Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
32.1k Members
1150172 tn?1302132501

Did u have severe depression BEFORE opiates? Yet another experiment

Hey everyone, love to get your two- cents on this - I've been clean quite awhile now, but things aren't going so well. Stumbled across something called Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome & Refractory depression - I really think there might b something to this for some of us -

Wish I had time to write this better, but here goes: after reading millions of posts over the years, seems like there r two categories (of many) that I've noticed; those of us who had NORMAL LIVES and then through injury, accident or social mistake take an opiate too often, end up addicted and it wrecks their relationships/life in general. If these people manage to quit, loved ones will say how great it is to have the "old" you back.

Second group is reverse. Started out severely depressed, easily fatigued, anxious wrecks who have been on every anti-depressant under the sun to no avail. stumble across these rotten pills and miracle of miracles, depression is GONE. Of course, this requires more and more... U guys know. When WE quit, family do NOT like what they find to the extent of sometimes telling the person to take a drink/pill whatever.

I see it reading some posts that say things like, once u get to day 5, the worst is over - not for me, but I'm obviously in my second group. When I quit, first 4days fit pattern, 5 & 6 are typically really good days, feel a little better, hopeful, then comes the backslide. NOT CRAVINGS, I physically and mentally get WORSE every day - exercise, diet, sh*t, NOTHING seems to help and I wind up in the blackest depression I ever thought possible, worse by far than the depression that got me into this hell: dead tired - I'm not talking CANNOT & DO NOT FUNCTION tired which leads to physical symptoms by around day 11-14: fevers, swollen glands, and other odd things... & this is STILL going on a MONTH off suboxone and God, 3 months off pills?

The only difference this time using suboxone, I had a solid two weeks of feeling the way I do on days 5 & 6 of CT attempts. I really thought I was in the clear. Then came the backslide. BLACK depression. fevers again, as high as 104.6, everything same as before. Pain, soaked in sweat every night, swollen glands, and it doesn't go away - unbearable. Doctors first test for Lymes, Thyroid disorder, etc., but end up writing it off as depression or CFS because blood work comes back OK, making me feel like a crazy person. I am actually GRATEFUL for the fever/gland thing, because at least they're observable.

So - either I have a thyroid disorder or something they aren't catching that was being masked by OC abuse, or there MAY be something to this endorphin deficiency thing, which is exactly what it says - just as u can be lacking neurotransmitters like seratonin, a small percentage of people lack natural endorphins causing depression, anxiety, fatigue, etc which anti-depressants not only don't help, they can actually make things WORSE because your r trying to fix what ISN'T broke. Since opiates r VERY similar to endorphins, that's why they make this type of depression disappear, & that's why withdrawal is soooo prolonged & doesn't really get better: by abusing O, now you r REALLY low in endorphins... The few your body was producing plummeted when u started giving it artificial OC ones.

Also explains fevers, glands, etc. When u have virtually no natural endorphins, you feel quite a bit of pain and depression. So much so, your body mounts an auto-immune reaction to fight off what isn't there.

Okay - opinions? If this sounds like you, google will turn up a few sites on EDS (endorphin deficiency syndrome) and there ARE treatments that DON'T involve opiates. In fact, starting first one today, D-Phenylalinine which is OTC.

Anyone interested is welcome to PM me, hate feeling crazy & like I'm the only one this is happening to.

Thanks everyone, & good luck best wishes to everyone struggling today.

Background if interested: struggling w OC for a few years, high of around 180mg day, quit repeatedly, this last time w/suboxone for @ 7 weeks? Felt pretty good on sub, reasonably good/ normal for close to two weeks after sub, then intense fatigue, sweating, aches, insomnia, OVERWHELMING DEPRESSION verging on suicide, same old same old.
11 Responses
617347 tn?1331293081
that's really interesting reading about your experience and what you have searched... you might have made a good point and i really hope that it works for you... I would like that you keep us informed of the results... this is your first day taking the D-phenylalinine, right ? hey, wish you luck !!! :)
1150172 tn?1302132501
Thank you -
I am really, really hoping this stuff helps. Have to shorten the OP tho, didn't seem so LONG while I was writing it.

Another thing is that I was a personal trainer at a gym and ran for 5yrs during my 20's & they were the only years I didn't have some level of depression (diagnosed with depression & an anxiety disorder when I was in 7th grade). But I exercised excessively.

There were times before a date or an exam that I would run up to 8 miles because I knew if I didn't, I wouldn't sleep that night. I'm 40 now, & looking back with this in mind, depression did indeed worsen steadily over the years as I stopped being obsessively physically active.

Weird, I know. But maybe I'm an extreme case of a common problem that's generally ignored or overlooked?

HATE sounding like a crazy 'conspiracy theory' person. I swear, I don't look crazy (or like an OC addict for that matter) - this addiction surprised & shocked me when I realized I couldn't stop just like most of us... And I KNOW I am reaching here, but I can't stay like this & I can't go through needing the OC's to function again. I HAVE to figure out something.

