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after 11 yrs + on opiates I think I have burned out brain syndrome


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I looked for a more appropriate forum but decided on this one. I have used opiates ( for chronic pain) for 11 years everyday and prior to that used them in small amounts about 2-3 times a week. I decided the pills where just dulling the pain and not really giving me a better quality of life-I was only without pain if I did nothing. With my docs permission started a taper. I wanted to in investigate other methods of pain relief, like a neural stimulator etc. I took 3 months to taper off a fairly low dose of  Hydrocodone  ( 40-60mgs day). It was pretty miserable but better than the medical detox  would have been ( they put you under anesthesia and give you narcan I think )so when you awake you are opiate free. I can't imagine how painful that would have been.

I went through the usual withdrawals but am left with something I did not expect- what I'd call brain burn out. I am lethargic and have no motivation. I either sleep or watch TV.  I have talked to doc who says it will get better. I looked on the net and found this. This blog is calling it Post withdrawal acute syndrome .  I know when I switched from methadone to Hydrocodone I was very unstable for over 6 months.  I think that is what is happening now. I am using neurontin and ibuprofen prn now but otherwise suffering.

http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=119932

 

I have done some further googling and it appears that long term use of opiates ( like long term use of prozac or haldol) can change  the way your brains neurotransmitters work. Or it may take a while for my brain to kick into 3rd gear.  I feel like I am stuck in 1st gear going up a huge mountain. I am not craving opiates, I never had an addiction problem. Currently I am using nothing ( except occ neurontin and ibuprofen)  and will start some steroid injections next week. I was using a LOT of ibuprofen but doc  said to stop as it is making me sick (nausea and abd pain).

 

Anyone here stop taking narcotics of any kind after being on them a long time? 

Edited by Stars
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Yes, I was.  (And I did have addiction problems - - I have been away from opiates "clean" for almost six years, with one very small relapse earlier this year).    Started out as a legitimate medication used properly for a back problem; I've had two surgeries.  It got out of hand... but, back to you. 

 

So... I do believe what you're experiencing is commonly referred to as "PAWS" , as you found through the internet.  Your brain; in fact, your entire nervous system, is getting itself back to "normal" now that you are not taking the hydrocodone.  

 

You're feeling lethargic; limited motivation.   Yup; that is very common.  However - -   it does get better;  it is not a permanent condition  There are some real horror stories on the web, but remember:  people who do well after stopping opiates (or other medications) rarely post on the web to say they're "just fine".  It is the people who have the most trouble who are likely to blog or post, so please don't get too discouraged by their stories.  

 

You may know that opiates have an effect in some people that seems to make them happier/more energetic (other folks are just the opposite - they take one pain pill and they're asleep!)  

 

The brain stops making some of the chemicals that the medication provided, or caused your brain to release.  Once you stop the medication, it takes time for the brain to start making those chemicals on its own.   That is possibly what you are feeling. 

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yes, this is exactly what I thought was happening  -IE,  the chemicals my brain normally produced were being supplied by the pills and   once removed, now my brain is struggling to keep up. I read one article that said it could take up to 2 yrs . I hope it won't be that long, this is awful. I had mood improvement from the pills and at other times they would put me to sleep. Go figure.

 thanks for the first hand experience.

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It is not the opiates that have short-circuited my brain, rather it is the pain, the constant pain that is only partially relieved by any narcotic/opoid.

 

The chronic pain is responsible for the altering of my brain chemistry, pain meds cannot even begin to slice through the layers of physical distress that is only dulled, never relieved.

 

I am currently on IM and/or IV demerol augmented with morphine. However, I wish to acknowledge that there are times when partial remission of my physical ills happens and I do not even need an aspirin for weeks at a time.

 

I wish you quick relief and faster alleviation of your struggle.

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I was on speed for almost a year and went through heavy withdrawals, I didnt look after myself so never got to repair the damage properly. I developped PTSD like symptoms which worsened as well as some sort of depression, motivational anhedonia, I am working on it now with meditation and exercise.

