Avatar universal

Nodding off- What does this mean?

Im new here and I really hope someone can give me some advice. I come from a very close christian family so all of this that I am about to write was a big shocker to my family. One of my older brothers just recently admitted to being addicted to pains meds- such as oxy and roxycodine (sp?). He said hes now clean... but something is just not right. He is very thin, can't sleep ( hear him up at all hours of the night), he nods off while sitting with the family. I have a newborn and I am wayyy over tired but never nod off.. so that just sounds strange by it self. He has his ups and downs.. hell be really hyper one minute then the next very rude and to him self (doesn't want to be bothered). Finally, his teeth are all grinded down.. he used to have such nice teeth and now they're very bad. The biggest thing though is the falling asleep... we'll be eating dinner or having a conversation with the family and he'll just fall asleep. Does anyone know what these signs mean? Thanks!
33 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello and welcome to he forum.. I'm sorry to tell you but he has all the signs of active addiction. Your Brother is obviously not clean. You can gain a lot of information and knowledge here on addiction.. This would be your best move so when you confront him you are armed.. You will not be able to make him stop but it is better that it is not kept secret as addiction grows fastest when kept in the dark.. He sounds like his addiction is advanced so I would also speak with your parents and maybe together you can offer him rehab.. The one thing you do not want to do is give him money or help him feed his addiction in anyway.. lock all valuables and keep a eye on money as supplying a habit is expensive.. they also have group support for family members called alanon You may want to check them out as others that have delt with addicted family members can help you to cope with your Brothers addiction.. I wish you well I'm sure you will get a lot of responses but the bottom line is Yes he is and only he can get clean.. nobody can do it for him.. take care lesa
Nodding off is a sign of pain killer medication or reaction to some sort to drugs.  Substance abusers have all the symptoms of your brother. They do not eat well, always have a story about their behavior, etc.  he needs to enter a rehab program.  They admit addicts for 21 days to flush the system.  Then they will follow with a day program for follow ups.  Addiction is very sad, but lots of people had made changes for the best.  
Avatar universal
oh yes nodding off, like at dinner at inappropriate times.. does you brother wear long sleeve shirts ? I wonder as usually when we are this advanced we are shooting drugs.. not saying he is but it is something to consider..
1151493 tn?1263336020
Wow! how long has this been going on? I seems like it would take a while for him to ruin all his teeth like that. But if he started a while ago and it is just now noticable I guess that is possible. Does he scratch his nose as he is nodding. Are his pupils tiny pin points. The moodiness and weight loss and being up all night could be methamphetamine. But that would dilate his pupils. If hes on opiats ( Heroin, Oxycontin) that may also have him up all night and nodding, scratching face, pin pointed pupils.
Did he have an injury of any kind that may have started him on painkillers? Many times that starts the whole thing. But the crabbiness makes me think meth.
1131217 tn?1260291231
it's hard to say what drug it is because so many of them carry similar symptoms.  and there are synthetic forms of meth as well, prescription meth if you will.  but yes someone up there asked if he could potentially be shooting up.  i was heavily addicted to oppiates and i never really nodded off except towards the very end when i was using the heaviest but i also never really snorted them and i def. never shot them up.

however, my ex-roomate did.  and he would be full on in a conversation with me and then just nod off and still kind of be talking but his eyes were shut and his head would be falling backwards.

however just taking them orally or snorting them can make you nod out as well...so don't jump to conclusions there.

honestly the only way to truly find out what is going on is to confront him.  which is difficult because he is not going to want to share with you all he is doing since addiction is rather embarrassing.

i would totally approach him non confrontationally with tons of love and by yourself.  us addicts can feel overwhelmed and attacked if confronted by too many people. at first at least.

also can you do some research?  make exact notes of his behavior and come post in here as most of us have been there we can help you but we need more details.

also try and find out where he could potentially be getting these pills from.

keep posting.

