Health Issues/Suboxone

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Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby styley » Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:54 pm

Hi all.. brand new, so forgive me if this is a previously addressed topic.

My story is a little complicated, but the essential question I have is if anyone who is now OFF of Suboxone for a year or more is still experiencing health problems.

My dilly:
I got completely sober in 1990. At the end of my using I was a full-fledged junkie/alkie, ended up on the methadone program for three years, found my way into detoxes/rehabs/AA and had a full recovery. The recovery process was brutal at first, but there was consistent improvement and I got strong as hell over time.

I used no drugs/alcohol for 19 years, but relapsed in 2009 with alcohol and occasional pills. I went to a detox in NY and was put on this new (to me) medication called Suboxone. Because of previous opiate addiction, I immediately got re-addicted. I hadn't experienced opiate withdrawals for almost two decades, so it wasn't 'fun'.

I jumped down to a low dose (2mg?) quickly, stayed on it for eight months. Might not sound like much, but it was a bitch trying to get off of it. Weird stuff started happening: crinkled skin, coarse hair, vision problems, loss of singing voice... and unbelievable depression. I really hate that drug, and I'm still kinda pissed off at that detox hospital - I went in to get sober and came out addicted.

So I stopped taking Suboxone (and any other substances) 16 months ago. I was in Switzerland and finally just said 'f*ck this', and hunkered down to get it over with, being free of responsibilities for a few weeks. The withdrawals were rough but manageable. (I went through four heroin/methadone detoxes in '89, so I figured I'd be alright.)

Chlonidine helped a lot. And I had some sleep meds, but can't remember what (some Swiss drug). I lost fifteen pounds of muscle in the first week. Felt like I was on fire. Restless legs, all that, but I could walk around and didn't sh*t my pants or scream or vomit. Withdrawals started slowly waning, but a few weeks in I caught a throat infection, which went to the lungs.

Two months in, I was in bad shape: couldn't eat, still losing weight, getting weaker, and the infections wouldn't resolve.

Went to a doctor, got put in the hospital, infections treated. Figured I'd be alright.

Two months later (five months in), still not recuperating, went to a dentist - had to have THREE teeth removed because of abscesses. Took months, all kinds of complications, but was infection-free by January of this year. Figured I'd be alright.

I didn't get alright.

I'm at about 10% of my pre-Suboxone withdrawal strength. I've never been sickly. Not in a depression. Not normal aging. Not a hypochondriac. I was strong as hell, energetic, exercised daily, worked hard, played basketball, great nutrition.. a high functioning, healthy individual. At this point, I can't even ride a bicycle, no joke.

Main symptoms:

- weakness/fatigue/low energy
- dramatic skin changes (circles under eyes, pale, cragginess)
- vision problems
- difficulty breathing upon exertion
- heart racing upon exertion
- coordination problems (typing, guitar, sports)
- twitches
- poor concentration, memory


I'm seeing doctors - so far, they've found low thyroid function and low iron, but don't know what's causing either, so the testing continues. One problem, though, is this: I'm in f-cking Switzerland, where there's zero awareness about addiction/recovery, or even about Suboxone.

I don't know if something happened during all the weakness/infection/withdrawals that's some sort of new health problem, or if Suboxone can really kick a person's ass this badly. I mean, the Naloxone alone just can't be good for a person's body, right?

Is anyone else going through anything like this? Any miraculous healing stories to offer a brother some hope or avenues to explore?? I'm NOT on Suboxone now. I'm talking about physical problems 16 months after getting off of it.

Much appreciation for any feedback, insights, etc.. danke schön!
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby Sub zero » Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:05 pm

Sorry to hear you're having so many health problems. Based on what I read in your post, it's going to be difficult to establish a correlation between your use of Suboxone and your current health problems. I guess what I mean is, a lot of people have similar issues...but they've never, ever taken Suboxone. Some of your symptoms do sound like endocrine disorder...thyroid, adrenal gland. Sorry I can't offer any answers, but I'm no doctor.
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby xenofears » Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:09 pm

Yeah it's entirely possible Suboxone is the cause of all or almost all of your issues, simply PAWS... it's also possible that it's not. I don't know that frequent infections has ever been on a list of PAWS symptoms.

