If you're considering getting off of Suboxone and you've been on it for years, please read all of this, I'll try to keep it all relevant.
I took Oxy's for years, got put on Suboxone, and realized that any time I dropped below 2mg, I got really sick, depressed, etc.. you know the story.
A lot of people tell you that your body will never truly return to normal after having those kind of drugs in your system for so long. THIS IS FALSE!
It may feel like the suboxone doesn't affect you anymore, it just keeps you from being sick. That's what I thought too, until I finally successfully detoxed off of it. I won't lie, the detox part sucks, and yes, it takes a good month or two to stop feeling the physical and mental effects. It's a process.
It's also totally worth it. I am speaking from experience. I never realized how much the stuff affected me because I was comparing my current state to what things were like when I was using/selling/buying/doing all the other crazy stuff people do when they're addicted (I'm sure you have some stories that you're not proud of from when you were using, if you weren't taking it for medical reasons). Oh and also, I'm sure there are a lot of you out there who have been taking the same dosage for so long that you just always feel slightly less than ideal and have just gotten used to it. Or you just keep upping your dosage by small amounts over time.
I wake up now, and I have energy, more energy than I remember having, maybe because I forgot what normal felt like. I do stuff, I see people, I go out, I make plans, I buy groceries every paycheck, I run errands that need to be run. I get more done. I have way fewer sick days from work (now that I think about it, I don't remember taking a sick day these last 6 months). Also, if I get hurt, need a tooth pulled, break a bone, etc. and they have to give me something for the pain, that something works the way it's supposed to again and there's no suboxone in my system to block the effects of it. I don't have to worry about bringing suboxone with me, or get petrified if I realize I left it at home when I've stayed the night at a friend's house. I have nothing I have to take to keep me alive and normal. I feel free. I don't feel like c**p for the first hour in the morning. And more importantly, I don't have to see a doctor for suboxone, buy them from people, or budget money out for them. No more having to mention I'm on it or lying about being on it when a doctor asks me if I'm on any medications.
So, if you are wondering whether there is hope to be completely free from that little orange pill (or strip, as many people are getting now), there is. If you want information on the detox process itself, there are already millions of posts from people out there about it, that's why I tried not to bore you with that info in this post. I'm just trying to clear the rumors. I know everyone is different, I will not dispute that; all I can do is give you my own personal experience.
My doctor had put me on many traditional pain killers, but they were all a roller coaster. They'd work for several months, then I'd suddenly start feeling cruddy toward dosing time. It became an issue of constantly feeling like I was in withdrawal, which is counter-productive for someone in pain. I'd always been compliant with medication, never exceeding my doctor's dosing instructions, but my body would just constantly adapt to every medication. When I was put on suboxone, my doctor told me that it would provide me wih stable pain relief and that, due to its long half-life, I would not feel as though I were in withdrawal day in and day out because my body would not adapt to it.
I tell you...I wish I knew, then, what I know today! Doctors who prescribe this garbage long-term should be placed on a treatment of the medication, themselves! Due to a change in jobs (I accepted a new position and started a new life), I lost coverage that allowed me to continue to see my primary doctor. One of the effects of my decision to move on, of course, was that I'd no longer have the ability to be prescribed suboxone until I chose a new doctor (under my new job's benefits package). And this would only be if I could convince my brand new doctor to prescribe the medication "for pain" (doesn't require the special license a physician needs if they are prescribing suboxone for chemical dependency purposes). Good luck on making that happen!
So I made the decision to quit the medication. The doctor who prescribed it told me to reduce my dosage by half a tab each week...that doing this would make me avoid withdrawal. I was on 6mg per day (3 of the 2mg tablets). So basically, my former doctor told me to drop by 1mg per week. Guess what? Going that route is too harsh for someone who has been on the medication for years! I made my own plan (using my remaining pills, knowing I wouldn't have more) to reduce my dosage by a quarter of a tab every two weeks. I'm now down to just a quarter of a tablet a day, and plan to continue this for six more days. Then I will use the pill I dissolved in water as droplets when needed.
Things were ok...not good, but not awful...until I dropped to 1mg per day. Now, I'm on 0.5mg per day and the withdrawals are very unpleasant. Skin crawling sensations and constant spikes/dips in my body temperature (I constantly fluctuate from sweating like a pig to freezing) are the worst right now. I'm also having a hard time keeping solid foods down, so I'm drinking Ensure to get something in me. Diarrhea is there, but hasn't been crippling. I've got minor leg cramping that nothing seems to alleviate right now, so I'm certain that's the "muscle aches" part of withdrawal. And like many out there, I have to work every day, so hiding the fact that I feel like garbage is draining.
But I want this poison out of my body. I'd not sought out medications for any kind of recreational purposes, but my end result is just as if I had. And it's thanks to a doctor. Yes, I should have better informed myself of what I was getting into, but I put my trust in my doctor, and suboxone was just like taking a multi-vitamin for me...just something I was regularly taking. Now, the withdrawal symptoms increase in intensity every day, and I don't know whether or not my tapering method has eased things or just prolonged the misery. Had I not tapered as I did, would things be ten times worse for me right now?
And, naturally, there's a huge psychological component to this that wasn't there for me before. I'm down to the last of the medication. Before, while tapering, though I didn't feel super, I knew that I had something available in the event that the withdrawal symptoms became too intense...a safety blanket, so to speak. Though I never gave in and upped my dosage again, temporarily, to feel better, it was a comfort that I could. But now, as I near the end of my suboxone road, I'm scared that I will soon have nothing to combat my withdrawal. Doctors always seem to minimize withdrawal, not getting how miserably crippling it is. When they give dosing and tapering instructions for these medications, they often over-prescribe the amount of medication needed to control pain and then under-prescribe the amount needed for tapering (combined with dropping dosage amounts far too quickly). Though I will remain strong, I now understand why so many people will do anything (out of desperation) to avoid feeling like this.
Sorry for the volume! Just really wanted to say "thank you" for posting that inspirational message! It's a very good thing for me to be reminded that this won't last forever. And that, when I'm done, the debilitating fatigue and alarming lack of "feeling alive" will melt away. Now, if I can just somehow get through this extreme discomfort. Never again will I feel like a pill is my ball and chain...that I can't be out late wih friends because I'll miss my dose and feel cruddy...that I'll have to fight the pharmacy system to release the medication a week early because I'm taking a planned vacation and they say it's "too early"...that I have to worry about any surgeries or procedures where pain control is highly important, but the suboxone really complicates things. Just...never again!
U shouldnt be to sick do it slower, starting from 2 mg it should take a full 90 days, i just did it following the tapering system found when u google"the art of tapering off suboxone". It was rough but i did not suffer and i was stuck on 3mg for 7 years. But u gotta understand sleep will not come easy for the duration. Once u accept that, u can do it. Easier said then done. Well how sick r u being sick n tired. Sacrificing comfortable sleep for a small part of your life will be well worth it, I promise. All your good feelings which have been suspended quickly come back, but even better, cause u have struggled so.