Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

Take pain meds despite addiction???

I've been addicted to alcohol and prescription pain med.s since I was 14, at 17 I got into recovery and received treatment. I've relapsed twice in the past year both on pain meds. I've got a kidney blockage due to a kidney stone, I've had this for about a month and a half. It is VERY painful. In the begginning I used pain meds to deal with the pain. It became a huge problem as I began taking more than I was supposed to, taking them when I wasn't in pain. So I sopped nearly a month ago and am just doing without. The pain is wearing me down and seems to be getting worse. So my question is should I just start taking it again despite the problems I've had or should I continue to do without? I mean would it be too risky to start up again? My doctor doesn't seem too concerned but he also doesn't seem to knowledgable about recovery either. Can you help me with this, anyone?
31 Responses
Avatar universal
My opinion, if you read other posts, is quite clear.  I have been clean of Vicoden ES for 6 days.  I was addicted consistantly for approx. 8 mos. or so, maybe longer.  Sometimes I would get the pills from a doctor, other times a friend had tons of them in trade for canned goods, old baby clothes, etc...Nevertheless, I never was without the goods.  I was hopelessly going downhill, drinking booze all the while too!  One day I realized that I was taking them when I did not even have the pain.  And, I was taking more and more to get the same effect.  Two weeks ago, I bottomed out.  This was MY secret.  I hid it from everyone, even my hubby.  Please try not to take the pills unless you are dying of pain.  Cut them in half and each day step down till there are none.  You DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WANT TO GO THROUGH WITHDRAWALS AT HOME ALONE.  I became horribly sick.  I was almost rushed to the hospital, but chose on my own to suffer the consequences, the shakes, vomiting, etc...I wanted to die.  You are risking alot if you already know that you are addicted to this stuff.  Please ask your doctors to prescribe another medicine...not opiates.  I had to be very honest with everyone.  It was embarrassing and humiliating, but my life was at risk and I decided that I wanted to live.  Good Luck, Neena
Avatar universal
Hi Neena,
I am new here and posted above under "Off Topic but need feedback".  I can really understand your dilemna.  We *need* relief from the horrid pain we suffer from!  I believe that being undermedicated causes us more problems in the way of drug seeking behaviors (just to get some relief) and having easy access to what we crave tempts us to indulge in destructive over-medicating.  It's a freaking double edged sword.  I ended up putting my trust in the hands of the doctor that is treating me.  If you really need serious pain relief than you should be afforded that (in my humble and maybe useless opinion).  Do you have someone that can control your daily doses?  My husband fills my bottle for the day with what I was prescribed.  I am down to not taking it all on my own.  It's just a comfort having it there.  

I don't understand why those of us in chronic debilitating pain are forced to live not only with the pain but with the guilt and stigma that goes along with being "dependant".  What a crappy position to be in.  

Let me know if you want to chat sometime.  I have ICQ or can give you my email address.

