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Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome (EDS) Do You Have It?

With this post, I thought that I would talk about something that most of you have probably never heard of; Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome (EDS).  For years, I questioned myself on why I felt compelled to use a drug which was seemingly destroying my life in slow and agonizing fashion. I wondered why it was only the opiates that I enjoyed abusing, but not so much any other drugs. Don’t get me wrong,  I did my fair share of pot smoking, but it never felt as good to me as the opiates did. I finally just figured that opiates/opioids were my “drug of choice,” that I really loved the pleasure that they gave me, and that was that. But, the question still lingered as time passed.

The older I got, the more I researched the cause of my addiction. I read articles from all different viewpoints and opinions on the subject.  It wasn’t until a couple years ago, that I started entertaining the fact that maybe I was lacking some sort of natural chemical that was causing me to pop vicodin’s. That’s when I stumbled upon this idea of endorphin deficiency, so I began my research just to see how deep the rabbit hole would go.

As humans, our brain creates natural chemicals that are nearly identical to the active ingredients found in prescription or illegal opiates and opioids. Those chemicals are called endorphins, dynorphins and enkephalins. They serve to alleviate pain, when necessary, and to give us an overall sense of well-being. The production of these endogenous (internal) opioids is increased during times of excitement, pain and orgasm. But, what happens to you if your body has trouble with the production of these natural opiates? That’s what I wanted to find out.

Growing up, I was always an introvert by nature. I felt different in that it was hard for me to deal with crowds. I was hypersensitive to everything around me, and very emotionally sensitive as well. I would get sick easily, I felt deep emotional connections to strangers when I would see them in a state of pain. I always just figured that I was a “Mama’s Boy.” It wasn’t until I tried opiates for the first time, that I realized something had been missing in my life. When on an opiate buzz, I was talkative, unafraid and outgoing. I felt like I could hang with everyone on a social level, I felt invincible. Now, before you start telling me that anyone would feel amazing after a few vicodin’s, I would have to say that that is completely false. After I began my love afair with opiate’s, I naturally thought that everyone else would love it too, but I was wrong. A lot of my friend’s hated the stuff. They said it made them feel sick, queezy and anti-social. I couldn’t understand why, maybe it was because their brain’s already had all the endorphins they needed, and any outside opiates would result in “overkill.” Either way, I could care less, I had found my niche, and that’s all that mattered.

Fast forward to the present day, after years of opiate abuse, I’ve finally figured out better ways to deal with my endorphin deficiency without an external source of opiates. Super extreme workouts where I do wind sprints until I feel like I’m going to throw up, are one way that I give my endorphin system the boost that it needs to keep me feeling good. Or, taking risks or overcoming fears that shoot adrenaline through my body and hold me over for a day or so, have become the norm. I’m fast becoming an entrepreneur because I need that high-stress level to continually release my much needed fix day in and day out. And, my massive consumption of anything chocolate has started raising some serious eyebrows. I’ve become a slave to activities that push me to my utter limit. That’s the only way that I can feel normal. Otherwise, I fall into states of depression that put me on that pill-popping path to self-destruction. It’s the easy way (drugs) or the hard way (extremism), no in-between.

I recently stumbled across this website which explained my ailment in utter detail. All of those characteristics that I had grown up with are mentioned on this site as symptoms of low endogenous opioid levels. It was a light-bulb moment for me, and I hope that it opens some of your eyes into what exactly many of us are dealing with.

“If you’ve tried opiates/opioids, and already know they can make you feel ‘normal’, that’s another confirmation that listening to me is a good idea. The key concept here for you to understand, is that by consuming opioids from an external source, you are properly compensating for your endogenous opioid deficiency by consuming a substance that is nearly identical to what your body is lacking.”

Modern medicine has been severely handicapped by DEA regulation of the very drugs that can help us cope with endogenous opioid deficiency. Doctor’s are forced to focus on other areas of the brain (seratonin/dopamine), and prescribe drugs (Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac etc…) that only mask the issue. Don’t get me wrong, I hated having to use vicodin to make me feel better because it was only a temporary solution, and when I would stop, I would be worse off then when I started. But, I also hate having to be so damn extreme in my ways, in order to jumpstart my brain into producing it’s own opiates. Sometimes, I’m unable to exercise or do acupunture to feel better, so I slowly start backsliding into depression. What about those people who can’t exercise at all, what kind of relief do they get?

It’s important to understand the problem before it can be addressed, but the “understanding” part has been hampered for years and years. We can only hope that someday there will be safe and effective drugs that address this issue, and that in the near future,  we can see recovery centers open up that focus strictly on increasing the brain’s natural ability to generate opiates instead of just covering up the real reason why we get hooked on vicodin, oxycontin and other opioids.


