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I'm new to this site. My sister referred me (mod note: see sister's post here sister-of-saradee-help-needed-urgently-in-nj I'm 45 and have been on meds for bipolar, major depression, Bpd, Attention deficit, social phobia, Gad, panic disorder, dependant personality disorder, etc. I have been taking meds throughout my adult life and am have found no relief. In fact I think I believe these meds are making me sick, keeping me stuck, and making life unbearable. I've been on more antidepressants, tranquilizers, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers than I can remember and am currently taking ketamine for my treatment resistant antidepressant. I am also a "recovering" addict, although Im just as addicted to the drugs prescribed by my doctor as I ever was to street drugs. Heroin was my drug of choice, and I have been on suboxone for over 15 years now. In addition to the suboxone, I'm prescribed wellbutrin, xanax, Adderall, and Tamazapam and Ketamine. I literally take a pill to wake up, to go to sleep, to go to eat, and to go to the bathroom. Every day feels like a balancing act and I feel lucky when I get a few minutes that I feel well enough to get out of bed to get to my overwhelmingly long and over due to do list. I really am not functioning on any level and am having trouble finding hellp. I'm trying to get treatment but I can't seem to find a place who has a doctor who will work with me to get off the meds either because they aren't qualified or because I don't have a good enough support system in place for such a drastic change. So I have considered detox which scares me because 3 to 10 days does not seem adequate to get off a lifetime of meds. I would like to go to rehab as well, but would have to detox First. The other traditional option would be a psych unit, however, I'm afraid that that will just be more of the same...throwing medication at a problem that meds don't seem to be helping. Anyhow, I don't know if this is appropriate, or if I'm posting in the right place, but I just really need help. I feel like a huge burden to everyone especially my family, my daughter should be the focus and although my fiance is there for her, it's just not ok. I want this to stop but I just don't know what to do. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this. Any ideas or insight would be greatly appreciated.
I am 70 y.o. But have had severe Restless Legs Syndrome since I was in my 20’s. I’d been on dopamine agonists all my life and switched from one to the next as each seemed to fail. In 2011 my wife arranged for me to be seen at John’s Hopkins by the lead researcher and he found that I had augmentation with each of my old drugs, that is, I would get better initially and then the drug would actually make me worse until I was on huge doses and then I would switch to the next one. The alternative to this class of drugs are the long acting slow release opiates like methadone,suboxone, and fentanyl. I became depressed and then had my first panic attack on methadone ( after a few years) and on suboxone I vacillated between sleep apnea on higher doses and panic attacks on lower doses. I tried several other drugs such as Mg, gabapentin, talwin, morphine, etc before starting fentanyl at 12.5 mcg every 48 hours and eventually settling in at 50 mcg every 48 hours. My RLS is under good control and according to the research, RLS patients don’t ever become addicted and almost never require higher doses over time. But, I was started on Lyrica at the same time as the fentanyl patches because I worried that there were no more medicines to try and I thought I would have to commit suicide. When I am not on a drug or it isn’t working, I have to walk constantly until 4:30-5 a.m. and then I get maybe an hours sleep before it starts again. The Lyrica made me terrifically dizzy and nauseous and lethargic. I asked to stop after 3-4 months and because the common wisdom was a one to two week taper, I did that with disastrous results. Finally I tapered off at very low doses over months and have been off now for 10 months. At first it was day after week after month with perhaps 2-3 hours of normalcy in a week’s time. Now I have longer windows of a few hours to several days with waves that are similar...a few hours sometimes but I just finished yesterday a wave of 6 days. My waves begin with fear on awakening followed by excessive sneezing then loose stools and dry heaves. I feel “sick” and exhausted and sleep almost continuously until it passes. When it is over it occurs suddenly like someone flipped a light switch and I know for certain that it has gone. Still, even in my windows, I start each day with dread. If it is unremitting,I take either 2.5 mg or 5 mg of Valium, but I always try to avoid that. That is my story.