Feel better and stay strong :)
Avatar universal
There is a major difference between being an addict and being a chronic pain sufferer that "depends" on narcotics for pain.
I am just like the rest of you on here. There are some that take narcotics for "fun" while others truly depend on it to maintain a decent quailty of life while we are destined to live with pain due to physical problems that cannot be corrected.
I felt like a drug seeker looking for a caring doctor ( LOL YEAH RIGHT!!) and they are scared to treat me long term for pain. So I am clean.......have not had narcotics on a regular basis in three years with the exception of having a root canal or dental abcess once or twice in the past two years which in turn I was given narcotics for pain. That was the only time I was out of pain due to severe back problems. So, I am here, taking advil by the handfuls.....3 tablets every 4 hours. How safe can that possibly be? This is a choice I do not have right now.
I was given a great website to help people like us learn the difference between being an addict or being dependent on narcotics to ease our suffering. I learned from this site that there is truly a difference.
Anyone wishing more information please email me at
Avatar universal
I was reading all the posts here and I am so relieved to hear that I am not the only one suffering. I suffer from Chronic Headache Syndrome and Attention Deficit Disorder (adult onset). I too have been to countless doctors and psychiatrists ( who thought I was just imaginging this pain)only to find a Neuro that put me on a regimen of meds that acutally allevtiated the pain. This was 4 years ago! I am prescribed Fioricet every 4 hours, every day for pain, and 40 mg Adderall (amphetamine) for ADD. Now, think about it every day for four years, how could I not become addicted? How could my body not become immuned to the meds where I have to take more to alleviate the pain? Could I have avoided this. I tried to go back to my prescribed dose,  but that's like taking nothing at all. Does this mean I have to start all over with another medication? I have tried them all! I finally have a great job, I couldn't hold a job because of pain before. THIS IS A VICIOUS CYCLE. Does anyone know of a website for people like us? Can I talk to someone? Please help!!!!!
Avatar universal
First off I'd like to thank everyone who replied, I really appreciate you taking the time to give advie. Brighty, I wish I could help you there (about non-addictive pain meds) I've got 2 surgery dates coming up. One in early december the other sometime in January and was told that the only non-addictive pain medications I could take wouldn't hold a candle to the narcotics. It's frustrated as everything isn't it? Well thanks all,
Avatar universal
From all the reading I've done right here in the past 7 months it is evident to me that there is a difference between chronic pain and the need to get high. I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams that anyone would consider the true sufferer of chronic pain to be a true addict. It also appears that many true addicts are created by the use of narcotics for short term pain problems... then the desire to use escalates long after the pain is gone. I am also horrified at what uninformed and careless doctors are doing to human beings who really should not not be given narcotics in many cases because the risk of addiction is so high. These same doctors seem to be the ones who then send the same patient to an addiction doctor. LOL !!! The vicious cycle just continues. Notice that these services are not free either... someone is profiting from this.. big time.  My observation is that someone with chronic pain should just forget this whole business of getting clean.... but then again, once the beast is born it seems to be a fine line as to who is really dependent and who is addicted. Once tasted, opiates enslave physically and the psychological factor is just as easily created. Seemingly problem free folks seem to self justify the reasons for continuing use long after pain is gone and the RX has run out. I can't get it into my head why, with all the hi-tech and multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical know how in this world, that there is not yet an effective and totally non addictive pain medication available. Am I jaded to think that there is so much money made in the addiction industry that the drug I am referring to is purposely being suppressed ?? Does opium still have the monopoly on pain relief ?? It doesn't seem to be such a big thing to develop. And yet every time I inquire about a "safe non-addictive" pain reliever there is not much stronger than anti-inflammatory analgesics. Even the non-opiate stuff like Ultram behaves like an opiate in that it attaches to an opiate receptor... alot of good that is... still addictive. Something is wrong here.... all this $$$$ spent on research and addiction still not overcome for pain relief. I am mad and just needed to vent. Can any one here help me with information on those types of drugs that a recovering addict can use safely for things like oral surgery, minor surgery and short term pain situations. Thanks to all for all the support you offer. Love, Brighty
Avatar universal
It certainly has been a long time since you posted.  I am glad to hear that your daughter is doing so well!  You have been fighting long and hard to save her life and I can relate to that sooo well.  We all need a Mom like you in our lives!  I know that you are busy but drop us a line once in a while and let us know how things are going.  Your ideas speak volumes of hope for the afflicted here.
Avatar universal
So good to hear from you !! I moved and got lost in limbo for awhile with no PC connection and other annoyances :-)) You know there is a beautiful angel in heaven that I have asked to guide my daughter... you do understand.... and this gives me tremendous comfort. Peace and prayers to you... and many thanks for your continuing support. Stay in touch. Love, Brighty
Avatar universal
There are some posts in a section here listed under an Ultram question. Both Tom and JB responded to having success with Talwin NX and Torodol ( spelling ??). You may want to read those posts from the past couple of days and then inquire in advance with the doctor if these drugs could help with your pain and not awaken your addiction. Do as much research as you can. My experience has been that many doctors are not well informed about addiction issues and may tell you not to worry... this general type of reply could keep you from getting the best possible information and the best possible care for youself. You have a special condition called "addiction" and you deserve to get correct information. Good luck and tell us how you fare.
Avatar universal
About the Toradol, I got a shot of it in the ER about a year ago for rib injuries I sustained at work.  It is a very potent NSAID and it did make me very groggy.  My wife also got it for post OP pain when she was in intensive care.  The last I heard it was being tried for oral surgery pain and inflamation.  You can probably get more information about it on rxlist.com. Anyway, I thought it did a pretty good job for me at the time. I wonder why the stuff isn't being used more often.
Avatar universal
You can be sure that I'll be doing research on it !! That your wife got it for post op pain is very encouraging. I also wonder why more doctors don't consider it. I think that narcotics are more familiar to them. Most doctors seem to know little about addiction and addicts seem to be the stepchildren of the patient communities in the medical profession. I think we all need to start getting aggressive about pushing for safe, reliable medications that do not create or awaken addiction. I am thinking about bombarding the pharmaceutical companies in some way :-)) LOL. Any suggestions anyone ???
Avatar universal
Unfortunately, the drug producers are really only interested in money.  And that's how they can be persuaded...lots of law suits.

