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Ex-Tramadol addict - worried about long term mental health
  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Ex-Tramadol addict - worried about long term mental health

    Hello people

    I am looking for feedback if you could be so kind to help. Basically I am a reformed Tramadol abuser with a 10 year history of pretty high level abuse. I have finally quit now, and this time I do believe it to be 'final' because for the first time ever I feel quite terrified of the drug and have zero inclination to fall off the wagon and resume abusing these nasty little pills. It feels great, after all these years of being a slave to the drug, to feel free of it. That in and of itself is a lovely feeling, but I have terrible fears that I have caused irreparable long term damage to my brain. These fears have been mild, low level concerns until this morning when I stumbled upon an article suggesting that long term abusers can suffer mental health issues, owing to changes in the brain chemistry. This article has scared the life out of me and now at 45 years old, I am petrified at the prospect of serious mental health issues lying in wait for me at some point. Im genuinely a little scared about it, to be honest.

    Basically my story goes like this. I had a pretty nasty ear infection - the type which infects the small bones behind the ear - in 2008. A local doctor gave me Tramadol which I had never heard of before and told me to take 2 per day. I didnt expect any kind of 'high' butoh man did I get one! I suddenly had so much energy and verve for life: usual boring mundane tasks like sweeping out the yard or washing the car I would actually look forward to. I work from home, and spreadsheets have always been a chore for me, but are necessary for the work I do from time to time, suddenly I found myself enjoying jobs like that. The pills gave me an energy and focus that I have never felt before, although I cant remember that being an issue before I started taking them. I guess they sent me into turbo mode and everything suddenly became interesting. Eventually my prescription ran out, and normal life resumed. This wasn't an issue and I functioned quite normally without them, but I craved that buzz and so went off to find some more pills. I live in Thailand (though I am English). Walk into any pharmacy in Thailand, and the world is your oyster. Antibiotics and penicillin at just a few bucks without any questions is a relative bonus, but the more heavy stuff is just as freely available including, but not limited to, most benzos, muscle relaxers, tramadol, codeine etc. I would hit up various phramacies every few days and before I realized it, I was taking 10 tramadol a day.

    I would estimate between 2008 and 2012 I had an on/off thing going on, where I would take around 10 a day for a few months, and then stop. I realized I was an addict and by now, side affects are kicking in such as rashes, perspiring real easy, unable to sleep - or sleeping too much, and generally not taking care of myself. So after a few months I would stop, suffer the withdrawal and stay clean for a few months, before slipping again. Yah, I guess I had 3 or 4 years like that, taking them on and off intermittently.

    Around 2012 through 2015, I was taking them pretty much all the time, with maybe just a couple months per year of being clean. The level of abuse over this period doubled and I was taking around 15 to 25 per day, on average.

    Without question 2017 was by far the worst year. My Dad died in 2016, and in 2017 I moved to a new city, brought a house, got married, and then unfortunately my business started struggling. I lost my largest customer (through no fault of my own) and money became an issue. Instead of working hard to rescue the business I started realy abusing the tramadol and just vegetating all day watching documentaries, drifting in and out of sleep. I would lie to my lovely wife and tell her I was working on-line all night just so I could vegetate all day in the spare room. The levels of abuse during this period might shock you - I would take 5 or 6 every 4 or 5 hours, taking around 30 per day on a good day and maybe 40 on a bad day. I would have constant mini-siezures where I would start jerking out of nowhere - a bit like when you are sleeping and wake from a dream in which you have fallen and suddenly jerk awake - like that, but every hour or so.

    One day I took 6 pills while I was watering the garden. 10 minutes later I totally forgot I had taken the 6 pills and took another 6. One hour later, I was extremely sick and had to be taken to hospital. At this point I broke down and told the wife everything, and went into cold turkey. That was the hardest 2 weeks of my life, the withdraw was quite out of this world. I managed 3 days cold turkey, and have done many cold turkeys before from tramadol, but this was different. I felt i was losing my mind. Eventualy the doctor gave me anxiety pills which I took for 2 weeks, that realy helped.

