotics, though it's possible he needs them.  But if his back condition is basically something he's going to have long-term, then he really should look into a pain management clinic.  They can offer things like injections, topical prescription creams, etc.  

Most people that are dealing with chronic pain use other modalities to help the pain besides narcotics.  Pills alone usually won't do it.

If your son is truly addicted and misusing his medications, then it is likely his doctor will cut him off.  If he's a good doctor, though, he will make sure he looks for other ways to treat the pain and also will help him get off the medications.  It's a touchy subject with a lot of doctors, and often you don't know how they'll react until you talk to them.
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First, is your son taking the lortab as prescribed and ONLY as prescribed?  If so, that's not addiction.  It's physical dependence which is a normal result of opiate therapy.  If he is misusing it by taking more than prescribed, running out early, supplementing with street drugs or taking them with alcohol to get a better buzz then he has a problem.  True addiction is more of a mental problem even though there are physical aspects to it as well.

When people try to stop taking opiates after being on them for months or years, it is normal to experience withdrawal symptoms.  That does not mean these patients are addicts.  It only means their bodies became dependent on the meds.  Along with the usual withdrawal symptoms, pain levels noticeably increase.  That can fool us into thinking that we really have to take the meds to function.  Depending on the patient's metabolism, the medication and length of time on it that pain may last for days to weeks to months before it tapers off.  

If your son truly wants to get off the lortabs he should talk to his doctor about a tapering schedule.  His fear is understandable but if he wants it bad enough he'll take the bull by the horns and taper off the meds.
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Hi Again Jewel,

I see that you have two very similar post regarding your concern for your son, the other is entitled "Pain." It is where I posted my comment yesterday.

None of us are experts as you have discovered if you are reading posts and comments in our community. That said it's obviously to me that your son should not be drinking while taking opiates. I see that as the bigger issue. As I said yesterday your son may very well have chronic pain.

Jaybay explained addiction vs dependency well.... and others have offered good suggestions. I'd like to offer this journal entry based on articles and facts I gathered on addiction vs dependency. Here's the link:
http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/138942/Addiction-VS-Dependency
I hope it helps.

I hope what we have offered is helpful. I know it's difficult to watch a loved one suffer with chronic pain on top of possible addiction. I urge you to discuss your concerns with your son. Mothers usually have a way of knowing where their children are coming from and can often see what others cannot. However please don't assume that just because he is able to work or drinks on weekends that he has no pain. In my opinion it's mixing the medication with alcohol that is concerning.

Good luck and please feel free to share with us.

Take Care,
~Tuck
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