 

Opioids arnt as neurotoxic as most other drugs, what are your symptoms?

 

I would suggest you do

 

Body scanning meditation.

 

Warm/Cold contrast showers.

 

Cardio.

 

Those 3 things should help a lot.

 

 

Chronic pain does rewire the brain, meditation works better than pain killers, and if you dont believe me look on youtube for the martyr monk that sets himself on fire. He burns to death while meditating without moving or making any sound.

So if you have chronic pain I would suggest meditation.

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I was on speed for almost a year and went through heavy withdrawals, I didnt look after myself so never got to repair the damage properly. I developped PTSD like symptoms which worsened as well as some sort of depression, motivational anhedonia, I am working on it now with meditation and exercise.

 

Opioids arnt as neurotoxic as most other drugs, what are your symptoms?

 

I would suggest you do

 

Body scanning meditation.

 

Warm/Cold contrast showers.

 

Cardio.

 

Those 3 things should help a lot.

 

 

Chronic pain does rewire the brain, meditation works better than pain killers, and if you dont believe me look on youtube for the martyr monk that sets himself on fire. He burns to death while meditating without moving or making any sound.

So if you have chronic pain I would suggest meditation.

There are so many things wrong with this that I don't know where to start.

 

Other than an youTube film of a monk setting himself on fire, do you have any peer-reviewed studies you can cite, that prove that meditation works better than painkillers?  Please don't suggest something like meditation to a person who has suffered chronic pain for 11 years without some sort of scientific justification for that suggestion.

 

Also, you're suggesting that this person do "cardio" workouts?  Really?  Suppose the pain comes from a fused spine or a severe back injury?  Do you have any idea how damaging it would be to go through a cardio workout in that circumstance?

 

If the OP can begin a gentle exercise program with the permission of her GP, that would be one thing.  But I doubt that she is ready for a cardio workout.

 

If you haven't suffered chronic pain, you can't possibly know how debilitating it is.  Please do not offer unhelpful and possibly harmful suggestions.  If meditation could cure chronic pain, we would have heard about it long ago.

 

olga

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If you haven't suffered chronic pain, you can't possibly know how debilitating it is.  Please do not offer unhelpful and possibly harmful suggestions.  If meditation could cure chronic pain, we would have heard about it long ago.

 

 

Yes.  I second all of Olga's comments above, but especially this.

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I took opiates for chronic pain.  I needed pain relief and they helped.  However after a time I saw that the pills were just dulling the pain and not providing me with an improved quality of life.  I began to look at other options for pain relief. I have used steroid injections and a trial on a neural stimulator. Actually it was this trial on the stimulator that made me realize that I could not properly evaluate my pain level and even  where all the pain was from until I stopped the pain pills. So I began a slow taper. 

I am going to try the steroid injections again. I may have to return to some form of opiate if we can't get the pain under control, but for now I hope not. The pills did not provide me with enough relief and they just dulled the pain. My quality of life did not improve.  for now I am using neurontin and ibuprofen . I have found I have some issues that surgery might help. I am not a martyr.  I sincerely hope this lethargy and lack of any motivation and black dog depression will improve.  I really did not know how much mood  elevation was getting from the opiates. 

Meditation can be helpful for some but I would say in an adjunct way.

Edited by Stars
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Chronic pain does rewire the brain, meditation works better than pain killers, and if you dont believe me look on youtube for the martyr monk that sets himself on fire. He burns to death while meditating without moving or making any sound.

So if you have chronic pain I would suggest meditation.

 

Sometimes you just gottah laugh...meditation has its place as an adjunct in dealing with chronic pain, however it does NOT work better than pain medications. You, ScrambleHead, obviously have no bloody idea about what chronic pain is nor how it affects the body.

 

NO, I do not believe you and a monk martyring himself has nothing, NOTHING to do with the control of chronic pain. Nothing.