    I managed 2 months off the pills, totally clean and felt quite alright. Given thr amount I was taken, I was surprised how normal I felt for those two months. I cant rectal feeling any 'bad' long term affects during those two months and felt quite normal, apart from a few work related worry issues that is. I fell off the wagon after 2 months, last Christmas, and since then have been taking around 8 pills per day. Maybe some days, 12. This time around I have always been aware to keep it as low in dose as possible and have never returned to the crazy high levels of taking 30 to 40 a day.

    5 weeks ago, I stopped again. Cold turkey once more, only this time aided by the miracle drug baclofen. These cut the withdraw symptoms out I would say as much as 80%. No brain zaps, no night sweating, no anxiety, just a low grade flu type feeling. I took baclofen for just 3 days and felt totaly normal by day 4. I am 5 weeks in now and for the first time in 10 years feel repulsed by Tramadol. Again, for the first time ever I realize what I have been doing to myself and the thought of taking just one pill makes me feel sick. I will truly never ever go back. I mean that. You have to believe me. I truly hate them now. I sometimes have a bad moment where I might feel a little bored or uninspired and think 'Ill just buy some and take today only' but that thought is immediately replaced with 'dont be a fool' and I can honestly say in the last 5 weeks there has never been a moment where I have realy and truly thought about buying some. I hate them, and will never ever go back.

    But I also realize that I have most certainly caused long term damage to my brain in some way, and the thought of that truly scares me. I am terrified that one day I will find myself in a mental ward shouting random obscenities and passing nurses, totally unable to function like a normal human being. Since I have stopped, I have been to a top hospital and had a full health screening and passed with flying colors. I was there for a full day and had lots of tests. It turns out I am remarkably healthy, given that I am a smoker and ex addict. I was sure they would report to me that my kidneys, heart and liver are ruined but on the contrary, all is fine. I started jogging 2 months before I quit, and since I quit I have been eating vegetables every day, taking vitamins, quit bread, sugar, pasta... And have gone from 107 kilos to 92 kilos. I am doing my best to get to a healthy lifestyle and that is something I have never bothered with before.

    But I have no idea what is going on in my brain, in terms of chemistry. I doubt the hospital check up looked for that kind of thing and so I have no idea what, if any, damage has been done. How do I feel? Not too bad. I do have low level depression - very low level - but I think that owes to the state of my business and have money worries, more than anything. I do have a very subtle 'foggy' feeling in my head most days, a tiny bit dizzy sometimes, but that might just be my brain chemistry figuring itself out, or maybe I just have a head cold or something. I would have to say for the most part, I feel quite ok. Not amazing, but ok.

    But I am worried. A physical issue I am prepared for and could handle in my own way, but a mental issue scares the life out of me. I am only 5 weeks since quitting. Maybe a few months down the line I will suffer some form of brain chemistry related issue and lose my mind? Given the abuse over the years, how could that not be a possibility? Im scared. Honestly, genuinely scared that I have in some way damaged my brain and at some point int he future will suffer the consequences of this in a very scary way.

    Should I be worried? And if so, is there anything I can do?

    Any feedback appreciated - thanks so much for taking the time to read this.

  2. #2
    Ricky71 is offline Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Florida
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    2,033

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Spike View Post
    Hello people

    I am looking for feedback if you could be so kind to help. Basically I am a reformed Tramadol abuser with a 10 year history of pretty high level abuse. I have finally quit now, and this time I do believe it to be 'final' because for the first time ever I feel quite terrified of the drug and have zero inclination to fall off the wagon and resume abusing these nasty little pills. It feels great, after all these years of being a slave to the drug, to feel free of it. That in and of itself is a lovely feeling, but I have terrible fears that I have caused irreparable long term damage to my brain. These fears have been mild, low level concerns until this morning when I stumbled upon an article suggesting that long term abusers can suffer mental health issues, owing to changes in the brain chemistry. This article has scared the life out of me and now at 45 years old, I am petrified at the prospect of serious mental health issues lying in wait for me at some point. Im genuinely a little scared about it, to be honest.

