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Can anxiety be a symptom of withdrawal?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Pain Medications
Hi everyone, I don't usually post in this topic, but I am weaning off my Norco at 7 weeks post-op and I am feeling very anxious. I was down to 3.75 mg twice a day (I know barely anything) then last week had more pain and took 5 mg every 4 hours for a couple days. Again I started decreasing and this week I am feeling great, so stopped my morning dose of 3.75 mg, only to find I am feeling very anxious during the day. I am not a stranger to anxiety as I have a hx of GAD, but this seems too coincidental to happen suddenly on the days I didn't take any pain med. So both days I took an evening dose, and guess what I felt better (decreased anxiety) after it kicked in. I also tried a 0.25 mg xanax in the day both days, but it didn't help. I should know the answer as I am a RN, but I have taken care of babies and moms only. The only thing I have ever withdrawn from was Effexor-XR, and that gave me flu symptoms which sucked, took 3 months to get off of it, which is why I have avoided getting back on anything for anxiety. Anyone had anxiety as a withdrawal symptom, especially from such a low dose? Thanks, Sue


  • I dont know what GAD is (maybe Great Anxiety Disorder :))( ) from the sound of it.
    I can really relate to what you are going through. When I reduced the OxycontinSr initially my pain got so much worse that I was hesitant to reduce again too early in case the same thing happens.
    When you think about it, these meds are our 'caretaker' from pain, so it is natural to be anxious about loosing them. And for a lot of the meds it is a side effect.

    I have been using Emergency Essence which is a natural flower essence to combat anxiety. EE is an Australian based essence but there are other ones such as the Californian essence or the Rescue Remedy which does the same thing.
    You can get these from a health food store or maybe even a new age or organic store.

    There also is a lot of emotional attachment to finally flying solo so be gentle on yourself.
    Big hugs >:D<
    Sara O:)

  • I think Great would be the last word to describe anxiety :))( . GAD is generalized anxiety disorder, one of my lovely dx along with depression(divorce I like to call it), and panic disorder. Funny thing is I am not even thinking about pain or meds while I was feeling anxious. It just dawned on me this evening that maybe it was related so I took a pain pill to see if it would help, and it seemed to. I really am thinking it's more likely just my GAD showing its ugly face cause I have so much time on my hands, and have started to kinda worry about returning to work, and my kids are never home, so its just me and my convoluted thought processes :? But, who knows? I need to go search out some of your natural remedies. Do you think Vitaminshoppe would have them? Thanks Angelback, Sue
  • Oh you make me :))(

    I know what having too much time on your hands does to you and boy if you have things to worry about they become blown out of proportion. ~X(
    Yep I would have a look on vitaminshoppe it would probably be under essences or herbal remedies or even flower essences.

    Also if you like the smell of essential oil then grapefruit and lavender is a lovely blend and really uplifting. You do need to use a good brand of essential oils though for it to be theraputic.

    Sara O:)
  • hi my hunny,
    no iv never had anxiety from coming off meds, just flu symptoms like you said.
    could be just everything going on in your life.
    im anxious all the time with or without meds. im a crazy woman B) image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" /> with anxiety and panic.
    valium is my life saver i found it to work better then xnax etc. works fast and i get so relaxed not enough to go to sleep as i am used to it..

    not telling you what to do by no means you know that one.
    what works for one may not work for the other.

    not sure of any natural remedies OTC at all for relaxation. i imagine there is many. yoga is all i know of. but i do not see myself doing that anytime soon =))

    hang in there girly!!!!!!
    call your dr as you KNOW and find out what you can do sweetie..

    terri >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • I went through severe anxiety when stopped taking percocet. It was AWFUL. I couldnt even leave the house. I was a true basketcase and didnt even realize this was all withdrawal. I thought I was going crazy. I was only on it for a brief time and my doctor didnt think I would go into withdrawal. Even when I called him with my symptoms, he still said it can't be withdrawal because I was only on it for about 2 weeks....but it certainly was withdrawal.
    So yes, it is a side effect.

    Hope you start feeling better.

    Take care.

