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Physical Dependence/Addiction

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  • Physical Dependence/Addiction

    There's a lot of concern on these boards about "addiction."

    Let's clear some stuff up with facts (always helpful) instead of media-driven fear.

    First: Less than 1% of patients (without previous illegal drug use histories) become "addicted" to pain killers. The medical term is "iatrogenic addiction" ("iatro" is the Greek word for doctor).

    so, unless you used to be a junkie or a coker, you're in little danger of addiction. Even with the latter (or meth, etc) you are in little danger.

    Second: Physical dependence

    EVERYONE WILL DEVELOP PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE if you take narcotic long enough. They alter your body chemistry so, if you try cold turkey or run out (as I've done twice) you will go into "withdrawl".

    This is NOT a sign of addiction.


    Withdrawal is hell on Earth (why do you think junkies become theives, burglers and hookers???). As Emily Dickison wrote, "It's all we need of Hell."

    Physical dependence is inevitable. If you had a cureable condition (say some milder form of cancer or serious injuries) then you have to eventually face withdrawal, but it can be managed gradually. Tryin cold turkey is for lunatics, in my opinion. (If You've done it, power to you; you are very rare!).

    So, if you run out of your meds a few days before your next appointment and begin to feel withdrawal symptoms (they vary so I won't list them you can look them up or ask a pharmacist if you wish to know) it does not mean you are (necesarily) addicted. As I said above, addiction in "non-drugoids" is less than 1%.

    So the odds you aren't an addict are 99%.

    I've been taking large amoungts of narcotics (far, far larger than the supposedly "deadly" amounts Rush Limbaugh allegedly took; I love Rush, but when it comes to narcotics, he's an amateur and getting shafted politically, but that's not an argument for this board so for you Liberals, I do apologize and do wish to start a political fight).
    for five years.

    I am physically dependent. But I am no addict. I was a meth user and constant pot head for almost ten years before I came down with IC, so I KNOW addiction. You dream about the drug. YOu fantasize about it. You fondle it like a baby.

    I have NONE of those problems with narcotics.

    Therefore, please understand, the overwhelming odds are that you are NOT an addict.

    PS: Pls remember I'm not a doctor or pharmacist and this is not specific information; consult such a professional about YOUR specific situation. I'm just laying the generic facts out in the hope of calming some of the media-driven fear out there about "Hillbilly heroin" and other nonsense like that.

    Peace and painfreeness to you all!!!

  • #2
    Hey Pain_man,
    great post I am glad that you posted this.. too many people think you can become addicited by a bottle of pain meds... over the last 3 years I have alternated between darvocet, ultracet, and vicodine... however, it takes me a couple months to take 30 of any of them...
    take care
    'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'


    • #3
      Good post Pain_Man! Thanks. It helps to be reminded of these facts. I no longer feel any guilt with my pain meds. I have recently built up some tolerance with my meds. and thankfully my Uro. responded by upping my meds. (also he realized that my 30 pills a month were not cutting it) I really don't worrry about becoming addicted bc I would be a total zombie with no memory! (I find I have some memory problems with narcotic meds.) I do a home business and am quite successful with it but, I wouldn't be if I couldn't treat my pain. And, if I took too much, I wouldn't be able to do my home business. Thanks for your info. on pain meds. and addiction.

      "Don't quit when the tide is lowest, For it's just about to turn; Don't quit over doubts and questions, For there's something you may learn."


      • #4
        Hi Pain Man,

        I just wanted to congratulate you on a wonderful post. Thanks so much for posting that.

        Hugs and love,
        Mommy to 2 crazy, wonderful kids and wife to the most amazing man in the world!


        • #5
          I do agree with the other ladies that was a wonderful post! I too was worried that i was an addit to the pain medicine because if i ran out i had withdraws but i relized i'm not i have to use this medicine just to be half normal and i still have some pain.
          I hope this reaches everyone who feels like they are an addit because they have ic and feel bad because they have to use pain medicine and would rather be in pain then to use them in fear of becoming an addit.
          God bless you grouphug
          Medicine taken daily or as needed:
          1. Heaprin and Marcaine rescue installment 1 to 3x daily as needed.
          2. MS.Cotin 100mg 3x daily
          3. MSIR 30mg 1 or 2 every 4-6hrs as needed for breakthrew pain.
          4. Fentanyl 100 mg Change every 48hrs.
          5. Gentamicin 80mg install after each rescue treatment
          5 Leviquin 500mg self start as needed.
          6. Klonopin 1 or 2 daily as needed.
          7. Prosed/DS as 1 every 6hrs as needed.

