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pain pill addiction

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  • pain pill addiction

    Hi ladies

    I've been a member of bubhub for 7 years now but I'm too embarrassed to use my normal account to post this thread so I've made an account as I'd really like some support or advice or to just get this off my chest.

    basically for the past 3 years I've been addicted to pain medication. Although I'm a registered nurse and im quick to think of people abusing pain medication I have only realized that I am myself addicted in the past 2 months. I've had a few long term illnesses that required pain relief containing codeine and at times endone.... I believe this may have been what started my addiction... I never realized how bad I was until just recently...

    I take up to 16 codeine tablets a day.... im killing my body...
    I know this is awful and stupid and I need to stop. .. if I don't take the tablets I get really bad anxiety and irritable.and..I won't be able to sleep. I'm not experiencing pain that I'd need to take codeine for but I just do because I am addicted. I have quite an unhappy and stressful life and I suffer depression which I think the codeine is giving me that euphoric feeling helping me deal with my life. I cant believe I didn't realize my addiction sooner. I know I need to stop but I'm worried I'll do something that will just replace this addiction with another... im not a smoker and im now thinking of starting smoking as giving me a way of stress relief ..stupid I know.

    I know people will say talk to my doctor etc.. get help from a psychologist. ..but I don't feel I can be honest as I worry this will affect my registration as a nurse... (just want to point out that I'm not directly caring for patients I'm in an admin role atm) I just feel I can't tell anyone about this.

    basically I want to do this without accessing any outside help... its stupid I know but I can't let anyone find out.

    please don't quote

  • #2
    Firstly congratulations for admitting you depend on these medications. It's a big step!
    The people I've seen get off the codeine have used a step down approach. Slow & steady. I'm talking like 6 months to reduce to no pills at all. I will say it, a good GP is the first place to go, they are bound by the privacy act so shouldn't have to report anything unless you are endangering patients, which doesn't seem to be the issue here.
    Are you addressing your depression/anxiety? This can make everything a heck of a lot harder.
    If you're adamant about not getting outside help you could start with a written reduction plan & some mindfulness tutorials online to address the big picture.
    Have you got a trusted friend or partner who could help you?


    • #3
      DH had an addiction to panadeine extra prior to DS1 being born, he was taking 15-20 most days. He went to the GP who did some LFT's which were wildly abnormal thanks to the paracetamol he was taking.

      They discussed it and he basically went cold turkey. He was horribly horribly sick for about a week, then felt average for another week, after that he was mostly back to baseline.

      If you were to do that I would be surprised if you could hide it from those you live with/see often.

      In DHs case I kind of wish he had some help from a psychologist or similar to work on not forming addictions as he will easily form an addiction and has a really stuffed view of painkillers and medications in that he still thinks just keep taking it till you feel better, who gives a stuff the "recommended" dose.


      • #4
        If you want to get off the pills then tapering off them would be best. Take 13 then 11 etc, being a nurse you will know how to taper off. I can understand not wanting the addiction to be on your medical records. Regarding the smoking you need to weigh up your options. You know getting of the smokes will be hell and you have a high risk of going onto another substance when you quit. However you can only decide what is best for you regarding harm reduction. Another option would be vapors or e cig, that way you get the effects of nicotine with at least some harm reduction.

        In the long run seeking help with anxiety and depression would be a good idea. I wouldn't be concerned with that being on your record. Plenty on nurses are on anti depressants. This shouldn't affect your job.


        • #5
          You could try Narcotics Anonymous meetings... Supportive, non judgemental and compassionate people.


          • #6
            I think you've got some great advice here. Tapering is the way to go. Sometimes when an addiction is related to anxiety, it helps to have Valium to help you withdraw. Valium is the easiest of drugs to withdraw from, you should know that. As you withdraw, add a small amount of Valium at bedtime and then once the coedine is out, you taper the valium. Having a long half life, you shouldn't need as much. But definitely talk to your GP, ^ previous posts are right about confidentiality.


            • #7
              Hugs to you.o


              • #8

                It's a hard road. My dh at one stage had an addiction to codeine. He was taking them every day to help with his anxiety disorder and to help him sleep at night. I found it really difficult to address with him for a long time as he just didn't believe he had a problem. It was this belief that if they are OTC medication then they can't be 'that' bad. Odd really, as he is someone who has always been very anti drugs. This was always hard for me to reconcile, still is, how he could have such strong views on taking illegal substances but he couldn't see he had a drug addiction.

                anyway, I don't even know what the catalyst was, but he started accepting it was an issue and when he tried to go cold turkey and had withdrawals was when it really hit home for him. He did end up going cold turkey to get off them and I remember the first week he was physically quite ill from the withdrawals. The first two weeks he was in a stinker of a mood. He did this in conjunction with therapy and the therapy has been a huge help. Mostly for his anxiety. Which was really the crux of the issue. He is doing really well now, but always is careful not to take OTC medsnwith codeine as he knows it will be a slippery slope for him.

                im not sure about the how it works with getting help as a nurse and the implications on your job. Maybe try calling a drug helpline anonymously?


                • #9
                  Can you not go and see a gp and ask for help without telling them that your occupation is as a nurse? Even if it means seeing a new dr.