Am I just an addict?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ooouuuch, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. ooouuuch

    ooouuuch New Member

    I have had this horrible thing for nine years and it just keeps getting worse. Every year I need more pain killing, sleeping drugs and have yet to find a doctor or therapist who will stay the course with me. I realize they are healers and if they can't heal you, you must be faking it.

    I try to convince myself that I am NOT a loser. Just because I no longer have the ability to work, go to church, do my household chores on a regular basis, no longer have friends or any semblance of a life, I am not a loser or am I?

    How many of you can remember what your life was like when this DD started? Were you able to just shut life down till you got a handle on the sickness or pain? Identify what was even wrong with you? Even knew what FM or CFS was? Then could you even find a doctor who didn't think you were just a druggy telling him you had pain he couldn't attribute to any known thing in your body after he ran every test known to the medical community?

    The thing that frustrates me the most is that I have had sooooo many injuries and surgeries in my life that now my body won't even respond to medication so I have to up the anty and I feel like I'm constantly trying to justify my pain to my doctor, my family, myself. How can you NOT feel like you are the worst person in the world.?

    Please help me before I do something stupid like trying a detox center and get myself labeled as a lunatic.
  2. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    Because you need more pain medication to make a difference does NOT mean you are an addict. It is a natural body response. Are you seeking drugs when you are not in pain?

    What would you do for your pain once you got out of detox or rehab? If you're just addicted to pain meds, then a rehab or detox center could be an option, but if you're living with pain - then what?

    It sounds like you need to find a Dr. who knows what you are dealing with. Don't stop until you do. In the dr.'s I've seen, not one has ever considered me a "druggie". I've never come across as one, and never walked in with the attitude that may think I am one or that they may think I'm one.

    Tests for us, rule out that we don't have all of the 'answerable' diseases and conditions.

    I don't know what kind of dr's you've seen. More info would be good for us. Have you seen a rheumatologist? Did someone give you an actual diagnosis?

    Have you considered a pain clinic? There ARE options for you so do NOT give up.

    You are NOT a loser, don't even let that thought into your mind. Because you are dealing with something out of your control, how could you possibly be a loser?
  3. shari1677

    shari1677 New Member

    I also have wondered if I was an addict. I cant tell you how many friends and family members have told me that I'm on way too many meds and I should stop taking them - and obviously insinuating that I'm an addict.

    I've also thought of admitting myself to the hospital to be detoxed from all the drugs, but then I turn to this site and it gives me hope that I'm not alone, that this DD is real and that we all have the same problems.

    Please keep coming here - we will be your soundboard.
  4. rickj44

    rickj44 Member

    I have been down that road.. idiot doctors, no more friends, but so far have not been accused as being a druggy..

    I guess what is saving me is, that my difficult time is sleeping.. when i lay down it hurts.. so i use a heating pad to help defer the pain.. if i didnt have that i would betaking double my meds to try and knock myself out.
    Sleeping is so important.. I also take a pain pill at 4 am to help me when i do get up.
    Hang in there , this is no easy at all.. people look at you and think your fine.. Thats why they call it an invisable illness.. I did find i am always trying to prove myself, and worried about what people thought of me, but now i dont waste the energy.. I am what i am..

  5. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    I feel like the worst person in the world all the time. I'm unable to take meds though, I'm just too sensitive to tolerate them but I'd be in the same shoes you are if I could because my illness and pain continually get worse too.

    I feel like a worthless piece of youknowwhat constantly. I know people in my life look at me like a I am one. I know they don't understand. I can see it in the dirty looks they give me when I try to explain my situation. I can read between the lines and know what they're really alluding to when they make their judgmental comments to me.

    I really didn't want to be here anymore for the last few years. I've got to thank everyone here for helping me get through this. I'm more accepting of it all now.

    Our situation is one of the hardest to be in. I also look completely well but overweight now.

    I just want to say, take whatever pain medications you need. If you can find something that helps alleviate your suffering then take it. Not taking meds probably won't make you feel better about yourself or your situation. Just look at me.

    We are worthy people. I know this intellectually and I suspect all of you do too. But emotionally, that's a whole other ball of wax.

  6. mysticbrit

    mysticbrit New Member

    I've had FM for more than 30 years and was lucky that in the beginning I was able to manage my pain with advil and/or tylenol. However for the last 4-5 years that hasn't been the case.

    I now also have severe sleeping issues, plus arthritis, bursitis and digestive problems.

