Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Pain and "addiction" if you will...

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Chronic Pain

This story belongs to all of us. And, I am going to get to my point eventually, so I hope you all listen. (and it really is only generally related to the story) :D

I have been on Neurontin for almost a week. It took only 2 days to get up to my full dose of 300mg 4x per day. The relief was almost instant (in that it took only about 45 minutes after my second dose to notice a huge improvement). I take no other pain meds, yet my pain level is down so much I can manage the other pain I do have.

I've been told by my doctors that I was dependent on narcotics, because of the length of time I was on them, and that I was most likely hyperalgesic. I no longer believe this, since I've been off narcotics for over a month, and 1. my pain has not increased from not having it, and 2. the neurontin has done wonders for the pain I do have. Most likely would have gotten me off narcotics earlier if the Surgeon would have prescribed it instead of telling his nurse/practitioner that it wouldn't work.

I notice in the last few days, the Neurontin stops working before my next dose, and I sometimes watch the clock just waiting for the time that I can take it again.

Now to my point:
So, what is dependence? To me, it's the fact that a drug has started to take over my life again. Knowing I will be in pain if I stop taking it will keep me taking it until my doctors stop prescribing it. Am I sorry? NO! I will try anything to stop the constant pain. Am I addicted: YES I am addicted to feeling better!

When will doctors understand that our dependence and yes, addiction stems from the human need (and even right) to not be in constant pain?

This is all of our stories. Not just mine. But before being put on a non-narcotic pill that has made my life livable again, I really didn't understand addiction as well. It has NOTHING to do with feeling "good" it has EVERYTHING to do with feeling HUMAN.



  • Kat,

    Give it time. Although I no longer take Neurontin, I did take take for about 4 months earlier this year. It took about 6 weeks before the effects leveled off in me to provide 24/7 coverage. Enough so, that I questioned whether the drug was actually even working for me. I recently stopped taking it due to some of its side effects on me and have come to realize that it had greatly reduced my levels of pain by up to 25% throughout the day. Be thankful that it works so well for you.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    I think anyone living dealing with chronic pain understand that the narcotic pain medications is helping them get through the day, but at the same time they are worried about becoming dependent on them.
    Everyone is different so its hard to come up with rigid rules to define this. So people have addictive personalities, so pain medication with them can become a habit.
    Over the years I have been on so many different types of medications and never had a problem.
    Most recently, since 2006 I have been on some type of narcotic pain medication the the Oxycontin ER to Opana regular. More than likely I will need some type of pain medication to go along with the Neurontin, Zanaflex and Cymbalta for the rest of my life.
    I've discussed this with my doctor several times. She is ultra conservative, but she also knows when something is needed. Her objective has always been to reduce the dosage and frequency of my pain medications. That has been accomplished. Her feeling is that as long as you are in pain, you need to take the right medication that will allow to control that pain.
    For some people, that doesnt have to mean narcotic pain medications. Nerve medications such as Lyrica and Neurontin are helpful along with the Muscle relaxers; Zanaflex, Soma, Flexeril.
    One thing that has been mentioned on these forums several times, Straker the most recent is that taking these medications the chronic pain patient does not get 'high', but instead it helps manager the pain. I agree, for the past 3 or so years, I have never felt 'high' because of my medications.
    Sleepy, tired, yes.

    This can be a very delicate subject because it can reinforce what others believe, it can make others feel guilty, etc

    Hearing from others would be great, Kat thanks for posting this one.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • =D> Loved your last comment and I agree wholeheartedly that its all about feeling HUMAN!

    Personally, my high comes from working in the yard. Taking a shower after getting all sweaty and grimy planting flowers and weeding, digging in the soil -- smelling fresh cut grass, admiring the garden after toiling to make it look nice, smelling the jasmine - for me, I get totally relaxed and at peace after I get down to Mother Earth!

    Take care,

  • Yes! you hit the nail on the head Judy... to get "high" on life is life's greatest gift, why shouldn't everyone be able to have that gift? I miss the smell of fresh mown grass after I mow!

