Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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239164 tn?1207266607

Repeat Lortab Withdrawal

I have been addicted to Lortab on and off (mostly on) for 10 years now.  I started taking these drugs for legitimate pain (I have systemic lupus and was having kidney involvement - debilitating joing and muscle pain, recurrent kidney stones).  During this period, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I had just moved half way across the U.S. from home.  I was, understandably, depressed and found that the pills that I hated to take all of a sudden made me feel "better" emotionally.  I began taking more than the prescribed dosage (as you quickly develop a tolerance to them and don't get the same rush you got when you first began taking them) and found myself unable to stop  taking them.  I checked myself into a hospital and went through "medicallly supervised" detox.  I found it wasn't bad at all.  I didn't have a single day in detox that I wasn't able to get up, attend meetings, eat and function.  THE DAY I was discharged, I began using again.  This went on for several years.  I then went back in the hospital for "medically supervised" detox.  This time was much worse.  I wanted to die for a few days, but by the end of the five day period, I was fine.  I actually went home and the next day went grocery shopping and made Thanksgiving dinner.  This time I stayed off of them for several months.  Then, one day, I collapsed while taking a shower.  I was rushed to the hospital.  What they found was, I had a severe infection due to the fact that I had a HUGE kidney stone that had my right kidney totally blocked.  This required surgery and the placement of a stent.  Then a week of intravenous dilaudid.  What a high!  The doctor sent me home with a prescription for dilaudid.  I had two more surgeries over the course of the next month.  He gradually weaned me down to Lortab (my drug of choice).  After six weeks of use, I was totally hooked again.  This time the madness continued for several years.  I found out that you could get a "prescription" for them online.  There are NUMEROUS sources.  About 3 months ago I checked myself back into a hospital for "medically supervised" detox.  I was, at that point, taking 70 to 80 10mg. Lortab a day.  I was spending $1000s every month on "prescriptions".  The detox this time was the worst ever!  I was sick (so sick that the doctor told me that I was the "worst" case he had ever seen.)  I was in the hospital for 7 full days this time.  I threw up, constantly, for three of those days.  I couldn't even keep water down.  They were giving me shots of phenergan every two hours.  I weighed 134 lbs. when I checked in - I weighed 122 lbs. when I checked out.  Even after I went home, I was so weak I could hardly move.  Lifting my arms to wash my hair would wear me out to the point that I would have to lay down for an hour.  Getting myself dressed for the day was an all morning affair.  On top of this, I still couldn't eat.  I wasn't still throwing up, I just couldn't stand the smell or taste of food.  Everything tasted weird.  If I tried to drink a coke, all I could taste was the carbonation.  If I tried to eat a piece of toast, all I could taste was the yeast.  It was a truly terrible time.  This was during the middle of April, early May this year.  I am getting married September 1.  I was so worried that I was never going to feel better again and was not going to be able to do what I needed to do to get my wedding together.  We're having a big wedding and I have a wedding planner who is constantly scheduling appointments for me.  At the end of June I was feeling "overwhelmed" with everything.  By this point, I was totally back to "normal".  Feeling fine physically.  Then I had to have two root canals.  Right back on Lortab again.  I went through the prescription.  I limited myself to 8 a day for the first week.  Then I ordered a "prescription" online.  Went up to three at a time four times a day, for a total of 12 a day.  That wasn't good enough.  Then it was 3 every 2 1/2 hours.  It's been a month now.  My wedding is in a month.  So, I've been back on them (although at significantly lower doses than I was) and I HAVE to stop this madness.  I am furious with myself.  I made a decision that, no matter how bad it is, I am NOT taking another one.  I haven't taken any yet today (I've been awake for about 2 hours now and usually it's the first thing I do in the morning - swallow my pills and drink my coffee).  I am determined to get off of them again before it gets totally out of hand again.

My question is this - has anyone else taken these pills to the same extent I have and what was your experience?  Am I going to go through just as bad a withdrawal as before or (heaven help me) worse?  I have appointments all day today with my bridal consultant and vendors for the wedding.  Tomorrow I'm sort of free, but Thursday are my Bridal portraits!  Any advice, help, etc. anyone can give me would be so greatly appreciated.

5 Responses
52704 tn?1387024397
God only knows why you are not dead.  Acetaminophen's LD-50 is 338mg/kg or 153mg/lb.  That means that out of a group of 135 pound people, 50% would die if from a repeated daily acetaminophen dose of 20,655 mg  ("it generally takes about 2 weeks to die, usually in great pain from kidney and liver failure.")  Most Lortab-10 has 500mg acetaminophen, so you were ingesting 35,000 to 40,000 mg of acetaminophen a day.  Amazing.  You are very lucky.

Despite your luck, you have a serious problem.  You have a chronic, relentlessly progressive, fatal disease: The disease of addiction.  You are going to die from it if you don't take that seriously and force the SOB into complete remission.  PERIOD.  I feel sure that the experts would classify you being in "late-stage addiction."  That's how they classified me and before I did a D.O.C. switch for the last few months of my active addiction I was "only" at 35 to 40 tabs/day.

It’s unlikely that you will want to hear anything about going to treatment.  However, something about your post reminds me of myself back when I had identified the MADNESS for what it was, but still thought it was something I needed to fix myself.  So I wonder if you too are hearing the same small voice (which I ignored) that told me "You're in WAY over your head” -- “You need SERIOUS help now” - “This is absolute INSANITY” -- “It’s going to get worse.”  If you are hearing those voices, then, my experience may be just what you need.  So, I'll tell you what I think..........

