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Pain and "addiction" if you will...

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
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: 13,527
    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 Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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  • =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.
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  • 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.....

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