    I had a lot more to say, but as my kids would say, I just can't brain right now.
  • Hi Kat, first I want to say that I think you're doing absolutely great managing your pain with only Neurontin. I never did tolerate it very well because it made me feel so disconnected and spaced out. Anyway, when I do take my pain meds I never feel "high"; it just relieves some of the pain temporarily. I get sleepy or drowsy at times, but never buzzed or altered.
  • A lot of people have a hard time differentiating between addiction and dependence, including doctors. Some of the worst are ex-addicts who tell everyone who takes the medications that they're hopelessly addicted.

    Dependence is an unfortunate side effect where your body gets so used to the drug you have some withdrawals when you stop. Psychological dependence is when you crave or desire it constantly. Obviously the intensity can vary, but you know what I mean.
  • I had a real problem taking pain medications in the beginning because of my fear of addiction. It took several months and a LOT of pain before I relented. When I finally took the meds I realized that I didn't get the "high" that I was so afraid of, I got some relief from my pain. What enlightenment! I still try to take as few meds as possible simply because of the side effects. It has taught me to not be afraid to treat my pain however and I was a gal who wouldn't even take a tylenol.

    I think that part of the general public's misconception stems from the fact that many people are given strong painkillers for minor pain, ie: sprains, muscle aches, etc.. They DO get the euphoria from the meds because it's too much medication for the pain being experienced. We're a country that's afraid of pain- we medicate everything rather than feel anything and they think that these same meds have the same effect on us. It's simply not true most of the time. There are some with chronic pain who WILL get a slight euphoric feeling on narcotics and I don't think that is the same thing. We are dependant on these meds to live as close to a normal life as possible, whatever that is for each individual.

    We (all of us who treat our pain with narcotic medications) need to be careful to follow doctors orders, not take more than is prescribed, not drink excessively or take other substances or mind altering drugs that are not prescribed and become the voice of responsible chronic pain patients. While it is easy to want to self-medicate when we're not getting adequate pain control it sets us back years in the fight to be treated with respect. While I have never had problems getting my pain properly treated I feel for those of you who have and know that we have a long battle ahead of us to be treated with fairness. Every thing we do in a positive light is a step in the right direction. We here at Spine Health are watched by so many and should be the leaders of Chronic Pain Patients, the ones to watch and the role models for new CP patients.

  • i get jumped on ..so i will be careful! if you need pain killers to help you reduce your pain and you need to take them every day .are you addicted ??.all i know is that i take my pain killers every day {on time} to relieve my pain .without them i would be screaming in pain ..and that's no egsaduration...so am i an addict? like others i DONT get high with narcotics because my brain is too busy tyring to reduce the pain with the aid of the pain killers.i have never had a problem taking narcotics when my doctor moved me from kapake to DF118 then to oxycontin i just thought that it was a natural progression up the medication line {and it is}.i did not feel dirt or stigmatised because i need narcotics every day ..i mean if you were a diabetic you would have to take daily meds .same with epilepsy.so whats the big deal with narcotics??.what is sad is when health young people take narcotics when there is nothing wrong with them.i carnt believe just how easy it is to get almost anything on the street .when i was at school there was the odd one or two hippy type that smoked a bit of dope and that was it .we all thought that stuff like heroin and cocaine etc was just something that rock stars took ! it wasn't until the 80s when i realised that young people took drugs recreational stuff like ecstasy and GHB and cocaine and strong cannabis .i may be naive but i could never understand why people took drugs when they weren't ill! .and now cannabis is the norm nearly every one my lad knows uses cannabis {and we live in a nice area.}and my lads says that he could get anything within the hour even a loaded gun!!! what has happened to the world?? on that note i will stick to my prescription drugs and would drop it like a shot for my health back and a full time job {i dont even drink nor smoke }
  • This is exactly the kind of discussion and experiences I was hoping for with my "anthem for the chronic pain sufferer" I actually started this "blog" as a letter to the editor... Hmm a memory is stirring, did I already say this somewhere? Yesterday was a bit of a partial blur... But no matter, I decided this would do good here. I still sent a version of it as a letter to the editor, but what good it will do in Washington state? I doubt much.