1 creepy { 04.23.09 at 10:36 am }

Theres another explanation for this.. Untreated depressive disorders can leave you feeling achey and tired like you have the flu coming on.
Ive been on a couple antidepressants and I can tell when theyre not taken or absorbed properly because I start to feel like I have a cold.
There are chemicals in chocolate, especially dark chocolate, that help depression.

2 jkb { 05.08.09 at 12:20 am }

I have been searching and searching for some decent info on this topic. Your description of yourself was practically identical to me and my experience. I have been on subox for about six weeks and I’ve starting having wierd, changing, intense pain that I have never had before. Also, I suddenly developed an overwhelming desire for candy. I have never in my life had a sweet tooth. I’ve tried talking with my drs about this and they told me it was emotional. I know my body and i know thats not the case. I would love any other info you may have- thanks for the post.

3 admin { 05.08.09 at 8:48 am }


Pretty weird huh? I personally haven’t chatted with Doc about my situation, because I’d prefer to keep my personal battles to myself. Plus, 9 times out of 10, they have no clue what the hell you’re talking about. Like you said, you know your body the best, and it’s hard for them to understand exactly what’s going on with you. For x amount of years you’ve felt one way, then all of a sudden something’s different. 🙂

From what I’ve read, the candy, chocolate in particular, releases the same type of endorphins that would be substituted by the opiates. So, with those opiates, you’ve activated a certain part of your brain that might not have been so active before…thus the cravings. Now that I know I’m not the only one, I’m gonna do a bit more research to see what the deal is. I have your email address, would you mind if I sent you a PM if I come up with anything?

Btw, good luck with the Subox. I’ve heard good and bad things about it, but the main thing is that withdrawals from that stuff are no joke, so be sure to taper slowly.

Take care

4 GEB { 06.14.09 at 9:05 am }

I have been searching for information on EDS since I learned about Low Dose Naltrexone in an addiction forum. After learning that with proper dosing LDN stimulates exogenous opiate production, I wondered if I would help with Depression. I don’t know if EDS was a problem before I took opiates, but I do wonder if it is a factor in Depression now. I have not responded well to SSRIs as they exacerbate anxiety to an intolerable degree. I found Reardon Metal’s site “Ignorance Kills”, and I related to the symptoms of EDS. I engaged in very risky behavior from childhood just to feel good.

I was able to get my hands on some Naltrexone, but only in 50mg strength. I will have to compound it myself to get a somewhat accruate way of dosing. But I’m going to try it. I have already been given the green light to take 50mg a day, ( liver tox screen OK ), so I don’t see any harm in trying it in Low Dose to see if it helps. I reason that this is a safer approach than self-medicating with opiates or alcohol and will not create more hungry receptor cells.

5 GEB { 06.14.09 at 2:18 pm }

uh oh. I meant LDN stimulates endogenous opiate production.

6 Adam { 06.14.09 at 9:16 pm }


Thanks for sharing. I’d love to hear how it works out for you. I’ve been considering LDN quite some time now, but I haven’t been able to pursue it just yet. It would be great to hear from someone who has experienced it first hand, so please do come back and share with the rest of us.

Best of luck to you.

7 KJ { 07.23.09 at 5:50 pm }

Hey I just came across your site..You got some good info, I never even really researched into EDS before. When I read “When on an opiate buzz, I was talkative, unafraid and outgoing. I felt like I could hang with everyone on a social level, I felt invincible,” that really hit home with me, I myself was long an introvert, and using opiates basically made me a whole different person socially. I was very uninhibited and unafraid in almost all social situations, but not in an alcohol like way, but in a smooth, natural way. As bad as abusing opiates is, it was weird because in certain situations it completely helped me out, for example in seminar classes (college student) where I had to talk a lot. These situations always made me very nervous, but when on opiates I became Mr. smooth. Anyways, if you have any input on natural remedies to deal with PAWS (post acute withdrawal) it would be greatly appreciated. I have been using opiates for over 3 years now, semi-heavily for two, and for the past year or so Ive come to realize I have a problem, as I found my self needing 5 or 6 30mg oxy’s to maintain my what had become daily fix. I am currently attempting, maybe for the 4th or 5th time, to detox and never go back. I’m doing about a 20 day tapered suboxone treatment, followed by a heavy herbal/vitamin regimine. What worries me is how I will feel 1 month or 2 months out as far as depression, poor motivation, lethargy, and that “empty feeling” you get when your not using.