 

Your remarks have invalidated what people who suffer the debilitation of chronic pain experience. If meditation of any system would eliminate chronic pain I damned well guarantee you that those of us locked in pain would be up running around letting everyone know. As for you hot and cold shower suggestion, that simply demonstrates your completed lack of understanding of  the physical process of chronic pain.

 

Stars, I hope you find a sense of heightened mood and relief from pain ASAP.

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Indigo

thanks for saying the painfully obvious.  Anyone with pain bad enough to consider opiates will not get much help from meditation or any other alternate treatments.

i have tried everything and all of them help a little.  I would not rely on meditation or any other alternate therapy as my primary method of pain relief.  for example, I have migraines and they can get really hairy. I have found the smell of green apple somehow helps my pain. It does not stop it however, just dulls it.  I use imitrex nasal spray and ibuprofen & green apple  body spay and together they work wonders.

I hope to see my brain start firing on all 8 cylinder soon.  This  feels like death.

Edited by Stars
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This may be what someone was referring to...

 

The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine at UMass Medical Center has had some pretty good results at helping people reduce perceptions of chronic pain as well as have a better quality of life even if they cannot get rid of pain completely through other methods.

 

http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/research/index.aspx

Edited by Wooster
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I have had chronic pain for a year that would literally bring me to my knees, I doubt anyone here is dumb enough to start exercising if it would not be a good idea.

 

And here is the study, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405174835.htm

 

You people here are too quick to judge.

Edited by ScrambleHead
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A study that was done on 15 people, which is a tiny sample.

 

The "pain" was a heated device placed on their legs.  Not the bone-deep, screaming pain that many of our members live with on a daily basis.

 

Sorry, I'm still not convinced.

 

How about a far-reaching study with a couple of thousand participants, including people with amputations, rheumatoid arthritis, fused spines, sciatica, cancer, and other painful conditions?  Then I might start seeing meditation as being helpful to people in pain.

 

olga

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You people here are too quick to judge.

 

And you are all to quick to make recommendations without being able to provide peer reviewed studies.

 

I am still waiting for you to understand just how insulting your prior posts have been. I am not waiting for an apology, that would simply be too much too ask, but a nod to those of us who have spend more than a single year being _brought to our knees_ would be a start.

 

I meditate daily and have for more years than you have been walking this earth. Meditation does provide moments of respite. However, not to discount Woo's link, those moments do not trump pain meds.

 

Meditation, as an adjunct to physical therapy, counseling, enhanced self-awareness, and pain medication is great. But, on its own it is just about as effective as bubble gum.

 

I find your recommendations, ScrabbleHead, in the same class wherein rests, "Just get over it." "Everybody feels sad on occasion." "Exercise will cure you." G_D will heal you." and the hundreds of thousands of others bullshit "remedies" that otherwise well meaning folks offer other folks with MI.

 

I'm sure your mean well, SH, but you are beginning to be irritating and obnoxious. As olga succinctly stated, show us a long-term, multi-individual study and then, just maybe, my opinion of you will alter.

 

Star, I apologize for continuing to  highjack your threat. Sometimes it IS the obvious that needs to be repeated over and over.

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you are not high jacking the thread   -it is about opiates and other meds used for pain relief .  I am happy for all to post . It is really difficult being a psych patient and a chronic pain patient. The kiss of death, sort of.  :wall:

I think it is important to remember when posting to state our experience as we can't know how someone else feels, not really. Pain is very subjective .

That said, I am happy to hear about adjunct therapies b/c I am willing to try anything. It just might help .

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  • 4 weeks later...

I too am watching this thread avidly.  At least no one here has stepped in to tell you it's just psychosomatic...  yet.  *bitter laugh*  Although telling you that meditation would work best to relieve your pain comes close, I have to admit.

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ScrambleHead, no one gives a flying fuck about your crackpot theories. Those of us who are in pain try anything and everything for relief. The point is that, whether or not it worked for you, it is not working for us and so we need something else.

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