I hope you feel better.
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby styley » Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:53 pm

thanks to both of you. yeah, as i wrote, it's complicated. clearly, i have a health problem which started during, or before, the withdrawal process. no idea if Suboxone has anything to do with what's happening now, or if it may have triggered something new - figured i'd ask around, see if anyone's experiencing anything similar.

good luck with the end of your Klonopin taper, X! home stretch.. be loving to yourself every second...
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby Sub zero » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:17 pm

Well, we hope this isn't your last post here...and that you'll stay on the forum for a while :thumbup:
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby styley » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:53 pm

thanks for the welcome, Sub - be glad to be involved in any mutually beneficial way. i'm struggling with whatever happened during relapse and am looking for information that can lead to answers, but i know addiction and recovery very well, so if i can be supportive of anyone having first experiences with grappling with addiction, be more than happy to share experiences, encouragement, validation, resources and plain ol' love. this sh*t kills people, destroys lives.. anything to help.

everyone's different, so i don't claim to have preachy know-it-all answers - just my experience with what's worked for me (or not).

pleased to meet you..
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby toto » Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:13 am

Styley wrote

I really hate that drug, and I'm still kinda pissed off at that detox hospital - I went in to get sober and came out addicted.


styley, welcome to SS. I'm a heroin junkie myself & still struggling.
So happy you are clean but sorry about your health issues.
After reading your post it reminded me why Ratch named this board Subsux cause sub does suck.
In the states most doctors don't know about about the sub addcition, detox, wds, PAWS or if they do
know they don't care because sub is a big cash cow in the good ole USA.
Anyway, I hope you stick around too & post all you need to help yourself & help others.
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby styley » Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:54 pm

hey toto, thanks for the welcome.

yeah, it was weird getting into that world after being out of it for so long. i had no clue suboxone was so illy, figured it would smooth withdrawals and i'd walk out sober. but, yeah, it's a fairly new thing in the States, so i suppose a mass wave of folks are getting sucked in right now.

good luck with getting off of heroin - i'm sure you know all of this, but as hard as it is to kick heroin, it's easier than methadone or suboxone (i've done all three). if you get in a good detox (chlonodine, food, AA mtgs., NO suboxone) you can walk out after two weeks in pretty good shape, although it took me several months before i could sleep and feel a full sense of plain old pleasure. it took the whole boat for me to get through it: AA every day, nutrition, daily exercise (to get the endorphins going), staying out of the Bronx, all that. the dividends were astonishing, literally a life i couldn't have imagined. being fully clean brought out a geyser of inspiration and LIFE that had been buried beneath chemicals.

opiates (and alcohol and other drugs) were great up to a point - once past that point, there's no going back. it just never gets good again. for me, it eventually stopped bringing ANY pleasure, just a deadness.

when i relapsed after 19 years, it took only a few weeks of suboxone to land in hell: depression, terror, hopelessness... a disconnection with myself, others and life. i couldn't FEEL. not feeling is worse than any pain that may accompany feeling. granted, it's raw in the beginning, but that's where AA saved my ass. people just like me who'd gone through the same (or worse) were waiting with some real brotherhood.

alright, getting down off the damn pedestal now - please don't take any of this as condescending. i've no idea what your experiences are, just want to encourage, in the event that you don't already know that this is absolutely DOABLE.

best!
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby Sub zero » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:32 am

styley wrote:i'm sure you know all of this, but as hard as it is to kick heroin, it's easier than methadone or suboxone


To me, I can't imagine anyone actually making it through methadone WD's. I tried going cold-turkey from 60mgs and I only lasted five days before I wimped out and started taking Sub. Going from methadone to Suboxone wasn't a barrel of monkeys either.
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby SoCal » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:38 am

Frieda did it,,,we were takin anywhere from 60 to 100 mgs,,(pills) a day,,and she got busted and said it was pure hell,,layin on the floor pukin and shittin onyerself,,,I hate to even say it or think about that happenin to her,,but she said after 30 days she just woke up one day and was back to normal!!,,But you can imagine how long a month is counting every minute in a cell prayin the wd's will stop!!,,,my last run on methadone is when i ended up in a coma aND may sound wierd but im sure glad i was in a coma and did my wd's thAt way!!! :zzz: ,,Ha!,,yea,,i cheated !!!,,,lol,,but my body was fuckin up real bad and doctors were tryin to figure it out and thankfully frieda was there to tell them of my methadone addiction,,so they started taperin me,,,and a month later when i caMe out of it they still continued my taper for about 1 or 2 more weeks,,and i felt but only the end part and it wasnt that bad ,,so about 6 weeks it took for me to start feelin better,,,if i could remember i could post the many different things(cocktail) i took that day and you could go into a coma and kick that way!!! :D ,,just kiddin ,,tryin to make ya laugh cause methdone isnt something to laugh about,,,
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby Owen » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:56 am

Is it really true that depression related to coming of bup can stay with someone forever?...I was speaking to someone about this and they are admant sub does something to the brain that it permenantly kills some cells and what not, hence of long extreme depression. If thats the case I may aswell stay on bup forever. But seriously is there any truth to this? I must admit I read about people being depressed 3 and 4 years post bup, even when they never had depression issues prior. Am also hearing more and more guys claiming methadone is actually easier to come off compared to bup. I know methadone is a bitch in itself and goes into the muscles but if people are claiming that bup-sub is harder and the depression is never ending then that should be a concern in itself.
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby styley » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:14 pm

@SubZero

But you got off it, yeah? Congrats. All of 'em are rough, to say the least, but all are doable.

