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Long Term Effects of Painkillers

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know the long term emotional and psychological effects of painkillers besides addiction? A family member has been on them for months and months. She is taking Darvon and Vicoden together.
post #2 of 21
well, if she is taking enough opiates to significantly alter her mental state, she can expect a certain degree of emotional numbing and indifference to the world. The thing is, she may not be taking that high of a dose. One huge problem with using opiates for long term pain management is that huge tolerance can build up and the meds can lose their effectiveness. Also, it is possible to be physically dependent to a drug without being addicted. This is likely the case for your aunt (if she is dependent) if she doesn't actively seek the mental state of the drug.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Actually it's my mother. She truly has become indifferent to many things. She makes comments that she does not care about anything any more. She seems to say things without thinking first, too. She was always somewhat that way but it is worsening. She take the pills around the clock and it does not take all her pain away. She may have to go on something stronger like oxycontin. She has cancer.



Thanks for your reply. I guess I'm just trying to understand what effects the pills are having. I see the emotional numbing for sure, too. I guess it has to be that way since she isn't open to anything else but the pills. She may be to ill for anything else but pills, too.
post #4 of 21
Darvon is a relative of methadone, a synthetic opiate. Apparently Raplph Nader is against it. I don't know why yet, so I would recommend reading "Worst pill, best pills" at your library. (published by his organization)
post #5 of 21
"well, if she is taking enough opiates to significantly alter her mental state, she can expect a certain degree of emotional numbing and indifference to the world."



This is absolutely not so. If anyone wants my personal experience with opioid users, who take it for pain under doctor's supervision, e-mail me directly.



"The thing is, she may not be taking that high of a dose. One huge problem with using opiates for long term pain management is that huge tolerance can build up and the meds can lose their effectiveness."



This is another total fallacy. Bull**** invented by the "drug-war" nuts. Again, ask for my personal experience. Most pain patients have been on the exact same dose for dozens, scores of years.



There is no-one that knows me that thinks I am emotionally numb or indifferent to the world. Of course anyone can become this way for any number of reasons -- including untreated or inadequately controlled chronic pain. Opioids do not cause it. When used properly -- they can help prevent it.



I don't recommend using opioids for emotional pain, only for physical pain. Proper pain management should include a psychological evalution to make sure people will use the opioids properly. It should also include education as to the true effects and separate them from the myths, and cultural concepts. Too often people hear the myths and cultural concepts -- and then act them out. This may appear to be the drug causing, for example, "emotional detachment" -- but it may really be that the person is aware of other people's awareness of their ongoing drug treatment, and then citing their drug use as pretext for acting out emotional detachment, when it is really just something they want to do or have to do for some other reason. The drug is a handy scapegoat. Education as to the real effects of the drug and counseling can prevent this. Opioids should not be prescribed without this, in the western world where people have culturally imbued pre-formed erroneous information about the drugs.
post #6 of 21
Darvon is often considered to be ineffective for pain in many patients. Only a minority benefit from it. I don't think it is harmful in short term use. It is generally considered to be useless tho, by pain experts. However by mixing it with the hydrocodone in vicodone [edited for spelling: Vicodin], a synergistic pain-relief effect may occur. The same doctor should be in control of all of the patient's opioids.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies.
post #8 of 21
"Does anyone know the long term emotional and psychological effects of painkillers besides addiction?"



If prescribed properly, and if patients understand how to use opioids, the psychological effects can be much more beneficial than harmful. At the end of life, being able to die in not so much pain, helps the dying person communciate with their families, straighten things out with family members before they die, heal old wounds, settle old disagreements, and explain more easily how much they love their family members and caretaker, and understand it better when they hear how much their family members and caretakers love them.



Opioids are a tool, a powerful tool. Like many tools they can be used correctly or incorrectly.



Perhaps some doctors do not use them correctly; do not adequately explain what the purpose of relieving pain is, and what the patient can accomplish with the additional pain-free time they are given.



I might add that some opioids are entirely natural -- exist in nature, and are derived from the natural source in which they exist (opium poppies -- unassumming little meadow flowers that grow in every part of the world except the frozen arctic).
post #9 of 21
"She makes comments that she does not care about anything any more."