Really, what would they do without all of us addicts?  Are they any different than the tobacco or brewing companies?

I live not far from the Ely Lily Company here in Indiana and just read an article about what great humanitarians they are.  They shipped 7 million doses of an antibiotic that was out of date to Africa.  Are they such good guys or did they do it for a tax write off?  Maybe they are in financial trouble since their patent on Prozac expired.  Just a thought.
Avatar universal
JB do you take Norco. My doctor gave it to me for back pain and leg pains. I have taken it but, I am  concerned because my liver enzymes were elevated after being on Lorcet 10/650 for a few months. I have read that people with hepatitus and or elevated liver enzymes can have bad liver reactions from lorcet tylenol combinations. Have you or anyone taken tylenol with hydro's for pain? Some people still take hydrocodone tylenol combinations with liver problems. I thought this was a no no. Can you or anyone answre my questions? PLease respond. What are the ingredients of Norco? Please help>
Avatar universal
Yes, I am currently on Lorcet/10/650 for pain and I take no more than three per day.  My doctor swears this is a safe dose for me, but I'm not convinced.  Anyway I have an appointment to see him tomorrow and am going to ask for something without the Tylenol.  
I believe Norco is like Vicodin, Lortab and Lorcet which contain hydrocodone and APAP(Tylenol).  You can check this on rxlist.com.

I have chronic liver disease and am at stage four.  When I do use too much Tylenol, my ankles and feet swell and I get pains in my right upper abdomin.  I will have nosebleeds, high blood pressure, headaches and nausea as well.  I would just try to avoid any Tylenol as much as possible, Frank.
Avatar universal
Finally, someone who lives near me.  What are the options for addiction treatment here other than cold turkey withdrawal.  Has anyone you know ever had any success.  Please write!!!!!  Thank you.
Avatar universal
Things may be different now but when I last went through detox at the hospital, I was closely monitored.  They gave me a couple of drugs but I don't remember for sure what they were.  I think one was a benzo like Valium and the other was clonidine.  After four days I was discharged and went immediately into a 21 day outpatient rehab program.  I attended NA and AA meetings plus had six months of aftercare in a support group.