And yes, going through methadone withdrawals was the hardest thing i've ever done. BUT, it worked. For me, I had to be in a detox facility. I wouldn't have had a chance otherwise. I guess part of it was I had an overwhelming desire to GET OFF of it. I wanted to be sober more than anything in life. I wanted to feel again, to be alive. So, as hard as it was, it was worth every second of suffering to get my soul back.

I had been on the meth program for three years of misery before I heard about detoxes and AA. I didn't know there was a way out - just my unsuccessful solo attempts. I figured suicide was my only option. And then I overheard a woman on line at the meth clinic say, 'When I got off of methadone...' I asked her, 'How??' A week later I was in a hospital, crapping myself, freaking out, on fire... but I walked out sober. As crappy as I felt, I couldn't believe I had gotten off of methadone (and heroin/valium/alcohol). Freedom! Problem was, I had no idea how to cope with how vulnerable and shaky I felt. My body was screaming for relief and I quickly went back to heroin for one week.

Got back into detox and the withdrawals were just as bad! This went on for 8 months, in and out of detoxes and rehabs. Finally, my ass was so thoroughly kicked, my whole being so utterly perplexed and defeated, that I completely gave up any notion that I had about ANYTHING. I had been going to AA, but I went back with this new perspective of not knowing a damned thing. I had learned how to GET clean, but not how to STAY clean.

Luckily, there were some kick-ass people there.. people who'd been through what I'd been through, or worse. Full-on ex-junkies who were clean, comfortable in their own skin, funny, cool, smart, functioning and free. They had what I wanted, so I just did what they did. It took a long time for my body to balance out, but every day got better, and it was sort of a magical transformation. My humor came back, which helped. People around me loved the hell out of me with non-stop encouragement, validation and tools for getting through. And, unbelievably, the desire to use, the urges, disappeared completely. The good feelings coming up in me felt better than anything a drug could supply. I LOVED drugs, but we all eventually pass that point where the misery outweighs the pleasure. Those three years on methadone were in no way pleasurable. I'd shoot heroin/coke, drink, take any other drugs on top of the meth, but the only effect I was achieving was a dark oblivion.

Once upon a time, opiates (and other drugs) were great. Perhaps they served a purpose. I'm glad I had those experiences. But they'll never work again. When I relapsed after 19 years, there was some fun for about two weeks, mostly with drinking. Those two weeks were followed by months and months of despair, depression, darkness. While on suboxone, I ended up in a psych ward. I couldn't function. It was terrifying. I had been a high functioning, healthy guy... add opiates to the mix and I was gone, addiction running the show, destroying all that was good in me and around me. It was traumatic, actually.

Getting off of suboxone (alone) was a motherfu*ker. One year and four months free of all of it, I'm still dealing with the effects (health, finances, etc.) but my spirit is intact and I'm free again. It really did a number on me, but I'm grateful as hell to have made it back into sobriety. Anything other than that void, man.

I know, I know... long-ass rant. I start typing sometimes and the words won't stop! I don't know if this helps anyone else - it's meant to be a message of hope - but perhaps it's helping me to just lay it all out.

And it certainly helps reading of all of your experiences. It's dangerous stuff, addiction... robs people of dignity, love, dreams, family, money, health, life... and a connection with one's own heart. I wish only the best for all fellow sufferers. I've seen hundreds of people recover, including myself. There is a way out!
Last edited by styley on Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby styley » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:18 pm

@SoCal - in all my detoxes i used to ask, 'why don't you just knock me out for two weeks??? to hell with Chlonidine, gimme some 'rufies'!'
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby styley » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:55 pm

@Owen - this is my first experience with Sub addiction (my long-ass story is above). i was depressed while i was ON it, but it's been 16 months OFF of it and i have no depression.

as far as meth/bup, the only success i've had is gettin' my ass into a detox where they use Chlonodine (non-addictive) and Magnesium (for cramps). with methadone and heroin, they used Narcan to induce immediate withdrawals. the positive part, to me, is this: you get to the lowest point immediately, as opposed to slowly getting sicker and sicker to reach that same low point. from that point on, every day gets better. yeah, i shit my pants. yeah, it sucked. yeah, i felt crappy for a few months. but the healing properties of our bodies/minds are amazing. every day got better, and it was a necessary process to retrieve all the beauty of being alive.