Saying "i don't care any more" is often a way of communicating that the person believes going on living is just too painful and tiring, and they don't want to work at it any more. It is perhaps more tactful to communicate this to one's family and caretakers more directly but not everyone does. It is perhaps more tactful to say "I feel too weak and tired to continue my fight for survival, but as long as you are still strong enough, you should continue."
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
thanks for your comments soilman but I think you get very defensive on this topic of painkillers. You have made about 4 posts explaining how you feel.



It IS a fact that painkillers do addict and I never said it was something I was complaining about. If for any reason she had to go off of them they would have to wean her off with other things for sure.



I did not put the phrase about her not caring about things into proper perspective. When I do something for her that is nice she says things like "whatever" or "I don't care about that" or "I could care less." And in a tone that hurts, too.



I know they can be used correctly for the right purpuse and have never complained of that.



I believe that these drugs do things to the mind if they are natural entitys or not.



I would really like for this topic to be closed because I don't want a war going on here about my mother who is dying.



This is getting to hurting my feelings because it's more about your supporting of the opoids. And I wanted more input on the ill effects that DO exist whether.
post #11 of 21
i think it's important that we focus on posting answers to birdlady's questions here. birdlady, are you looking for suggestions on how you might approach your mother about her opiod use and how it is affecting you, and your other family members? and maybe alternatives that have less damaging consequences for both her, and the people who love her?



i don't think soilman was trying to start a "war"; i believe he was offering a different perspective. and it is his typical "modus operandi" to state his views in several different posts in the same thread; he's done it that way for years. those obviously weren't the kinds of answers you were looking for, so perhaps someone else can weigh in with a different opinion or suggestions?
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Wow Kreeli, just when I start to forget you're a mom.... .



I was on Vicodin for several months when I was 8, and then again for a year and a half when I was 11. They switched me off of it when I went to a new doctor that felt it the risk of addiction (I come from a long line of alcoholics) and the inability to feel pain leading to further injury of my spine. Every doctor seems to have a different opinion on painkillers, specifically these sorts.



Is (has) your Mother seen a psychologist since she was diagnosed? They would probably be best equipped to pick up on negative effects (besides the physical). The mind is an incredibly powerful thing in both sickness and recovery. And of course, second (and third) opinions are a good idea when dealing with all doctors if you feel like there may be something wrong.



Sorry, rambling.
post #13 of 21
Birdlady writes "This is getting to hurting my feelings because it's more about your supporting of the opoids."



I'm trying to support your mother not opioids, whom I feel you may possibly be harming as a result of not supporting opioids being prescribed for her, by doctors who may very well be giving her the very best treatment that is available, in this regard, or who may be offering opioids without adequate psychological support. I just want you to consider those possibilities, that's all. Before you jump to any conclusions.



Also, since I have an illness for which opioids have been prescribed, I would like it if my family would be more supportive of me in my decision to use them, instead of making negative assumpitions, based on cultural values (such as the one's ebola cited, above ), which are not borne out by the scientific facts. However if the patient herself has such negative values, they will predispose her to psychological harm. That is why psychological evaluation is recommended. Psychological counseling for family members, in regard to how to interact with a family member in dying, in pain, and taking opioids to relieve the pain, would perhaps be a good idea also.



Indeed, the multi-discipline pain center which prescribed them for me inisted on a psychological interview with me before prescribing them, and wanted to know how I was going to explain things to my family members.



birdlady writes "I wanted more input on the ill effects that DO exist whether."



Your original message did not say that, it said "Does anyone know the long term emotional and psychological effects" so I tried to present a balanced view of both the negative and positive effects. If you only want to learn about the negative effects, that is your choice, and I will limit my comments to telling you only about the negative effects. That will not be conducive to your learning the truth, and the whole truth, however.



bl: "It IS a fact that painkillers do addict and I never said it was something I was complaining about. If for any reason she had to go off of them they would have to wean her off with other things for sure."