8 Adam { 07.23.09 at 10:37 pm }


The “benefits” kind of make you wish you didn’t have to quit huh? 🙂 You probably are dealing with some form of EDS, but since it’s not a syndrome that is very well known in the medical field, chances are that you can’t get the right treatment for it. Careful with the Sub’s, they can cause killer wd’s, so taper slowly.

You can pretty much guarantee the post-withdrawal depression, unless you have some extremely powerful spiritual awakening. It is of my belief that the 12-step approach is effective in most part because of that spiritual awakening, but some times it takes a little bit longer than we want it to. Aside from really putting an effort into trying to self-medicate and regulate/monitor your dosage of traditional opiates, you have some other options. I’ve noticed that exercise, the intense interval/circuit training type, has done wonders for regulating my natural endorphin levels. It also gives me a ton of confidence, which can serve the same purpose the opiates did. If you’re into martial arts, and depending on your physical condition, you should think about taking up a jiu-jitsu, judo or muay thai class somewhere. Martial arts has taught me how to be tough mentally, something that is necessary for long term sobriety. Take up public speaking classes, force yourself into social situations, etc… Face down increasingly difficult fears. Not only does that build your confidence, it releases adrenaline and dopamine. Both great natural drugs.

Natural remedies for PAWS can be found in these two posts:

It might sound counter to what this site is about, but one thing you need to understand is that it’s possible you have some sort of chemical imbalance. Besides the obvious pleasure that opiates give us, we also use it to feel somewhat normal in a way. I have horrible RLS, especially in the mornings…I hate it. If there was some way for me to regulate my opiate intake on a daily basis, and with an amount that would not cause long-term problems, then I really don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to do that, should I choose to. As a matter of fact, I have done that in the past. Contrary to everyone’s impression that I was an “addict,” I was able to regulate my dose at 5mg hydrocodone for a period of over a year. I never went too far overboard, and I was very happy because my depression and RLS were greatly reduced. But, once I started working out, praying and focusing more on the cleaner, healthier, stronger life, I realized that the opiates were just a quick fix. I’ve been in the process of figuring out alternatives ever since.

One possible alternative is Low-Dose Naltrexone. Research it.

Best of luck to you KJ.

9 JamesK { 08.06.09 at 5:46 pm }

Hi everyone,

I too had issues with opiates. I was put on them 18 years ago for a severe broken foot and then back pain, headaches etc. I never liked opiates but when you are hurting, hey you will take what gets rid of the pain. I finally got sick of them and slowly withdrew off of them. . However, after a few months from my last dose I went into major PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome). The symptoms of PAWS were awful. No sleep, restlessness, over reactive emotions, discoordination, and dreaded short term memory problems. As well my blood pressure would shoot up to 150/100. Terrible. Well, I knew I had to slay this dragon. So I did. I began to exercise daily even when I did not feel like it, take amino acids, vitamins, and methionine supplements. This was all to restore my neurotransmitter balance in the brain.

What essentially happens during physical withdrawal is that your body forgets how to make its own endorphins because you have been feeding it exogenous endorphins via the medication. Then what happens is your adrenaline or sympathetic nervous system becomes unchecked, hence the restless legs, high blood pressure, pounding heart etc. Endorphins balance your adrenaline system in the brain via an area called the locus ceruleus and the limbic system.

It takes time to rebuild the balance of neurotrasmitters and receptors. So hence the use of vitamins and exercise. However, it did not take the full symptoms of PAWS totally away, so I researched some more. In comes low dose naltrexone at 3mg to 4.5 mg each night before bedtime. What a wonder drug. Non addictive, low profile of side effects at that dose and immune powering and endorphin releasing effects. I now feel fantastic. No more PAWS, it has slowly diminished. I feel normal again. Only side effect is a slight mild dizziness once in a blue moon but very mild.
It needs to be prescribed by a physician and then filled ata compounding pharmacy. Here is a website where it is used for multiple sclerosis and other automimmune diseases: http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org

As well, I have not suffered from a cold or illness in over 8 months as low dose naltrexone boosts your immune system by rebound effect by way of an endorphin surge throughout the day. This surge however is natural and endogenous therefore non-addictive. Talk to your addiction specialists. There is alot of research out there on animals and human subjects to justify its use for addiction medicine. If you are assessed and there are no contraindications to take it then demand it. It will restore your life. Good luck everyone and God Bless,

10 Adam { 08.18.09 at 10:30 pm }


Thanks so much for the great advice. Can you share with us how you were able to obtain the naltrexone in a low dose form? From what I know most physicians only prescribe at the regular dose of around 50mg.

