Breaking the Habit – Little White Pill 319

10 Flares Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 10 Flares ×
Weaning off Tramadol

I wrote a post last year called “Little White Pills for Breakfast” that detailed parts of my health story. One of the ‘little white pills’ was Tramadol #319 – 50mg which I was on the highest prescribed dose of, as prescribed by my doctor. I was given it because it was less addicting than Vicodin, which was given to me prior during the worst bit with my back after my son was born. When it was realized that my nerve issues had more to do with Pernicious Anemia than with my back, something that took 2 expensive MRIs and countless X-Rays to prove, it came down to figuring out if my back pain was something more mental than physical. That somehow my brain re-wired itself into believing that I am in constant pain rather than actually being in constant pain and what I wanted to do with that information. I have lumbar arthritis (but not as bad as once assumed), I have some minor swollen discs and an area that is closing on my sciatic nerve (but again, not as bad) and a fatty tissue (that appears like a tiny tumor – though not a tumor) around my spinal canal (but it is not upsetting anything). So I figured, I would try and taper off with my original dose and that didn’t work out too well.

From what I’ve read online, there are a LOT of doctors that like to say this isn’t an addictive drug and that its withdrawals aren’t so bad as say… alcohol. I never had a doctor explain to me what would happen if I wasn’t taking Tramadol and originally when the back doctor asked if I had any sort of strange symptoms I said no, because I had no idea what he was talking about. It wasn’t until one day that I didn’t have my medicine that I realized for the first time what I was facing and it hurt to think I’d gotten myself addicted to a drug without really necessarily being ‘that type of person’. I’m in my 30s, I am married with two kids, in a nice house with two cars and no debt… I wasn’t the person to get wrapped up in addiction to pain medication, until I was.

Last week I went to the dentist and they wanted to remove a tooth, afterward they gave me Vicodin. I have a past with Vicodin. I wouldn’t say I was ever addicted to it, I never had any withdrawals or anything from it. I would just say that I liked it, which is kind of why my original doctor said it was not good for me to take. So instead of me taking Vicodin, I just decided to up my dose of Tramadol (bad move because I was already on the highest dose). Needless to say I ran out of those a week early, but things happen for a reason and after a few days dealing with some minor withdrawals I decided, “I can do this. I can get off this little white pill!”

I did some Yoga for my back one night and realized that helped a LOT. I suggest this for anyone with back issues! It was an amazing experience to realize it worked so well! But on Day 3 I started feeling like my chest was caving in and I couldn’t swallow. I called my doctor who prescribed a hypertension/anxiety pill (Propranolol) and for the rest of the 24 hours I was okay; then this morning my son wanted me to pick him up and I couldn’t. I was hurting so bad, my back was both on fire and filled with razor blades. And he wanted to dance with me, my sweet boy, and I was feeling as if I had the worst flu in my life. That feeling of hyperventilating came on and I took one of the anxiety pills and laid down. My family went out and had this wonderful day without me and I really wanted to get around. I wanted to share the day with them so with shaking hands I was putting on my makeup. It took a lot of concentration to do simple meaningless tasks and we laid my son down and I fell apart. In a lot of pieces.

I’m not really a depressive person. I was once, many years ago and so I know how it feels and what signs to look for in myself, but I consider myself a pretty realistic/rational person (in my own world that is). So when I started getting really depressed my husband said I should call the doctor. Between feeling both useless and disappointing to everyone, I called and we decided to try tapering off again, on a different much smaller dosage. I apologized to my doctor, this stranger I only met three times while crying on a phone. That’s pretty sad.

Things aren’t so bad now. I should be able to be off within a few weeks and that makes me happy. My husband says I shouldn’t kick myself so bad for not being able to just cut it cold turkey, it probably wasn’t very safe anyway, but I really wanted to think I was strong enough. I know that if I was single and I didn’t have a family to think of: a little boy that wanted to dance, a house that needed picking up, work that needed to be done or a husband I wanted to spend Father’s Day a little less like an insane person with, I could have done it. I could probably have slept the entire week to two weeks in and not even blinked an eye, because really it just feels like a horrible god awful flu, but being a Mom is really hard when you have to cut an addiction out, it’s really hard.

I wouldn’t even be embarrassing myself and writing this if I didn’t think there might be another Mom out there, on the #319 pill or something equivalent and thinking the same thing as I was; or a Mom that might be discussing it with her doctor for the same things I had – horrible back pain after difficult labor. Before listening to your Doctor explain that it isn’t an addictive drug, let me tell you it is. You can also find thousands of other people that will say the same thing in multiple groups online. Here is a list of symptoms that comes with withdrawal*.

