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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Understanding pill addictions

‘I’m an addict waiting for my dealer to come through. I have the shakes, nausea, vomiting, pain and never-ending  headaches. I’ve got to get a fix.’

I didn’t hear that from someone else. It’s me. Sorta.

Background

In the past 30 to 45 days I’ve been feeling unwell more often than not. I’ve shared my health issues here before, but if you’re new please click the “health” link in this paragraph to catch up. My current issues started more than a month ago with just feeling a little off then I had an “attack,” which means my body shuts down and is bombarded by all-over pain (some throbbing, some constant), nausea, complete exhaustion, inability to concentrate, increased sun sensitivity… etcetera. That’s some of what I experience when dealing with sjogren’s syndrome and fibromyalgia.

That attack lasted a week, which I spent mostly in bed. The next week when I planned to catch up my grandbaby was born. The busyness of my daughter giving birth brought on a mild attack. Then one of my children had strep throat, which made me a little sick as well… All of this plus some (it would be TMI to continue). You can imagine, right?

You can also imagine how housework and paperwork can get behind. Now here’s where we get to the understanding of addictions: One of the worse things about these attacks and my prescribed medications are the side effects and residual effects.

Withdrawal

When I’m enduring an attack it’s difficult to understand the most rudimentary of tasks. For instance, understanding a brief letter or article can take 20 times longer than normal. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t realize a med was low and the renewed prescription hadn’t been processed. Had I noticed I would have driven the 40 minutes to pick it up instead of waiting for it to arrive from the Veteran’s Hospital.

Because I was recovering from the attack I didn’t realize right away what was happening. For more than a week, I was nauseated, agitated, had headaches, stomach pain as well as complete body pain, chills, mild sweats… After a week of feeling like death, another week of feeling like death revived and all the excitement in between, which is what happens when you have four children, I’m finally feeling normal. In fact, today I was scared to say, ‘I feel good.’ I’m detoxified… And, in the world’s craziest irony, the meds arrived yesterday.

Addiction

While the medication was getting out of my system, I had an overwhelming feeling of doing whatever it takes to never deal with that again. It helped me to intellectually understand how soccer moms and business executives can become addicted to pain medicine and the like.

According to DrugAbuse.com, prescription drug abuse means:

“… taking a prescription drug that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed.”

This definition doesn’t apply to me because I was taking it as instructed, but I can understand and empathize with prescription drug abusers.

Five Cents

If you know someone who takes a lot of medication and often feels unwell give them a hand sometimes to help them stay on track. It’s no fun, and rather depressing, to deal with invisible illnesses alone.

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