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Tapering - Struggling with multiple addictions. Advice please??

Discussion in 'Other drug addiction' started by Gimpy, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Gimpy

    Gimpy Silver Member

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    I'll try to keep this as short and simple as I can. I've been "sober" from cannabis (my drug of choice) for about 18 months now, which I was a heavy daily smoker for 5 years. The problem is that when I quit I suffered from depersonalization and panic disorder. I was prescribed 1mg of clonazepam a day as needed from my doctor to help with the horrible anxiety. He warned me to take them (two .5mg tablets) only when absolutely necessary. I honestly didn't listen to him, being an overall addict in general. I took the 1mg every day. After about 6 months I was up to 2mg a day, and still am.

    Six months after that, I was diagnosed with ADHD by another doctor. He prescribed me 30mgs of Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) a day and bumped up my dose by 10mg every month. When I was up to 50mg, I told him that it wasn't doing much for me anymore and that it really made me crash at the end of the day. He said he could switch me to 50mg Adderall, spacing doses throughout the day; I agreed.

    Now, I'm sure many people are aware that 50mgs of Vyvanse is not even nearly equivalent to 50mgs of Adderall. My doctor must have gotten his PhD out of a crackerjack box because he thought it was an even dose. I knew what I was getting myself into, but I never imagined that it would be this bad.

    So here I am 18 months after quitting marijuana, addicted to 2 milligrams of clonazepam, 50 of Adderall, caffeine (yes, and it's a struggle too), and worst of all, cigarettes (a pack a day).

    I can't even get out of bed anymore without Adderall. Without Adderall, I can't deal with the crash if I don't take clonazepam, which I also take for the panic disorder. Without clonazepam, my god.. I can't even explain how horrifying it is. Then add the nicotine and caffeine on top of this.

    This is turning my life to shit, I went from being a pot-smoker to a compulsive pill-popper and I know it's only going to get worse and worse, not to mention that I still want to get high. I spend close to four-thousand dollars a year on medication alone. What should I taper off of first? How do I taper? I'd have to say the clonazepam is hardest to taper, but the others are extremely difficult too.

    Can anyone help me? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Trying Again

    Trying Again Newbie

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    I'm sorry to hear what you're going through. I don't have much advice because I also have multiple addictions as well as mental health issues. I just wanted to say I really relate to the big tangled web of multiple addiction. One feeds off another, one goes down, another goes up. This has been my life and it's hitting hard right now.

    I hope someone has some good advice to offer because I will take it on board too! I think the thing is to get rid of one thing at a time. Your benzo is going to be he hardest and most painful withdrawal of the lot so why not see if you can get on a really slow taper with Valium according to the Ashton manual. Once you're on a comfortable taper with that you could start looking at your adderdall and start reducing that.

    I know what you mean about 'worst of all, smoking' I stopped 15 years ago and started again a few months ago and went straight up to a packet a day. I'm on zyban to help and today is day 3 with no smokes! I am willing to bet my caffeine intake will sky rocket again now though. I've struggled with addiction to every drug under the sun and a serious eating disorder for 20 years or so and it feels like you'll never get out. I know how you feel so I just wanted to post to acknowledge your pain and wish you the best for getting some help.
     
  3. Sense

    Sense Newbie

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    I'm very sorry about that. :/

    It is hard to give advice in this case, but I'd like to share some thoughts that went through my mind as I read your post:
    - first things first: find a good psychiatrist.
    - ask him to help you quit cigarrettes. It helped me a lot to use Zoloft + nicotine patches, after I struggled for over a decade. Also, you wouldn't abuse Zoloft, so it would be safe overall.
    - i insist on cigarrettes because I strongly believe we underestimate our mood fluctuations caused by steep highs and lows on blood nicotine levels throughout the day. It is really hard to quit anything while you are on cigarrettes, imho. Zyban causes aggitation and anxiety on many patients - you could try, but it did not work for me (and for several other people I know).
    - about adderall, my personal method to quit was... To quit abruptly and be cold turkey for a few days, without trying to compensate with other substances. To say I felt terrible was an understatement. But then again, let yourself be... Think of it this way, you are in a situation where being drug free is a trip on its own.
    - benzodiazepines will be a little harder to shoo away. If you can't sleep, my favourite sleeping pills are cyclobenzaprine, muscle relaxant. Work a lot better than benzos for me and has a low abuse potential - not much fun, you just feel reaaally sleepy and crappy for a day or two if you take one too many.
    - i see that your problem is that you have an addict behaviour in general, right? This may not be the right forum or topic, but, as science proves again and again, meditation is very effective in such cases. I recommend nam-myoho-renge-kyo (a.k.a. daimoku) - a mantra meant to be chanted while sitting down, staring at a blank spot on a wall for as long as you please. It means to devote oneself to the mystery of cause and effect in life, and it speaks of a beautiful, mindful philosophy. Google/youtube it so you learn how to pronounce in case you are interested. I am a woman of science and medicine, but I cant explain how, i just know this chanting will work. I feel kind of ashamed for promoting "religion", and I apologize in advance if I offend anyone by doing this. But this is a suggestion, of course, and a very good one at that, but I just mean to give you a concrete example of what you can do (as opposed to a vague 'yea, meditation helps and thats that').