          I have IC, but IC doesn't have me anymore!


          • #6
            I agree 100% with everyone. Physical dependence is definitely what you would call it for us. There is a huge difference. I wish we could pull together and get the physical dependency on la show. Especially to show the world the difference and how good meds. help real people in the world like us!!!! Wouldn't that be awesome!!!!!!!!!!! What do yall think???

            Tami hat blah
            [email protected]


            • #7
              Thanks for this pain_man.

              I have just started a pain clinic assessment and due my fear of narcotics I was taking way too much tylenol and risking liver damage. My new pain doctor has ordered no more tylenol. I am to increase my narcotic use until I am functioning and comfortable. So I am still working that out and we most likely will change the meds that I am using as well.

              I was one of those that took themself off cold turkey and it was brutal and not necessary. One thing I would recommend for every ICer with severe pain, is that you find a doctor is competent at pain management. It makes a big difference.

              I was also told that I would not be addicted if I was taking these meds for pain. If I was not in pain and taking them it would be different.
              Considering I am 24/7 in severe pain, I guess addiction is not an issue.

              Thanks for the discussion, its important to support each other on this subject.
              Cath hi
              One day at a time


              • #8
                Thanks so much for posting this.
                I was one of the many people who refused to get on pain pills because of addiction and long term need of them with all my medical problems & what not.
                I know that it is the best thing that I could do for myself & my own sanity.
                I thank you so much for this great post.I hope that it may help some others to understand that they are not a junkie if they do have to get on pain pills but in need of relief from the over whelming pain they maybe experiencing.
                Take care & hopeing everyone can be as pain free as possable.
                Love always, Zookeeper Kim
                Animals are very comforting when
                pain & life gets you down...

                Keep your head held high and don't let any thing bring you down.


                • #9
                  That was absolutly the best message I have seen hear on the boards!!
                  I have told that story I do not know how many times and people do not seem to get it!! The media is full of hype and can I say bull****
                  The "War on Drugs" has caused many a person who could benifit from one natural thing or another to needlessly go without treatment by a knowledgeable professional and seek management on their own, this is where addiction comes in. They have repeatadly lied to you and are in the schools teaching these lies to our children in their DARE programs, I say how DARE they!!
                  I too do not mean to be political either over this issue, I mean no harm or harshness, this is not what I want to imply
                  I am in 100% agreement that the number of people becoming addicted is just a MERE 1%, you are the first person that I have come upon that is aware of this very real and proven statistic, if any are interested talk to any Professional Pain Management Doctor or Nurse and they will tell you IT IS TRUE 1%!!!
                  Bravo to you to get the word out there, I have endlessly talked about it over the chat rooms here with people who have been "brainwashed" into the "what if I get addicted" group.
                  My Gastroenternologist said yesterday that if they were to bring out Asprin,Acetominophen, and Ibuprofin today by the FDA guidlines, it would be almost impossible to dispense because of all the side effects and complications it causes.
                  The fight is not fair, I have hopes that my Gen X can pause and look back at the laws and otherwise nonsense Government implacations that have regulated this FREE country and take this country and FREE it up.
                  "Imancipate yourself from mental slavery none but ourselves can free our minds","Won't you here me sing, these songs of freedom, is all I ever had, redemption song". ~Bob Marley


                  • #10
                    Hello "Pain Man".

                    I was surfing the IC message boards this evening, when I came across your post. Well, I could immediately tell by the tone, sentence structure, and general message being conveyed that it must be a message posted by my significant other.

                    Yes, ladies and gentleman, Pain Man is Pisces228's husband. And I am very proud of you for passing along this information because you have obviously provided other IC sufferes with valuable information that they will take to heart.

                    I just want you to know, and others here who suffer significant pain on a daily basis, that you do not have to let depression get to you. My dear husband, I know that you often feel less than a "man" because you are disabled and can't take care of our family in the way society deems "acceptable." But that does NOT mean that you cannot and DO NOT have the ability to HELP people.

                    You can do brilliant things within your limitations. All of you who have IC please remember that the people who truly love you DON'T care that you're not "perfect." We just care that you are happy.

                    So, thank you again Pain Man, for reaching out to help others. I hope this shows you that you CAN make a difference even if it's not in the way you had thought or hoped you would. Keep up the wonderful effort and attitude!

                    I love you.



                    • #11
                      Thanks to my loving wife who has made more sacrifices than could have ever been expected of her. "Thanks" is so insufficient, it's almost embarrassing to utter.

                      Thanks to everyone for all the positive feedback. I hope I was also able to reach those who are in very real anxiety about becoming "addicted" to their meds.