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Shakiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic attacks
  • Unusual, unexplained sensations, such as tingling, burning, or “pins and needles” feelings.
 
Basically you feel like you have a super flu. You ache everywhere as if all the sudden any mental block you had to minor aches and pains was eradicated. Your skin feels as though it is ‘buzzing’ and sometimes when you walk it is as though you are moving too fast for your skin so you slow down; which is difficult to explain. Your chest feels tight and like there is a huge lump in your throat (those of you that have quit smoking would understand this feeling), you can’t sleep but you are always so-so tired. If you had a pain area (like mine is my back), you will feel like it is burning and then you will all the sudden be both so hot you are sweating and freezing cold. You actually experience cold and flu symptoms, your sinuses will be stuffy and runny, your eyes will burn and water and you’ll have headaches. Sometimes you’ll feel like you are hyperventilating and you can’t breath. These are all things I’ve either experienced or heard from others. The good thing is and the reason why they say it isn’t as addictive as alcohol or narcotics, is because the withdrawal doesn’t last as long. It is more about being really uncomfortable for a little while rather than the years of aching dependence alcoholics, smokers and/or strong illegal drug users experience. When it is over, it is really over and you can go back to living again. 
 
I got on these pills to be able to hold my son, he was a big boy at six months old and as a stay-at-home Mommy I had to be able to hold him and be at my best. They did their job, a little too well in fact and I’m ready to move past it and put this whole ordeal behind me. I’d like to have something a little more than pills for breakfast with my coffee.
 
Tramadol
 
 
I’ve been a little slow and out of it this week, not my best I would say. I should be more capable now that there is a plan and hopefully in a few weeks I’ll feel better than myself. I have great hopes that this Yoga will help me strengthen the ‘core’ I lost and the main reason my back is under so much pressure and I have many thanks to my family, especially my Mom and Husband who have been more helpful and loving than I could have asked for through this. And my Doctor, who (since I walked in the door for the first time in January) has been very supportive of me and my every so often crazy phone calls.
 
To those of you that are searching for ways to wean off or walk away from opiates, talk to your doctor, they are more than helpful; especially since Tramadol is one of the leading drugs being sold in our school systems right now amongst our children. It isn’t a bad prescription drug and it does help out so much when it is needed, but just be careful not to abuse it, use it as prescribed and be knowledgeable about the withdrawal risks for being on high doses as I was. There’s always help and as my husband said to me this afternoon, you are not a disappointment for needing it.
 
 

About 

Amanda is a stay-at-home Mom of two boys, a teen and a tot. She loves to share stories, talk about education, movies, books and coffee. A big supporter of community building and outreach, Amanda shares many activities, entertainment and events in her local area of St. Louis.

Comments

  1. mywildcrazylife says:

    I have “been there done that” with Percacet. I have degenerative disc, scoliosis, and osteo arthritis in my back. I have had all 3 in lesser degrees when I was a teenager. I took Percacet for 3 years and it got to where it literally hurt to move my little toe, shooting pain up my spine. I started taking anti depressants (no longer on them) because pain can cause the chemical paths in your brain to go awry and I went off of the pain pills cold turkey. After a few God awful weeks, I found out that I wasn’t in pain anymore. I was SORE, I have to watch what I do, and I have “episodes” of basically being unable to move a few times a year, but I am not in chronic pain like I was. My brain wanted more pain pills and was tricking me into thinking I was in pain so I would take more. To this day I can’t take pills because I get cranky when I come down off of just one. I refuse to be an addict so I refuse to take anything but motrin or aleve. GL with coming off. You may feel better when the process is over (I’m not a doctor so IdK)

  2. Kimberly says:

    You should be very proud of yourself for making this change in your life. I don’t think people appreiciate how very difficult getting off these medications is. My husband is on a pain patch and other meds for back and shoulder pain. He is still in constant pain and has symptoms from the medications that are impossible to have a “normal life” with. Good for you, and good luck. Let us know how it is going.