    Basically my story goes like this. I had a pretty nasty ear infection - the type which infects the small bones behind the ear - in 2008. A local doctor gave me Tramadol which I had never heard of before and told me to take 2 per day. I didnt expect any kind of 'high' butoh man did I get one! I suddenly had so much energy and verve for life: usual boring mundane tasks like sweeping out the yard or washing the car I would actually look forward to. I work from home, and spreadsheets have always been a chore for me, but are necessary for the work I do from time to time, suddenly I found myself enjoying jobs like that. The pills gave me an energy and focus that I have never felt before, although I cant remember that being an issue before I started taking them. I guess they sent me into turbo mode and everything suddenly became interesting. Eventually my prescription ran out, and normal life resumed. This wasn't an issue and I functioned quite normally without them, but I craved that buzz and so went off to find some more pills. I live in Thailand (though I am English). Walk into any pharmacy in Thailand, and the world is your oyster. Antibiotics and penicillin at just a few bucks without any questions is a relative bonus, but the more heavy stuff is just as freely available including, but not limited to, most benzos, muscle relaxers, tramadol, codeine etc. I would hit up various phramacies every few days and before I realized it, I was taking 10 tramadol a day.

    I would estimate between 2008 and 2012 I had an on/off thing going on, where I would take around 10 a day for a few months, and then stop. I realized I was an addict and by now, side affects are kicking in such as rashes, perspiring real easy, unable to sleep - or sleeping too much, and generally not taking care of myself. So after a few months I would stop, suffer the withdrawal and stay clean for a few months, before slipping again. Yah, I guess I had 3 or 4 years like that, taking them on and off intermittently.

    Around 2012 through 2015, I was taking them pretty much all the time, with maybe just a couple months per year of being clean. The level of abuse over this period doubled and I was taking around 15 to 25 per day, on average.

    Without question 2017 was by far the worst year. My Dad died in 2016, and in 2017 I moved to a new city, brought a house, got married, and then unfortunately my business started struggling. I lost my largest customer (through no fault of my own) and money became an issue. Instead of working hard to rescue the business I started realy abusing the tramadol and just vegetating all day watching documentaries, drifting in and out of sleep. I would lie to my lovely wife and tell her I was working on-line all night just so I could vegetate all day in the spare room. The levels of abuse during this period might shock you - I would take 5 or 6 every 4 or 5 hours, taking around 30 per day on a good day and maybe 40 on a bad day. I would have constant mini-siezures where I would start jerking out of nowhere - a bit like when you are sleeping and wake from a dream in which you have fallen and suddenly jerk awake - like that, but every hour or so.

    One day I took 6 pills while I was watering the garden. 10 minutes later I totally forgot I had taken the 6 pills and took another 6. One hour later, I was extremely sick and had to be taken to hospital. At this point I broke down and told the wife everything, and went into cold turkey. That was the hardest 2 weeks of my life, the withdraw was quite out of this world. I managed 3 days cold turkey, and have done many cold turkeys before from tramadol, but this was different. I felt i was losing my mind. Eventualy the doctor gave me anxiety pills which I took for 2 weeks, that realy helped.

    I managed 2 months off the pills, totally clean and felt quite alright. Given thr amount I was taken, I was surprised how normal I felt for those two months. I cant rectal feeling any 'bad' long term affects during those two months and felt quite normal, apart from a few work related worry issues that is. I fell off the wagon after 2 months, last Christmas, and since then have been taking around 8 pills per day. Maybe some days, 12. This time around I have always been aware to keep it as low in dose as possible and have never returned to the crazy high levels of taking 30 to 40 a day.

    5 weeks ago, I stopped again. Cold turkey once more, only this time aided by the miracle drug baclofen. These cut the withdraw symptoms out I would say as much as 80%. No brain zaps, no night sweating, no anxiety, just a low grade flu type feeling. I took baclofen for just 3 days and felt totaly normal by day 4. I am 5 weeks in now and for the first time in 10 years feel repulsed by Tramadol. Again, for the first time ever I realize what I have been doing to myself and the thought of taking just one pill makes me feel sick. I will truly never ever go back. I mean that. You have to believe me. I truly hate them now. I sometimes have a bad moment where I might feel a little bored or uninspired and think 'Ill just buy some and take today only' but that thought is immediately replaced with 'dont be a fool' and I can honestly say in the last 5 weeks there has never been a moment where I have realy and truly thought about buying some. I hate them, and will never ever go back.