    I currently take percocet and ambien but neither is doing the trick anymore. My PCP wants me to go to a pain clinic because she can't perscribe anything stronger than minimal doses of pain meds. I have hesitated because I know that even if I were given something stronger I know that my body would build up a tolerance to that also.

    When I get down about needing narcotics my husband reminds me that managing my pain is not only the healthy thing to do, it's my right to have some relief.

    I also have had 2 heart attacks and my PCP said it's important for me to not stress my body by trying to ignore my pain.

    I think most of us question oursevles now and then but we shouldn't. Our doctors wouldn't perscribe it if it were not needed.

    You're NOT an addict, you're in pain and that is NOT your fault.


  7. msbsgblue

    msbsgblue Member

    FIRST OF ALL BEWARE OF FENTENYL PATCHES. There are advertisements now about the med on television here in the states of people dying from getting too much med in their system from them.

    As much pain as I am in and believe me after 21 years it is plenty I will NEVER use fentenyl patches.

    I take Percocette 10/325 and luckily for me I am allowed 150 a month. My doctor continues to up my meds as needed since I only ask about once very year or so for stronger.

    I have tried time release morphone but I get a rash and itch and it only lasted 4 hours instead of 12 for me.

    My doctor recently explained to me using his hands to give a visual as to why the pain increases more after you have taken a med for some time. He did this as I had mentioned that I hoped I would never get to the point that I would need for example, oxycontin and percocette, one for pain and one for break through. He said, "Oh you will in time and here is why."

    Then he showed me with his hands using his fingers how the pain meds block the pain sensation and that after a certain time on a med the signals from the brain manage to extend around those pain blockers to create more pain and later more.

    I began on Ultram 50 mg twice a day about 2001. Then went to 4 a day a couple years later. That stopped working so I progressed as follows: Percocette 5/325 twice a day on bad days and Ultram on lower pain days, then to Percocette 4 times a day 5/325, then to 10/325 Perc twice a day, then 10/325 3 times a day, now I am on Perc 10/325 up to 5 a day, usually 2 mornings, one mid day and 2 at night. Now on this regiment for about 6 months and I really am at the point that I could use more but I refuse for at least another year.

  8. DemonFairy

    DemonFairy New Member

    "As much pain as I am in and believe me after 21 years it is plenty I will NEVER use fentenyl patches."

    More people die every year from taking Tylenol. With the kind of pain I'm in (I have chronic back pain in addition to FM), I'm willing to try anything that will help - every drug has the possibility of side effects, some people will be affected, some won't. Anyway, I wrote more about the patches in the other thread where you wrote this, so I won't repeat myself.

    Also, if you're itchy, Benadryl will take care of that. Also, after awhile, the itchiness goes away. Or, at least mine did. I was itchy when I first started taking pain meds, and then each time my dosage increased for a while...but now, I very very rarely get itchy. But when I do, a Benadryl fixes that for me right away.

    Regarding the addiction accusations - you know whether or not you're an addict. If you're taking your meds as prescribed for pain, you're not an addict. If you're taking your meds to get high, you're an addict. If you abuse your meds, you're an addict. If you need more meds every year, you're a normal person who's developed a tolerance. Unfortunately, I have a huge tolerance and therefore am on an Oxycodone dosage that would knock out a horse, but my meds don't affect me in any way other than relieving my pain. I act exactly the same whether I'm taking meds or not, yet I was accused of being a drug addict by my sister-in-law. In fact, she INSISTED that I was a drug addict. So, to clear that up, I told my doctor and my pharmacist about it. That, by itself, basically proves that I'm not an addict, because what addict wants to bring attention to their addiction? My doctor said that he has never been worried about me and that if any of my family members wanted to discuss it with him, he'd be happy to talk to them. Of course, when I told her that, she ignored it. My pharmacist just thought my s-i-l was a jerk and there was no further discussion about it. I know that I take my pain meds for pain. They don't get me high (my first couple of doses of Lyrica made me high...but my Oxycodone never did; it was either pain relief or if the dose was too high, nausea, but never a high), so there's no reason to take them for any other reason.

    Like someone else said, if you go somewhere and get detoxed, how will that change your life? You'll still be in pain and need pain meds, right? Or, you'll just suffer in misery. Try to find a pain management doctor who can help you find either the right meds or the right dosage. Maybe you need to switch to something else or find a long-acting med & combine it with a short-acting one for breakthrough pain. If you have insurance or can afford it, you have lots of options if you find a good doctor.

