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I express feeling better in writing. When I speak, I get way too emotional. Most of my most emotional outcries to my hub have been in letters. So in essence, I love forums, letters, email etc. It helps me to get everything out and stay on track, as i get very angry/upset/hurt/ etc etc. So please again excuse the incessant posts here.

Addiction:

How do you know the line between needing a medication and being dependant upon it for comfort, or pure addiction.

My hubby has a condition. . .it is an arachnoid cyst. It means that a small bit of spinal fluid has built up in his spine causing nerve pain, back pain, headaches, and other general pain. It was caused by a pipe falling on his back, on the job years ago, and it worsened when he had a brain hemmhorage.

I know, and understand, that he genuinely NEEDS this medication for pain. I am sincere in hoping that it gets better. Until he qualifies for surgery, he is unable to get off the pain medication for any amount of time without severe pain and withdrawl.

I don't know what to do to help the situation. . .I have done pain management research, doing his homework for him. I pass it all along. . . .I find doctors, I find referrals, I do everything I can to help, but everything in my heart tells me he is more than dependent on the medication.

I wish I could know if he needed it more than he wanted it. I cannot stress how much I understand that he genuinely is in pain, and that I don't mind him taking the medication. But how much I hate the behavior that comes with it. . .it is literally like an addict out on the streets looking for drugs if he doesnt have or cant afford the medications. . . .


How do you know when dependency becomes addiction???
 

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As someone who had to stop working very young (in my 20s) because of a back injury I can honestly say that if I had a choice between addiction and pain for all those years, I would have chosen addiction. The type of pain that comes from a spinal injury is not just bad pain, it's also in the bones, in the nerves, in the ankles, as headaches, etc. The nervous system misfires in multiple ways.

The behaviour that comes with it can also be him seeking to release the pain. Which is very much the same as someone with psychological pain escaping via drugs. So yes he could very well have an addiction to either the drugs themselves or to the lowered pain. For me, I do not respond to pain killers so I never had this choice. I had to live with the pain, with nothing that would reduce it, for over 5 years until the source was found and I had major spinal surgery. I can say unequivocally that if someone had given me a pill that took the pain away I would have become addicted, for certain.

I'm just throwing this out there to give you a bit of a different perspective.

Can you tell us what your issue is with this? You don't like that he is reliant on the medication or that he psychologically enjoys the mental feeling he gets from this? The emotion I am getting from you is that you want him to have his pain helped but you don't want him to enjoy the drugs that help him. The problem with this is there are no pain drugs that do not affect one's mental state. If your husband has an addictive nature and will *abuse* the pain drugs then that is something that can be very dangerous. However if he is enjoying the pills but is NOT abusing them (ie taking only what he needs for the pain) then this is like telling a child that they shouldn't enjoy their gummy vitamins.

So I guess in reply to your question I ask you: Can you live with your husband enjoying the side effects of his pain medication if he is responsible and takes the pain medication only when needed?

Remember, this kind of pain is terrifying. When I feel a spasm in my back I know that in a few hours I will be in horrible pain and it terrifies me, I've had full out panic attacks because of it. This addict on the streets behaviour, where he is desperate for his pills, could very well be that he is scared of hurting.
 

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As someone who had to stop working very young (in my 20s) because of a back injury I can honestly say that if I had a choice between addiction and pain for all those years, I would have chosen addiction. The type of pain that comes from a spinal injury is not just bad pain, it's also in the bones, in the nerves, in the ankles, as headaches, etc. The nervous system misfires in multiple ways.

The behaviour that comes with it can also be him seeking to release the pain. Which is very much the same as someone with psychological pain escaping via drugs. So yes he could very well have an addiction to either the drugs themselves or to the lowered pain. For me, I do not respond to pain killers so I never had this choice. I had to live with the pain, with nothing that would reduce it, for over 5 years until the source was found and I had major spinal surgery. I can say unequivocally that if someone had given me a pill that took the pain away I would have become addicted, for certain.

I'm just throwing this out there to give you a bit of a different perspective.

Can you tell us what your issue is with this? You don't like that he is reliant on the medication or that he psychologically enjoys the mental feeling he gets from this? The emotion I am getting from you is that you want him to have his pain helped but you don't want him to enjoy the drugs that help him. The problem with this is there are no pain drugs that do not affect one's mental state. If your husband has an addictive nature and will *abuse* the pain drugs then that is something that can be very dangerous. However if he is enjoying the pills but is NOT abusing them (ie taking only what he needs for the pain) then this is like telling a child that they shouldn't enjoy their gummy vitamins.

So I guess in reply to your question I ask you: Can you live with your husband enjoying the side effects of his pain medication if he is responsible and takes the pain medication only when needed?

