As an observation of also working medical and being an RN for a total of 14 years- the more opiates someone is on, the more antidepressants and anxiety medication and sleeping Meds they seem to need... Is it to counteract the negative effects of long term opiates? As someone taking these meds And with my observations, I feel there is a definite connection. And I also notice the lower threshold for pain the longer I have been taking opiates. Example: Stubbing my toe feels hypersensitive compared to the pain level it would've felt several years ago.
I've been a psych nurse for 7 years so I have experience with patients with depression, anxiety, as well as opiate and benzo addiction. I also have been prescribed Vicodin/norco as well as Xanax and an antidepressant for 8 years. So I understand the struggle between balancing the need for those medications and enjoying the side effects. The opiates do make u feel better when u take them. They trigger the pleasure center of your brain which can definitely elevate your mood and energy level. They release similar endorphins that exercise, chocolate, sugar, sex, ect do. So u don't necessarily have to feel high or get a buzz. Feelings of calm or elevated mood or energy are all signs that the opiate is working on the endorphin releasing center of your brain. The problem is as your body develops a tolerance - it physically depends on the opiate to make those endorphins that your body was making on its own. When u feel like NOT having your opiate or enough of your opiate stops releasing the calm or relaxed feelings or elevated mood- u need more to fill the void that your brain chemically began to rely on for those calming or happy feelings. And your brain quits producing less and less of its own endorphins as it physically depends more and more for the opiates to chemically provide the endorphins. I am fortunate to have developed a very slow tolerance to the Vicodin and the bezos. But it has been a struggle at times. sometimes I DO have to check myself- is my pain level at the point where I should take it yet? Did I try getting up and walking or resting or my yoga and deep breathing yet? Do I NEED my Xanax or do I need it right now to feel better? Or am I no longer able to control my anxiety or irritation? I limit my Xanax to bedtime when my racing thoughts are at its worse. And take half once during the day I find myself so irritable I find myself yelling at my kids- and only if my coping skills didnt work first...The worst thing about addiction are the excuses we tell ourselves and make for why we NEED a certain medication. if we r taking it for a reason its not prescribed, why need to be honest with ourselves why. The lies we tell ourself our are own worst enemy. Opiates have a rebound effect that can actually intensify irritability and anger and depression after being on them for more than a few months. So I find myself balancing my quality of life with managing my pain to function physically with my ruptured disks in my back- and not taking more than I have to. If my back hurts extra- the more I take the more irritable I realize it makes me after being on it for 8 years. Which makes me want my Xanax. So emotionally its better for me to take only 3 Vicodin a day (and am relieved to report being on the same dose for 5 years) and I fell less need for the Xanax to balance the negative side effects out if I only take the 3 Vicodin daily.
I have been on many opiates for pain as well as ativan and klonopin for anxiety. I can say that the opiates made me feel better than the benzo's at first but watch out. You might think you can control the usage but over time it gets hold of the best of us. As far as the withdrawal is concerned the opiates can be extremely difficult. You are playing with fire and you stand a really good chance of getting burned.
I recently began taking vicodin for chronic back pain and noticed within hours that my mood had improved, depression lifted, I was more productive and relaxed and pleasant... (NOT high) which was in essence, the results we'd been looking for via assorted ssri's and benzos that haven't been working. So here I am researching possible cases of off label vicodin use leading to relief of anxiety and depression in a percentage of people. I'm thinking that whatever is "off" in my brain that causes the anxiety and depression episodes could be righted via the vicodin instead of the standard prescriptions. Other opiates do not give me the same relief or effects. Is there any science to back up my suspicion...Other than a bunch of people telling me I'm just getting off on opiates. It isn't like that at all. With noting that most drugs affect me much differently than the average person.
Talking to your doctor is the right thing to do. I am glad that you are taking control and are interested in beating this. Are you also recieving counseling? Long term, that is the best way to get relief from this in my opinion. Benzos are a good tool in the short term, but no med is a magic pill to 'cure' one from anxiety/panic. As long as you come off these meds really slowly, you can minimize withdrawal...keep us posted!
Let me just clarify what that when I took the vicodin, I stopped the benzos. I would never take them together. The vicodin was only for three days, but I felt more alert, slept better and my stress level was better than when I'm taking the benzos. I hate the way I feel on benzos and the way they mess wth my memory, the way they make you crave food, everything about them. From what I've read, coming off of benzos is the worst drug in the world to do so. I've been on them for two years! I know its off label to use an opiate instead of a benzo but the research shows them to be less addictive and withdrawl is easier coming off of them. So I will talk to my doctor I was just searching more info and research.
Most people with anxiety are more prone to "abuse" things.
In my oppinion though speaking from expierence, my mother and my wife were addicted to vicodins, and ended up having to go to methadone, then quit eventually.
and Ive also seen people having to stop klonopins..and other benzos.
I would say if I had my choice of been a addict..Id choose vic's. Because they dont effect your CNS, memory, and overall function of your body, as much as the benzos.
And Ive also noticed withdraw from vics..is alot better then from benzos.
Ive been reading alot about people getting choking sensations, cant breath, cant hardly see, passing out....and going into sezures when they stop benzos....seems alot worse then vics.
But, I would def. talk to your doc about this, because I dont think your supposed to take those while taking benzos...
Did your doctor prescribe it to you for this? If not, STOP right now...'experimenting' with prescription medications, which are extremely addictive can NEVER have good outcomes.