You've already done the "medically supervised detox" routine and it wasn't enough.  A good 28 day in-patient rehab wasn't enough for me - I relapsed w/i 48 hours.  What I needed was long term treatment.  My second rehab was for 122 days and it gave me the gift of sustained recovery.

I know you're about to get married and there must be a thousand reasons why you can't do ANY treatment now, let alone LONG TERM TREATMENT.  I had at least that many reasons why I couldn't go to treatment (again), why I needed to fix the problem (myself), and why doing anything other than keeping my problem a secret seemed like exactly the wrong thing to do.  I rode those reasons until all those things I thought were more important than treatment (career, home, money, reputation, pride . . .) were just gone and I was literally close to death.  I found out the hard way the great truth in the saying "You Will Lose Anything That You Place in Front of Your Recovery."

Try long term treatment, it works.  The place I found my Recovery was Bridging the Gaps in Winchester, VA (www.bridgingthegaps.com).  BTG was one of the first places in the country to start treating the disease with amino acid therapy, which makes a HUGE difference.  You might take a look at the books: END YOUR ADDICTION NOW, by Charles Gant; THE MOOD CURE, by Julia Ross; SEVEN WEEKS TO SOBRIETY, by Joan Larsen; STAYING SOBER, by Gorski & Miller; and/or STAYING CLEAN AND SOBER by Miller and Miller.

239164 tn?1207266607
You're absolutely right on a number of fronts.  I thought if I could just get off it them this last time (the last hospital stay - not now) that I would never take them again.  I'm in a very happy relationship with a man I'm truly, truly in love with.  The time before last I made everyone in my life aware of my addiction, thinking that would help with having a support group to "watch over" me and help keep me from relapsing.  I was in a miserable marriage to a miserable man who was abusive to myself and my daughter.  It was easy to start using again, then.  This time, I can't fathom, for the life of me, why I would have taken the first pill again.  I didn't take those pills immediately following the root canal.  I had them, but they sat for 6 weeks.  Then one day, a month ago, I was having a really stressful day and decided to take a couple - just to feel the old comfortable "everything's okay" feeling.  Then I took two more, decided a couple of days of that would be okay as long as I kept it in the "prescribed dosage" range.  Well...I've already told you where that led in a couple of weeks.

I plan on seeking long term treatment (be it in-patient or out-patient).  I cannot do that now.  Like I said, we have a HUGE wedding planned.  People are coming from all over the U.S.  They've already spent alot of money for travel and we've paid, at this point, over $50,000.00 for the wedding.  

I need to get through these next couple of days of withdrawal and try to function between now and then.  My fiance is aware of the problem and is very supportive.  I simply cannot throw away all we've spent and all our friends and family have spent at this point.

I, too, wonder how I'm not dead.  I guess it was a gradual increase to the 70 or 80 a day, but I plateaued and stayed at that amount for the last 7 or 8 months I was using them.  It is truly amazing and I should feel blessed.  To make it even stranger, all of my enzymes (including liver and kidney) were within normal ranges, only on the high side of normal.  

I appreciate your honest feedback. Trust me, I do heed your advice.  I'm not trying to blow it off in anyway.  Do you know anything about the kind of withdrawal I might experience over the next few days?  Should I wean or go "cold turkey"?  Thanks for any advice you can give.
Avatar universal
Scared to order any from online, scared I will get batch that is not real drugs.
I take up to 10 per day but at times I feel like I need more to deal with the pain.
Not to mention to deal with life.
Don't know how some can deal with life without some sort of help in the form of a pill.
Is it just me? But to think of living without any drugs scares me, as soon as I wake up I take at least one pill usually a percocet or a norco.
I have stolen pills from family members to feed my addiction yes I feel bad but it doesn't stop me from doing it. Don't take all their pills just a few here and there.
A friend of mine has called in fake scripts for herself pretending to be a doctor and never got caught I am scared I would get caught when I went to pick up the  medicine.
Last time she did this they told her they had to call the doctor to verify so she quit doing it.
We have never bought any from the streets or online yet as we are worried we wil either get caught or get fake drugs and not to mention the price is so high.

I have the upmost respect for each of you who have kicked this habit and are doing good today and fighting the fight every day. You give us all some faith.
Thank you
Thank you for this board for everyone who post here for all of your stories .
52704 tn?1387024397
I would taper if you can.  For me that always required having someone else hold all but one day's supply, with an absolute commitment not to give me anymore until the next day.  I could take them as scheduled then, but if I just held the bottle myself the taper would never last long.

Long term treatment is really worth it.  I'd be dead already without it.

Good luck

239164 tn?1207266607
I now realize that that's exactly what I'm going to have to do (long term treatment).  I am so, so angry with myself.  Why in the world I thought it was a good idea to take that pill a month ago is beyond me.  There are so many better ways to deal with stress.  Until now, I really never thought of myself as an "addict".  Just a person who was using them for real reasons who became addicted.  Of course, I was just lying to myself.  It's been 30 days.  I haven't let the daily count get above 18.  For the first week or ten days I kept it to 6 or 8, then moved to 12.  I took 12 yesterday, 6 so far today and plan to take 3 tomorrow and then none.  I have exactly 3 left.  Of course, I know where to get more any time I want them.  I'm hoping to have enough will power and common sense to not get anymore.  

The frustration is so high. I just can't believe I've done this to myself again.  I hate myself for it.  I was feeling so good, finally, after that last horrible detox.  Anyway, thanks for the feedback.  I sincerely appreciate it.

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