Thanks for making it to the end of that book I posted :)

1436228 tn?1328053960
I can identify with the second group.  it has been almost six months and I am just starting to do things I once only thought I could do high.
I was told I was self medicating with the opiates.  now on antidepressents and aniety meds and like I said it has been almost six months that I think I am feeling normal or what ever normal is cause when we are addicted so many years I do not have a normal to compare to.
good luck in your recovery
Avatar universal
I was depressed before I started on the Vicoden for a broken leg. I have been on a antidepressant for 10 years but when I went off the vicoden I went off the antidepressant too. I had a rough 8 days and then the leg cramps stayed with me until about the 3rd week, I am now 27 days clean (both drugs)  I do think going off both was hard on me. But about 3 days ago I noticed I was not crying at every dammmm advertisement lol and I go from good to bad and back to good in  a few hours, but I am so glad I did it. so I don't know if depression was made better with vicoden or not, I just know I have stopped both. I plan on beating the depression and the vicoden. keep on keeping on.  good luck and  prayers to you.
Avatar universal
Hi Ginger~

It's funny...the other day a member here posted to someone about opiates being used for depression.  I was irritated at first because I thought:"Great!  Put that thought in someone's head". And I posted something to him along those lines...

Then,I started to do a little research. I learned a lot!  I guess we all have known how much better we began to feel after a few ____(insert drug name) but always knew it was bad but got addicted and on and on... I just recently read so much about this that I have a whole other point of view or,I should say,an additional one.  I know,personally,I felt BETTER on the pills. Of course,that was in the beginning and it later turned to sh!t but it was like a normal feeling,not ever a high feeling.  It always seemed crazy to me...

I feel good now,don't misunderstand,and I'm clean. But,I can relate to category two very well.   There is some data,medical journal articles,etc...that talk about small dose opiate
use for treatment of depression. Of course,we (as addicts) have always known this and I think that's why the recovery is so difficult for some and not for others. I was not addicted to opiates but to a barbiturate and when I tell you it loved my brain,I'm not lying!!  I took it to the max though and that's where ALL the problems began.  

Certainly something to think about.  Good luck with the new treatment you're on. You've sure been through a lot!!  Let us know how you're doing!
599071 tn?1300068702
It's likely that sub-optimal levels of endorphins occur in the same way that some people have serotonin or dopamine imbalances, (or problems with the insulin pathway, for that matter).

D-phenylalanine seems to work for some people.  I have taken it for pain management & thought it was helping but I needed high doses & it got too expensive.  I hope it does help you feel better.

Another treatment that has helped increase natural endorphin production is ultra low dose naltrexone.  If taken at night, the overnight blocking of the opiate receptors seems to make them extra receptive to endorphins during the day.  It's probably not less expensive than the DPA but may be covered by insurance if you have a generous policy, (if there is such a thing).  I should say that I haven't tried this myself but know people who have had good results, particularly from the sorts of symptoms you are suffering.
696149 tn?1314320959
Hi, I might have bee one of those posts you're referring to because I talked about possibly having Endorphine Deficiency Syndrome.  I'm taking 4mg of Suboxone daily....that's two 2mg tabs a day.  There was a study back in 1995 at Harvard and they used Sub on a few patients.  The bottom line is, it was a positive showing for Sub, which is a partial opiate.

Suboxone is usually used for people getting off drugs like Heroin or Morphine.  You might get a little high the first week, but after that you just feel....well normal.  I'm not talking about the sort of 'normal' you feel when you need to take an opiate just to feel OK, like I said, you might only feel high after the first week...after that, you just feel good, but not high.

The Sub is a hard drug though....it stays in your system a long time.  I'm not sure if I'm allergic to it or not but last week I took too much and I was feeling bad for about a week!  Anyway, it's something you might want to look into.

The positives about the drug is that of course you have absolutely no cravings for an opiate....at least I don't feel like I need or even want Vicodin/Norco when I'm on it.  The fact that it has such a half-life means you can take 2 a day and it will easily be enough, in fact I might be going down to 1 a day soon.  You don't get w/d's if you don't take a second dose, unless you abuse it, like I found out.  Fortunately, I learned something from this.  It doesn't really help you if you take more than prescribed.....I mean it might slightly, but believe me, it's not worth it.  I can't stress enough that it's not like Vicodin....you don't get that sort of high feeling.  It's more like a high when you work out and you want to go to the gym.  It's hard to explain...oh wait I have it.  I've been manic before and it feels similar to mania.  I've never gone Britney Spears or anything but it feels good!  

You'll just have to ask your doc and see.  I showed my doc the Harvard study from the Net and some other stuff providing a positive showing on Sub for depression.  You should know that your doctor needs to have a special license to prescribe Sub too.  I hope this helps.
1150172 tn?1302132501
Thanks so much for the info!