Yes I have known people who have been successful.  They were able to stay with the 12 step programs and work on recovery.  The point is that the programs require a lot of commitmant and hard work.  A lot of people will seek an easier, softer way and that leads right to relapse.  You just can't sit on your laurels and expect to stay clean.  I know this first hand!
Avatar universal
Good post my friend!  I too have learned the hard way that getting off the drugs is the easy first step.  Staying off them requires far more work.  My theory is that we addicts train ourselves to want easy solutions to hard problems.  Have a bad day, pop a pill rather than focus on really solving the problem.  In a little pain, pop another pill rather than trying exercise, stretching, yoga or something else to deal with the root of the pain.  On and on.  When you train yourself to get an instant solution (narcotic)you then have real difficulty doing some REAL work like relapse prevention.  Take care of yourself.  Phil
Avatar universal
I have been through inpatient detox...first for cocaine, and then for vicodin.  I got addicted to cocaine because I used it to get through withdrawals.  It does work, but like most addicts, I can't do anything in moderation!!!!  However, I would go through the whole hell of cocaine a million times to never go through vicodin withdrawal and detox.  Here in Indiana, doctors are so conservative they are afraid to give you a darvocet.  Anyway, I went cold turkey in the hospital.  The therapists don't understand that opiates are PHYSICALLY addicting, unlike cocaine.  I had cravings with cocaine.  I screamed all night with the vicodin withdrawal, and it was worse knowing there was no relief.  They wouldn't even give me ******* motrin!!!!  Anyway, how can you work a program with physical symptoms.  I don't mean to sound dumb, its just that alcohol and coke are mostly psychological, while opiates are pure pain.  Also, I went to that site mentioned previously about "compassionate doctors."  None in Indiana of course, but Chicago isn't too far.  Does anyone know anything about that site.  Not trying to glorify anything, God forbid.... V
Avatar universal
Not even in Indiana would they let an addict go through withdrawal with no medication, IF you were in a normal detox program.  Were you?  I find it hard to believe that in your entire state you can't find 1 doc or program using buprenorphine for detox, outpatient.  Have you thoroughly searched?  Phil
Avatar universal
Vicky, I'm not sure what you mean about opiates being pure pain.
I've detoxed off of more potent stuff before and the physical pain usually goes away in a week or less.  It's the mental anguish that seems to go on forever.  I was sent to an addiction shrink who prescribed me meds to counteract my depression.

As far as hospital detox, I've always been given something like Valium for a few days.  Before you go into detox you should make sure that meds are given.  I my case my blood pressure usually goes sky high along with my pulse rate.  One time I had a seizure during detox.  They have to be able to medicate you for these things.  Panic attacks are another problem as some people will get downright dangerous if not monitored and medicated.

Yes the doctors here in Indiana are pretty conservative about prescribing opiates.  They probably are all over the country.  I just had a really hard time getting my doctor convinced recently that I needed something stronger that Motrin.  I kept a pain journal and showed it to him.  That worked for me!  Now I can function normally again.
Avatar universal
Buprenorphine is an xcellent pain killer of the morphine type. Much easier on the neuro transmitters causing less addiction;and it is a schedule V which means informed doctors will likely prescribe for chronic pain. Also works as an antidepressant for chronic opiate abusers by replinishing depleted endorphins.
Avatar universal
Now that is really interesting about the depression thing.  That has been one of my biggest problems in staying off opiates-the depression.  I've read that buprenorphine is a schedule four drug due to it's low potential for abuse.  If that is the case then why is it not made more available to the addict?

I posted several weeks ago that opiates were the only AD's that worked for me and got quite a response in my favor.  In fact the whole thread ended up being deleted by the sponsors of this forum.  As a depression sufferer, I don't want to wait weeks for some antidepressant to take effect, ie. Prozac, effexor, Paxil et al.

If you had a migraine headache, would you want to wait three or more weeks for relief?  Depression can kill you just as dead as a bullet to the head.  I'm leary about all these SSRI's that are being used on us...will they be the Valium of the next generation?
Avatar universal
First of all Bupe. is a Schedule five. drug. It is already being used my psychiatrist in certain parts of the country. The fda has already ok'd it,why doctors are not using it mainsteam across the country baffles me as it does you. The maker of buprenorphine has not started marketing it like the makers of prozac,zoloft, celexa,is the only reason,that I can think of. Doctors depend too much on pharmaceutical salesman and not old fashion research.
Avatar universal
Buprenorphine is an excellent detox drug AND appears to help with depression.  My concern is that the approval given for buprenorphine to be used by any doc (which hasn't come through yet)allows it to be used in pill form, combined with naltrexone.  This concerns me because when it is alone, the buprenorphine works great.  Combined with nal, I am concerned it will not be as effective in relieving withdrawal symptoms during detox.  The reason they are combining the drugs is they are worried about diversion of bup into the street market.  I think this worry is silly since bup does not give much if any high, and certainly not to people who are using narcotics regularly.  Stupid government bureaucrats!  Anyhow, if using bup for detox, best to find one using shots of bup, not pills with the combo.  Brian
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