    But I also realize that I have most certainly caused long term damage to my brain in some way, and the thought of that truly scares me. I am terrified that one day I will find myself in a mental ward shouting random obscenities and passing nurses, totally unable to function like a normal human being. Since I have stopped, I have been to a top hospital and had a full health screening and passed with flying colors. I was there for a full day and had lots of tests. It turns out I am remarkably healthy, given that I am a smoker and ex addict. I was sure they would report to me that my kidneys, heart and liver are ruined but on the contrary, all is fine. I started jogging 2 months before I quit, and since I quit I have been eating vegetables every day, taking vitamins, quit bread, sugar, pasta... And have gone from 107 kilos to 92 kilos. I am doing my best to get to a healthy lifestyle and that is something I have never bothered with before.

    But I have no idea what is going on in my brain, in terms of chemistry. I doubt the hospital check up looked for that kind of thing and so I have no idea what, if any, damage has been done. How do I feel? Not too bad. I do have low level depression - very low level - but I think that owes to the state of my business and have money worries, more than anything. I do have a very subtle 'foggy' feeling in my head most days, a tiny bit dizzy sometimes, but that might just be my brain chemistry figuring itself out, or maybe I just have a head cold or something. I would have to say for the most part, I feel quite ok. Not amazing, but ok.

    But I am worried. A physical issue I am prepared for and could handle in my own way, but a mental issue scares the life out of me. I am only 5 weeks since quitting. Maybe a few months down the line I will suffer some form of brain chemistry related issue and lose my mind? Given the abuse over the years, how could that not be a possibility? Im scared. Honestly, genuinely scared that I have in some way damaged my brain and at some point int he future will suffer the consequences of this in a very scary way.

    Should I be worried? And if so, is there anything I can do?

    Any feedback appreciated - thanks so much for taking the time to read this.

    Hello Harry, welcome to the forum. Congratulations on getting off the trams! Tramadol is a pretty nasty med as you know? It's like an opiate and an antidepressant all in one so the withdrawals are really brutal, again as you well know? I can't believe the amounts of tramadol that you were taking, you're one lucky fellow to not of had a fatal seizure!

    As to your question, who really knows if there is permanent damage, although it's concerning I wouldn't dwell on it? If you are feeling as well as you do now after just five weeks off the trams then in my opinion things will only continue to get better as more clean time passes? Your brain needs to heal, the wires are crossed from the tramadol so to speak, your brain needs to produce all the necessary chemicals on its own again now without the drug and that just takes time?

    I wouldn't worry yourself, just be happy that you are finally off that garbage for good! Just continue with what you are doing, healthy eating, exercise, vitamins, etc...? Your eating habits alone can do wonders for brain function especially if you are mainly consuming a plant based diet? Do some research on amino acids concerning brain function as well? I believe that those are the best things that you can do for yourself going forward! Congrats again on getting off that junk, now stay off it and I believe you will be just fine! Take care... God bless us all!

  3. #3
    Ricky71 is offline Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky71 View Post
    Hello Harry, welcome to the forum. Congratulations on getting off the trams! Tramadol is a pretty nasty med as you know? It's like an opiate and an antidepressant all in one so the withdrawals are really brutal, again as you well know? I can't believe the amounts of tramadol that you were taking, you're one lucky fellow to not of had a fatal seizure!

    As to your question, who really knows if there is permanent damage, although it's concerning I wouldn't dwell on it? If you are feeling as well as you do now after just five weeks off the trams then in my opinion things will only continue to get better as more clean time passes? Your brain needs to heal, the wires are crossed from the tramadol so to speak, your brain needs to produce all the necessary chemicals on its own again now without the drug and that just takes time?

    I wouldn't worry yourself, just be happy that you are finally off that garbage for good! Just continue with what you are doing, healthy eating, exercise, vitamins, etc...? Your eating habits alone can do wonders for brain function especially if you are mainly consuming a plant based diet? Do some research on amino acids concerning brain function as well? I believe that those are the best things that you can do for yourself going forward! Congrats again on getting off that junk, now stay off it and I believe you will be just fine! Take care... God bless us all!

    Harry, I seen that you were on the forum yesterday but you didn't update your thread? Do you have any other questions or concerns? How are you feeling about the tramadol now? Update when you get a chance? Be well... God bless us all!

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