  3. D.Calvert says:

    This happened to me about 10 years ago and I went cold turkey and it was on after 10 weeks on a low dose of a pain killer and the withdrawals were insane, or that’s how I felt! Tramadol is not suppose to be addictive is what I was told to but it has codine in it dosn’t it? Anyway they have me on T3′s and for 9 years now and I know I would be or am addicted, how can I not be? I am usually a strong person too but I could not live without it and now I am older and have decided if I need it I am taking it!If you are young and can find other ways an A+ to you, and don’t beat yourself up about how long it takes to get off them, it’s something your body has had for a while so it has to get use to being without it:) Thanks for sharing and also when you go off a drug it does cause depression and it’s a terrible feeling, one I would rather not have again!Hope it all works out for you:)

  4. jayedee says:

    i applaud your courage…for making the decision to get off the pills and then, for posting about it. Good for you!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I applaud your courage to stop taking pain pills but I for one can not live with out them. I have Psoriatic Arthritis , fibromyalgia, total neuropathy of my feet, legs and hands and some in my face. Along with a list of other auto immune health issues. I can NOT take Embril, cymbalta etc etc. My conditions will never go away they are chronic for life. if I didnt take my vitamins and pain pills every day several times a day i wouldnt be able to function. I am not one of those slobbery fall asleep at the drop of a hat type of person that is addicted to pain pills for pleasure. I am highly functional on the meds that I take and I am screened every 3 months to make sure all of my organs are ok. I guesss you just have to look at life with and without and my life is way better with!!!

  6. I agree with you completely! I have lupus and was told this was better than other narcotics. Withdrawal was awful and it took weeks for me to start feeling normal. I wish I would have never started it!

  7. Hey listen guys I’m a 18 year old guy that’s not been prescribed to these white 319′s pills but unlike u guys I’ve been buying them from some ppl for over a month now, and have been abusing them ever since, and now that I wanna stop taking them I feel like I can’t, I used to smoke pot but now I stopped and moved on to these Tramadol pills they give me a better feeling than pot and everytime I don’t take them for 1 day, I feel very different from who I am I get this depressing feeling and get super tired & don’t feel like doing anything at all just sleep all day. I also heard that they weren’t as addictive as vicodine but it was a lie for me! I haven’t talked to anyone about this so I’m looking for some help or advice. Today 5/10/13 has been my second time quitting this drug and hopefully it’s out of my life for good! If I keep on feeling depressed then I’m going to have to talk to my parents about it, but b4 I do that, I’m hoping to get some tips on my depression to go away thanks.

    • Hi Chris, sorry for my late reply.

      First let me say that you can stop, but I’ll explain why you feel the way you do. Tramadol doesn’t just take pain away, it actually increases your endorphins which give it a feeling like an anti-depressant. When you go cold turkey to get off of them you feel depressed because you no longer are getting those extra endorphins. The feeling isn’t exactly “happy” so much as you are “okay” with everything. This is why when I first stopped my doctor gave me anti-anxiety medication to help smooth the process. Like any other drug, you shouldn’t just stop cold turkey and you should have professional help to wean you off.

      That depression feeling will go away, but it doesn’t happen in a few days. It can take quite awhile. I have a personal friend that was able to curb that depression with exercise because he was increasing his adrenalin levels which increase endorphins. So the best thing you can do is exercise, even if you feel like you are hurting (which is just your body exaggerating things), run a lot. Drink lots and lots of water!

      But honestly, you should really talk to a doctor and talk to your parents. This isn’t an easy drug to kick, even my doctor knew that. She told me she does not recommend anyone cutting off cold turkey, especially those that have been taking it long term. But once you can beat it (and you will) you’ll realize that the aches and the depression wasn’t real at all (unless you have other underlying problems). As a mom, I know I would want to know how I could help my son not be depressed, no matter if I was upset at him.. I would like to know, to be there and to get him help. <3

      • Anthony McRae says:

        This post really helped me as I read I felt like I was being freed Iam so tired of taking this mess and I want to be free from it forever I never would of thought my life would have went this way but because of pain from a bad back changed my entire life but its time for me to get my life back…….

  8. Thanks a lot for the info Amanda I really really appreciate it. Ill be sure too excersise and drink lots & lots of water. Today 5/15/13 has been my 5th day without any tramodol in my body thank god my depression has decreased from how it was I don’t feel as tired as how I used to. I’m not saying that the tiereness has disappeared but I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting these mixed emotions out of the nowhere. I can be talking with my friends, and out of the random, sadness hits me hard and my friends can notice it because I stay quiet when their talking to me and see that I’m just spacing out looking at something point blank. My friends “trip out” because they’ve been saying that they’ve notice me differently and I just keep telling them that nothing’s wrong but even though I’ve been of this drug I feel like I gotta have it. Anytime I feel sad or tired or depressed the pill is what comes to my mind and feel like I gotta have it so it’ll take the felling away. I’m hopping for these feelings to go away within two weeks but if not, then I am ganna have to talk to my parents and a doctor

    • Phil kinglabs.us says:

      Hey Chris ,

      In time those feelings will go away. It took me about 2 weeks to get back to normal. I had a neck fusion in 2006 after getting banged up in a roll over car accident. The doctor had me on vicodin , flexeril and nebutome. After a month of that I talked to my doctor about stopping that combo. well the doctor recommended tramadol and assured me that it was non addictive.
      Well after a few months on them I was pain free so i figured id taper down the dosage and in time eliminate the tramadol. Well even that approach I still had major withdraw symptoms. Tremors , anxiety plus feeling extremely ill were the initial symptoms Withdraw peaked about 7 days after the last dose. I was back to normal around 2 weeks. It was a real eye opener! Im kinda shocked how this drug is marketed. I have a friend and a family member currently taking tramadol and I see them both heading down the same road I went down. Both swear the NEED it. Im happy it was a short lived detour and im currently 100 % pain free and at my peak.

      • hey there….im so proud of you…do you think it would be 2 weeks for me during withdraws? i been through withdrawals before, but couldnt withstand….so i go find some….im like you…my dr told me tramadol was not addictive…so i trusted him….i been taking it for 9 years….how long will the withdrawals be for trammadol to be out of my system…what did you to ease the pain and to strenthen yourself…i can deal with the pain but i cant deal 2ith being nti

  9. Such a strong dedicated woman,I wish I could have the same support system as Im on much worse and know with certainty where it is all gonna end and noone sees this,its all very sad but I enjoyed reading this,ALOT.

  10. Lee Diggs says:

    I used to like them until I almost died taking those pills

  11. scared to death says:

    For me it’s the anxiety….it’s so bad that if I wasn’t married and a mother of the sweetest little girl in the world, I would kill myself. I know that sounds crazy but it’s intensely scary. I even hallucinated during one of the panic attacks. I’m a full time student as well as a busy housewife…detox time just does not exist for me. All I can do is taper and when I finally get to a low enough dose to stop, the withdraw symptoms come back. I’m truly stuck.

  12. I took hydro for 3years after brain tumor was removed. I could not stop taking them so I started to take tramidol thinking the withdrals would not be bad but its the same and they give me energy to take care of 5kids and work. Does it do anyone else this way and if it does what did you do to have energy again

  13. Hey I really hope you get this your post spoke to me my wife and I went through/are going through the same thing with some differences you are right though tramadol its addicting but don’t blame your doctor for not knowing most doctors don’t get a chance to study medications during premed and only know what they learn on the field always talk to a pharmacist if you have any questions about your medication but you should totally believe that you have the strength to stop cold turkey I know its really hard but if someone like me can do it than someone who sounds like a really good person could it could do it

  14. Your story touched home…. I am 29 yr old single mother of two beautiful children… ive battled with this since 2008… i have been through rehab once and dont know why but like someone else pointed out, when i need energy or start feeling down… my mind points me in the direction of that little white pill… i really dont want to go away from my kids again and cant really take time off of work without losing money that is much needed… i just am having trouble finding a dr. that will help me… i have no health insurance…

    • I feel u same here I’ve tried vitamins for energy but I think a Truely dedicated support team is what we need. So we could take a few weeks off but After I finish college I want to help found a foundation for people like us who want help but can’t afford it.

  15. I’m so glad to finally read someone else has had the same problem. Everything u have explained has happened to me when I have ran out a day or two early. Except when there comin out of my system I will start sneezing nonstop and I can’t go out in the sun because I can’t open my eyes…the sun kills my eyes. There’s been so many people tell me they haven’t had a problem with it, but I’ve been on then for 5 yrs for arthrtis and I have tried to get off them and its so bad I just give up. I am a mother of a 15 and a 11 yr old boys and have a 4 yr old daughter and going through the withdraws are horrible. Thanks for sharing your story!

  16. Really? Tramadol? The Army had put me on and off that for more than a decade. I keep stop taking it because from the beginning it was glorified acetaminophen. They keep prescribing out because they do not want me to be on “hard stuff” for my chronic pain. So, I live with no medication.

    • barbara says:

      Dear Abby, everyone battle addiction in different ways, Really, It replaces the neurons in our brain, our brain is being replace and when your neurons are being replace, it keep asking for it, its not a euphoric feeling it is like curing anxiety, not a high feeling but “I can deal with life feeling”.

  17. John Smith says:

    Physical dependance and addiction are two entirely different things. Addiction has to do with an uncontrollable need to obtain a substance for non-medical purposes. Just because an individual is physically dependent does not mean that they are an addict.

