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    Long term heroin & methadone recovery 
    #1
    Hi all I'm new here, I mostly came to check out what anyone may have experienced with recovery from long term heroin use & methadone program. I used very large amounts for 15years solid and been on the jungle juice best part of 10 years. Of course for heroin there were a few weeks here & there at detoxes, home detox, etc,And of course the constant hanging out, but nothing longer than 3 weeks. This latest attempt is kinda make or break my and I've made it 2 years off the gear. I only just finished my methadone program a few months ago after a long reduction. Does anyone have any experience as to how they felt physically even after a shorter term of methadone? I expected the reduction/ceasation to feel bad but not as bad as jumping off 30! Most likely I've got 100 health complaints masked by all that gear... but I often wonder about the damage caused especially with long term done...
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    #2
    Can't say i know many stories of people coming of methadone.

    The question is what causes the withdrawals and the sickness of addiction i.e. the anxiety, discomfort and pain that drive us to use. I know people would argue that we're chasing the high but I would argue we're chasing a life free of pain (with a bit of fun thrown in). Its a question of pain relief hence why most people accept the methadone program because it avoids most of the pain that we've suffered when going straight.

    As many in aus:drugs will note I have a fairly radical theory on the root cause of addiction i.e the chemicals that cause it and how they are pretty much the same chemicals in play when we're going through "withdrawals" which is a fairly big misnomer in my theory.

    See opioids, opiates and pretty much anything that makes it through the blood brain barrier freaks the brain out into activating this thing called TLR4 - Toll Like Receptors (number 4). TLR4 when its turned on makes these toxic chemicals that are responsible for pretty much most of the symptoms you have when you feel sick i.e. headaches, joint pain, muscle/tissue pain, diarrhoea, fevers and so on are all caused by a class of chemicals called proinflammatory cytokines. All of these reactions are the very same that we experience we stop taking heroin/methadone/suboxone/oxy - why because these drugs are activating TLR4 either directly or indirectly. See you have to imagine our body full of opiate receptors. They aren't neccessarily there for opiates but they and the cytokines are battling to bind to them.

    So the pain and discomfort of withdrawals is about the absence of opiates which allows these cytokines to flood our body especially the receptors in our brain the Ku an Mu that are responsible for the pain relieving effects we feel from opiates. Its the literal equivalent of pouring acid onto the pleasure centre of our brain.

    That is why once I have the funds I plan to buy a drug that disables TLR4 and see if I can get of methadone and stop taking opiates altogether (i have already quit all other drugs). The trials of this drug (already used for other purposes) have shown great results in helping addicts quit taking meth, opiates and even alcohol which in my mind is validation of the theory I've espoused.

    So on that note make sure you have a clear program with your doctor about dealing with health issues. Eat healthy (something that I have ignored to my recent peril), and get exercise whilst making sure you find some a new non-drug activity to work on or do that you enjoy.

    That said I would suggest you look at trying ibudilast. This is the drug that deactivates TLR4 which due to physical and emotional abuse i believe is malfunctioning (from when you were in the womb and in early childhood).

    For further reading - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2783351/ The “Toll” of Opioid-Induced Glial Activation: Improving the Clinical Efficacy of Opioids by Targeting Glia
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    #3
    Had a green script for ten years then came off 75 ml/day over about 4-5 months. Twas the worst experience ever in my bloody life. It wasn't just the shits, sweats and sleeplessness it was the stuff that you don't read about in books/websites or get told off your so called specialists!!! Such as the craziness in your head that ensues. Also all of the stuff that you've blocked out whilst being prescribed comes back - some good which results in maniacal laughter, and the bad which can result in a deep depression. Also I had a massive stint of being unable to control my emotions which lead me to behave in ways I didn't want to. You've really gotta wanna be off in order to succeed and in retrospect it is a must that you stay off anything that can alter your brain chemistry coz it will just emphasize the crap you are going through AND prolong it!!!
    What I've just written isn't meant to discourage you........far from it!! Just wanted to make you aware coz it's a fecking hard road but it is walk-able AND I really would like to wish you the best !!! I know you can do it pussycatto!!!
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilyeye View Post
    Hi all I'm new here, I mostly came to check out what anyone may have experienced with recovery from long term heroin use & methadone program. I used very large amounts for 15years solid and been on the jungle juice best part of 10 years. Of course for heroin there were a few weeks here & there at detoxes, home detox, etc,And of course the constant hanging out, but nothing longer than 3 weeks. This latest attempt is kinda make or break my and I've made it 2 years off the gear. I only just finished my methadone program a few months ago after a long reduction. Does anyone have any experience as to how they felt physically even after a shorter term of methadone? I expected the reduction/ceasation to feel bad but not as bad as jumping off 30! Most likely I've got 100 health complaints masked by all that gear... but I often wonder about the damage caused especially with long term done...
    After 20 years on methadone, then finishing off on subutex over about 6 months, it probably took 2 years from that date to feel 100% normal.
    I've managed to stay opiate free free for about 10 years now, It wasn't easy though. Depression and emotions and general aches and pains were such a problem at first... It does pass and you'll know you made right decision....If I can do it anyone can
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    #5
    Administrator spacejunk's Avatar
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    ^ that's awesome.
    I don't know much about people coming off methadone, but i met a guy in a detox once who had come off it really gradually, and had tapered down to something like 10mL (i may be way off with that - it was ages ago) and it seemed like he took it in his stride really well.
    He actually left the detox clinic early (before a week was up) because he felt fine, and had so many years away from heroin that he felt he was of no risk whatsoever of relapsing by leaving early.
    So don't take all the bad stories too much to heart. The higher the dose you're on when you cease use, the worse withdrawals tend to be, generally speaking.