I am trying to taper off of gabapentin and Suboxone. I have not always taken these medications correctly but, now am doing so. I am prescribed gabapentin 800mg tablet 3x daily and Suboxone 4mg once per day (although I take somewhere around 2mg per day). I want to get off of both of these medications so I can really live and not have to wake up every single day needing something to get through the day or to even start the day for that matter. I am a mother of 4 with a husband and mother I help care for so inpatient treatment programs are not an option and I certainly don't want to spend the next 15 years or so continue with this cycle until they are grown and I have missed out. I started Suboxone in 2010 and Lyrica in 2011 or 2012 and switched to Gabapentin last year when I changed doctors as he said it was "much safer than Lyrica". At first like all meds, it worked great. Then I had to have more to achieve the same effect ( that should have told me this was not a good drug to take). So fast forward to now and I am taking the amount I am actually prescribed which does make me feel better. It is a step in the right direction. I have a problem though. My doctor canceled my refills that were left in the pharmacy. I want to continue my taper but I know what happens when you quit cold turkey. The suboxone is easy to taper. Much easier than the gabapentin. I taper and then a few days or a week later I can taper more. Most that will happen is I am less talkative than normal and I may keep to myself some as well as small sleep interruptions. Now Gabapentin... the taper has been fine up until now. Now I am getting anxiety (maybe from having no more available to me at the moment) and restless legs at 6-630 every single morning. I used to have to take one at bedtime to sleep well but I figured I would cut that dose out because anything that helps you sleep is a lot harder to quit. I figured if my body could get used to sleeping without anything I would be better off when the real storm hit me. I have tried magnesium before when I was out of Gabapentin and it worked. I felt really great for a while and then I took a little more once it evened out because not being super into knowing the science behind it all I thought maybe it was wearing off and was so afraid of withdrawal. I think I may have taken too much. I was up all night that night with extreme hot flashes and chills as well as my breathing was slightly off. I didn't really drink any water with it and I read it can make your body toxic if you take too much in too short a period of time and don't drink water. I don't know if that is true or not. I would like to give the magnesium another go because I really REALLY want to stop taking any and all prescription medications. I want to be free. I know mindset has a lot to do with it but there are REAL actual withdrawals symptoms and like I said I have 4 children so I can not afford to lay in bed all day or stay in my room having panic attacks because I stopped taking a medication. What is the lowest dose one should taper to before they just stop? How much magnesium should I take? I have tapered from taking 4 3 or 4 times a day (way too much! I know! I kick myself for being that dumb!) to taking either 1 3x a day or 1 1/2 two times a day from May until current (mid July) (but I got down to 3 per day towards the end of June) The Suboxone started out in 2010 taking almost 5 strips a day!!( yes i am amazed I am still alive) down to one strip per day around 2 or 3 years ago and then finally decided enough was enough and started my taper from one a day to 2mg a day 3 months ago. I am not sure if anyone will answer this but I would like some insight and some help here on what to do. Please don't focus on the insane amounts I used to take because I am doing better for myself and family here and now. I just need help making it the rest of the way through the race. The finish line is so close I can taste it! Also, I have heard things about Niacin helping and calcium as well.. if so are there any specifics about either of them I should be aware of? Like the magnesium has to be chloride not oxide (sp?) in order to be really helpful. I also take Advil p.m. around 10 every single night and since that comes up positive for benzo's ( something I never have really gotten into) in a DT at my doctor's office I imagine that can't be very good for me either.. how well does melatonin work? what about restful legs (OTC)? And I know it was the Advil p.m. because when I stopped taking it for a short while because I just ran out and I didn't need help sleeping Benzo's stopped showing up on my DT and oh yeah! I don't take benzos. I really only need some guidance and helpful facts about the more natural way to live my life while still being able to be a good mama to my kids (who are all young and completely clueless to how stupid their mother is for ever starting this in the first place) I am over weight thanks partially to the gabapentin but I started walking 2 miles a day (half a mile there and half a mile back morning and afternoon) to take my kids to school and pick them up the gabapentin made it impossible for me to lose weight I just stayed the same and I walked every single day for months and did not each very much. Does exercise really help? I also want to apologize for this post kind of being all over the place with thoughts. I have A.D.D. as well but absolutely REFUSE to take any medication for it because I just don't need any more problems and I don't need any more addictions. I'm not a bad person. I just made poor choices in my 20's. I let others influence me because I was young and nieve. But now I am ready to be older and wiser. So any help at all on these questions would be GREAT! Then maybe when I am completely done with the meds I can pass on my knowledge to someone else in need. The questions are as follows (since they're kind of just mixed in there somewhere) How slow of a taper should I do for gabapentin? How much magnesium should I take and how many times per day to counter act the w/D's from Gabapentin? Does Niacin work? Does Calcium work? If they do any specifics I should know about them? Does exercise really help with w/d? How long do I need to take these individual supplements for before I can either choose to just stop or take one multi vitamin? As in, how long does it take my body to start stocking its own supply of these or will it always be dependant on me taking them in order to make it? (Like I said I wasn't super into Science- English/ Grammar were my things even though you may not be able to tell here in this post) So, any and all help is appreciated GREATLY! I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and try to stay positive. We are stronger than we know!
