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"Highs" and Lows of Narcotics

NumbskullNNumbskull Posts: 1,526
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Pain Medications
There are quite a few posts on here about addiction, dependancy and whether or not narcotics make us "high" or not. Now, as chronic pain patients, we don't take narcotics to get high, we take them to take the pain away. A lot of people say that the med, whatever it is, does not give them that "high" feeling. I take oxycodone with acetamenophen (5mg) when my pain gets to be too much to handle. That is, I don't take it every day, as I work and have to drive, but when I'm in a bad pain cycle that is lasting for a few days, I do take it at night once I get home. When I take it, I do feel it being released into my system, that is, I feel like a big wave is washing over my body, and then my pain starts to subside. Do I feel euphoric or happy? No, well happy that my pain is subsiding, but that's it. I always just assumed that was the feeling that people feel when they get "high". I just assumed that people who don't suffer from pain take narcotics to feel that "wave". Personally, I don't like the feeling of the wave, or the fogginess that narcotics leave me in, which is why I don't take them regularly. Does anyone else experience the wave? Is that really what people are after when looking to get high? Just curious, as I've never participated in recreational drug use (No, I never inhaled =)) ) so I really don't know what it is to get "high" and figured that wave was it. And then figured, boy, those people who are taking it to get high must be really desperate...
APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own


  • The pain meds I am on I have taken for years. I work and take the meds daily. I have to take the meds to work. I have never understood the high aspect either. As a teen I understood high. I have never felt this with pain meds. I am on leave of absence right now from my recent surgery and hopefully will be able to leave some of these pills behind when I return to work.
    I hide the fact that I do take so much pain meds from my associates at work. I don't want people to think I am getting high. If they could see me without the meds they would understand my reason for taking the meds is soley for the purpose of functioning is society.

    Have a good one...
  • I had severe back pain and had to go to the hospital. The gave me a shot of something, that I don't remember what it was,no relief, followed by demerol(spelling), no relief, morphine, finally some relief. Still no high, but the bugs crawling on the wall was interesting!
  • never been high on narcotics even when i was in hospital on morphine and oxycodone .mind you when i drank alcohol {many years ago} i never got the high from that nor did i get a high from cannabis ..maybe i don't have a high bit wired in my brain ..all i know is if i don't get you daily fix of oxycontin i am screaming in pain and after 12 hours i an severely withdrawn due to the large amount taken ..what can you do !! its s must for us people
  • Thanks for sharing that one . Needed the laugh. Prescription drugs never did that to me. But like I said as a teen a lil pot was used. I did think once a mailbox was a munchkin laughing at me. Never touched the stuff again! Must've been something else in that stuff. But never got a buzz from prescription drugs!
  • I too don't get a high feeling from my meds. I've been high from other illegal drugs and it's completely different. I know people do take them to get high but I don't understand the high they are going for as I don't get it from any of my pain meds even in the beginning. I do feel sleepy though but I'm sure that's not the buzz that those abusing narcotic pain meds are looking for.

    I guess you'd have to take a lot to get a high from them. I only take the amount I am prescribed or needed to decrease my pain level. I'm so scared to take anymore especially with the sudden death of Heath Ledger and Anna Nicole. I'm on so many meds that I'm very careful with my dosages. I also think this is one main reason why my dad and husband are strongly against me taking these meds cuz of what they've seen in the media. It scares them that this could happen to me.
  • Not even with the diludid and stuff they injected in the hospital. If I would have, it would have been the first time I have been happy for a long time. My meds only take away the pain, and if at high enough doses, make me sleep. Wish they would make me in a happier mood dailey. It is hard to stay home all the time and deal with depression. I am just glad that I have them to take the worst of my pain away.
  • I wouldn't describe it as "high". But when I take my pills, I get sleepy, calm, and just kind of relaxed. Like you said though, when the pain is better, that is a great feeling as well.

    I am still in total control, I don't feel drunk, or anything like that. Just better. Not sure if I am making any sense.

    Caity :)
  • That's exactly what I mean, I just feel relief. I just wonder what all the hype is for people who aren't in pain and don't need them like we do, to relieve our pain. If that's what they call a high, that's what I mean by they must be pretty desparate, as that's not what my perception of being high is. I've taken dilaudid, oxycodone, been given fentanyl, demerol and morphine shots, and have had that "wave" with each of them, and then relief, so I just wondered...
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • I have never felt that. I know that my father has described the feeling you are speaking of & he doesn't like it much.