    Remember, if you're in pain and take pain meds, that doesn't make you a drug addict. Abusing drugs makes you a drug addict.
  9. I have had fibro over 30 yrs and know pain, even with pain meds used sparingly I am in pain every day of my life and it gets worse. Thank goodness my family dr will give me vicodin as my rheum won't and makes me promise to use them only 3 days a MONTH when he hears I take them. GIVE ME A BREAK! If I didn't have some pain meds and my tens machine I would have lost my mind by now. (not sure I still won't) hang in there. My dr told me fibro won't kill you but somedays you wish it did, HOW TRUE!
  10. lilaclover30

    lilaclover30 New Member

    When my Dr. sort of whispered it might, rather probably is FM, I thought that by telling my 2 best friends, one male and one female, about FM they would understand. I printed off and diagnosis of FM and one of the letter to the normals.! well, that was wrong. the male excepted it and is still a very dear friend. BUT THE FEMALE HASN'T SPOKEN TO ME SINCE. We go to the same morning coffee group and if I speak, she gives me a dirty look!

    I had a difficult time trying to explain to my kids just what it was. It took D and GD a long time to "believe" it. I was so hurt!!! I just found out that son #2 understands it. His wife, I just now found out, mother had it. She is exhausted most of the time but gets up early and goes to Curves and then takes a walk. DIL tells her that no wonder she id tired. Just don't do all that - quit curves. At least they believe.

    I can't use my Tens as since my DH died in May, I can't get the patches on my back! I do take pain meds. but I am supposed to take it, tramadol, 2 times a day with Ex strength Tylenol, but I only do it in the Am. I take Lyric - supposedly 3 times a day but because of expense, I do have insurance plus Medicare, I only take it once. I am about to be on the doughnut hole!

    Do you have any ideas as to how I can use the Tens better. Also need to order new ----forgot the word-----patches.

    Gentle Hugs,


  11. do you possibly have a friend or neighbor that can help put on the patches for the tens machine? It is hard to do sometimes, plus I have the stickier messier ones as I developed an allergic reaction to the "normal" ones they give you. I still itch but use them. I actually sleep withh mine which they don't recommend but ??? pain is pain. good luck to you.
  12. faithinlove

    faithinlove New Member

    I suffer the same things you do and also struggle with the symptoms. All I can say is yes I do understand and do not feel down about yourself. We are all only human and we do hurt terribly.
    I will be praying for you and wish you and all of my friends here many happy healthy days ahead.
  13. lebron25

    lebron25 New Member


    After much research and talking with a fellow fibro sufferer that owns a sauna, I decided to throw in the towel and buy an infrared sauna from It is the best purchase I have made in years. I know heat therapy probably isn't for everyone and the prices aren't in everyone's budget, but I have owned the sauna for just over 3 weeks and even though it is temporary relief and I get in the sauna once and sometimes twice a day......I am a firm believer in the benefits I have received so far.

    There are plenty of health benefits to regular sauna and heat therapy and for me, nothing makes me feel better than that feeling of heat sinking deep into my skin, muscles and joints. It gives me great temporary relief.

    For me the prognosis and long term outcome is looking GREAT.

  14. hollie9

    hollie9 New Member

    I'm sooo glad you posted this, it's timely for me.

    The other day my cousin called and cryingly said "I want my (my name) back. Please go to Betty Ford and get off the klonopin you are taking" etc.

    I was taken aback by this, not understanding why she would say it. But I started thinking, maybe I am a drug addict and should reduce my klonopin. Then I got into the Ashton protocol where you need to introduce valium to reduce klonopin and it takes years! Ashton says no short stay at a clinic will get you off benzos. So my cousin was wrong there.

    Then, thank God, I can come on this board and remember why I take klonopin, it's for the neuro symptoms like head buzzing, sensitivity to light and sound, etc. and think, I'm doing pretty well for a CFS person, I have friends, travel, exercise sometimes, why should I mess up my current meds. People and my new doctor don't know a da** thing about this illness so I can't trust them.

    Due to my cousin's comments that I'd changed, I called all my high school friends I'm still close to and they don't think I've changed except for my illness.

    I hate that people close to me are accusing me of abusing drugs, they just don't know about this disease. I'd be a lot worse if it wasn't for the drugs, and the withdrawal from klonopin makes one not function for years.

    I'm very glad to hear this post.

  15. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    That is how it feels to become chronically ill and have our lives completely change, and not for the better. We need help physically and emotionally to deal with the changes.

    I highly recommend grief counseling for the losses we suffer due to our illnesses. It really helped me. I tried a support group but it was too negative and didn't help me. This board is so much more supportive and caring.