  18. Sallie Parker says:

    I can totally relate to you Manda… Unfortunately, due to Fibromyalgia and arthritis, I do still have to take Tramadol but I try to only take it when I desperately need it. I will never take Vicodin again… I’ve seen it destroy too many people. So proud of you for getting off the Tramadol!

    Wow Abbie, I guess some of us are just not as tough as you “Army” gals! Not all of us consider Tramadol a step above Tylenol, although I do use Advil before hitting the “heavier” stuff when necessary!

  19. Sandy Cain says:

    Amanda, you are made of steel! I applaud you all the way! For myself, I can say I was given Tramadol after a hysterectomy and I puked my guts out from it – never took it again, probably a blessing after all I read about it here. But I have learned never to listen to doctors or nurses when they talk about “lack of side effects” – I ask a pharmacist, they are the ones that know. Thank you and ((HUGS)) for a gutsy, honest posting!

  20. Debbie Welchert says:

    Good luck and I know you can do this. I thank god I have never had any problems getting off certain medications but my daughter has. In fact, it was a well known sleep medication. She had the same kind of problems you are having but she did it.

  21. Sarah Page says:

    My heart goes out to everyone that has experienced this. Thank you for this post,it helps when I realize I am not alone. I’m on long term chronic pain treatment for mitochondrial disease, but that in its self seems to be a mystery diagnosis. Mother of one sweet handful of whom gives me my strength to keep fighting the battle. I started using Garden of life green food and meal replacement on e a day and it helps keep a balance of good things in my system and detoxes the left overs of medication etc. I highly recommend <3 much love to all the mothers out there with the many different conditions that create the same struggle.

  22. Sky Evans says:

    This is a very helpful post, and very informative. Thanks!

  23. Thank you Mandy that was a much needed eye opener.

  24. Maryann D. says:

    I have heard great things about Yoga and how it can help with back pain and it is great for relaxation. I do hope it helps you a lot. I wish they can come up with more natural products to help with back pain or any type of pain instead of these drugs.

  25. Debbie Welchert says:

    Good luck on your road to recovery. I used to be a smoker and it’s been over ten years since I have smoked and there are times I still want a cigarette. So I know how hard it can be to quit. But you are doing it and I made it also.

  26. barbara says:

    Good for you, Amanda, The thing that i have with your post is that you are able to stay home, and work it out and go through the withdrawals. But for those whom have to work it is very and extremely hard. I can not stay at home and go through the withdrawals. People need to understand that all narcotics are very hard to get off. You make it some so easy, but people, let me tell you it is not. All addicts will spend the rest of their lives kicking the habit. And it is mental, I have been taking Tramadol’s over seven years and been battling this terrible addiction. Tramadol has been a crutch for many years. I have a very high stress job and demanding. i agree with you, you do need all the support you can get, doctor, family, But a lot of people are a shame to get help. what I have realized it that a lot of us start Tramadol because we was trying to kick the habit with opiates and other addictive narcotics, or whether it is methadone or whatever, we will get addictive to other things because we trying to kick the habit of another drug. sweet heart it is a very vicious cycle. I glad you are trying.

    • It’s good that you all share your stories as I know for myself and I imagine for others currently experiencing and having had experienced physical dependence on ANYTHING It helps me to relate and most importantly REMEMBER exactly how horrible and damaging drug dependence was for me. In hopes that I don’t ever repeat that life choice again. My story is like so many others. Up until a really nasty sports injury where I obliterated my knee at age 23 I was extremely healthy and stable. Good job and my son was only 6 months old. One surgery lead to another and then another until 6 years later I was having my knee replaced. It was extremely painful and the pills they gave me did indeed help the entire time. But even after knee replacement my knee still hurt a lot so I kept taking what they gave me until I noticed myself taking the meds more and more often. I knew right then I was in trouble but felt trapped with work and taking care of my son. I decided to go cold turkey like a tough guy and my entire world fell out from under me. I withdrawled so bad physically that I just had to have my mom take my son while I laid in bed shaking and sweating for almost 2 weeks. To me the worst by far was the nighttime restless leg. It exhausted me so bad yet kept me awake for days. I still have nightmares about it all 5 years later. The worst is when family/friends get an injury and come home and visually expose me to the sight of those little pills all those devious thoughts come crawling back trying to convince me somehow that it would be ok to have a few. Funny even my knee will start “hurting” again. Your mind is truly a great weapon both for you and against you. Be smart and safe and avoid drugs all together if at all possible. Take care

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge

10 Flares Twitter 2 Facebook 8 Pin It Share 0 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 0 Filament.io 10 Flares ×