    I am sorry if some of these post are jumbled but I am posting from my Blackberry using one hand & desperately waiting on a power supply for my hard drive. I have caught myself posting to the wrong thing. Oops!
  • Traci, thanks for the replies, as jumbled as they are, I went back and read all, and understood each one, lol (sure... blame it on the blackberry... are you high now? LMAO kidding!!!) I laughed at your mailbox story!! I've only hallucinated due to sleep deprivation when on field exercises... nothing like seeing a family of smurfs having a picnic in the middle of a field that you're watching in the middle of the night!!! LOL
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • is that before, when my pain wasn't as often, I only took them a couple times a month (My back escalated from back spasms every 6 months, never getting diagnosis, handed Vicoden and Flexeril and sent on my way. That graduated slowly into a 11 milimeter herniation, microdiskectomy, taking the pills a couple times a month, to now daily to control the chronic pain). When I did, I warned the family "Moms having a bad day, gonna take the pills", and the family knew that meant Mom would be comatose on the couch/bed for a few hours. :) They totally knocked me out. I now take them on a daily basis :(, and the fatigue isn't as strong any more. I do usually take a nap, but before, I had no choice. I was out!

    I also am one who has never done any drug, illegal or not, up until I had a back problem. So I don't know how to compare a high either. But like I said before, it's not a "high" for me. Just sleepy. I)

  • No high, but when I was in hospital and I couldn't make it to the next pill, I'd call for a morphine shot. It took about 5 minutes to work and I would feel a slow wave of relief, then the pain would quickly disappear. It was wonderful, but not what I'd call a high. But this is a subject I've been curious about since I've heard that oxycontin and other drugs that I was on are actually a black market drug.

    I became dependent on Oxycontin and it took a few weeks to come off it and it was very unpleasant to say the least. When Michael Jackson died and I heard he'd been dependent on these things, I thought then that he was better off dead. It's no life being dependent on painkillers.
  • I know when I was recovering from my neck surgery I was on the self administrated morphine pump. I fell in LOVE with that machine! I was definitely getting pain relief from it but I was also getting very high from it. I confess it was a very good feeling, I guess it was the Lotus high that they talk about from Opium smoking! I was so angry when they came a disconnected it on the 3rd day. :(
    Anyway now days it seems that all pain meds aggravate my tinnitus so much that it must take away from any "high" I would be getting.
    C3-4-5 fusion 2005
    C-5-T-1 disk bulged
    L-4-5 bulge to the right, with Microdiscectomy, failed
    L5- Bi-Lateral bulge
    Pain in right foot -loss of feeling
    Left butt, hip and front thigh pain with bad shooting pain into inside ankle sometimes
  • My doctor prescribes a very small amount of Vicoden (probably to keep HIMSELF out of trouble). I never feel high; only relief that it takes the edge off the pain.
  • CAITYC -I laughed when you said you tell your kids mommy's having a bad day and they know what you mean. I do the same thing. When I have a flare up and have to take my max dose of BT meds I tell my kids the same thing and they know I'll be sleeping for a couple of hours. Well, yesterday I slept in until 10:30am and my son came in and said "your back must be really hurting cuz you've been sleeping a long time, you must have taken a lot of your medicine". I kind of chuckled and explained that the dampness from the rain makes my back hurt worse and that I've been too sore to get out of bed. He's only 7 so I thought it was funny but a bit sad at the same time how he perceives things.
  • I don't get any euphoria or that warm feeling that washes over you from when you first start taking pain meds. Once at the ER I was given a Morphine shot and I felt absolutely nothing, and it didn't help my pain either. It was like a 10cc dose which is super low compared to the 240mg of oral morphine I regularly took for chronic pain.

    Most of us who take a high amount of pain meds for a long time don't feel anything other than temporary relief and feel calm in my opinion.
  • to me that it was the Flexeril that was making me so tired. I am on 10 mg, which I was told was kindof a high dose. I definitely wouldn't call it euphoria either. I also don't really like the feeling. As I said though, it's less and less as I take the pills daily now.

    I agree that I am definitely developing tolerance. When I had my first epi in February, they gave me Versed. I didn't feel it at all! My new pain management doc said that when you take narcotics, you tend to build up a tolerence for Versed, and they were probably afraid of giving me too much. :) That they didn't want me drooling on the table. :)

    Ming - I'm glad you can relate! :) It is terrible though, isn't it? I always feel so bad. :( Thank goodness they seem to understand. It is easier to control now then before, and I usually nap when they are in school anyway, but I still feel bad.
  • I definitely do not get the "euphoria" others are chasing. I almost wish I did - at least I could forget the pain for a while! I take my medication several times a day (sometimes twice depending on my activity and my pain level) and never feel koo koo. HOWEVER, the few times my meds have been adjusted or something was added, that was tried first on a Saturday, just in case of adverse effects. Found out that the Zanaflex really do help, but make me so sleepy... So I know not to take them if I need to function.