Pain specialists tend to call the fact that one has unpleasant symtoms as a result of simply stopping opioids, "dependence" rather than "addiction." "Addiction" is what they call it when the person harms their self, in the process of obtaining or using the drug, in a way not according to how they prescribed that the drug be used. I don't necessarily agree with these definitions, but these are the definitions pain doctors use, which differ somewhat from the terms' usage in general parlance. Indeed, if your mother had to go off them, which is not likely if she has a terminal illness, she should be weaned off slowly. Other drugs may help but may not be entirely necessary.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Birdlady

Actually it's my mother. She truly has become indifferent to many things. She makes comments that she does not care about anything any more. She seems to say things without thinking first, too. She was always somewhat that way but it is worsening. She take the pills around the clock and it does not take all her pain away. She may have to go on something stronger like oxycontin. She has cancer.



Thanks for your reply. I guess I'm just trying to understand what effects the pills are having. I see the emotional numbing for sure, too. I guess it has to be that way since she isn't open to anything else but the pills. She may be to ill for anything else but pills, too.

It would be difficult seeing a loved one not only in pain, but seemingly depressed or indifferent. I agree that she should see a psychologist who specializes in the terminally ill. If anything, I would think that feeling numb may be a way of her coping with her condition. Even if the pills are causing this reaction, if there are no alternatives it is ultimately up to her what is important to her, the pain, or her mental state.



You may want to look into Hospice care eventually. They specialize in treating the whole person, and allowing them to endure their illness through to the end with emphasis on pain relief, their spirit, their psyche, and comfort without trying to give people unecessary medical treatments.
post #15 of 21
Birdlady- here are a few links regarding the information and uses of Darvon and Vicodin... hopefully you will find it useful.





Information on acetaminophen and hydrocodone



Information for propoxyphene
post #16 of 21
I want to add, Hospice care also helps the family, too, including after the person has passed.



End of life is very difficult for everyone, bc it is a time when people may feel there are issues that are difficult to talk about, even life long issues, and time is running out, but people feel very guilty bringing any of it up. If you are the primary caregiver for your mother right now, I would recommend that you find a support group for people in your position. Caregiving for someone with a terminal illness is one of the hardest things a person can do.



I sincerely hope that things for you, your mother and family go as well as they possibly can.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
"oxycontin" is a very bad drug from what i am told

i will try and find some links to where i got that info from
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
k i cant find it but from what i read here it is a extremly addictive drug.



http://www.cannabisculture.com/cgi/u...rue#Post485748





and here



http://www.cannabisculture.com/cgi/u...=&fpart=1&vc=1
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
dont think i am an idiot but im darn sure i put that there for a reason.... i just cant find what i was reading that made me put that there. it was in this topic though.....
post #20 of 21
Here is some info. on OxyContin and the risk factors. Albeit, like most pain killers, they are often addicting and create a self dependence.



OxyContin information:



more OxyContin info.



OxyContin Abuse information



Entire list of info. on OxyContin
post #21 of 21
Note: I am a layperson. take my opinion with a shaker of salt.



re Oxycontin:



oxycontin contains oxycodone in a time-release form and carries similar advantages and disadvantages to other opiates. One unique advantage it has is it's time-release mechanism. This helps keep the level of drug in the blood-stream more constant so the patient has a sufficient but not excessive level of drug to manage his or her pain.



>> "well, if she is taking enough opiates to significantly alter her mental state, she can expect a certain degree of emotional numbing and indifference to the world."



This is absolutely not so. If anyone wants my personal experience with opioid users, who take it for pain under doctor's supervision, e-mail me directly. >>



I was going of experiences from my personal bioassays of opiates. These were done without prescriptions or medical supervision. Also, I worded what I said to strongly. Chances are that she wouldn't notice any emotional numbing. I was just noting that it could be a possibility.



>>"The thing is, she may not be taking that high of a dose. One huge problem with using opiates for long term pain management is that huge tolerance can build up and the meds can lose their effectiveness."



This is another total fallacy. Bull**** invented by the "drug-war" nuts. Again, ask for my personal experience. Most pain patients have been on the exact same dose for dozens, scores of years. >>



I've read primary studies that conflict with this. You probably know more than me though.



ebola
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