  • Thanks everyone for your replies. I am still not certain what it is. Still feel a little anxious today (just a pervasive unsettled feeling like something bad is gonna happen). I did take a half norco this am. So who knows. I have an appt with my psycho doctor Monday. I was suprised they could get me in so fast. Feels like a failure cause I have been off Effexor for over a year and hate to get back on something long term, but then again I think I just might need to. I mainly want to see what else he has in mind to put me on. I certainly am staying away form effexor, cymbalta, or any of those with bad withdrawal to get off. I hate taking xanax, and it doesn't help much anyways. I have had a couple near panic episodes that I have talked myself out of too. I keep seeing people on Lexapro. That is one I haven't tried. I took Zoloft for a couple years but then it stopped working. I always was taking them for anxiety more than depression. So anywho, thanks for the input and I'll see what he says on Monday. Sue
  • lexapro is a good one. iv used it. but all those make me so nausea's i went off them. even with anti nausea meds.
    i of course gave them all a few weeks to work BUT had to eat at somepoint.

    works awesome for my cousins wife. she loves it.
    now cymbalta was the bomb for pain etc. made me racy and nausea's to. i give up on all of them.

    let us know how you make out on monday hun!!
    and whooo hooo just to let you know iv been able to sit up a hour in the computer chair with no pain!!!! now when i go back up to lay down as now the meds kicked in and im sooooooooo tired. i will wake up w/ pain again. just wanted to share.. i know i went past the 15 min rule LOL oh well ;) :S

    hugs:) >:D<
  • I feel ya on the effexor withdrawal i almost killed myself because of reaction to that drug. The withdrawal is still the hardest time in my life sorry to hear it wasnt easy for you either.
  • I took Lexapro for about a year...it did not help me much and causes weight gain.I'm happy to be off all anti anxiety meds,however I do suffer panic attacks at times.I was on Paxil for several years but weaned off of it several years ago.Now I do take lorazepam (generic for ativan).5mg 2x's daily as needed for stress and panic.This was prescribed to me in July after my mothers death.I don't take them everyday,but I am glad to have them for now.I'll be happy when I don't feel the need for them anymore,but with the season changing I think it will be spring before I give them up for good.They have helped me.

    I wish you luck Cali-Sue,I'm no Dr.,but it sounds like it could be if not real withdrawl,simply you not wanting to let go of your dependency.In all honesty,if my Dr asked me to quit my meds right now there is no doubt that I would be feeling the same way...well not really,I would be worse :S
  • Oh , and yes opiates are downers so when you come down you get anxious. Alot of people myself included have found that clonidine is a great med for opiate withdrawal.
    I remember coming off 400-800 mgs of oxy a day and thinking that everyone at work was talking about me when they werent this symptom lasted a few weeks.
  • Anxiety is a very common side effect of opiate withdrawals as well as depression, brain fog etc.There is a actually syndrome called PAWS(Post acute withdrawal syndrome) its effects are far worse the longer you take them(larger doses too), sometimes its just sensitivity that brings up milder symptoms such as yours.

    Of course, I am not a doctor or suggesting that you are even experiencing this just that it can get really bad.This applies I imagine to any drug our body's get acclimated to that affect our receptors.Heres some effects that might actually occur, but from your level of doses, you should be fine in a few days.Best bet keep your mind busy and keep physical so your body replenishes those receptors.

    Cognitive (possible affects):

    - Concentration and attention span impaired.
    - Confusion
    - Racing or recycling thoughts (highly distracting).
    - Thoughts scattered and incoherent.
    - Rigid thinking and lack of (normal) required flexibility.
    - Difficulties with abstract and conceptual thoughts.
    - Cause and effect reasoning impaired.
    - Themes and threads connecting events not recognized.
    - Prioritization (management of one's time and energy) impaired.

    Emotional (possible affects):

    - Emotionally dead or emotionally hyper.
    - Small events of little consequence treated as catastrophic.
    - Valent thoughts (not bonded with reality/experience) difficult to shake.
    - social withdrawal.
    - Recovering alcoholic believes they are going, or have gone, mad.
    - Lack of emotion affects personal resolve to stay sober.

    Memory (possible affects):

    - Recently learned information (within last 30 minutes) quickly forgotten.
    - New skills or routines not learned or assimilated naturally (if at all).
    - Information retained but then lost after days/weeks.
    - Developmental and childhood memories broken (patchy early memory).
  • When I came off Fentanyl, my anxiety levels were through the roof, along with all the other withdrawal symptoms!!
  • A resounding YES to anxiety being a symptom.