    My boyz always pick on me. "Have you taken your sleepy time medicine yet?" I take Ambien. They know that sometimes, I don't remember what happens right after I take it - so sometimes they will use that to their advantage. Other times, if I fall asleep on the couch, they will make fun of me... boyz. I tell you what...

    Oh well.
  • Hey Kelly,

    Ok, you caught me... maybe it was the meds and not my blackberry. But I miss the younger years and sometimes wished I did feel that from the meds. I would make these long boring days easier to deal with.

    Have a good one.
  • I too wish I felt it sometimes...jsut to be in a better mood :). I know that now that I'm on Oxy long acting and short acting I can hardly tell I take anything. Meaning when I take my ativan to help sleep even along with my ambien, it takes "more" to get me to sleep and I believe its the narcotic tolerance. I can't take more b/c I have to make it stretch, but it isn't enough. My pain meds continue to lose effectiveness too. I just had my long acting oxycontin doubled and I can't tell it. Also, I can also tell that I don't "function" well without my pain meds. Meaning I wake up, then take my morning meds and I feel more normal. It's so sad to be so dependent on these. I hate it.

    I take 40mg Oxycontin 3 X day, Oxycodone 10/325 every 6 hours, ambien and ativan and trazadone nightly to sleep, I alternate between soma and zanaflex, and now Wellbutrin and Provigil to help counteract the drowsiness effects of it all. GRRRR

  • As we feel better, we start to add activities back into our lives. We may in fact not have a progression of the illness, but be subject to increased pain because of increased activity. As you noted, your Dr, doulbed your meds, Good, this may allow for you to continue to keep active. Otherwise, we fall into a YO-YO effect, where we are active, hurt ourselves, stop and become in-active, then go active again, hurt ourselves again and yo-yo this across the month. We don't see the pattern, until we think about it later.

    Some Dr's = totally miss this need for adequate meds and under medicate us, to the point where we do not have good anlagesia and so we never get to the point of being as active as we could be.
    It is a very fine line, that we must live with, Hope you doing well! Cheers, David
  • Another thing to remember is that often, we bear the burden of taking that first step toward increasing our activity levels, even when we're under medicated, in order to provide the proof our doctors need to justify increasing the medication dosages. It can be really easy to fall in to the "you go first" mentality with our doctors and say "I'll be glad to become more active, if you give me more drugs first."

    I think chronic pain is a completely unique disease in the sense that we have to prove we can do better in order to get the treatment we need to help us feel better. I was in my PM's office yesterday and I told him I was concerned about him becoming reluctant to prescribe to me, after having to make 3 trips to the ER in 2 days, for uncontrolled pain. His response was "Sometimes medicine fails, but you haven't. You've done everything I've asked of you. It's just a bump in the road.. so let's fix it and move on."

    And then he handed me a hell of a set of scripts to get me movin' on... ;)

  • Jeaux-I totally understand, my boys make fun of me when I take a zanaflex and go to sleep at night and then if hubby not home, they stay up a little longer on the XBox!

    I have a hard time getting why someone would take the meds I take for fun, too, cuz now that I've developed a tolerance, there is no "high" and I don't want to be on them. However, I do know from my professional experience and hubby's professional experience that many who take narcs recreationally combine them with other meds or illegal stuff to get their good high.
  • :D I prefer a natural high and, no, don't get high on my pain meds, just helps bring the pain level down so that I can get some level of normal functioning. Now in mid life, just want to keep the body from falling apart so don't want to experiment and damage it further -- still making up for damage I did in the early 70's (LOL!).