    Either way, welcome and all the best.
    ✺✹✺✹BLUA✺✹✺✹
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by massiveinminiature View Post
    Had a green script for ten years then came off 75 ml/day over about 4-5 months. Twas the worst experience ever in my bloody life. It wasn't just the shits, sweats and sleeplessness it was the stuff that you don't read about in books/websites or get told off your so called specialists!!! Such as the craziness in your head that ensues. Also all of the stuff that you've blocked out whilst being prescribed comes back - some good which results in maniacal laughter, and the bad which can result in a deep depression. Also I had a massive stint of being unable to control my emotions which lead me to behave in ways I didn't want to. You've really gotta wanna be off in order to succeed and in retrospect it is a must that you stay off anything that can alter your brain chemistry coz it will just emphasize the crap you are going through AND prolong it!!!
    What I've just written isn't meant to discourage you........far from it!! Just wanted to make you aware coz it's a fecking hard road but it is walk-able AND I really would like to wish you the best !!! I know you can do it pussycatto!!!
    Thanks heaps, more encouraging than discouraging! It is a fcken hard road, I was wondering if it was just me. What are your views on Valium post recovery? I was given NOTHING, not even lomotil, by my doctor for withdrawal (I'm in a Nazi state). Now I'm not on a program I can legally get Valium which I was considering for the withdrawal like pain I'm still in... I'm kinda thinking that's just prolonging it?
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by maddyboy View Post
    After 20 years on methadone, then finishing off on subutex over about 6 months, it probably took 2 years from that date to feel 100% normal.
    I've managed to stay opiate free free for about 10 years now, It wasn't easy though. Depression and emotions and general aches and pains were such a problem at first... It does pass and you'll know you made right decision....If I can do it anyone can
    Thanks dude. Everyone expects I'm normal now but I feel like a 90yo woman with cancer hehe. I probably look sicker than my worst dope days. Good to know it's normal, not many long timers I've seen that have done it. Wow 20 years jungle juice we are both probably of the original "herald sun heroin death toll" vintage lol. 10years is massive, congrats... have you ever seen any neurologists or anything? Not that I'd be able to afford it but I'd like to see the effects of long term methadone. They seem to try and push the bupe & subs more now.
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    #8
    Space junk: thank you for your encouragement! Yeah true everyone has their own experience & I've seen many bounce back quick after detox/rehabs but I've been finding serious long term methadone treatment means a worse and more long term the come sown. Thx
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilyeye View Post
    Now I'm not on a program I can legally get Valium which I was considering for the withdrawal like pain I'm still in... I'm kinda thinking that's just prolonging it?
    you should only use it for less then 2 weeks at a time if you do get it. Valium will only treat the anxiety that you'll feel from the 'withdrawals'.

    The other symptoms you should try and treat with showers, NASIDs (like Ibuprofen), exercise etc.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by chugs View Post
    you should only use it for less then 2 weeks at a time if you do get it. Valium will only treat the anxiety that you'll feel from the 'withdrawals'.

    The other symptoms you should try and treat with showers, NASIDs (like Ibuprofen), exercise etc.

