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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

scared mom-plz help

Hi All! I'm new to this and have never been on any kind of forum before but I desperately need some help.  My daughter has been addicted to vicodin for a couple years.  Chronic back pain- dr's kept prescribing vicodin.  She finally came clean 6 months ago when she knew she was going to get married soon and wanted to start over.  Her boyfriend (now hubby) and I are the only ones that know how bad things really got. Looking back I can see the patterns but I got sucked into it for a long time.  We had constant trips to the ER for all kinds of things-kidney stones, back pain, headaches and they would run tests and NOTHING would ever come back- No stones or anything- I'm guessing you know the story.  We would get pain medicine and go on until the next time something would "go wrong".  For years she always had something wrong and was prescribed pain medicine but mostly for her back.  Well, long story short- she went off and did really well until right before her wedding.  Then for some reason her back started "giving her problems" again.  The Dr gave her ultram but she was worried about her honeymoon so they then gave her vicodin to make sure she didn't have a horrible honeymoon.  Hubby supposedly is keeping the meds so that she can't take too much but I know how she gets and she cries and cries and makes you feel like she is going to die in pain. Today she went to the dr for what they think is a kidney stone.  of course they prescribed vicodin after she went for something else last week and was given tylenol with codeine.  My fear is that her hubby doesn't really understand how bad this can be.  He hasn't been around to see the all the  cycles that I have seen.  I don't want to be the overprotective and controlling mother in law but I need to make sure that he "gets it" so that he can help her stay off these stupid things!  It amazes me how easily the drs give out this stuff!  So my questions are #1 where can I go to see what other people's stories are so that I can show him that she is just like everyone else with this problem and that it IS a problem.  and #2 how do I get him to understand how serious this is so that he can be there to help her?  He is amazing and is very patient but I would hate to see this wear him out - I for one know how consuming it can be.  One other thing- isn't it important that your dr be aware that there is an addiction problem and how do you go about that when you aren't the addict?    Am I worrying WAY too much?  It breaks my heart to know that she had been completely off and now she is starting the cycle all over again. He claims if she gets meds he keeps them so that she can only have them when she needs them-which is great if she REALLY needs them.  My fear is that her body presents these symptoms of other things to convince her there is something else wrong and that she needs to go to the dr and the dr answer to everything is more medicine.  I might add that when it got really bad a year ago she was getting it from everywhere she could find it and going through it faster than water.  I've read through many of the posts and she was in full force addiction.  Luckily we went through withdrawl fairly well all things considered but like I said- she is on the road back and I don't want to see that happen again.  Please help!!!!!!
15 Responses
222369 tn?1274478235
What she is doing with all of these visits is simply drug seeking. We've all done it as addicts. Your daughter probably needs inpatient detox and counseling. She will have to want to help her self. Many people on here go cold turkey and stop, and we could help her with that, but she has to want to quit. And, it's not "I'm gonna quit for the wedding", or "I'm gonna quit for the honeymoon" or birthday, or Christmas...She has to say "I wanna quit because I'm killing myself and want to be rid of this addiction". It's something we all have to say before we can even begin to start on a road to recovery.
Avatar universal
... you could also show him - and/or her - some of the posts on here of people who's lives were almost ruined by staying on the drugs. how many in fact became suicidal.  how after being on them for some time we'd lost almost all hope - because of what the pills did to our minds.  as well, show her some posts of people who are now clean, and how much more amazing life is without the drugs.

but as Ga Guy said - ultimately, she really has to want to quit.  your only other option as I see it is a "tough love" approach and set down a bottom line... (you won't see her, give her $$ or anything else you may support her with, etc. until she stops.  i don't know if it is at that point for you or not, tho.)

perhaps, too, you yourself could attend some Al Anon meetings and get some information from "the pro's" too, and what is the best thing for YOU to do in this situation...

good luck... i'm very sorry you and your daughter are in this situation.  it is an awful one to be in....
228686 tn?1211558307
Well... you can look around here for help. But for family of addicts, there's a great site called sobriety dot com. (dot instead of . , can't put in or board will block out).  They have threads for family of addicts. But I'll warn you, they take a hard line on "doing what's right for you", which generally means accepting the person's problem, but insisting they get help. (This is a personal choice, though, they'll listen, whatever you choose to do).

