“Being addicted to painkillers almost ruined my life!”

A couple of months ago, a middle – aged lady called me and asked me if I would help her with her addiction.

“What are you addicted to?” I asked, expecting her to say cocaine, alcohol, or even shopping!

“I’m addicted to codeine” she said. “I was given it two years ago for a condition in my shoulder which was very painful. If I had known at the time that it was going to be so hard coming off these damn drugs, I would never have accepted them in the first place. The GP never explained about the horrendous withdrawal symptoms.”

Apparently, this is not an uncommon occurrence.

“You are a drug addict Julia” her GP has told her, and then he cut off the very tablets she was addicted to. It was then she realised she was addicted to them. But, let’s be clear here, Julia did not WANT to take the pills. She didn’t do it for the high or the low. No, she had only taken them because she had been in severe pain. She was actually only taking 10 pills a day (the suggested dose was no more than EIGHT in 24 hours) So she was hardly abusing her prescription.

I often help addicts with various addictions; teens who are addicted to weed, others who are addicted to cocaine and heroin, alcoholics, gamblers and shopaholics. Sometimes, there are some deep-rooted anxiety problems that are keeping the addict on his choice of “drug”.

Some people may have been abused as a child and to take something like alcohol or drugs just quiets their mind of all the ghastly thoughts that have stayed there. However in Julia’s case she had been taking the painkillers for pain, then developed fibromyalgia which left her with a terrible “ brain fog” and she did find that the tables helped her a little, but apart from that it was simply for the pain.

So how could I help Julia?

She was now taking the medication that the doctor had previously prescribed her, but she was buying it from all different sources, on line, dealers, or even buying the same drug but the ones that were sold in slammer doses over the counter which meant she had to go from chemist to chemist to purchase them in case they became suspicious. This then made Julia feel like a criminal, which of course she wasn’t – she was just a normal middle aged professional lady (a teacher) who had not been given the correct information about the drug she was given and then not given the help to get off it!

During the first session we discussed everything in full and made a plan for Julia to taper the medication down extremely slowly. It would take around 8-10 weeks for her to be totally free of the drug. I insisted that she see her GP and tell him exactly what she was doing, that she was seeing me for the mental and emotional problems she was dealing with due to the addiction.

I’ll let Julia tell you the next part…

“Elaine very kindly agreed to help me. She was so good, she put up with all my tears, my anger and every emotion under the sun that I had bottled up for so long.  She even helped me work out a “tapering down plan” to get me free from that awful drug. (This was because my GP had simply cut me off the drugs) Codeine is an opiate, and it’s just as hard to come off that as it to stop cocaine or Heroin.

I had six sessions in total and week by week I felt so much better. Some of the withdrawal symptoms were awful, even though I only had mild ones as I was cutting the meds down so slowly, the insomnia was terrible – I’ve never read so many books in my life and drank so much tea at four o’ clock in the morning!! I had a few bouts of nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and other intestinal problems, I had restless leg syndrome and had a few nights at the very beginning of shivering and then sweating! It was horrid.

But… I got through it both physically and mentally all due to Elaine’s great help. I had a few emotional things that she helped me with, using hypnosis and NLP and I must say a few months on now and I am a brand, new woman! The brain fog has gone completely, the pain in my shoulder has gone and touch wood, the fibromyalgia only rears its ugly head once every few months and again, Elaine has taught me techniques to use so I don’t have to resort to painkillers again!

I realised when I was better that my life had become a cycle of shame and fear, guilt and helplessness. These days, I hardly ever even take a paracetamol for a headache let alone any other meds! But I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of Elaine at Focus Hypnotherapy. I felt that I was going crazy, and I think I certainly would have if I hadn’t found the help! There are so many other people out there just like me who are addicted to painkillers and can’t get off them – it’s so unfair that this should be allowed to happen!” Julia, Reading, Berks.

If YOU think you have an addiction problem with your pain medication, I can help you, in conjunction with your GP, taper off the medication, and treat you for the mental anguish that goes hand in glove with the withdrawal.  Nobody ever wants to think of themselves as an “addict” but that’s exactly what happens when you become reliant on certain medications.

How do I know I am addicted?

  • You need to take more and more of the medication to get the same relief
  • If you try to go without a dose of the medication you will feel ill – shaky and nauseous and will probably have a nasty headache.
  • You may experience diarrhoea and intestinal cramps.
  • You will have runny eyes and nose.
  • You may experience muscle cramps and restless legs
  • Insomnia
  • Incessant yawning
  • Brain fog
  • Loss of memory
  • Night terrors and hallucinations

If you are experiencing any or, all of the above – do get to your GP straightaway and ask for help. Most GP’s will hep you taper off the drug and give you advice. A clinical Hypnotherapist like myself can help you with the mental health aspect of the addiction, which is just as important as the physical support because you need the strength and willpower, motivation and support to stay off the drug.

Do contact me if you, or somebody you know, needs help.

Elaine Hodgins

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