Dr. Manny: How Prescription Drug Abuse Is Helping To Fuel Violence In America By Dr. Manny Alvarez ,published 19 June , 2015 Fox News.com My heart aches and my soul is full of sadness for the nine innocent lives lost in Charleston, South Carolina, and the community left reeling due to yet another senseless crime. This horrific mass murder will no doubt be remembered in American history, just like the many others that have come before it, and unfortunately the probable ones yet to come. While we know that accused killer Dylann Roof was fueled by hatred and racism, I wonder if there is a pattern in some of these tragedies. In conjunction with what other experts will tell us, I believe that an epidemic of drug abuse in this country is helping to fuel the violence. I am not talking about marijuana, cocaine or heroin – I am specifically singling out prescription drug abuse. It is alleged that Roof was taking Xanax and Soboxone. A high school classmate even referred to him as a “pill popper.” The Wall Street Journal reported that in a police incident report from February, Roof was found to have strips of Suboxone -- a pain drug used to treat opiate addiction -- on him, but did not have a prescription for the drug. From what we know thus far, Roof was not under any kind of psychiatric care, either. Now, I don’t know for sure whether or not Roof had a prescription for Xanax, or if he purchased it off the street like his former classmate inferred, but the drug has been linked to many potential dangerous side effects without careful monitoring. Xanax may cause a person to become depressed, irritable, an insomniac, to have difficulty concentrating, and to act in an aggressive manner. When psychiatrists and physicians prescribe Xanax, they are aware of these side effects, and determine the proper dosage to prescribe to patients based on any underlying mental illnesses. However, when the drug is purchased off the street, there could be undiagnosed disorders like bipolar disorder or another mental illnesses that could cause the above-mentioned side effects to come to life, often in tragic ways. Suboxone is another powerful drug that requires a degree of professional monitoring. This is typically prescribed for narcotic addiction because it contains both a narcotic element, along with an anti-narcotic ingredient. The combination of this drug and Xanax could create a poisonous cocktail that may spell trouble for the user. Many of these drugs are sold on the streets by people who have obtained them illegally. A National Household Survey on Drug Abuse indicated that an estimated 36 million U.S. residents aged 12 and older abused prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime. In breaking that number down, it found that 2.7 million of those individuals were aged 12 to 17, and 6.9 million were aged 18 to 25. Those purchasing the drugs are unaware of potential side effects or the dangers that they may pose to others while on the medications. Make no mistake about it, these are powerful drugs intended to treat many mental illnesses. Most of them, if they are taken as intended, do provide great relief to patients. However, there are instances of violence that have occurred while suspects were under the care of a psychiatrist and were taking the prescriptions legally. Let’s look at James Holmes, the accused killer who opened fire on a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and wounding 70. Holmes had been prescribed a generic version of Zoloft, which is used to treat depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Clonazepam, which treats anxiety and panic attacks. Zoloft has the potential to cause suicidal ideation, while Clonazepam also carries the potential for serious side effects. Next, let’s consider Eric Harris, who along with Dylan Klebold, opened fire on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, murdering 13 classmates before killing themselves. Harris had been prescribed the powerful antidepressant Luvox. One in 10 Americans now takes antidepressant medications and many others illegally acquire these drugs for recreational use. I am certainly not suggesting that one in 10 of us is a killer. What I am saying, is that when these powerful medications are given, they must be medically supervised, and all of the side effects must be considered by the prescribing doctor. When there is no medical supervision, or lax guidance, these drugs can enhance aggressive behavior and further fuel irrational thinking. The illegal prescription drug abuse on the streets is far too great for us to ignore. As the nation once more looks for answers to an unthinkable tragedy, many will race to call for better gun control and background checks. Others will want social answers and call for better ways to mend the racial divide that exists in some of our communities. But what I ask our leaders is to also address the epic level of untreated mental illness in our country, which when paired with illegal drug abuse, has only left us reeling time after time We all need to work together. Just recently the Justice Department arrested 243 people across the country and charged them with submitting fake billing for Medicare which totaled $712 million. Among those arrested are 46 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals. In one case, a doctor in Michigan prescribed unnecessary narcotics in exchange for patients’ identification information to generate false billings. Uncontrolled drug abuse in people that already possess racism and hatred in their hearts makes for an incredibly dangerous situation. Each and every one of us will play a role in righting this wrong, and it begins with caring for each other. If you notice changes in any of your loved ones, friends or colleagues, then you must speak out. Too often after the fact we hear of all the warning signs that were there for us, whether it was the lack of compassion for your fellow man, drug abuse or mental illness, it is our responsibility to get them help. Let us hope that this hate crime will make every single American know how to love and respect and care for each other, because that will be the definitive cure that will make us stronger and better people.