    Thanks chugs

    I'm thinking it's so much of a "life adjustment" it's hardest to deal with how to live a totally different life from every aspect... even simple things like paying bills are so abstract for me.
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    #11
    As a former couselor in a methadone clinic, NOONE should suffer when they choose to taper off. Titration should be done as quickly or slowly as you are comfortable with. I had clients who were only taking 5mLs a day, others took upwards of 250. You can go as slowly as 5mL decreases each month. You should be given a questionaire daily to rate your withdrawal symptoms and don't be afraid to ask for an increase if you need. Eventually you can get off completely with minimal side effects. That said, your body will have a period of adjustment, or Post-Acute Withdrawal, which can last for months to years. This happens with any drug that one gets clean from. But, it should be bearable. Also, I recommend anyone getting off any substance to utilize a support group, outpatient program or some other resource.
    Sorry so long, just wanted to be thorough. Good luck to all!
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    #12
    That's way too quick to come off 'done.. Ouch... After I'd been on it for 5yrs reduced from 40 to 15 over 8months and never slept, always on edge so had dose upped again.... 20yrs later still using, still on 30mg 'done and resigned to being on it forever...
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    #13
    Bluelighter willy33's Avatar
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    Hello Lilyeye....just a quick question, why do you feel the nee to abstain from opiates? I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that my life is better with opiates. It gives me energy, helps me cope with emotions and see the world as a place of tolerable discontent, rather than a hopeless, decaying shadow of a long forgotten dream.

    I need my 'done. I've tried the detox/rehab course many a time. I got clean by force in jail, but when I have the choice I can't be bothered battling the urge to utilize the program.

    Plus, it's one of a handful of psychoactives which doesn't have intrinsically negative side-effects. You can take it your whole life and be fine. Plus your quality​ of life is much better...and isn't that what it's really about?
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    #14
    ^Money issues, health problems exasperated by dual addiction scenarios where ppl may use on top of their mmt, socioeconomic factors, not being able to shit or eat correctly for the entire time of being on it... The list goes on.

    Basically the opposite of the last thing that you said. It's a marked reduction of quality of life from the time the "honeymoon" period of your opiate is over, to when you get on mmt to tapwring from mmt/suboxone therapy.

    Perhaps you are different. but what you are saying, that there are *no* side effects at all whatsoever, is simply not true. Whatever works for you works for you, but telling someone their subjective quality of life is more important than anything else, is the worst advice ever; it breeds helplessness in others to say that, because everyone can have a better quality of life, most importantly "sober" or "clean" or whatever the jargon is type of life, If people want something better for themselves then they will eventually try to taper. Esp if they are on a ultra high dose where the side effects increase. If someone's on 30-40, maybe 50mg, after a little half year or even multi year habit, then yes, they would probably want to taper as soon as they're ready / build a support system through things like a psych dr, outpatient treatment as well as AA/NA

    And this is speaking from experience. Not necessarily mmt but concurrent h, meth, gbl/alcohol/benzo addiction, buprenorphine use. So although I might not have experience specifically with mmt tapering I can tell you I've tried methadone, and have went thru opiate replacement therapy and tapering (altho self prescribed and tapered)
    Last edited by g0to; 25-04-2017 at 18:24.
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    #15
    Bluelighter willy33's Avatar
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    /\

    You raise a very good point, and it is arrogant of me to assume "hey, it worked for me - therefore it must work for you too!"

    I don't like people doing that to me, so I probs should have put a bit more thought into that post.

    Peace
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    #16
    Very interesting and quite demoralising reading other people's posts 'Re Methadone withdrawals. I am now well into week 4 of my methadone withdrawal and still trying to get my local drug service to admit that it's normal. Everything I've read supports the idea that PAWS can last up to 4-6 wks from long term methadone maintenance (10 years this time round) . They keep insisting that it's different for everyone & most people are done in 2 weeks. This seems so dishonest to me and grossly unfair to those poor guys coming up behind me-thinking there's something wrong with them for not being able to do it in 2 weeks.

