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Am I addicted to pain meds?


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About a year ago I was diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation. This is an issue where part of your brain is herniated out of your skull and into your spinal canal. About 6 months ago the headaches from this started getting pretty bad and I was put on percocet. Then my doctor changed it to hydrocodone. I have both now. I have lung problems so I can't take them more than once a day and if it's the percocet I have to take half of one. I take them about every 2 days. The headaches do get bad, but also I like how they make me feel. I'm a very introverted, shy person. I don't like being around people. When I take these, I lose all my social inhibitions and feel so free so to speak. Like my brain is unlocked and I can enjoy being with people. Does this mean I'm addicted?

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The reason your brain feels unlocked is because the percocet is making you high. Percocet is made of one of the most addicting drugs oxycodone, and even though it does not seem you are dependant on them you do seem to be addicted according to what you described. Be careful because percocet can ruin your life. This I know because I lived it. I almost lost my marriage to percocet. I did not know that I was addicted to the medication to the exent I was. I was only taking them as prescribed by my doctor. Talk to your doctor about what you are feeling and they can help you so you don't end up being physically dependant on your meds. Take care.

Edited by cindyh
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Hi skyblue,

I get the impression that you dont seek out drugs and that you take them the way your prescribed to, and they do have there place if needed. I would say that your not addicted but it may be a concern if you feel you need to rely on them.

Do you think it would be helpful to try and seperate yourself from the drugs and try thinking what makes you anxious and what causes you to have some inhibitions without them.

It sounds like its not that you dont like people but that you dont like being uncomfortable around people. People take drugs because they work and they do make you feel better but it wont last and it wont be what you want if your taking them if your hurting or trying to cover something up.

I know it can all seem very overwhelming but I do think you can be the person you want to be without drugs.

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Thank you for your replies but I think I didnt make myself clear. I'm not taking the meds TO feel that way. I just enjoy that they do make me feel that way. I am in chronic pain and the meds don't help much but they do take the edge off. If it weren't for my lungs I would take much more.

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I think the classical sign of addiction is that you continue to take more than you were prescribed despite adverse consequences that result.

It sounds like none of that is happening for you. The mere fact you find the meds enjoyable is not a sign of addiction. Most people enjoy Vicodin and Percocet when it is prescribed to them, although not all. Heightened sociability is a common reaction to this class of drugs as well. I've used this recreationally

before for that reason, and I have talked to others who do that as well.

If you are finding yourself taking more than was prescribed or watching the clock until you can take your next dose, those are signs you should discuss with your doctor.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Thank you for your replies but I think I didnt make myself clear. I'm not taking the meds TO feel that way. I just enjoy that they do make me feel that way. I am in chronic pain and the meds don't help much but they do take the edge off. If it weren't for my lungs I would take much more.

I am an addict in recovery for 6 1/2 years and have studied a lot about addictions. Skyblue, I think it is very good that you are asking yourself these questions because anyone can become addicted to narcotics such as you are taking.

However, I do not believe you have in any way crossed that line and since when did it become a crime to enjoy the effects of a medication that eases your pain?

Keep asking yourself these questions, skyblue, and share your concerns with your doctor so you don't go down a destructive path. Handling your shyness with some cognitive techniques is far preferable to having to have to take medication to be more outgoing.

I heard an excellent interview on NPR's Fresh Air today about the latest understandings about the brain changes that happen in addiction.

Here's a link to the podcast. Great stuff!

http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=13

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