    Wish you all the luck in the world,

    Sense added 32 Minutes and 9 Seconds later...

    Man, I quit a little over a month ago and I have nightmares about smoking, I feel terrible... All it takes is ONE cigarrette and you are back, that is non negotiable - tobacco addiction seems to carve its way into your brain in a way no other drug does... Maybe opiates
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  4. monkeyking

    monkeyking Titanium Member

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    Hey there squirt, got yourself in quite a pickle eh? Well, you have four addictions going on, and each one should be tapered. Benzos are dangerous to quit cold turkey, while others may be too much to handle quitting, so you'll need to taper.

    Benzo - there's a correct formula on this site somewhere... But I believe you need to drop 0.5mg from
    Your use every 1-2 weeks. So this week, continue your 2mg, then next week, only do 1.5mg, and so on until you quit, which should be 1 - 1.5 months. Anxiety sucks, and you can't be getting addicted to benzos. If you can't handle anxiety naturally, try less addicting/zero recreational benzos like etizolam. But you need to remember, you shouldn't be on it all day or every day. You should only use them when you feel genuine panic, since that's when their effects will actually work properly.

    Adderall - same as benzo, taper 0.5 - 1 a week until off. This will be longer since your dose is so high. You can of course increase the increments of tapering to speed up the process, as it wont be as bad as the benzo. Then, you'll have a choice to make: control ADHD naturally or with medicine? Currently there's one non-stimulant medicine out there, and I recommend it if you need it for ADHD: Straterra. There's no possible way to get addicted as it is not a stimulant, and there's no recreational value. It's a good medicine and I recommend it. Look it up. It won't "fix" you but it'll let you adapt to having ADHD, and eventually you can stop taking straterra while gaining the mental tools to control ADHD :D

    Caffeine: this one is tough, since it is everywhere. I'm
    Not sure how much you drink, but I'd say limit it to 2 cups in the morning (healthy dose). You don't have to battle this one yet. You're going to be struggling with the above two. So once you beat the benzo and adderall, then start on caffeine. But I do believe 2 cups is the magic number.

    Nicotine: pack a day is rough on the lungs. I recommend cutting cigs by half every 1-2 weeks. So if you buy a pack, split the contents between two empty packs, and that'll be it for two days. Next week, you would go half again (so a quarter a pack a day) and so on. Once you're on your last week, which should be like a cig a day, start including the patch (ONLY of you need it). This process will be the longest, but the slower pace will help, since nicotine addiction is a tough cookie.

    Remember that you're battling 4 addictions at the same time, so it'll be tough. We can't be there to hold your hand unfortunately, but we can be here on these forums. If you falter or feel like you're going to relapse, come and post immediately, it'll be good for you mentally.

    It'll suck, but you can do it. No one will judge you here, and most people know what addictions are like.

    Good luck out there.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  5. D0pe

    D0pe Newbie

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    I am in the same boat as you.. Trying to juggle additions and depression.

    Right now i am on Suboxone, Xanax, Caffeine, Nicotine and have a thing for sugar..

    Such bad and nasty habits that really take a toll on your body.. I can admit that its hard to even break a coffee habit. Its also hard for me to figure what one i should let go.. As each one seems to mingle very good with the other. Caffeine and Nicotine are almost a must with my morning dose of Xanax and Suboxone..

    I switched from Cig's to a very nice E-Cig.. I have been doing that for a year and it was worth it and my health did improve allot better when i quit cigs.. Granted i am still a slave to the nicotine right now.

    If i had to chose to drop 2 habits.. It would be the benzos and the suboxone... The toughest to kick in my opinion..

    It would be nice to be one of those people that do not do nothing and just super efficient with diet, life, exercise, and not taking anything below caffeine as a drug.

    I have done it in the past and it was easy once you get through the tough withdrawals.

    I never realized how bad nicotine was addiction wise.. Then when i went to prison and sometime you would not be able to get tobacco at all when it was dry. I could actually feel withdrawal symptoms, I was edgy, nervous, thinking about a cig, and really just irritated... Aftre 3 days of withdrawals from nicotine , Which were barable.. I had got a cig and it was like weight lifting off my shoulders..

    Underestimated indeed.. Nicotine and Caffeine..

    Some people do not even thing they have a problem with the stuff because it is readily available. And saying you are addicted to such things gets you little attention or sympathy in most cases.

    For me on the otherhand.. I can sympathize with anyone that is hooked on a substance, I know how it is and how it effects your whole body, mind and soul..

    Good luck mate.. I will be battling with you....

    I agree with the poster talking about the slower process of quitting tobacco.. At one time i was able to switch from Cigs to nicotine gum/lozengez very easily. It was a cake walk, But then i was just addicted to the cessation products.

    I am also going to consult a better doctor to sort my stuff out.. I would gladly take Adderall if i coul drop suboxone, benzos, and nicotine..

    Maybe a losing battle but then again the human spirit is strong and all of us are capable of reaching unexpected goals. We can do it if we really want it, I think for me it coems down to what do a i value the most.. My life of course.. This realization has helped out alot in my slow recovery.. I think i might have to dig deeper and find that perfect meditative state and peice of mind..

    Again good luck..