Vicki, I know exactly what u mean. My first thought was after ALL this, am I to understand that my depression REQUIRES this nightmare?? Lol. So funny, I was reading the "Kratom" post or whatever it was AFTER I posted my book about the endorphin possibility, & as soon as I saw your name I was thinking uh-oh! Hope she doesn't think I'm pushing opiates on a substance abuse board - that'd make the Kratom look like vitamin C!! Lol, so I'm very relieved you knew what I was talking about... Whew! & thanks too for that other post LOL, it actually made me laugh, which is rare, much easier to type "lol" than the real thing, but that did it :)

Madtram, yeah I am DEFINATELY interested in the low dose naltrexone. Here, my insurance will cover it, but my doctor won't prescribe it. He's not happy I didn't stay on suboxone for longterm therapy - but with the extra long half-life, I was just plain scared I wouldn't be able to get off it. He's convinced I was self-medicating for CFS & depression, but doesn't seem to believe there's anything to EDS. Thinks I'm grasping (or crazy).

Sithtiger - I completely agree. I had the identical feeling on it. It made me feel oddly normal - like more normal than I ever remember being, or what I imagine "normal" people feel like ;)  But the length of time it takes to get off it, I just don't think I could handle it. Tapering is like a slow, mild roasting that lasts and lasts instead of jumping straight into hell. I just don't trust myself to maintain a taper for the length of time sub would require.

Going to start a shorter post on the d-phenylalinine. Day one, I guess I can't expect miracles, though I do think I woke up a little better.

BUT, I ordered Kava Kava with the D-P (another supplement on the EDS info site) and let me tell you, it WORKS - for me at least. ANYONE CONSIDERING IT READ UP FIRST. There's some controversy over liver issues. That said, its supposed to relax your muscles, improve mood, etc, and it absolutely did - within 20 MINUTES. And i SLEPT... Really slept! It was great. Think it only works for little while tho. Going to post this in the shorter thread... Maybe it could help with the crawly-skin insomnia that everyone goes through. It FEELS exactly like a benzo, but didn't see much in the way of abuse potential. Short term anyway.

Well, thank u all again. I have zero support around me right now, & u really have no idea how much it means.

Avatar universal
HI interesting topic.....im bipolar was diagnosed 8yrs ago but according to the doctors  I have probably had it most of my life....I have been told by my drug conslor I have self medicated most of my life....a girl at work works with a kenestiogigist (SP) And he prescribes all natural stuff to treat these type of things stating most are deficiency of various minerals and amino acids there are 3 people at work who go to this guy and swear by him so there is something
to what your saying.....I would love to get on all natural supplements that actually treat the disorder rather then the symptoms ....I will post my findings once I hook up with this guy
being bipolar you are forced to take a constantly changing variety of meds that often have adverse  side effects.....I would love to be free of them thanks for your post and look into the amino acid protacal on the lower right of this page under the health pages good luck on your recovery and God bless.......Gnarly        
696149 tn?1314320959
When I go off something, I find it easier to just go cold turkey.  It's harder at first but in the end I find it to be the best thing.  Of course you can't go CT off everything like Benzo's but you can with opiates.  If I find that Sub isn't good for me, I believe I can go CT.  It also depends on how long you've been on it, be it Sub or Vicodin.  

I've read that since Sub isn't a full narcotic the w/d's are milder, but they do last longer.  If that's true, then I don't think it would be as bad as others and the people who say they just can't get off Sub...well I think they are taking much larger doses too, like at least 8mg and higher per day.

When I briefly abused Sub...I went back down to my normal prescription and I was having w/d symptoms.  It wasn't pleasant, but it was far from like feeling you were gonna die or wanted to die. I always hate when they describe withdrawal symptoms as being 'uncomfortable'.  When I think of uncomfortable, I think of...being hungry or standing for a long time without being able to sit down or tired...that's uncomfortable.  Having withdrawal symptoms are hellish!  Now, that said, I would say that the w/d symptoms I've experienced from Suboxone are indeed what I'd call uncomfortable.  I haven't just stopped taking it without having something like Norco to take but from what I've felt, I don't believe it will be that bad if and when I do.

The thing is, I got sick this past week from abusing Sub last week and I'm not sure if I'm allergic to it or not.  I've been told it can take a month and a half to two months for some meds to get fully saturated in your body, so even though the Sub might have been Ok at first, it might just now be really getting into my system.  All I have to say is if I must stop, then so be it, but if it continues to help like it did then I'll continue using it and I've learned not to abuse it!  I think if it's working for you, then by all means keep using it, but if you feel the cons are worst than the pro's then you should stop it.  The best way of course is to not use anything if you don't have to.
Avatar universal
This is a very interesting topic. I am sure more research will be done. My doctor in Nashville, Dr. Robert Cochran, was before his time with this topic. He prescribed opiates for depression, OCD, PTSD, etc. until he retired. He had to face quite a bit of adversity from the medical community. He recorded his findings on treatments with opiates in book called The Opiate Cure. I don't think he referred to Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome in his work, but basically, EDS matched up with his findings. He simply didn't have the term for it. The book is very enlightening.
Have an Answer?
Top Addiction Answerers
495284 tn?1333894042
City of Dominatrix, MN
Avatar universal
phoenix, AZ
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is treating glaucoma with marijuana all hype, or can hemp actually help?
If you think marijuana has no ill effects on your health, this article from Missouri Medicine may make you think again.
Julia Aharonov, DO, reveals the quickest way to beat drug withdrawal.
Tricks to help you quit for good.
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.