bup for life? f*ck that! i've literally known hundreds of people who get off of this crap and are happy and productive and healthy. i don't know why some folks suffer depression - everyone's different. but i do know this: the people i'm talking about all stepped into AA/NA. it's free, people are cool as hell (mostly), no hierarchy or 'leaders' or owners.. just a bunch of folks like us recovering from addiction. period.

i urge you not to get taken by thoughts like 'forever' and 'for life'. this shit is treatable. you got caught up in addiction like millions before you, and you can recover like millions before you. there's no good or bad in the equation, just your choice for what you want. all you need are the right resources to help you get there, and the willingness to use them. it's great that you're reaching out here - you can be free.

also, you look young - this is a huge plus, as your body and brain will recover much more quickly. there's really nothing to fear if you get into the right facility. withdrawals suck, but i've seen lots of people get through them (i used to work in a rehab in L.A.), including myself. you can do it!
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby Sub zero » Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:59 pm

styley wrote:@SoCal - in all my detoxes i used to ask, 'why don't you just knock me out for two weeks??? to hell with Chlonidine, gimme some 'rufies'!'


Well, they got that Waismann Method of detox where they put you alseep and then flood your system with Naloxone to flush the opioids off your receptors...but I'd be too chicken to do that, and I'm sure it costs a bundle of $$.

Owen - you might be on to something there. Sometimes I feel like Sub has permanently ruined my brains ability to produce natural endorphins, dopamine and the like. I still feel like a dull person after almost 13 months off of it.

TT - yeah, Methadone WD is the closest thing there is to Hell on Earth. I'm sorry that your Frieda had to suffer through that.
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby Owen » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:34 pm

@Subzero perhaps sub-bup does more damage to people who are easily prone to depression? perhaps sub enhances low-mood in people who had depression issues prior? perhaps some people's brain is such that some dont get depression from long acting opiates such as sub/bup yet others only need a trigger such as short term sub-bup use let alone long term use? perhaps lifestyle is a factor? but I am concerned about some guys actually claiming bup does pemenant damage when it comes to releasing endoprhins..It is 30/40 times stronger then morphine? that alone isnt suprising bup can cause long term issues such as long term depression. Have you thought of Ibogaine/Iboga?

@styley I may be young but am a vetran when it comes to bup/sub. Am on sub for 6 years now. Am on Temgescis 0.2 now. I did not get many symptoms when weaning down. Am staying on this dose until I can get much bup out of my body as possible. Some say let all that previous doses of half life of sub come out of your system while the low dose such as 0.2 enables you to function.

Good luck in your recovery guys.
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby styley » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:41 pm

Owen - yeah, that's a long time.. you do have youth on your side, though. detoxing at 24 was a lot easier than at 44. then again, Suboxone is a whole new thing for me. i was able to kick it, but perhaps i was reckless in underestimating its power to bust a brother up. i'm interested in all that you guys/gals are writing about - still trying to figure out what happened to my health, whether it's related to Suboxone, and you all have more knowledge/experience. i gather there are lots of mysteries about this stuff, as it's a fairly new drug (at least in the US)? have you heard of a successful detox with NO long term problems?
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby Not a 12 stepper » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:40 am

Hey styley-

You sound a lot like a gal that used to post here... Did you happen to meet a woman named Arlene when you were in LA?

She also believed in going to rehab, and suffering through hell to get off methadone. Plus she was a big time 12 step preacher.
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby styley » Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:49 am

hey man..

don't remember an Arlene, though it was years ago when i lived in LA. don't mean to sound preachy - whatever works for anyone is their biz, and i respect everyone, everywhere. if someone had told me about the resources that finally saved my azz, it would have spared me a few years of suicidal misery on methadone. so i'm just putting it out there - a solution that worked for me. if it happens to help anyone, cool. but i don't claim to have answers for anyone - to each his own. i do have mad compassion for anyone suffering with addiction, and truly wish the best for all, whatever paths lead us to freedom.

nice to meet ya, man - best!
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Re: Health Issues/Suboxone

Postby Not a 12 stepper » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:34 am

Styley-

I'm happy you are off opiates, sorry you have lingering health issues...

My only concern, is you mention recovery/AA quite often in your first couple of days posting on subsux.

(more than 10 times)

I realize this may sound strange to you, but those who constantly praise 12 step "programs" usually aren't around long on this board.

No offense guy, just letting you in on the general attitude that submitting to a "higher power" or claiming that we are "powerless addicts" that MUST forever attend meetings doesn't fly very well on this board.

So please try to keep the "recovery speak" to a minimum :thumbup: :MrT: :wave:
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