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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

Caught between a rock and a screwy treatment plan...

So I posted about my situation before...I appreciate the responses. And they have lead me to some knew questions...

To sum up quick... I was addicted to oxy for 3 months, put on Suboxone for 8 months, clean for 3 months, then put back on a small dose of Suboxone after WD ravaged my body, on the small dose for about 9 months, stopped about a month ago, lasted two weeks, severe physical problems returned, so I am back on....BUT I really don't want to be on Suboxone.

So heres the rub. When I stopped Suboxone the first time (at about 1mg/day) I had withdrawals, but the pain that followed the acute withdrawal was the real problem. I woke up every single day feeling like claws were being dragged across the inside of my stomach. I was exhausted, constantly achy, which lead to depression and anxiety.

After being clean for about 2 months, I was fed up with the lingering physical pain. I had constant diarrhea...I mean everyday, everytime I went, and I was going 5-8 times a day. I couldn't eat...I lost 50lbs in 2 months...205 to 155. Everything was centered around this pain. I saw my GP, was tested for everything. Saw a GI specialist, got an endo and colonoscopy. Nothing abnormal.

During this time, I was still seeing my Sub doctor for check ins. He saw how much I was deteriorating and would always offer me Suboxone. He knew that I was not using opiates, he knew I was not in opiate withdrawal, yet he would always suggest that I get back on a couple mgs, so I felt better. I resisted for 3 months. Then after my GI doc said, "if this suboxone drug helps your stomach and appetite, take it" So the next time I saw my Sub doctor, he again offered and I shamefully accepted. We talked about it, we both knew that I was not in withdrawal, that I did not need opiate maintenance treatment...he said "im giving you this for the discomfort you are feeling" At the time I was so miserable...and him saying that it was for something other than opiate addiction kind of brought down the wall I had put up when I quit.

Looking back...I dont understand why the hell an addiction specialist would offer Suboxone to a recovering addict who has been clean for over 3 months. He should have been telling me to check into the hospital, and let the internists figure out what was up with my stomach. Right?

So anyway...I took the script for 30 2mg Subs, and took 1 mg when I got home. It knocked me out...but it made my stomach pain melt away. I lowered the dose to one that worked...and it eventually leveled at 1mg/day after my body got used to it again.

I was on approx 1mg/day for the last 9 months. About a month ago, I tried to quit again...and again the physical pain came back. So I called him and got back on.


Its just really screwed up. I have always had stomach issues...so bad that it has really effected the way I live. For a long time I hid it, chugged pepto, hit the bathroom almost 10xday, and thanked god for days when it wasnt so bad. So when I got hurt and put on pain pills... I found the amazing, stomach soothing, constipating magic of opiates. And self medicating my stomach was a huge part of what lead to my addiction. Its hard to understand if you havent felt it. But having chronic stomach pain and diarrhea effects the rest of your body and your mental health a great deal. I guess the best way to equate it is...you know how horrible your stomach feels when something really bad happens to you, the way your emotions create that knot. Well the reverse is true and worse. Having a stomachache 24 hours a day 7 days a week just drags you down. It goes hand and hand with depression...it changes who you are, dulls any happiness, keeps you from doing the things you enjoy...its misery.

So when I felt the relief that came with pain pills I was so happy. And I totally rationalized it. I said I have been in pain for so long...I deserve to feel good for a while. Well that lead to addiction...and where I am now.

I read up on Suboxone. I know that its not for pain...or IBS, UC, or whatever I have. Why is my chronic stomach pain being treated by a psychiatrist with Suboxone?

The truth is that after you are labeled an addict...you are out of options. Ill admit that self-medicating was stupid. I was naive, and honestly just happy to not feel sick anymore. Because I was too self conscious to go to a doctor for my diarrhea and stomach pain...i ended out popped oxy til I was addicted. Now no doc wants to treat me because I have the addict stamp in my file.