    Please continue :p

  • I'm glad you brought this up Straker. Kids are getting drugs such as Oxycontin from the home medicine cabinet. It is our responsibility as CP patients to keep our medications LOCKED UP! Mine are locked up tight and I don't have any children at home (or even my drug seeking mother anymore). Homes are broken into for this very reason and drugs like those that we take regularly are targeted so we have yet another responsibility here. As much as it sucks we have so much more to do....sigh.....

  • i have a small safe for my drugs ..i know that it may be a little over the top but as least i know where they are !
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    I then have small silver containers in which I keep one weeks of all my medications in. I keep that with me at all times.
    I really do not have any reason to believe any of my medications would be taken... Both of my children are young adults living on their own. And my wife is in the medical field.
    But still to me it is a sense of protection
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I think people tend to forget that one of the essential defining characteristics of addiction is that it's a maladaptive behavior.

  • It is an interesting experience to be in chronic pain, to say the least. And I agree, the constant state of pain can wear even the strongest down. I battled with myself for a year underperscribing my medication for the fear of the meds.

    The extra piece of my life is that I have been sober since 8/2/94 - so I have to be extra diliquent in my choice of meds. At this point narcotics are off the table...but taking tramadol doesn't mean i cannot abuse the meds. This was a decision I made with the doctors and my aa sponsor. I am sure that i could be more confortable, but i can't risk it.

    One thing that I have accepted for myself is that I am grateful for the medication. I would be balled up in a corner, crying, unable to take care of my business (which 3 employees depend on for their income) and my 2 young children.

    When this all started over 2 years ago, who knew this would be a chronic pain adventure. I am hoping for some end - as we all are - What I could handle in the beginning - when I though things were temporary, is different today. But also, my body has adjusted somewhat to the 'constant' pain, I don't search for complete relief, just to be more comfortable. I guess that is what they mean by pain management - Not complete relief, just mananged!
  • Dependency vs. addiction. Unfortunately the terms are often used interchangeably. If I look at the dictionary I could be addicted to Fast cars as well as a chemical addiction to narcotics. I can also be dependent upon something (e.g. food) or drugs (or in a childs case thier parents). To me there is not much difference but there is a fine line based upon the context upon which drugs are taken.

    When I broke both arms I only took Paracetemol (i.e. over the counter stuff and best known brand in US in Tylenol) in spite of being offered more powerful stuff. I now have back problem and on Oxycontin (and while a relatively short time compared to many spineys, have never experienced a high)! At the moment I would classify myself as dependent (for pain management just as those taking antibiotics to help fight an infection). Addicted? Not yet! Addiction may depend upon my body’s personal chemistry, time duration I remain on the drug (which may depend upon the doctors’ rights to request follow up MRI’s etc to monitor the anatomical improvement) and the doctors’ skills in general.

    I tend to believe each person reacts slightly different to drugs. In the case of Alcohol (and I am definitely not having any of that now) I tend to feel dehydrated and get headaches so I drink lots of water, another in family is a happy drunk, yet sadly for another, the first drink effects his brain to such an extent it is total inhibition, cannot stop and trouble (and as such held a secretary position in AA for a decade and dry for 2 decades). Each reacts differently to the chemical (alcohol). If we consider the Opium based (narcotic) drugs and look at the packaging information for OxyContin the % variance of side effects (e.g. Constipation and Nausea 23%) is significant and would also expect a variance on people’s addiction (need for the drug after the anatomical condition is repaired).

    If someone is in genuine pain, needs drugs for pain management and under professional (doctors) supervision I have no doubt the doctor will help them get over them should an addiction occur via drug substitution (and have seen some blogs on this already) or other methods. For those acquiring medications illegally they are probably not administering as per recommendation (in case of OxyContin have read stories that they are crushing and snorting large amount and if read the packaging this sudden high dose can lead to heart issues including failure i.e. death), would guess it will effect them differently, they may have damaged various parts of their body and having acted illegally may be reluctant to get the support of their doctor.