Best of luck to you, and God Bless

11 Rearden Metal { 10.19.09 at 3:35 pm }

Hi Adam, and thanks for linking to my site! LDN definitely works (for E.D.S. depression AND opiate PAWS), without all the side effects and other assorted baggage that accompany an opiate habit.

Preparing LDN from 50mg naltrexone pills is easy enough- Just find a little glass dropper bottle, count out exactly 200 drops of distilled water, deposit the 50mg naltrexone pill, and shake (It’ll dissolve by itself after a few minutes- no need to crush or grind it). Once you have this prepared, just remember that every 4 drops of LDN solution equal 1mg naltrexone. The effective LDN dosage for most people is 2.5 to 4.5 mg before bed (which would be 10 to 18 drops of LDN solution).

BTW, in case you were wondering why it’s been over a year since I last updated ProhibitionKills.com , now that I’m on LDN and off all the opiates, I may be in better shape physically- but my creative writing skills have virtually evaporated. (Without their opiate habits, could Edgar Allen Poe, Howard Hughes & Kurt Cobain have exuded all that creative brilliance? I wonder.)

I’m just glad I’m not the only one trying to spread the word…

12 carie martinez { 12.18.09 at 5:03 pm }

i NEVER realized all this stuff is was and is happening my mind is OUT OF WACK lately due to my detox method which is to go as low as i can and wait longer intervals befor taking another milligram i simply cannot be down and out due to the job i have and being a single parent gonna check out this naltrexone all this makes since and ive been a chocoholic last week and didnt know why now i do! but my body has been wanting more risky behaviors and excitment too! like fighting,exercising and other things

13 Brainchemist { 12.27.09 at 11:30 am }

EDS is, also because the contribution of brilliant pioneers like Rearden, getting more and more recognition over the years. LDN is for most people who suffer from it a safe cure with minimum risk and  side effects. I strongly advise patients to try LDN first before obtaining endorphins from an external source like opiates, just as Reardon explains on his great site ‘Ignorance Kills’. Good luck to you all!

14 minderbinder { 01.28.10 at 2:20 am }

Hey! Just stumbled upon this site – I’ve had my last detox 15 years ago and since then i feel like …, well, “shit”. For the first few years i believed it would become better after time, but it didn’t, even with beeing prescribed more and more antidepresives and pain med’s (non-op). So thanks a lot for your site and the LDN hint!

15 Neonurse { 02.10.10 at 12:54 pm }

Thanks so much for starting this website with such great information! I began using opiates approximately 4 years ago due to aggravation of an old back injury. For 10 years I had been having this pain every month for app. 2-3 days and I always just suffered through however 4 years ago it just started up and never stopped. It became a continual nightmare of low back and leg pain. I was hesitant to even take pain meds due to the bad press that they get but it stopped the pain and that was all I cared about! Now four years later it takes 3-4 times the original dose to even make a dent in the pain. I go through periods where, when I run out before my next appt., I think I’m just going to stop the madness but the pain and the depression, not to mention the fatigue, nearly paralyze me and I can’t function! When I don’t have anything to take the pain is so bad I think I might lose my mind and it’s like a vicious cycle. I want to stop but I don’t know how to stop the pain. I was so glad to read about EDS and one comment I’ve read previously really hit home with me. Someone asked if anyone had ever heard the phrase “runners high” and never understood it before, and that was something that was so true for me. I have never, ever felt anything but extreme fatigue and pain from exercising. Now I’m back in my usual position of being out of meds and wondering if my body is simply telling itself it’s in pain in order to get the opiods it wants or if I am actually having legitimate pain. It’s so damned confusing. I go through this battle month after month and I am so sick and tired of it. I am a single parent so not working is not an option and I don’t know where to go from here. Thanks so much for listening, I don’t know how much sense I’ve made here but I’m so glad I’m not the only one who is going through this. I might talk to my doc about the LDN and see what she thinks. I’m so afraid to let any of my doctors know that I’m having a problem because so many of them are not very understanding. I did try pot on several occasions and it has had little to no effect on me at all. My friend with whom I do this thinks that something is wrong with my body since I don’t get any effect from it but I keep trying to tell him that everyone’ s body reacts differently to different meds. Ever since I was younger I’ve always responded the opposite of other people to most medications and usually require more initially to get any effect. Sorry for such a long post but I’m really hurting and it made me feel a little better psychologically to get some of this off my chest. Thanks so much for this site and all your great info!