Is she really interested in getting help? There's a specific pattern to addiction, and one form she might be suffering is from ignorance.

Doctors often give out unreliable, or just wrong information to patients on addiction. This country has a problem with recognizing true addiction aftercare. I like to think that's what this board is about.

Once you realize you want to stop, it's important to know what you need to do and take for the physical side effects. Otherwise, you can never deal with the mental aspects. That information can be got on this board.

If she's serious about stopping, suggest she come on here and discuss her problem. It helps if we know exactly what she's taking, how she takes it, how much, and what happens when she stops. If she can get to where she understands this, dealing with other aspects will be possible to follow.

It's very difficult to concentrate on getting clean when you're feeling so terrible physically you can't think, eat, or sleep.
And with her addiction, she may not realize it, but after the week of initial withdrawal, there's a whole slew of secondary milder symptoms that can go on for months. While not that painful, when experienced over time they can be debilitating. Imagine having a bad flu for six months straight!!!
271792 tn?1334983257
Hi Hun and welcome to the forum.

I feel for you. It is difficult to watch somone you love go down hill and , hopefully, hit bottom. Because "hitting bottom" is what it is going to take. You have done the right thing to try and help; howeer, what Ga Guy said: SHE has to want it. It took me three rehabilitation centers and 4 trips (short term) to jail to open my eyes. I thought that I had hit my bottom, but I found out that my bottom had a basement..EVERYTIME.

My heart breaks for you because my mom went thru exactly what you are going thru right now. It takes me back to 18 years ago and what I put her thru. I like the suggestion to introduce your son-in-law to the forum. Again, SHE has to want it. Still, if he is armed with more information, he may stop babying her and give her some "tough love". Hard as it sounds, it may be the way to go.

I will pray for you all. Plese keep posting and keep us updated. You will find a lot of very kind and caring people here who will help.

Take care of YOU right now. Hope to hear from you soon.
Avatar universal
is there a way for a parent or husband to notify the dr of the situation so that they are aware or is that just not acceptable?  When she came off them before she REALLY wanted it- it was really hard but she could clearly see that she was so much happier without the drugs.  I think right now she doesn't think she is out of control.  Actually she probably isn't at this point - I can just see the warning signs that we are starting to go down that road again.  I know that a long time ago I read several stories of people's  addictions that talked about the repeated ER visits, the DR visits for things that don't really exist.  NOw that I'm looking for those I can't seem to find them.  I think if I can have her husband read some of those things so that he can see that "holy **** that is EXACTLY what she is doing, has done" that it would be very helpfuly.  Anyone know where I can look specifically for that or have stories they can share with me so that I can try to help him understand the seriousness?  Thank you SO much for your help thus far!
222369 tn?1274478235
You can look through these archives by going to the bottom of the page. You can tell every doc you know that she's drug seeking, and she'll find other doctors. It's just how our disease works. If you get her hubby on board, with other people in her life, an intervention may help. It has for some people.
Avatar universal
Welcome - you are a wonderful person and it's great that you are trying to help your daughter.  She does need to want it and obviously you have love and support to offer.  You can call her physician and express your concerns about your daughter's drug use, tell him/her that she is getting meds from multiple providers.  Your roll with the doctor will be that of informant only.  Unless your daughter is 17 or under, the doctor cannot and really should not discuss your daughter's medical history and/or medications with you w/o written permission.  Her husband could do the same.  But again, know that you can't expect the doctor to discuss their history.  You can however ask for some direction, advice.  It's a tough road to go down, and she'll probably be angry with you. Hopefully she has a primary care physician who will confront her about the addiction and offer to help her get some assistance with her pain and with the issues that are causing her to seek medications.  My mom often says she wishes she'd done something - I tell her what I told you - she could have done this to me. I'd have been mad as hell but I'd have to admit deep down inside that she was right.
Keep posting and good luck
Avatar universal
One more question...what things should we be watching for?  If she really does just have this one new prescription and hubby is monitoring dosage how do we know if we have a problem?  Today when she went to the dr she cried and cried about how much pain she was in her lower back- hence the reason they are testing her for kidney stones.  I've been here before with her and I would bet money that she will not have kidney stones when all is said and done.  In the meantime she will rack up more money in co-pays and prescriptions, lab work and ultrasounds.  It just makes me sick because I have been here so many times that I can almost watch the scenes unfold in my head.  Only difference now is that because now that she is married- I really have no control and I have no idea how her husband is handling it.  When I talk to him he sounds like he is on top of things but I really don't know if he realizes that "once an addict always an addict" whether using or not.  When she got vicodin for their honeymoon I about came unglued.  I told him you wouldn't give an alcoholic a case of beer why would you give an addict a prescription of vicodin?  I don't think either one of them realized what they were starting up again by this stupid decision.  I think he thinks he has things under control-he hasn't ever had to deal with anything like this before and I'm sure he figured once she got off them the first time that it was over.  Wouldn't it be nice?  anyway, let me know what to watch for if you don't mind...
228686 tn?1211558307
Well, there's a danger there. If you notify the doctor, he'll cut off her med's. I'm not saying this is a good or bad thing, it could go either way. But if will put her in the position of having to do something about the situation immediately. She should really have her treatment for her addiction set up before she gets to that point.

