Addiction Survivors


Unread 04-19-2007, 11:27 PM   #1
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Posts: 2

Wow! I was just browsing the web because of the severe fatigue and lethargy I am experiencing comming off subutex--and google led me here. I too fee like something is not right with my physiology post subutex. I have tried to taper and quit several times and ran back like a junkie to the clinic for more "stuff" (subutex) -- and this sensation repulsed me as it was the exact reason I had gone in the first place. As I write, I am shut up in my filthy house with absolutely NO ENERGY to do ANYTHING. I have never felt like this before or during my addiction. I was a go-getter, vivacious and social person that loved being "out-there" in life. At first, and for over a year, the subutex did what it said it would. After tapering down and going off it, I am now an imobilized, anti-social, lump of lead. Even IF I wanted to (which I don't) I can not afford to stay on this medication indefinately as it is beyond my financial means to do so ($100 to the "doc" & $190 to the "pharm" EVERY MONTH). My relationship is falling apart because after all this treatment (and $), my partner thinks I'm exagerating. My friends have had no choice but to move on and leave me behind. I am self-employed and loosing business as I have no energy reserves to even get out there to hustle business and as a result, I am sinking into financial ruin. My doctors have said this has nothing to do with the medication. My gut says otherwise. After reading these and other posts, it is CLEAR to me that FOR SOME PEOPLE, this is very real, debilitating and dangerous. It is also very apparent that none of the so called "professionals" seem to have the answers. If THEY don't, WHO will? Quite frankly, I'd rather be back on opiates that subutex if that is the answer...they are MUCH cheaper (and effective) and more readily available. Sorry to burst any delicate bubbles....but I HATE the way I feel now more than ever and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight and my life is unraveling fast. So please leave "Ratchet" alone in the "quitting buprienorphine" forum and don't bother sending any hateful "do-gooder" responses--just plain answers (if possible) please! Bottom line: whether the "medical industry" admits it or not, THIS STUFF HAS MAJOR DRAWBACKS -- at least for some of us (who do not need to be discounted as "kill-joy whiners"). This is REAL and I have come across NO SOLUTIONS just well wishes and they don't work either. THIS NEEDS TO BE LOOKED AT QUICKLY AND EFFECTIVELY or there will continue to be more and more untill it has become an avalanch. Suffering in Texas...
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Unread 04-20-2007, 01:19 AM   #2
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Posts: 4,632

Your experience is not uncommon. However people had similar experiences before buprenorphine was used for addiction treatment. Although your experience is real, your conclusions are at fault. This has been studied and answered; it's just very difficult to teach, not only to the public but some in the addiction treatment field, particularly to proponents of the non-evidence based methods of recovery.

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that persists long after the drugs have left the body, months or even years. Many believe once the detox phase is complete it is just a matter of willpower after that, but that is not the case. This misconception is further compounded as most patients can recall a time when they would stop their drug of choice, have withdrawal for a few days, and then emerge without any long-term withdrawal. That is what happens during the initial stages of "physical dependence'”. With addiction'” an additional set of brain changes occur. These changes happen unnoticed and are more profound and long lasting. This is when normal physical dependence (a condition that generally reverses itself a couple weeks after stopping the opioids) becomes addiction, a whole different animal, with long term effects.

With addiction, the brain has been changed in a different way than when starting to take opioids. It can take many months or even years of treatment, before behavioral tools alone can keep the patient from relapsing. Repeated failures at consecutive short term treatments can leave the patient feeling hopeless or even blaming the treatment itself for their symptoms. The fact is these symptoms would still exist even if buprenorphine treatment had never begun, as it did before bupe treatment was available.

Understanding the difference between "addiction” and "physical dependence” and why addiction is called a brain disease is key in understanding why you feel the way you do.

The HBO Addiction” documentary explains this very well and is free to watch on your computer.

Here are some other helpful links:
Am I just switching one addiction for another?
Why are short-term treatments less effective for opioid addiction?
Opioid Dependence Is a Brain Disease

Plus there is plenty of information on the literature page of this site.

Although you may feel frustrated and hopeless, there is a way out, and to get there you’ll need a doctor you can trust that will help you put together a comprehensive plan that involves much more than just medication. Plus, understanding what the brain disease of addiction is, will help you develop realistic expectations of the treatment. There is hope and treatment does work. As far as the money, treatment is a life or death decision. It pays to shop around but in the end whatever it takes to save your life will be worth it. Best of luck.

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