16 OneDayAtaTime { 04.28.10 at 5:41 am }

That artical on the top IS ME!!!!! Very well put. Though I am one that cant work out to get that high. My addiction started in 2003 when I was reareanded and fractured my C-5 in my neck chugging along . in 2005 was rearended again and that was it. Stuck at home had the breaks put onto my life and needed to fill the time…… I loved how I felt on them!!!!! Have you heard of any new medications Dr.s use now. I have done Prozac, and was more blah than before I discovered Vicoden, OH BTW I am on day 3 of no Vicoden 🙂 Hagen in there

17 adf { 05.11.10 at 9:49 pm }

They will never look into this theory soon enough. Already, after decades of millions of failed serotonin/dopamine/norepinephrine courses, the research establishments is focusing on ‘other’ ways to boost the same biochemicals, apparently with the exception of GABA. But even GABA boosters won’t likely help those who suffer due to low endorphin levels. Sit in and wait for the next “thought to increase serotonin levels” pill or device theory. Or the next norepinephrine booster, or hear this. Amazingly, the next norepinephrine AND serotonin booster! See, if neither helped many, and the combination has shown to fail to help many, it must be. Ah, there’s where dopamine comes in, which also has shown to fail to help many too. Just wait for the next “serotonin/norepinephrine/dopamine” booster while the endorphin theory is 99% rejected, even while the same people recommend exercise which they also say boosts endorphins! But nah, it still must be “serotonin/norepinephrine/dopamine”.

18 Jade { 06.17.10 at 4:08 am }

Long before I ever heard of EDS I posted that I felt I was lacking in natural “feel good” chemicals. After a two year run on oxys I am on 30 mgs of methadone a day and although it kind of bothers me, I’ll probably need to be on it for life to compensate for the endorphins my body lacks in producing. Maybe one day modern medicine will figure out a way to naturally fix our broken endorphin manufacturing processes but until then this is my best bet at leading a normal life.

19 tim { 12.29.10 at 6:42 am }


20 theguyman { 03.07.11 at 2:28 am }

i think its funny someone mentioned the sweet tooth, u know besides the crippling depression, anxiety and panic and wanting to commit suicide every waking moment. I have come down with this candy disorder, i mean it gets baddddddd…like eating an entire economy size bag of m&m’s in an hour, then when i get sick of chocolate i go for the gummy candies. I think its more then just emotional, its clearly linked to something, i mean i binge on candy now more then an alcoholic would binge on alcohol.

21 Christina { 05.05.11 at 8:21 am }


22 DDoubles { 05.10.11 at 8:40 pm }

Christina how has the Naltrexone worked out for you? I woul like to try that out since I’m off opiates for good. I’m pretty sure I have EDS.

23 Just STOP { 06.05.11 at 9:34 pm }

I understand what this addiction feels like. And we all clearly know what PAWS is….my advice? Unless you’re going to die, DON’T TAKE ANYTHING. Alternative pain management is everywhere!! Work out, eat chocolate, do whatever you need to. But for goodness sake DON’T take anymore pills!!!! It’s one more thing to get addicted to….and that’s exactly what American drug companies want. Be careful guys, and good luck.

24 WanTan Silo { 08.06.11 at 1:56 pm }

When I first took opiates it was like I had just won the lottery. NO other drug EVER made me feel normal like that. Like the way I was supposed to feel.

I have had this theory for quite some time. I thought that I could be wrong because, up until a few years ago, there was literally no information on the internet about the potential of there being a disorder such as this. My situation is similar to yours with some differences.

The ONLY drug or types of drugs I like are opiates. But I take it one step further. The only opiates that I prefer are the long-lasting kind that give less of a “effed-up-passing-in-and-out-of-consciousness” high. In fact, I don’t like being really “high”. Even when I could get as much methadone as I needed, I still regulated my intake. I knew I was different from my other opiate addict friends because they would take all that they had within a few days and get super-high and then run out. I would “naturally” space mine out. Also, when they went through withdrawals they just wanted to stay inside and sleep all day. I couldn’t sleep at all and wanted to constantly keep moving (I would walk 5 miles a day while going through withdrawals).

I didn’t know that I could be confident and talkative (I am not very talkative or sociable AT ALL) until I discovered opiates. My constant “allergies/colds” went away completely and I get a stuffy nose just once a year while taking opiates (when I was a kid I had a congestion about 3/4 of the year).

Also, I’ve noticed that extreme physical activity makes me feel FANTASTIC for about 24 hours afterwards, especially when I don’t take opiates.

There are many other reasons why I think I have an endorphin deficiency (I even found one doctor that has this same theory!) but I don’t have time to list them all right now. Please, if anyone wants to talk, email me (in order to trick spiders/crawlers: in order to get my email address, just use every other letter):

fiaftohiojmhtkakndnqpf <— gmail account.