Alot of addicts are pushed into the position of dealing with their addiction when they aren't ready in this way. But some see it as a wake up call. I would say if she really sees it as a problem, suggest seeing a different doctor about her addiction, to get treatment. This is tricky, becuase many doctors won't safely treat addiction. They just hang the patient out to dry. But you have to do what you have to do.

LEGALLY, you put yourself in a dangerous position. Contacting her doctor will put the doctor and you in a difficult position. If she were to press the matter for either of you, it could go badly. Is there ANY way to get her to come on a board like this or another, where she can discuss her options? Or her husband?

My biggest fear is many addicts who are on pills, end up doing desperate things when there doctor cuts them off. Are you SURE she isn't in pain other than the withdrawal? Be sure. Once a person is labeled an addict, they can have a hard time getting medications for legitimate needs.

At the same time, if she has no desire to stop, it doesn't matter what you do. Tell the doctor, don't tell, she'll keep hunting avidly for ways to get pills, even more illegal means than she's using now.
Avatar universal
at this point Savas I think she has been clean for at least a month and only 30 vics for the short time before and after the wedding.  Until today she hadn't taken anything that I am aware of.  Someone mentioned she should detox -is that necessary with only that amount?
Avatar universal
My medical records are thicker than all the phone books in New York put together.  Insane.  I have had more x-rays, ultrasounds, bloodwork, MRIs and exams done than anyone I have ever met.  And the saddest thing is I lived that life so much that I started believing it.  Trips to the ER, appointments with my doctors (plural of course), you name it.  I have seen the inside of ambulances more than some of the paramedics.  Phone calls to my parents that I was sick again, in the hospital again, in horrible pain again.  A never ending cycle.  I was a pro at what to say to get what I needed.  I had to keep myself straight on all the urgent cares and ERs within a 100 mile radius to try to "time" them out and keep my visits spaced apart.  And I always complained - I didn't know what was wrong, I just wanted it fixed.  But nothing WAS wrong.  Except for the fact that I was an addict.  Migraines?  Check.  Back problems?  Check.  A dozen sprained ankles?  Check.  A million toothaches?  Check.  ALWAYS SOMETHING.  Doctors and their staff knew me by name.  And when I called I always begged for an appointment NOW.  I could never wait until the next day or that afternoon.  I was REALLY sick, REALLY hurt, I needed to be seen right away.  

The sad thing is it was exciting.  Making the appointment, going to the doctor, having that attention, getting the prescription, figuring out what pharmacy had my insurance information and which one didn't, what story I could tell the pharmacist when he commented on my various Rxs.  It became a game.  The thrill of living it was as fun as the high.  The constant chase.

But one day you wake up and realize that has become your life.  Nothing comes before it.  Not your family, not your friends, not your job.  It's all about the pills.  And pretty soon that's all you have.  And once that's all you have, you realize all you've lost.
Avatar universal
Thank you  riseabove so much for your comments!  That is exactly the story of my daughter and I needed to realize that I'm not the unsympathetic mom here.  I tried to talk to my daughter's husband this morning and he just seems mad at me.  He of course feels like she is in real pain- she keeps him up all night in pain.  I told him she isn't lying that her brain is telling her body it needs meds so symptoms present themselves.  Is that right?  Anyway, he says everytime he brings up the pills they have a fight and so he doesn't want to read the forums because it won't do him any good KNOWING and UNDERSTANDING if he can't do anything about it.  My heart breaks for him to have to go through this.  THey have only been married a month.  He is amazing with her and loves her so much and is willing to do anything for her but he doesn't understand the whole picture here.  Instead, I look like the bad guy - I really feel like he is mad at me.  I love this guy and feel like my daughter couldn't have found a better guy and I don't want him to hate me because I'm trying to help him see before it gets out of control. I don't want her to lose him! I tried to explain that if she had some other disease like diabetes or something that I would want him to understand what happens and what he needs to watch for and that this is the same.  He has stopped answering my text messages and now I feel like I have made things worse.
228686 tn?1211558307
Ah, well if it's only been 30 days, that could explain it partly.