Remember, this kind of pain is terrifying. When I feel a spasm in my back I know that in a few hours I will be in horrible pain and it terrifies me, I've had full out panic attacks because of it. This addict on the streets behaviour, where he is desperate for his pills, could very well be that he is scared of hurting.
The problem is that I am concerned with the over all situation of his health regarding the pain medication and it's long term affects. I don't care if he enjoys it. I would love for him to be happy. I do however care if he is seeking illegal prescription medications, which has in the past caused threat of authorities searching our home, with our 2 kids there. I want him in as least pain as possible, with the medication increasing his quality of life.

If he is loopy all the time how the heck are we supposed to raise the kids?

If he is getting himself arrested because of illegal behavior, that is what I don't like. . .

And, if he takes this medication for a prolonged period of time, how is that going to in general affect his over all health. Killing his liver doesn't seem like the right thing to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I feel like when it is to the point that he is seeking medications from friends and family and trading pill with others that it is yes abusive, and yes dangerous.
 

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yah okay, then this is more serious than your post first lets on.

Seeking medications from other people, seeking illegal medications, this is drug addiction and has nothing to do with pain. I unfortunately can't help you but many people on here can. He is using his pain as a way to have the drugs. It doesn't mean he is not in pain of course but it does mean he is probably taking more than he needs, etc. I wouldn't even bother worrying about the long term effects / it's effect on his health right now because the real problem is the addiction

btw I am sorry you are having to go through this. xox
 

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In all this midst me coming here to vent, I forgot about you.

I am soooo sorry pain medication doesn't affect you.

I can't stand to see my hub the way he is when he doesn't have anything at all. I know the feeling myself, but not well.

(this is going to sound so cliche)
I had natural child birth with my son for 14 hours. I wanted it natural....So no meds, and then we had to emergency c-section because there were problems. It was the most aweful pain in my life. But it did not even compare to the gall bladder.

I am not sure why such a simple little issue as a gall bladder affected me so much, but I can see so much of that feeling in him when he doesn't have anything. . .

It was only a couple of days, but it was unbearable for me, so i cannot imagine how you guys feel like that ALL of the time.

I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't get still, couldn't concentrate. . .

How do you cope? Was your surgery helpful at all, if you don't mind me asking??

Are there any pain management tips you can give me that might help him?

. . .we are working on keeping his medications "as prescribed"

I ahve let him know my feelings about this...I think he understands. I even compromised on one particular medication that I think he doesn't need, but I don't really say alot about it, because I know he "thinks" he needs it. . .so I give him that one, as long as the dr. will rx it, even though the side effects are tremendously dangerous for him. (They cause him to sleep walk and get him self into trouble) So I think we are making progress, as long as he will stay within the boundaries.
 

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Pain pills are very difficult to let go. Even people with legitimate issues and prescriptions become addicted. He is best to tell his Dr. and to be honest, then the dr can help him taper and maybe get him on something non narcotic. Good luck, its a hard road and those pain meds that drs like to dish out like candy....are the devil!
 

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I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I hate to put a damper on things, but chronic pain is a very difficult issue to manage.

Another thing is people think that surgery is the answer. Well it may solve the issue for some people, but it doesn't solve it for everyone. In fact I've taken care of many people who had worse pains after back surgery and needed to take even more pain medication :(

It really is a fine line between pain medication for pain management and chronic pain medication because you've developed a dependence. You have to realize that on top of dependence, people do develop a tolerance for narcotics and end up needing more and more to effectively manage their pain.

I'm simply letting you know the facts so that you two can figure out how you really want to tackle this issue.

I don't know if this will help, but I've known two people who used alternative methods for their chronic back pain. Today they are no longer in pain. You can talk to me if you want to hear more on this subject.

But it sounds like your situation is not really chronic pain management issue, but more of a tolerance and dependence to pain medication issue.
 

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An addict will hurt themselves to be in pain to get the prescription. An addict would rather have a chronic ailment. It is hard to tell if he originally hurt himself then was prescribed something - so you don't really know if he is going to friends for meds because of the fear of the pain and wanting it to stop or, the need to be high and avoid withdrawals. The thing you might try is to find out how willing he is to end the pain - ie, imagine there is a miracle operation thy would end the chronic pain for good. An addict would not want to go in for that procedure, no way. If he is unwilling to take steps in ending the pain such as see specialists - or perhaps do research on procedures to fix the issue then likely he prefers being job this state to receive the medication. Twenty percent of people who take narcotic pain medications find the high to be the most amazing feeling ever whereas the other 80 percent just feel pain going away and little euphoria.
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You have got yourself one large problem. My wife has an opiate addiction (pain pills) and it has literally destroyed our marriage. She hid it from me for years but finally told me. You can read my journal for the horrid details. Let me warn you though my wife was better on the pills than when she got off. The depression she suffered trying to get clean is what ended our marriage. She was miserable. Things that would make a normal parent happy were mundane to her. She finally cheated on me as a replacement high and has since became a WAW and left me to tend to a small business, 3 and 6 year olds.
 
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