    If we are in pain, we need to address that. Sometimes that means taking drugs which some people, addicts, abuse. Because we take them and our bodies depend on them does not make us addicts. Less than 1/3 of one percent of people with chronic pain become psychologically addicted. Addicts will lie, cheat and steal to get drugs which zing the pleasure center of their brains. We don't get high on drugs nor do we enjoy their effects. If we question whether we may be addicts, we likely aren't. We have physical dependence on some meds and if we try to wean down, we will suffer withdrawal symptoms. This doesn't make us addicts.

    If we find we are continually enjoying a high from our meds, it's time to seek help. I've felt a bit high several times when I had to take opiods but I didn't enjoy feeling like that. Rather, I felt a bit out of control so I switched meds. Tobacco is my addiction so I know what addiction feels like. I quit smoking more than 25 yrs. ago.

    Finally, just because we are sick doesn't mean that others can label us as addicts, lazy, just depressed or any other label which helps them deal with the fear of illnesses which they cannot begin to understand. We have to develop thick skins because it's unbelievable what others think they can say to us. We have to set boundries and, sometimes, we simply have to cut toxic people out of our lives. We are heros and heroines. We live with sickness and pain every day. We have to learn to value ourselves for additional reasons than in our past lives and continue to value ourselves for the courage with which we carry on.

    Love, Mikie
  16. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Isn't exactly the correct word to use. Yes, there is often a genetic predisposition to a type of addiction to certain substances in which the person doesn't get what we usually consider a high. If a person is not craving a substance, however, she is probably not psychologically addicted. I agree that there is an addiction which may be physically based but resembles a psychological addiction.

    I think we always have to be aware of the potential of addiction to many things. What bothers me is that many docs and pharmacists do not understand physical dependence versus psychological addiction. A pharmacist at Target told me I am addicted to Klonopin. He is clueless. I've been on the same dose for 11 yrs. and never seek more of the drug and only take it as prescribed. I told him it is not appropriate to use a term like addiction when it's actually physical dependence. To him, there is no difference and he is very arrogant. So, I just ignore him.

    Thanks, Jam, for your valuable input on something I did not include. I think that I've just seen so many come here after they are worn down physically and then have to deal with financial problems and relationships which are forever changed by our illnesses. We are labled by others and I don't think we should accept those labels. I refuse to be labeled an addict because I take a Benzo. I refuse to be labeled lazy because I'm too tired to do get the idea.

    But, yes, it's always a good idea to err on the side of caution when dealing with drugs.

    Love, Mikie
  17. Doober

    Doober New Member

    It is more of a dependancy. If you are prescribed something by the DR and you use it properly in order to get through the day and function in a semi normal way, then it is a dependancy.

    An addiction is more of something that most of the time involves using illegal drugs or even "legal" ones obtained in an illegal way. Many people try them thinking that "Hey, I will try it (for whatever reason, whether it is natural curiousity or peer pressure). They "like" it and keep using.

    After a certain point, they need it in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms or merely to escape the realities of their daily lives. I have had a family member pass away from an OD on heroin.

    I had a conversation with family about someone else in my family who was on pain medication for medical reasons (she had lupus as well as Fibro which she was seeing a DR for).

    After awhile some people in the family was caller her an addict because she took it regularly. I told them about being dependant on it in order to function, leave her house and run errands. The other alternative was to sit inside all day, never go out and basically shut herself off from the world.

    I take meds everyday in order to function. Go to work, go home and be an active person in my wife's and children's lives. I cook, clean and do other things that I would not otherwise be able to do if it weren't for the meds. I would never leave my bed.

    So if you take meds the correct way and need it in order to function everyday, to ease the physical pains, then NEVER think of yourself as an addict.

  18. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Perhaps you missed my earlier post in this thread where I tried to differentiate between addiction and physical dependency. Jam and I were discussing my use of the word, high, in our discussion. I realize it wasn't the best word to use because some who are actually addicts do not appear to be high and function at an amazing level.

    You are correct in that people with chronic pain who take meds are almost never, key word being "almost," psychologically addicted to their meds. This can be very difficult for family and friends to understand. Psychological addiction usually can be identified by drug-seeking behavior.

    We've had family members who are alcoholics and function at a very high level but there is no doubt that they are addicted to alcohol.

    Everyone is different but I think it is very difficult for those of us who have had to take opiods to deal with family members who do not understand physical dependence versus addiction.

    Love, Mikie