There's a set of secondary symptoms called PAWS. They're mild, but over weeks, debilitating.

What happens is an addict stops producing natural opiates and the like in their brain. There's a neurochemical imbalance.
It takes MONTHS to re-stabilize again and begin proper production. Even up to a year. It's a difficult time. There ARE treatments you can take to help or speed it up. Search "Amino acids" and "LDN" on this board.

So all questions of mental addiction aside, after about a month, the person is going through life without the ability to produce endorphins for energy, to deal with pain, manage their emotional state...
Which may be why she relapses at this time. She just gets fed up.

Which DOESN'T not mean she doesn't have a mental side to her addiction. This just makes it very, very difficult to cope with.

Do look into these treatments. Otherwise, if she stops, and doesn't get proper help, depression could set in, leading to possible suicidal tendencies.

Based on what you said, it sounds likely this state is her "major trigger". And you can't just "wish it away".
Avatar universal
So let me make sure that I understand....although she was off everything completely for 7 months because she got another scrip in the last 30 days she needs to start all over again?  Is that correct.  I guess I need to understand how the brain part of this all fits in.   Supposedly the scrip she got yesterday her hubby is monitoring so that she doesn't abuse.  Is that ok?  I would bet money that there isn't a kidney stone which is what the dr thinks is going on.  she has an ultrasound scheduled for later this week.  It never seems to end but I don't know how to confront her. Hubby doesn't want any contention and says she just gets mad when he brings it up so he feels helpless.  When she came off everything a few months ago she recognized how much better she felt -how much happier she was but it seems to have consumed her again and she is beginning to get sucked in!  
228686 tn?1211558307
In a physical sense, yes. That kind of healing is long term. It CAN be shortened with treatment and exercise, but that takes real work and dedication. But it does pay off. But taking a script for a month will set the whole process back to the beginning. Terrible, isn't it? It's why most addicts in recovery aware of this try to never touch pain med's again. It's just not safe for the first year or so.

But it is different for everyone, the length of time. That's why I suggested you and them looking into it. There are theories that say the damage can be permanent, or that some people are just born this way, a *defect*, but we prefer to assume there's hope. Too many people give up and assume "I'm just this way" nowadays because they aren't willing or able to see it through.

I had kidney stones once and it was very painful, and they diagnosed without actually seeing it. (ultrasound didn't find it, etc...) But I changed my diet among other things, and never suffered from them again. Is she spiking any fevers or anything like that? With kidney stones, it can and usually happens.
It also came and went so quickly I never got to even think about pain med's, but everyone's different, I suppose. (They passed while in the ambulance on the way to the hospital!)

Regardless, she has developed an addiction. She's in the tricky position of trying to figure out where the need for pain med's ends, and where the addiction begins. Because if she feels she needs to take this stuff regularly, and is going through withdrawals, she needs to change her entire way of thinking about pain med use. Because you're right, it's a terrible way to have to live.

Is she being responsible about diet and behavior to avoid further instances of getting further (supposed) kidney stones? If not, that right there shows a lack of responsibility in all this. Has she gotten a second opinion? Another doctor should be consulted. If it's just drug seeking, he could catch it.

As far as the husband monitoring... well...I'll just say that almost never works out, unless the husband is made of stern stuff...and she has the right attitude. Then it can. But it doesn't change the physical inevitability of the situation.

I know how you feel, I can't decide if you should be suspicious or not. Recurring kidney stones are painful and hard to "catch and see" sometimes...but...it's a classic way to seek drugs. It's a tough call for doctors, let alone you or me. Ask her and hubby if she's dealing with this from a diet perspective at all. If not, either she and/or the doctor are being irresponsible, or she is using it for drug seeking.
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