    I am a recoverng, yet 25 year smoker who is quitting.... Yea Me!..... anyways. Anxiety is the BIGGEST side effect to leaving a drug, no matter what it is.

    I ahve known heroin, pot, coke, and alchol addicts in my life, and they all have the same problem... ;I gotta get a fix... NOW!!!!" Smoking is no different in my opinion, and neither is ANY narcotic drug.

    I wish you the best of luck... as well as any others reading this and going through the same thing,

  • Woops, I've neglected this thread #o . Well I still am not sure what this is, but I have been feeling anxious still and depressed too, especially over the weekend as was worrying about my Monday doctor's appointments.

    I went to my Psych doc and he didn't think it was withdrawal and he has put me on Lexapro. Who knows as I am a lightweight with meds, alcohol, etc. So I am keeping that possibility open. He offered me valium prn, Buspar, or Cymbalta. I didn't want any of that stuff (don't like what I have read about the last 2, and don't wanna be on a benzo long term). I had tried several SSRI's in the past without success, but never Lexapro, so we are trying it. If it makes me gain weight like Robin, I will be quitting it for sure. I have spent 6 hard months loosing 45 pounds and I refuse to gain it back!

    Thanks everyone for the info and support. It is greatly appreciated. Frustrated, that is a comprehensive list of symptoms, many that I do have, but also are symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, which I already know I have, so still not sure. The past 2 days I didn't take Norco in am only at bedtime. Have been sligtly better compared to weekend, but not yet fixed. So, for now I am going to go with the flow and see what happens. I am starting PT this week so that is bound to keep me busy and should help get my mind off things (although may require more meds :( ) Take care friends, >:D< Sue

  • At the risk of stirring your anxiety by adding to the list,keep in mind that it could be as simple as the season changing.The thought only occured to me as I was reading your last post and I realized something that I fail to see each year until it is actually upon me~that the days are getting shorter.Some people get SADS.I'm sure being a nurse that you are already aware of this,but perhaps like me you don't notice the signs until they smack you in the face.Of course there is also the possibility that it has nothing to do with your symptoms.lol.

    When my boys were younger and in school it was worse and I always recognized it for what it was,but now it's not as bad and each year it's different for me.Some years are worse than others and this year seems to be hitting me harder than the past 5 years or so.

    I was thinking it had something to do with the rain or temp drops we've had here lately.Normally it's still warm enough to swim and pretty dry here this time of year-this past couple weeks has been cooler and we've had more rain than I'm used to.Not complaining,we need the rain..just thinking out loud(or in type)really.

    Congrats on the 45 pounds.That's impressive =D> .Lexapro does'nt make everyone gain weight,and it may not have been the cause of my weight gain..I really think that it was,but it's hard to tell because at the time I was having a hard time keeping my thyroid meds regulated.You'll know right away if it works that way on you.I gained 10 pounds in one month,but a friend of mine took it for a long time and she did'nt gain...and she's hypo too~so,who knows.

    Good Luck w/the PT..I think that will help (if) it is the SADS,but of course that is a big if.
  • Hi,

    I'm one week po discetomy l5 s1. Doing awesome in the healing aspect, no pain thank god. I went from using 6-8 sometimes 10 percocet 5/325 every day for about 4 months. I have managed to wean down over the past week to 2 percs a day. I don't know if I weaned to fast, it's my first time tapering off of narcs, but two a day seemed to be ok. I got past the fever, the sweating, the watery stool (almost welcomed that after months of constipation), the chills, crying for no reason. Symptoms that I have now are I can't sleep, I have restelss leg, and headaches. Today I tried to cut down to one perc split in half, half in the am, I was planing on taking the other half 6-8 hours later, and by noon I was having a major anxiety attack. I felt like my heart was going to fall out of my chest, I was shaking and it quite frankly scared the S**T out of me :( . I have read that the anxiety attack is near the last stage of withdwrawl. So I'm thinking I don't have far to go but I couldn't handle that attack, I had to take one perc to feel better. I'm going to see my PCP tomorrow to see if they can help out. I don't want to start taking more percocet. I am hoping it wont last to much longer. I want to get off this stuff. On another note, went to see my ortho surgeon today and explained to him what was going on, his response? Do you need a refill of your pain med? :?? Crazy. I said NO =; . We are all hanging in there, it can only get better right? It takes a while for your brain to get back to the way that it was. Take care.
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