    Take care,

  • Nope, I do not get high from my pain meds. All I get is an ease up in my pain...that's all.
    But people who take pain meds to get "high" take them different than we do. They crush and "snort" them or something like that or smoke them??? Anyway they take them differently, don't they??
    All we want is a reduction in our pain. I have no idea how it feels to get high on anything!! I would never want my mind messed up in any way.
    The one time I took Lyrica it really messed me up bad. I could not walk, talk and my vision was blurred!! A friend called to chat and said if she did not know me better she would have thought I was drinking. Was I high then?? Heavens knows I NEVER want to feel like that again!! It was awful!!
    If that is the "high" people want...then they can have it!! All I can say Kelly.....they are out of their cottin pickin minds!!
    No, I do not think the "wave" you are talking about is that high either. I think it is all together something different.
    If I am wrong about how people take meds to get high....please correct me.
    Patsy W :H
  • lol Judy, I used to get the natural high, being adrenaline rushes or whatever, but sadly, not so much anymore... Can't do the things that I once could!! but in that respect, I think I'm glad I was just a lil tyke in the 70s!! LOL
    Patsy, you're right, they do crush the pills, but I'm not sure about smoking?
    I was hospitalized a few years ago due to a severe kidney infection (fever of 106 that lasted for 4 days) and they gave me demerol shots for pain control. One day, about 20 minutes after getting a shot, which usually was when it started working for me, my commanding officer and sergeant-major walked in. After a minute, they looked at each other, looked back at me and started laughing. When I was released from the hospital, I was sent straight to the field (IV and all) to meet up with my unit on exercise. Needless to say, I was pretty cranky about the whole situation, and my CO asked if they were still giving me demerol through the IV, as I was funnier when I was higher than a kite. I didn't feel like I was ever high from it, but I guess I was pretty spacey, lol.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • LOL... Were u thinking of me?
    No I get no high from meds. I will say I did back in my early 20's.
    I asked my dr about it and he said it's changed because of my bodys chemistry since I'm older now. There had been on occasion times that I get a rush when I was on hydracodone and soma and the first dose I would take in mornin of those with coffee first thing that I'd get like a quick rush feeling because the coffee made my meds melt and work real fast. And it gave me have a rush feeling for about 10 minutes. But only that first dose, not the rest of the day. But not with my new meds of mscontin and baclofen. That's was a weird feelin in my head but not now.
    Now my mj use doesnt really, I don't smoke a big fat stogy, just a few hits to calm my nausea. Yeah I could take fenergan but it causes your meds to work stronger, and causes drowsiness, the drowsiness also with using levsin, which defeats the purpose of what I need, which is to EAT. With my gallbladder and also scar tissue issue causing blockage and nausea,I'm starving and have lost 13 lbs fast this last month. Thats not healthy! That is the reason I use mj, along with the pain the meds don't touch and to help sleep. And I don't use it every day. Or all day! My business, k!
    Now off that!!!!
    My meds cause no euphoria at all!!! But I want to tell all something.
    The other day I was watching oprah with dr oz talking about this lady addicted to meds after an accident who also shared her meds with her son. She got a rx once a month from dr, 120 pills per month, and they would be gone in 5-6 days. She took over 7,000 pills per year. Cuz when they were gone she buy more through a dealer.
    Crazy!!!!! And shared with her son.... What a loser!!!
    Well it frustrated me, this is the reason we get a hard time and bad name.
    Well, for every chronic pain sufferers defense I sent an email to the dr oz show. I would encourage all to do the same. Becuz we need a voice.
    I explained I was frustrated about him not addressing the difference of addiction and dependence that we have to take meds for a better quality of life, that without meds most of us would be bed bound in pain, becuz surgergies were not feezable now or not anytime soon. So we need meds. So these stupid people cause us grief and that's not fair. There is a difference of addiction and dependance of a better quality if life and so on and so on. Hope he answers me.
    It was a good letter, wish I could just share it with u guys.
    People need to know how these addicts make it impossible for some of us.
    Anyhoo, no high from meds!!!!
  • Yes BW - that is so right. I had a history of ER visits and with that and the fact that I had to have ER control the pain[none of this was in my head! LOL] I was able to use this in writing to explain to my PM dr that I needed to have things increased, because I already know how to fix myself, I am not able to write my scripts to control the pain and allow myself to get back to my life fast.

    With that, He wrote what I had asked for and told me to be responsible for figuring out what worked and what did not.

    In a month, We met again and adjust things - Since then, I have been stable in my meds. Sometimes less, never more and I have my life and activity level back.

    That was my orginal goal, to get active as I was and not have more than I needed to control the pain. So - a year later. I have lost 10 lbs off last year and continue to work away. I am my lightest, in 20 years. So I would say it works!

    It is really being honest with oour Dr and doing our part! doing exercise whether we want to or not!

    Peace - David
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,848
    but please do not post any letter than came from any talk show.
    I do have to ask you to please not continue to repeat the situation about marijuana usage. You have stated it several times, and if it helps you , fine, but there are many people who object to this as well as many medical professionals who would never agree to what is being done.
    The next comment applies to many who use "I dont get high" from my pain medications. Well, the reason you take pain medications is to help control the pain, not to get someone high.
    Some of the rationale that went behind the so many Pain Contracts was comments about patients wanting to get high, not getting high from their medication. In both cases it is a misunderstanding why someone takes those medications
    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
  • It was a letter I sent not received. I'm only stating my own view, please don't take it the wrong way. I know some people object, that's why I stated that was all I wanted to say, not looking to start a convo on it, don't want to.
    I won't mention it again, sorry you felt like I needed a scalding for it. Don't want to offend no one!!!!!
    So back to the topic at hand!!!
    Thank you and hope you have a good day , Ron!!!
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