I dunno...this just kind of turned into another rambling session. I know Im not supposed to blame anyone but myself for my situation... but I am just pissed that my Suboxone doctor dangled an Suboxone in front me when he knew how much real...non-withdrawal...pain I was in. And I am pissed that the GI doctor brushed me off and told me to just start using the Suboxone again.

Am I wrong? Was this sequence of events proper treatment?

I screwed up with the oxy when I was injured...I abused it. But from the day that I asked for help, I did what the doctors said to a T. Never relapsed, went to every session, all the therapy, passed all the UAs. And here I am 2+ years later, still taking Suboxone.

I dont know what I am going to do. Thats why I was asking if anyone knew a good doctor in my area. I guess I am just going to wait until I have a period of time where I can stop the Suboxone...get through any dependence I have on it... and then check into a hospital and stay there until they figure out a treatment plan that relieves my GI problems with the use of Suboxone.

Alright well this kind of just turned in a rant/journal...how did three months of stupidity turn into 2 years of wrestling with Suboxone. I just feel like a loser these days. This wasn't supposed to happen to me. blah blah blah woe is me.

If anyone wants to respond...positive or negative, feel free.
11 Responses
Avatar universal
Toward the end... "relieves my GI problems WITHOUT the use of Suboxne."
Avatar universal
I don't know if this will be of any help but a friend of mine used to suffer with constant GI/IBS problems, she used to joke she had her own stall at work. A homeopath suggested she tried Peppermint Oil and that did seem to improve matters for her. I feel rather dubious recommending a course of action as you have already seen specialists, etc and such but it might be worth talking to you doctor about non-standard options like that.

Sub is probably the most controversial subject on this forum so not gonna get too involved in that having no direct knowledge of it but I agree it does seem an odd treatment choice. I hope you can find a solution to this, it can't be pleasant.
Avatar universal
Hi clean house, I too was an oxy abuser, but for 4 years of steady doses along with vicodins, percocets, lorcet, lortab, patches, xanax for the cocktails and klonopin. I have not had an oxy in 5 months, but weaned my stupid way just with vicodin and xanax, I have doctor shopped every clinic within a 60 mile radius and its my 3rd day without anything, and you want to talk about horrible diaharea, oh my god. I have been in several treatment centers some for long term, always put on subs, but the minute I get off of subs, bam, i am back out doctor shopping again. I lost one marriage of 30 years on the count of 4 years ago, remarried 2 months ago and she found my stash. Now I feel dumb alone stupid, tried everything in the book, but the subs never worked for me. I am taking ammodiam AD chewables, and going to see a therapist. I am lost here in NC.
Avatar universal
Just to be clear...

I don't have a problem with Suboxone. I have a problem with the way my situation was handled. I put my trust in these medical professionals, and I think they directed me toward a solution...however I know that it was not the best possible one.

There is a lot of drama that comes with reaching out for help with addiction. It pops up on here from time to time, but the strain on relationships with doctors, along with medical insurance issues really adds more stress to an already intense situation.

I would gladly take .5mg of Suboxone everyday if it were indicated for severe GI problems. But its not, and unfortunately there is a stigma within the medical community that comes with a record of anything relating to addiction treatment. So I am stuck taking an off-label medication for a physiological stomach condition that is being prescribed by a psychiatrist. I was happy with him treating my addiction...but my GI issues, not really. I mean, I doubt any addict would want a dermatologist treating their addiction. (not a great analogy but you get my drift)

Like any medication, Suboxone is a great drug when prescribed and utilized properly. Man, transitioning from dealing with all the Oxy BS to taking one pill under my tongue each morning was amazing. I saved thousands of dollars, excelled at my job, worked out everyday, reconnected with friend, my family, and just felt proud of myself during the first 8 months I was on Suboxone. I will attest...the drug will give and opiate addict their life back. For me it was that gift but even better... I didn't have the cravings for some other drug. All I craved was not feeling ill all the time...so when I got on the Suboxone I never looked back. It was wonderful.

So yeah...Suboxone...bottom line, great for getting your life back in order. Great for many people...a life saver in many cases.