For example:

biulthtkhoefamd translates to butthead

25 WanTan Silo { 08.06.11 at 5:09 pm }

“BTW, in case you were wondering why it’s been over a year since I last updated ProhibitionKills.com , now that I’m on LDN and off all the opiates, I may be in better shape physically- but my creative writing skills have virtually evaporated. (Without their opiate habits, could Edgar Allen Poe, Howard Hughes & Kurt Cobain have exuded all that creative brilliance? I wonder.)”

It’s interesting that you mention this as I notice some changes in my personality while on opiates. While taking opiates, I like music less, choosing mostly to listen to talk radio in the car. I am less emotional. I think those two are related since “feeling” music is related to what extremes of emotion someone can experience. I still like music, it’s just that I’m not all-consumed with it like I was when I was younger and off opiates. I can tell when I am starting to “come down”: I turn the radio to some music and start “getting into it”. I always found that interesting.

26 Ivan Ivanovich { 08.31.11 at 6:07 pm }

With EDS are you able to have orgasms? I have many of the symptoms of EDS, with the addition of lack of orgasm. All other sexual function is normal, except that. I would be interested to know if this is a symptom of EDS or more a dopamine issue.

27 steve { 09.03.11 at 9:55 am }

After having problems with alcohol addiction and abstaining for years my brain became hooked on salt and I would binge on salty, spicy food. The addiction got worse when trying to give it up. I gave up smoking, caffeine, drugs and booze etc but the salt thing is the last habit to kick. I definitely think there is something to EDS but I am hoping that after supplementation (dlpa) and healthy eating/exercise, my brain will eventually learn to make its own endorphins at the required levels.
Has anyone managed to overcome eds and sustain a lifestyle that does not require opiates, drugs or supplements?
I managed to overcome alcoholism and major depression with the help of l-glutamine, sjw, supplements and healthy eating.
I am no longer depressed and haven’t drank or smoked in years however my bed/ed is taking over and would appreciate any info.



28 Renee { 09.25.11 at 5:58 pm }

Hi, well I know I had EDS once I started on a treatment for my Fibro, I felt a live!! Come see us at my LDN support site.. read all about the LDN.. see if its a good treatment for you its ENDOPRHINS IN A BOTTLE!! or search LDN on google.. GOD BLESS and good luck..

29 Greg { 10.25.11 at 11:21 am }

I came across your article by accident and was aghast at the similarities to my life experience. It was practically identical, so I won’t repeat the issues here. The only major difference is that I treated my gastrointestinal problems as well as social problems with alcohol for 25 years until I discovered opiates following a painful abdominal surgical procedure. Now there is no doubt that that my life-long abuse of alcohol had crossed the point of no return into true alcoholism. But once I sobered up and accepted that I couldn’t drink, I had no cravings or problems staying away from alcohol. I have been sober for over 5 years now and continue to attend AA meetings several times a week. The meetings actually do help me grow spiritually, and are helpful to me even if others find 12 step programs hard to stomach.
But my point is that I may not have become alcoholic if I had recognized, and medicine had recognized, that there are those of us who cannot produce the endorphins necessary for us to feel “normal.” In treatment we were taught that only 1 out of 10 people like the effects of opiates, and that this is because they are addicts in the making. I didn’t agree with that at the time and I definitely don’t buy it now.
There was on neurologist/psychologist to whom I was assigned in treatment who mentioned EDS to me in so many words. He also told me that he would deny ever saying anything about it should I happen to mention it and it got back to him. But he told me earnestly that there is such a thing as EDS that has been widely studied and accepted in India for many years.
Simply put, there are some of us who don’t feel normal unless we have some level of opiate attached to the receptors in our brains. I know that I only feel “normal” when I have opiates in my system. And even though I take large amounts at times for my chronic pancreatitis, when the pain stops and I withdraw from the opiates, the feeling of general well being goes away too.
Like others who have posted here, many people, doctors especially, insist that anyone would have a “false” sense of well being on opiates. But I have found that to be untrue. Friends who have taken opiates for dental surgery or for other medical and non-medical purposes have insisted that they don’t like the effect. One friend in particular insisted that I never allow him to take any form of opiate ever again. He felt awful.
So I don’t buy that I’m an addict just because it takes a low level of opiate in my system to feel normal. After 50 years of life I have experienced enough people to know what normal is. And me without opiates or the proper endorphins naturally produced in the brain is not it. Comments to my email welcome. Regards, Greg

