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Mom addicted to cough pills

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by helpmymama, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. helpmymama

    helpmymama Member

    I'm very concerned about my mom. About a year ago, my polydrug addict, severe alcoholic, jailbird younger brother introduced my mom to generic "triple c's", and she's been so hooked on them ever since that she recently totalled her car in a DUI (in combination with Ambien).

    The ones she takes are Promethazine HCl and Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide (I don't know what dosage & can't recall the brand now). I know that she takes a minimum of one 16 pill box per day, although maybe once in a while she skips a day here and there, and many other times takes more.

    I fear it may seriously harm or even kill her. Firstly, she's prescribed generic Adderall xr (60mg per day), generic Klonopin (I don't know how many but 1mg pills and seemingly a lot), 30 10mg Ambien per month, and a host of other things she rarely takes (Latuda, Abilify, Zoloft, Lisinopril, and very possibly others I haven't noticed.) She's no longer prescribed opiates, but used to be for whatever reason she made up. Not to mention her and my dad having gotten addicted to opiates in the past when gigantic amounts of them were prescribed in the past...

    My mom suffers from (what used to be called) Paranoid/Undifferentiated Schizophrenia, for which she's been on disability for my whole life. She dislikes psych meds even when they're very effective & won't take them. She believes she's narcoleptic, but I've never once seen any evidence of it in my life. I think she mistook nodding off from my dad's oxycodone to be an episode of narcolepsy, and being convinced of it, convinced a kindly & old fashioned, trusting country doctor to prescribe various things for her that she believed she needed.

    I've seen lots of weird stuff and my brothers and I suffered from her being extremely abusive, cruel and neglectful (as our dad allowed until he saw a way out for himself)...other times though, she could be really sweet and generous (especially to non-family), depending on her - no doubt, *at times* difficult or impossible to control - caprices. I've also seen or shall I say endured her both sober and under the influence of nearly every prescription feel-good drug available, plis others, & encountered things so bizarre and plain crazy that I can't begin to describe them - yet this cough pill business is the worst.

    If communication with her was extremely difficult, frustrating, and draining before, now it's even harder - by far - than it was when she was just smoking weed or popping oxies. Back then (as a teen) I just had to slip a note under her door and wait a few days to see her in order to be shamed and insulted; now I don't need an appointment but I have to say the same thing 3-8x to be heard - which is not to say understood - often only to get a creepy, hollow, hyena-like laugh in response, or something totally irrelevant and absurd, a monosyllabic reply, or silence, unless I'm lucky and she manages to parrot my words back.

    She talks about how the dead are communicating with her and telling her to do things - things that she either mightily resists or unquestionably obeys. She sleeps with a tiny Gideon's bible inbetween her legs because she thinks it will stop the cough pill hallucinations (or in her mind, a recently deceased enemy) from raping her in her sleep, and thinks (incorrectly) that it stops her from talking and shouting in her sleep.

    This is different from the Schizophrenia-only or even Schizophrenia+prescription drugs madness; it's much more intense, bizarre, often very dark or negative in content, and so detached from reality that it shocks even me who has basically seen it all with her. It wasn't pretty before, but it's really bad now.

    Other times she is sweet and generous and gets along with me just fine, saying very kind things about me, even talking of converting to my religion or even giving me a gift, but it's a roll of the dice - or a spin of the barrel - what her mood & mindset will be at any given moment, as it changes so quickly.

    Even though I usually walk on eggshells, doing everything I can to try to please/appease her, it doesn't stop her from randomly going nuts on me, much less taking me for granted. That's "normal" but this cough pill crap magnifies it all to the extent that it makes me see that she's in even greater need of major help than ever before, & that I'm willing to do whatever's within my limited powers to help her - at least to get off these damn cold pills. At the end of the day, she is my mother.

    When she's (rarely) off this crap she seems clearer, sharper/quicker, and a bit more, well, human - a noticeable improvement indeed - but after a day insists that she lacks energy to function, & that these pills provide that. She doesn't see how it's impossible at times to have even a simple conversation, or watch a movie together.

    At least before the cough pills, her "idiosyncrasies" often had SOME connection to the real world, however false, bizarre, etc. and were a bit less malevolent/dark. Sometimes she could even be reasoned with to an extent, but now her (at least partly) cough pill-fuelled delusions become immovable beliefs or precious secrets to be held onto. The weird perceptions created by this stuff she's been taking obscene amounts of for so long have become more integral to her (mis)understanding of the world than most of her previous delusions have, cementing them further in her brain/mind and influencing her in ways more destructive than ever before - at least that is my perception.

    I can't help but wonder, especially after her DUI, what on earth will become of her if she doesn't change something radically and soon. I don't want her life to end in some tragic way, and especially over freaking cough pills...or wind up with an even more serious disability. She's a child of God who has a terrible sickness, and so she has my love & compassion.

    Anyway, behaviorial issues aside, I'm very concerned about the physical effects (organ/brain damage, etc) of taking 16-32 (+?) cough pills a day, almost everyday, for over a year now. Not even counting the other stuff and potential interactions, that alone is very concerning. She insists that I must produce some proof that this is very dangerous, and hates when I point out negative effects due to it. If anyone has any resources about that I'd love to take a look. However she's treated me, she's still my mom, & I want to help her, if possible.

    Any advice, research/literature, support, etc would be very welcome and gratefully received. I'm at a total loss as to what to do except for to pray for her and be as kind and patient as I can. I may not be able to help her as I wish, but even if I could make a small difference, it would be good.

    Thank you so much in advance to those who may read this & especially to those who would kindly provide a response.