    Controls over the distribution of drugs will remain a balancing act by the governments of the day to meet the genuine needs while protecting the wider community. Unfortunately the separation of correct use vs. the illicit use is rarely made clear as it does not suit those campaigning to ban drugs (possibly in good conscious because they have lost family members or their media stars from illicit or poorly administered use).

    I can only hope (and we can only advocate) that the community attitude for those (such as spineys) on legally prescribed drugs is different to those on drugs illegally acquired. After all, how many people have seen a war film where the injured soldier (with limbs blown off) has been injected with Morphine by the medic? I would suggest the answer is everyone! How many have immediately labeled the soldier as an addict or would ban pain killer drugs for the soldier? I would suspect the answer is none! Correct use of drugs needs to be facilitated.

    Sorry for the long reply but the reading and typing briefly takes my mind away from the pain (while I hopefully recover). Note: I am not a doctor and do not work in the drug or medical field so this is my unprofessional opinion. I am just someone hopefully passing through a difficult time.

    Best wishes to everyone out there.
    Terry >:D<
  • I have suffered chronic pain for several years and must take narcotics(Oxycodone) for my savage pain. I have never gotten "high" from this med nor suffered withdeawls when I have stopped taking them. I think this ides af becoming an addict because you take narcotics is highly overated put into our heads by the news groups and some Doctors.
    A Doctor explained to me once that when you are in pain you can't become addicted to pain meds coz the pain absorbs the meds. I believe this.
    Kids take Oxycontin and crush it to get "high". Never crush your meds and you will be fine.
    Patsy W
  • I , when on pain killers, never felt euphoric. Yet, if one is in pain and they accidentally do feel good,for a few, is there anything wrong with that?
    Pain is especially grating to our emotional state, so if one can find a little relief...good for them, good for their constitution, and a blessing for those who care about their level of comfort.
    I don't think anyone writing, here, suffers from always having no pain. Nor are we addicted to discomfort. Find what is good for you. The finding, or search thereof, is what may keep one going.
    I will not go quietly into the night, were I to have me druthers! Take care.
  • if you are in permanent pain {severe} and you are on narcotics the majority wont feel euphoric {maybe a little at first..i just felt sick!} the reason for this is your brain uses the narcotics to mask the pain {anyone that has ran out of the script and been left high and dry will tell you that pain come back with a vengeance and some!...and as soon as they start taking there pain killers they dont get high all that happens is the pain is more manageable }
    the only person i knew that got high was my gran on the last week of her life in hospital when she was given large quantities of morphine she keep seeing things like angels and other things that weren't there eventually the cancer and pain killers did there worst and i believe that she is in a better place now
  • Bob, yes, none of us here will ever be able to say they are addicted to pain, although there are some out there that are.

    Straker, sorry if this offends you in your faith, but I'd like to think that those angels WERE there, waiting to take your gran home.

  • My idea of addiction is perhaps a little different. I think of addiction as taking more than you're supposed to, stealing to get more, hurting others to get your fix. I do not think of addiction as wanting pain relief, asking for pain relief, getting meds for that relief, and taking them as prescribed. If a doctor gives you 4 oxy's to take a day and you take those 4 oxy's a day then you are not addicted. You are doing what you and your doctor have decided to do to give you comfort. I think some or a lot of doctors are more afraid of either getting in trouble with the govt or medical suits and get skittish on giving out pain meds. One of the many reasons for the higher costs of insurance and procedures, cause of their need of malpractice insurance. Once again it's those people who try to screw over the system that actually screw over people wanting to do the right thing. Anyway, if more people and doctors understood our need to just feel normal with medications and not our want to get "high" I think everything would be a lot better. For crying out loud, that's the reason medications like those were made in the first place. Now, we have to get cold and allergy meds from the pharmacy and sign all our info cause of crack/meth heads. Now that's addiction.
  • Actually, your point was the same as mine, we just said it differently (I like to make fun of words that have more than one "meaning")
  • Whyme said:
    Yes! you hit the nail on the head Judy... to get "high" on life is life's greatest gift, why shouldn't everyone be able to have that gift? I miss the smell of fresh mown grass after I mow!
    I was just telling my mom yesterday...I cant believe how much i miss cutting the grass...