30 Rory { 01.19.12 at 7:57 pm }

Thanks so much for this information. Like you I have been thinking the same thing and its so unfortunate that to feel ”normal” we must engage in risky behavior or be considered drug seekers addicted to pain killers. When some of us just want the simple sense of well being. To feel alive. As I grew up I was very withdrawn, socially enept I would say. Sick all the time. Tired enough to sleep 16 hours a day. As I have gotten older my pain tolerance has decreased significantly. Everything hurts all the time. I just want to be a good wife and mother and I have found the only way to do this is to pop my pills. I hope someday the research is done for people with this problem. I have told so many drs ” damn right im a drug seeker but im asking for them to feel normal not high” I have suprisingly found many drs who accept this response and give me what I need.
Thanks so much

31 Lg { 01.26.12 at 7:43 am }

For anyone looking to get clean I suggest getting the vivitral shot .. Ten times better than Subox and a lower relapse percentage !

32 Ralph { 01.26.12 at 7:45 am }

Hey Adam. That you for this post as a whole. You are doing a great service that some may not understand(since they’re not addicts). 2 months ago I quit a 8 year addiction to Morphine Sulfate. It was by far the hardest thing I had ever done. I’ve had a broken back to dislocated knees and W.D. takes the cake. Well I recently cut my arm prety bad. So what does any addict due? I used that to start using again. (unfortunately for me I have immediate family that gives me these pills) The worst idea ever now looking back. If you want to get clean and you have some1 close giving you these substances then the first thing you need to do is get as far away as possible.. over 100 miles if that’s possible. I have now seperated myself from any1 I even talked to when I was using. I have been using again for about 2 weeks and I can feel myself getting sucked in. So today is the first day of withdrawls for the last time. I want to thank you for the article about EDS. It is like a fog has been lifted and the questions I had about why I use have all now been answered. Thank you and keep it up. (Got a skydiving trip set up to chase a natural high, I get it now)

33 Bobby { 01.30.12 at 5:28 pm }

For anyone reading this, you can also try a supplement called D-Phenylalanine which works pretty well to boost endorphin levels. I’ve tried all kinds of supplements for boosting GABA, Serotonin, Dopamine, etc, but D-Phenylalanine is the one which worked best for my social anxiety, I think you have to take a break from it every now and then to stop building up a tolerance though.

34 Carly { 03.03.12 at 9:15 am }

When I read this, I began to cry. Your story is identical to mine, feeling more social, “normal”, and all the above while on vicodin. I’ve been on anti-depressants for 13 years now and the effect of the anti-depressants don’t come close to the relief I get while on vicodin. I belive now that my problem is endorphin deficiency. It makes me feel so relieved to get a better understanding of my obession with vicodin. Thanks for posting your story! I believe you will help many with this struggle of addiction!

35 Trimking { 08.31.12 at 4:13 am }

Hello Everyone….5 Yrs ago,I fell 38ft. and broke 4 ribs, and cracked my hip. With NO Health Insurance! Needless to say, I eventually healed,but,developed a 4 yr long addiction to Vicodin. This past yr my doses were adding up to about 250 pills a month. 14 days ago, i went cold turkey. The withdrawal is worse tonight than any other time. I am suddenly vomiting, shaking,and trembling uncontrolably. I havent slept for 3 nights now, and i cant eat. When i decided it was time to quit, i packed up and drove out to California. I hiked 2 hrs into the Eldorado National Forest and set up a campsite. I simply knew i could never quit if i had a phone, or a pharmacy nearby. Right now, there are 200 pills waiting for me at the Pharmacy. They will stay there! I am more determined than ever to see this through. I am peeing every 1/2 hr. I am drinking lots of water, and lots of herbal tea, as well as pure coconut water. When in California, i found the bones of a not so lucky camper. They had been burned in a pit. This caused my adrenaline to skyrocket. The rush of knowing my life was in danger, masked the withdrawal syptoms. I was well armed, and slept with a Glock 9mm in one hand and a Colt .45 in the other. I stayed for 11 days until 3 undesirables entered my camp one night. I heard one of them ask “do you think he saw the bones?” Time to go! I came out of my tent, pistols blazing, and ran till i couldnt run anymore. I lost all my gear,just kept shooting, and running. Now, the adreniline rush is gone, and i am working out ridiculously hard, as well as riding my bicycle 20 mi. every morning. The withdrawal is worse tonight than ever befor. The good thing is, no matter how sick i get, im not thinking about getting my prescriptions. As a teenager, i got myself hooked on Heroin. The withdrawal was exactly like this, but it was over in 5 days. Maybe because i was so young and strong. I am 60 yrs old now. I dont want to be hooked on anything. I would advise anyone in this prediciment to seek medical assistance, befor you put yourself through this kinda Hell, and then cave in and start taking pills again. I am retired , so the sleepless nights dont effect my income, i can sleep all day if i want. Heres my recomendation, lots of Salmon oil, 45,000 miligrams a day of Vitiman C, Super B Complex, and 5,000 miligrams of Magnesium a day. Also, to ensure proper nutrition, i put an apple, a banana, a pineapple spear, an avacado, 1/4 cup Blueberries, a kiwi, and an egg into the blender and drink it all every morning. And LOTS of distilled water. I was/am really hooked. If i can do it….YOU can do it! GOOD LUCK, and I LOVE YOU!