Like I said, my issue is the approach taken by the doctors after I discontinued the Suboxone. And some can say that I am looking to place blame. But at the time I placed doctors on the highest pedestal. They had all the answers, they were always right, and I believed that if I followed their instructions everything would be okay. I learned my lesson on that. I had never understood the idea of second opinions...I definitely do now.

Avatar universal
Hi I really empathize with you.  My dr's have offered me anitdepressants for physical pain, and other stuff.  Seems that they prescribe these drugs for things that they are not designed for.  I would confront the dr. and ask why he is treating an abdominal problem with opiate drugs?  Have you been to a good gasterentologist to help you with the stomach problem?  I think you have done great as far as getting off the opiates, good for you but I would pursue finding an answer for your physical problem.  Hope this helps.  
Avatar universal
Thank you for the kind words.

Suboxone is the only medication I can obtain that provides relief. Like I said, the specialists that I saw weren't interested in treating me. I don't think they thought I was pretending to be in pain to obtain narcotics, I just think they didn't want to deal with their perceived risk of treating a patient who was addicted to a drug in the past. And ultimately, it is that attitude that really darkens my outlook on the future.

I am happy to say that I have found an internist in my new city that does have the ability to prescribe Suboxone. I plan on seeing him, and am hopeful that his knowledge of physical medicine and Suboxone will lead to a resolution.

I'm a strong, honest person. Most of us recovering addicts are...many of those in the midst of addiction as well. Honestly, addicts in many cases are some of the most compassionate, giving, and ultimately respectable people there are. (in my opinion) I know that probably doesn't make sense to many...but if you agree with me, you know what im talking about.

Anyways, my point is that I am going to create a resolution to this problem. It may cost a lot of money. I may have to take a few shots at my pride. But I know that I am going to find a way.

Avatar universal
we are all here for you. Congrats for stepping up, It doesn't make sense why a doctor wouldn't do their job and treat your GI problem without sub's or any onset painkiller's.  And ofcourse Narcotics help with bowel control, anyone who has taken opiate's knows that for sure.  What state are you in ? I just see your situation in a bad way, after only a 3 month oxy addiction, turning you to suboxone for 1 + years.  I hope everything works out for you and we are here if you need us.  
Avatar universal
I have felt the same way about Doctors for a long time and resorted to NOT telling them that I am an addict.  I know that this is deceving (sp.), but I want accurate treatment when I go to the doctor and I feel like when they know you are an addict, they will not treat you correctly.  I am frustrated and mad at all doctor's for now it is always a money game and not in the best interest of thier patients that they took a vow to care about.  I really hope you feel better and get the treatment that you need, because you obiviously have some kind of stomach problems that need treatment.  I am sorry you have had to suffer for so long and I hope you gain support through every possible option you have.
Avatar universal
Telling the doctors the truth I can see both ways. I didn't because I thought all they would see was an addict and be blinkered in their thinking. Well that and the fact I was unable to the truth about anything at the time but thats another matter.

However, as it turned out ALL my seemingly random symptoms were being caused by my addiction, even the sore feet and partial deafness for goodness sake. If I'd been straight with them it would possible have saved years of time lost in that hole.

Cleanhouse I know the above doesnt apply to you at all but I don't think you were wrong to be honest, that it might have messed up their decisions is a fault with them not you.
942290 tn?1252618549
that sub doc is a whack job and comes off as another example of a money grubber, that has no clue about the drug he is handing out. or they just flat out dont care.

thats a fact.

all I can say is to study it yourself well
Avatar universal
There are doctors and then there are doctors. Many medical schools and somebody was in the lower part of their class at the worst medical school. So my suggestion is to not give up on finding a doctor you can work with who is able to diagnosis and treat your GI problems. My suggestion is to find the closest teaching hospital, the most famous in your area. (For example: in Massachusetts it would be Mass. General in Boston). And ask for a consultation with the Chief of the GI service. If it is a different and good diagnosis your local doctor can then follow your treatment. Your health is important. Do not stop DEMANDING the medical profession for help. Sometimes you need to see many different people before you are helped.
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