My mum's addicted to morphine and the hospital keep giving her more.

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Hi i really need some advice.. for the past 5 or so years my mum has been prescribed morphine, codine (and so on) by various doctors and the hospital. Originally she was prescribed it because she had gaul stones but after having her gaul bladder removed she claimed she needed it because she still had pain. Since the op (3 years + ago) she's been in and out of hospital where they have not discovered any reason for this pain. It recently became clear that she has a serious problem with morphine and codine and she's become dependant on them. Me and my family told the doctors what's happening and they've said they'd call her in and monitor the situation.

When they saw her they immediately rang an ambulance (she was 6 stone and looked like a zombie) the hospital (knowing what was going on) just sent her off with more drugs.. she went through a large bottle of morphine and a box of codine in just 4 days. When they ran out and she couldn't get more she shut down. She wouldn't eat or drink or even get out of bed, she was delirious and even tried hurting herself. So they put her back in hospital and said it was a miracle she was still standing and they would give her the help she needed.

We've since found out that they're still just giving her morphine despite knowing that this is the problem! I'm so angry, all the hospital does is put some pink back in her cheeks and push her out the door with armfulls of morphine and other drugs. She falls back into the way she was and the cycle repeats! I don't know what to do and it's ruining my family. Can anyone give me advice on what I need to do to fix this? How do i get them to stop giving the drugs and help her instead? Thanks

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  • Posted

    Dear Alyssa. I am so sorry to hear about your mum's situation... any kind of addiction is very difficult to live with ( I was an alcoholic ) in your mum's case they have to be careful, it is extremely dangerous to just stop taking a drug you are addicted to and that your body needs... the best and only answer really is to reduce that amount of drugs SLOWLY AND UNDER SUPERVISION... does you mum see A drugs councillor, she really needs to to support both her and the rest of your family....

    I have to say, your poor mum has been very unlucky, I have been on TRAMADOL, AND CODEINE for very many years without any problems whatsoever... I can just stop taking them at any time.... of course the pain comes back, but I have no other side effects at all....

    Your mum really needs a drug councillor, ask your GP for help.... or you can go to ADAS at one of their walk in centre ( look in the phone book ) I went to CAS who were an amazing support to me ALWAYS... I truly wish your mum well, get all the help you can for her and your family... I wish you all big DEIRDRE xx

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  • Posted

    Hi Alyssa

    I agree with what Deirdre has said.  Your mum has become so addicted to opiates she really does need professional drug councilling help.  The only problem is that she will need to want it they wont help on your say so - I have just been in a similar position with my daughter trying to help me but they wouldn't do anything without I gave my permission.

    We contacted Social Services (I live on the Isle of Man) and I have to say I cannot fault the help I received - I know they get some really bad reports when they do something wrong but I never hear praise for them when they get things right.

    I was no where near as bad as your mum sounds but I was in a very bad place.  I'd lost 2 stone in weight was on BuTrans Patches and taking co-codomol.  I couldn't eat, couldn't lift my head off the pillow, was delerious, my skin was on fire and I kept having cold then hot sweats.  I'd suffered a heart attack in July and thought I was reacting to the heart drugs which I need to keep me alive.  Ive been in an out of hospital 4 times since July and it was only this last time (4 weeks ago) that my cardiac consultant sat and discussed with me and told me there is no way the heart meds could be giving me the symptoms I was getting - I concluded from this discussion that it could only be the opiate drugs I was taking so did some research when I got out of hospital. 

    I went to my daughters for a week while waiting to go into a rest home for 2 weeks to recouperate.  I had no idea until I did this research that what my doctor had prescribed could make me so ill.  I've been taking co-codomol for more than 8 years and had BuTras patches for 15 months.  I think I was reasonably ok on the co-codomol but was taking more and more because the pain was getting worse.  Since starting the BuTrans patches my weight gradually fell off - losing just over a stone in 10 months but then I lost almost another stone in 6 weeks.  My body was at such a low ebb I couldn't fight the effect the drugs were having on me.  Which is what is probably happening to your mum. 

    I went 'cold turkey' but I wouldn't advise your mum to do that.  I'm 21 days on from stopping using any opiates and I'm still suffering.  I get bouts of terrible diarrhea but I've found that taking kaolin 3 times a days helps.  I also suddenly get terrible panick attacks but my daughter has taught me deep breathing exercises and they do help (she is very much into yoga and meditation - thank god) Im also still experiencing hot and cold sweats which leave me weak.  Experts will tell you the drugs will be out of your system within 2 weeks but they don't tell you how long you will suffer with the side effects.

    I'd suggest you either go via your GP and ask to be referred to a drug councillor or go direct to a drug councilling organisation or even try Social Services.  Your mum needs help and there's really only you that can get this help.  Doctors and hospitals are a waste of space when it comes to drug addiction whethere self inflicted addiction or prescribed. 

    Your mum needs to drink at least 2 litres of water a day to try and flush some of the chemicals thru her system.  Get some nourishment in her - I found the strawberry flavoured Complain mixed with milk were easy to take and they have something like 400 calories in a single satchet.  I hate milk but I held my breath and just drank the drink thru a straw - found all the other suppliment drinks vile.  Your mum must put some weight on to help her body fight the effect of the drugs.

    There's a hard road ahead but thankfully your mum has you.  I don't know where I would be without my wonderful daughter who sat with me for 3 days while I got over the worst first few days - she spoon fed me and talked me thru my panick attacks - she is a very special person and I think you sound very much like her.

    Good luck - go fight your mum's corner and dont take any messing.  Remember doctors are not gods they are only trying to do their best with the information we give to them.  Most of them will listen and do want to help.

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  • Posted

    Hi there, I am really sorry to hear about your mums condition :-(.

    Morphine is Highly addictive! and the hospital should not be giving more, but reducing this if necessary. is your GP helping at all?

    I would try and seek out a councillor either from referral by your GP or the NHS.

    I really hope your mum and your family find an answer very soon.

    Take care


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  • Posted

    Hi elysha 

             sorry to hear about your mums situation,however the problem is your mum may not realise the level of addiction she has .... morphine is addictive and will change chemicals in the brain making it harder for people to realise theres a  problem 

             whats needed her is 

    1) a trusting doctor to understand the situation 

    2) the doctor to implement a reduction ( or at least a stabilization) so your mum can at least take a set amount which will avoid running out of medication 

    3) a medication such as subutex which will block opiate receptors but it also contains buprenorphine which will essentially avoid withdrawal symptoms 

                  did they actually diagnose gallstones ? .... i ask this as i had a problem which mimmicked gallstones but it turned out to be a spinal issue ... it was a slipped disc at T6/T7 which presents symptoms which feel like gallstones ...

               does she get any problems with her back .. does she also have any problems with her side ( eg pressure feeling ) ..... a MRI scan can check for any spinal problems such as disc herniations ect 

               as a rule gallstones will 

    A) cause intense pain after meals 

    B) can cause defered pain such as bad back 

                however a simple ultrasound can check for gallstones and also check if any stones are in the bile duct which would cause extreme pain .... even a simple cholecystectomy ( gallstone removal ) would be a option however many surgeons only remove the gallbladder if your in pain all the time ....

               in summary morphine is a good medication but can mask symptoms of other conditions making it a vicious circle ..... and until you can discover what was causing the pain the overall problem will continue 

               whatever you do elysha dont withhold your mums morphine .. her body needs it and it should only be reduced by a doctor ... but she needs a trusting doctor who will listen to her and more importantly you ( as many doctors dont like input from other family members ) 

                i wish you well and i hope your mum gets the help she needs 

                    best wishes 

                       bri xx

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