    funny how i took that for granted...
  • On the forum, on the news, in our own house, we hear so much about what a huge difference there is between dependence and addiction. I want to point out that this is the ENGLISH language: a language where a cup can be interchangeable with Glass, and yet glass can also mean the stuff used in windows, and a cup can be part of a bra.

    The dictionary lists:

    Variant(s): also de·pen·dance \di-'pen-d?n(t)s\
    15th century
    1 : the quality or state of being dependent; especially : the quality or state of being influenced or determined by or subject to another
    2 : reliance, trust
    3 : one that is relied on
    4 a : drug addiction
    b : habituation 2b

    The "definition gods" use the word that is so scorned to define the more favored term. In fact, if you look in a thesaurus, they are interchangeable. I've looked up dependence in several places, and have not found one place (yet) that does not have some form of "state of being psychologically or physiologically dependent on a drug".

    In one place I found "Addiction is a dependence on a behavior or sub-stance that a person is powerless to stop. The term has been partially replaced by the word dependence for substance abuse."

    There is such a stigma placed on the word "addicted" in regards to medication, but it's ok to be addicted to life, to food, to love, to being needed, and on and on.

    I really hate the English language.

    I am going to repeat something I said previously: Hi, my name is Kat, and I'm ADDICTED to feeling human. How bout you?

  • Whyme said:
    Iwant to point out that this is the ENGLISH language: a language where a cup can be interchangeable with Glass, and yet glass can also mean the stuff used in windows, and a cup can be part of a bra.
    But.... definitions of dependence and addiction in this context are not based on the English language or the Websters Dictionary definition. ;) They're based on the terminology and definitions contained in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association and contains the specific diagnostic criteria and diagnosis codes for every recognized mental health disorder.

  • do you happen to have these handy - it would be interesting to see how the medical profession defines these two terms.

  • Hello again :p

    But, it is the English language, and no matter what way we cut it, every single person in the world is NOT going to be thinking about the same thing when they think of "cuddly" or "soft" or "upside" or even yes, "dependency" and "addiction".

    No matter what way we cut it "dependence" means: a reliance on another (person, thing) for love, affection, mothering, comfort, security, food, warmth, shelter, protection. Now add to this a need to be pain free.

    Many in pain will agree, this is not always an option, but a basic need, for without the relief some would be reduced to blathering idiots. (No offence)

    I don't have a medical dictionary, and of course the online versions aren't always correct, but merriam-webster's online medical dictionary and lists:

    1: the quality or state of being dependent upon or unduly subject to the influence of another
    2 a: drug addiction b: habituation

    So again, here is that "ugly: word "addiction".

    Dependency and addictions are not always associated with disorders, just as balls and goals are not always associated with soccer.

    I believe I've reached the end of my discussion ability on this subject. I just wanted to understand why others thought addiction was so different from dependence.

  • Don't you hate it when people keep answering their own posts? =))

    I finally found a reason for my confusion on this subject:

    From an AMJ Psychiatry letter to the editor (found here: http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/163/11/2014-a)

    "To the Editor: We agree with the call made by Charles O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D., et al. for a clarification of terminology in discussions of opioid use (1). We also agree that the DSM Committees’ choice of terminology to date is problematic. The use of the term "dependence" as a euphemism for addiction originated as a well-intentioned attempt to counter negative effects of the social stigmatization of addicted patients. Unfortunately, it has resulted in creating significant confusion in discussions of pain management by clouding the important distinction between physical dependence and uncontrolled psychological craving (addiction). Examples of this confusion are replete in the literature (2–4)."

    So, I suppose I will leave you all alone on this subject :p Sometimes I wonder if I have too much time on my hands.....

This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.