    Feels like I'm going backwards right now. Sleep is getting worse. Sneezing back up to 10-12 in a row. Restless legs.
    So sick of being at home but I keep trying to go back to work only to find that my head is too foggy to think & I'm too tired to function. What a slog!
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    #17
    How are you getting on? I've been on meth 7 years and detoxing now. Down to 22ml. Just wondering when to stop taking it, at what ml?
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin_uk2017 View Post
    How are you getting on? I've been on meth 7 years and detoxing now. Down to 22ml. Just wondering when to stop taking it, at what ml?
    My advice would be to cut down as slowly as you're allowed & reduce as low as possible before jumping off. Methadone withdrawals are no fun and are long and drawn out. Are they offering you any meds to come off Or is there the possibility of a switch to Buprenorphine for the last little bit?
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by UkMethadonelady View Post
    My advice would be to cut down as slowly as you're allowed & reduce as low as possible before jumping off. Methadone withdrawals are no fun and are long and drawn out. Are they offering you any meds to come off Or is there the possibility of a switch to Buprenorphine for the last little bit?
    They offered me to swap to subutex but I just want to get it over and done with. Down to 20ml now and dropping 5ml every 3 days. Only want 4 week off work, but we'll see. Not used for a while but withdrawing bring all the thoughts back
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    #20
    I don't see a swap to subutex as a good idea, you'd have to go through a couple days of cold turkey just to get the methadone out of your system before you could start the subutex, if you took the sub too early you'd get precipitated withdrawals. Kind of stupid of them to offer it to a methadone patient, really.
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    #21
    Bluelighter
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    20ml, is that 1mg/ml?

    In Australia it is dosed at 5mg/ml so 20ml would still be a high dose.

    Definitely agree you don't want to rush it, 5ml every 3 days seems very fast.

    Obviously nobody knows better than you whether you are ready to do the jump or not but it's definitely not something you want to rush.
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    #22
    It's common practice in the UK to swap patients from Methadone (usually around 20mls -1mg/1mls ) to subutex. You simply take your last dose of Methadone on the morning then when you start to go into withdrawal (like 24hrs later) you take your first dose of Subutex. I didn't experience any precipitated withdrawals.
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    #23
    I dropped 5ml to 15ml was rough but not to rough, had to take 5ml to get to sleep for a while the second night. It's now the 4th day and still taking 15ml. Going to try dropping another 5ml tomorrow see how it goes. I'm lucky cos I'm self employed and saved a bit to have the time off to sort it. Anyone know how bad a complete stop on 2 or 5ml will be and how long. Never been off meth since I started?
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by willy33 View Post
    Hello Lilyeye....just a quick question, why do you feel the nee to abstain from opiates? I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that my life is better with opiates. It gives me energy, helps me cope with emotions and see the world as a place of tolerable discontent, rather than a hopeless, decaying shadow of a long forgotten dream.

    I need my 'done. I've tried the detox/rehab course many a time. I got clean by force in jail, but when I have the choice I can't be bothered battling the urge to utilize the program.

    Plus, it's one of a handful of psychoactives which doesn't have intrinsically negative side-effects. You can take it your whole life and be fine. Plus your quality​ of life is much better...and isn't that what it's really about?
    Oh I totally agree on most points. I love opiates and I don't think I'll ever be totally opiate free.. for me I need to be able to say I can have a tickle every year or so otherwise I'd go the total other way. To be honest I love the drugs but the drugs don't love me. So much ruin, so much pain. If I could get them for free, legally, it would be a perfect world. But several psych ward admissions, court sentences, and comas tell me that the stress of living that life was way too much. And it was a long time, and a heavy habit, so you can imagine the ruin caused.
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin_uk2017 View Post
    I dropped 5ml to 15ml was rough but not to rough, had to take 5ml to get to sleep for a while the second night. It's now the 4th day and still taking 15ml. Going to try dropping another 5ml tomorrow see how it goes. I'm lucky cos I'm self employed and saved a bit to have the time off to sort it. Anyone know how bad a complete stop on 2 or 5ml will be and how long. Never been off meth since I started?

    Ok I'm not up with the UK measurements, but basically I found that once you start reducing you feel shite anyway. For me it was better to get it over and done with quicker.

    I started by reducing 5mg per fortnight but it was a constant cycle of feeling shit for a week, slowly feeling better and then bang time for next reduction so cycle starts again. So I changed to 5mg per week reduction as I felt it was better to just feel shit and get it over and done with rather than the constant cycle of withdrawal, feeling better, and withdrawal again. My partner was on a much higher dose and he knocked off 10mg per reduction at the higher end of his dose until he got down to 50mg.

    Things might be different for you though, as I was in the unfortunate position of having no access to any other meds such as Valium, catapress, etc for the withdrawals.

    Once I got down to 15mg I went to 2.5mg reductions per week, and then I jumped off 2mg. That's in Aussie measurements but as stated above, in Australia it is dosed at 5mg/ml.

    However I wouldn't start reducing if you're not stable regarding keeping away from it, as I've tried that before and the methadone withdrawals just drive you to use...


    Good luck man!
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