Dependence Vs Addiction
anonymous Asks ...
I don't really know where to begin so I'll just start from the beginning. When I was 13 I was prescribed prescriptions painkillers for my ovarian cysts, and over time I became addicted to them. I am now 18, still addicted, and I desperately need help. I don't want to live like this. It's my worst nightmare. I am trying to ween myself off of them but I don't know if that will work in the long run... I was supposed to begin college within the next two weeks, but because of my wish to get off of these drugs, I have to change my classes to the springtime. This is because I REALLY don't want to go to college feeling the withdrawal symptoms... Is this the right thing to do? Should I go ahead and try to get off of these pills by myself? I really feel like I can do it emotionally and mentally. My problem is that I don't know if I should do it myself because I've heard that quitting this drug can cause seizures, and in worse cases, death. Please help me, and if it is ok for me to try to stop taking them myself, can you give me any tips on how to get through the withdrawal phase? Thanks :)
Jim LaPierre Says ...
Wow - I applaud you for the wisdom to be concerned, for having the guts to ask for help, and for having the willingness to tackle this head on. I'm not sure from your post if you're continuing to be prescribed a medication you're dependent upon or if you're having to buy it off the street. Either way - it's vital that you involve your primary care physician in the process of getting off the meds and looking at realistic pain management assuming that you still have chronic pain.
There's an important distinction between addiction and dependence. Dependence is inevitable for anyone who is prescribed long term use of opiates, benzos, or stimulant medication - it's unavoidable because our minds and bodies adjust to having a steady supply of these in our blood stream and they come to require them to function at baseline. Withdrawing rapidly from these substances can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, leave us very medically compromised, and in some cases, can result in death.
Titration under medical supervision is best to ensure healthy results. At the same time we need to develop strategies to give our mind and body what it needs to adjust and to get our needs met holistically.
I think you're wise to invest the time in getting off meds before starting college. The more stability and health you have the more likely you are to be successful. I urge you to seek support from friends and family - going through these changes alone is more than anyone should deal with. I hear you loud and clear that you're confident that you can do this part alone - but the very best result you'll get is you're sober while feeling lonely and disconnected from yourself and others.
You wouldn't want someone you love to go through this alone - so don't you do it alone. Good luck and blessed be - Jim