36 Kitty Mom { 09.23.12 at 8:37 pm }

Hi TrimKing – Hang in there my friend. It gets way better. I can attest that after two years my brain has healed to the max and even though I think hey it would be nice to take a pill – I know it is not an option being an addict and all. I never in my wildest dream thought I would become an addict at retirement age, but it happens to anyone at any time – the nature of the blasted beast. I wish they would invent a decent pain medication that would not take us to hell and back again. right now I just live with my pain and don’t even like taking an aspirin. Besides, the pain of withdrawal is worse thatn any physical pain I ever had. Anyway, long story short – there is light at the end of that tunnell – so look for it, embrace, it, and know you will be allright. And, geeze, I am glad that the bears and/or renigades did not get you up thar in those mountains….glad you were packin! heehee
Love to all out there that are going through this shit.

37 Evren { 01.25.16 at 7:43 pm }

Sorry to revive an old thread, but I hope my comment may be helpful to some people. I would also like to firstly thank Adam for posting his experience, so that many people could get insight into their experiences as well. I personally think I have EDS, and the only time I ever felt normal was when I was on codeine after a surgery I had. Treatments for EDS do exist, although the only two that I know of have already been mentioned here. The first is DLPA, an over the counter supplement. I once read a book called the Mood Cure that discussed it, although probably by now there are other books/articles on how to best use it. The second treatment is low dose naltrexone, or LDN. Having tried both methods, I personally found LDN to be much more effective, although it can be difficult to find a doctor who will prescribe it, as it is only just starting to be used as opposed to higher doses of naltrexone (50 mg.) You’ll probably have the most luck with a more holistic doctor. Most studies so far are on how LDN helps fibromyalgia patients, although a study on depression is currently in the works. The ideal dose seems to be 4.5 mg for most people, taken right before bedtime. At such a low dose it doesn’t usually have any side effects. This website has been somewhat helpful to me at least: http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/ especially in explaining how/why it works.
One warning however is that it does take a long time for naltrexone to work for EDS purposes anyway, around 3 to 4 months. However, once it kicked in for me, my family and I started noticing a big positive difference. Stress (which eats up endorphins) can still affect me though. I would recommend anyone who feels they also suffer from EDS to try DLPA (or better still, LDN) in addition to exercising to boost endorphin levels. There is always hope. Best wishes to anyone struggling with these symptoms!

38 Jamws { 02.26.16 at 9:16 pm }

Sorry to burst your bubble potentially but maybe just maybe before you started opiates you had a perfectly fine endorphin system and its only now that you have been abusing opiates you have a degraded endorphin system yes.

Also you used opiates not because your special and they make you feel complete but because you supposedly have endorphin deficiency?… No. No. No! Lol.
Opiates make most people who use them (I’m sure there are some exceptions but the following applies to most who touch opiates aka even people without anything wrong with their endorphin system. ) feel good, confident, energetic etc. That’s what makes opiates carry their addictive qualities.

One could say they are so addictive users start rationalizing reasons to continue with using it even though deep down they themselves even know it’s bad for them and they have and can live life without opiates.
Sure. NOW you may have endorphin deficiency because of the opiates you used and probably will have to abstain a while from opiates to recover from this or keep using opiates your whole life.

Sorry to burst your bubble but sometimes people don’t have endorphin deficiencys naturally. Such as in your case I believe you just got addicted to the good effects of opiates and after long term use of them possibly gave yourself an endorphin deficiency… Which just made opiates even more desirable and also a cure to your illnes which you created yourself by using opiates in the first place.

What caused that and you to use it in the first place was again the good feeling of opiates that everyone gets and is how they are tricked into becoming addicted to them long term.
Trust me I was and still am an addict.

39 Adam { 03.02.16 at 8:10 pm }

I know plenty of people that have used opiates without feeling energetic or enjoying them one bit, so your position doesn’t hold any weight either. Everyone is different. For you to assume that I never started with an endorphin deficiency would be just as ludicrous a me assuming that ALL addicts have an endorphin deficiency. Neither of which are correct. Sorry to burst your bubble, but every case is different.

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