                      It's a needless fear, one that can only increase IC symptoms as we all know what stress can do to us!

                      On the other hand, if you do find yourself exhibiting addictive tendencies, seek help. Of course, it's a terrible "Catch-22" if you do become addicted; even if you "beat" that problem you've still got the pain to deal with. It's a good thing that addiction is rare!

                      But again, thanks for all the positive feedback/kind words.

                      If you know anyone whose suffering anxiety over this issue, please feel free to pass my post along as an email.

                      I wish, eight or ten years ago, someone had clued me in to this information. I had to learn it the hard way. If I can spare anyone else the problems I had "in the old days" then I will be very happy indeed.

                      If you can help just ONE person it makes it all worthwhile. Because, when it comes right down to it, all we have is each other.

                      The outside world can never understand the brutal reality of IC. So, if we don't stand together, if we don't provide the open hand when fellow sufferers need it, no one else will. We don't have a "brand name" disease. We don't have a fatal disease. Our disease involves parts of the body our culture is still uncomfortable with (unless it's to sell beer or make a political point), but if it's a disease--eeew! Yuck!

                      Stay strong! And, God bless you all.


                      • #12
                        I wish there were a way to post attachments to this board. David Brookoff is an oncologist that began treating IC patients. I have the text of a talk he gave to a meeting of ICers. He is adamant on this subject: You deserve to have your pain controlled. He says addict are people who use drugs to run away from their lives. Patients are people who use drugs to live their lives. He said "I have never seen an addict take drugs so he could go to church; patients do so all the time". You deserve to have your pain controlled so you can live your life - run away fast from anyone who denies this.



                        • #13
                          I use the patches on my pelvis and also for back pain. They do help and I found a way of keeping them longer. I cut them and use smaller pieces and get the same relief.

                          After trials with many pain meds the one that works best for me is maxidone and I only take on a as needed basis. I'm terrified of becoming addicted and probably take less than I should because of that. My dr. also wants to me take valium 4mg. 3x day for bladder spasms. Last time i saw him and told him i had stopped taking valium because I was fearful of addiction he explained why I needed to keep in my system. Every time I see my dr. we talk about my fear when we discuss meds. I'm on a lot of meds for other things and the last thing I want is more medicine! On top of many medical problems the last thing I need is addiction.

                          I think finding the right dr.(this is my second) and talking honestly is the key. My dr. treats hundreds of ic patients so he knows the pain we endure.

                          In my dr.s' office he has a poster that says "pee all you can pee" isn't thta cute?!

                          I love this message board and talking to all of you. May we all find relief and feel better sooner rather than later,


                          • #14
                            I'm so glad to have come across this message. I suffer daily with ic. I was breaking up a 7.5 percocet and taking that for relief but now only a 7.5 works. The problem is my doctor gives me 30 a months and that's not enough. I feel bad asking for more but what can I do. I'm waiting for the InterStim procedure but I know that won't help the pain. I was in the hopital for 3 days last month for pain control. Should I be going to a pain management group? I know what it's like to really suffer and then to finally get some relief from pain meds. How dare anyone acuse us of being addicted. Furthermore, I don't care all that much. I just want the pain to go away--if only for a few hours. I don't want to hurt my urologist feelings, because he had been so supportive and caring, but really should I be in a pain management group?
                            Thanks all for letting my vent.



                            • #15
                              To Marci: YES! Absolutely you should see a pain management specialist. I'm the wife of Pain_Man, who posted this original message. My husband would not be able to get out of bed if it were not for his pain medication. I have seen him curled up in a ball unable to move because the pain is so bad. That's no way to live!

                              Just remember: The reason there are "Pain Management SPECIALISTS" is because so many people are in PAIN! Whether it's IC, back problems, or some other debilitating condition, this world is full of people who experience moderate to severe pain on an everyday basis. Hence, the plethora of doctors (at least in Las Vegas, where we live) who have chosen to go into the pain management branch of medicine. These physicians are here to HELP you so PLEASE go see one!

                              Don't put yourself through any unnecessary torture because you're afraid of becoming an "addict" or afraid of the stigma associated with taking narcotics. YOU and everyone else on these message boards are the people who these MEDICINES are meant for! You are not a bad person because you need help with pain. And you will not become an "addict" if you are taking medication FOR pain. Addicts are people who take drugs to get high and run away from their problems. YOU are someone who would be taking medication to TAKE CARE OF your problems.

                              Please go see a pain management doctor as soon as possible. If you have been properly diagnosed through hydrodestention and cystoscopy, for examply, then you should have no problem getting started on a monthly pain treatment regimen.

                              Best of luck!