Avatar universal
Thank you guys so much for the quick responses.
He hurt his back about 5 or 6 years ago at work and has been on and off workers comp since then (right now hes on it and we never even see him.) He lives downstairs in the apartment and never comes up anymore and sometimes I'm scared to even go down there... like maybe he'll have overdosed or something. He used to be very big into working out (I think he had to be on steroids or something because he was huge).. then just recently he has gotten very very skinny and pale.. and now he looks unrecognizable to people who haven't seen him in awhile. He has a new gf and she made him confront us about his addiction. He told us though that he stopped and that he went through withdrawals and stuff and that's why he didn't come up stairs for a few days because it was really bad. We knew he took pain meds for his back but we never knew he was addicted. Now that I think about it I never see him in short sleeves anymore... he says he wears long sleeves because he lost his size and is embarrassed for people to see his arms. Also, he leaves the house at all weird hours... My room is above his side entrance and he goes out like 2am sometimes even later. My parents let him borrow money for everything...he always has some excuse of why he needs it...but he has always pretty much paid them back. My parents are in fairy tale land and think hes clean and take his word...they don't want to argue with him so they don't confront him. Also, another thing... he is always outside on the street on the phone...he claims he has no service...but it seems weird. He lives with us for free..and he is  just so hard to live with now...
Avatar universal
My son was a former meth and then oxycontin/heroin addict. He completed a year treatment program at Teen Challenge.  Now in his later 20's, I am sure he is using meth as he has lost a drastic amount of weight.  He says, riding his bike all day is the reason for his weight loss.  He is 5'10" and weighs 160 pounds.  Now I observed him nodding off.  I know this is associated with oxycontin and heroin.  Is there a common mixture of meth with opiates that causes nodding off?  One more thing, he has no breaking out on his face and he religiously visits the dentist.  Any insight would be appreciated.
1406964 tn?1283203866
Hi Kaneisha, Welcome to the forum.

Weight loss and nodding off can both be symptoms of stimulant use (like Meth).

Do you feel able to ask him?

Of course he may well be in denial, but if you make it clear to him that you're always ready to listen, perhaps he'll be prepared to open up to you.

Take care

Avatar universal
Thanks for your quick comments Pattifan!  I have asked my son about his use of meth and heroin.  He swears he would not touch anything associated with heroin after his hear long recovery period.  That addiction started from an injury where he was treated with oxycontin.  I see such significant weight loss that is very evident even in his face.  He is in denial for sure.  I couldn't seem to find anything associated with meth and nodding off online.  I have noticed agitation often, he hasn't had a job for a long time, he is manipulative always trying to borrow money from me and other family members, never paying anyone back, and he is totally unreliable whenever any plans are made...even on Mother's Day.  We are not giving him ANY money again as we don't want to support any type of addiction.  It is disheartening and sickening as he went through so much to become sober and at that time we recognized him really being his sweet self.  He is a different person!

1406964 tn?1283203866
The nodding off tends to happen when the last dose of stimulant is wearing off.

I really hope, for both your sakes, that he isn't using again, but I would have strong concerns as you obviously do.

In my opinion, the only way to get him to open up to you, is to explain to him that it really isn't a big deal (even though it is), so that he is less scared of telling you, and reassure him that the only reason you want to know is to ensure his health and safety and to offer him the support he needs. He may still decide to open up.

Alternatively, you could suggest that he comes on this site himself. Once he's read the stories of other people in the same situation, he may feel more comfortable as an anonymous poster on line.

He would also get an awful lot of non-judgemental help and support.

Thinking of you.
Avatar universal
I noticed my nephew nodding off and starring in space with his mouth open yesterday. He snapps and will get upset very quick w u everything is we not his family the street is his family. We try and get him nice jobs so he can live tbe right way he makes up excuses we offer to pay $3000 to oay off his fines he will say he dont want it he fights disrepectful and all what can we do?
Avatar universal
My boyfriend has been nodding off on me I know he did heroin especially cause I found a empty bag he promised me it was the first time out of 3 to 5 yrs but he is always still nodding he doesn't have any marks on his arm just from the one time he used which I knows gets worse if he continued even infected what else can make u nod off and stupid looking I read all the other post but wanna know for sure so I can confront him I don't need that in my life never did drugs and don't ever want to
Avatar universal
not trying to be rude or anything but actually if you are an opoiate addict taking enough you will nod or crash but it also gives you energy and you can't hardly sleep and your up all night...the nodding happens when you take an extreme amount..also the moodiness any and MOST addictions cause that cause your mad you don't have what you think you need!
How much do you think is an extreme amount?  I ask as I know my older son (37 Years) has been addicted for at least6 years if not longer.  He had a terrible injury in a steel mill and was degloved.  Long story short, became addicted, got a dui 3 years ago, has no license, just got a job.  However, he nodds off early in the moring when I pick him up early in the morning to go to work and nodds off in the evening when I pick him up after work.  Is he using all day long?
I have read several people asking about the nodding off.  My son lost his prescription from a pain clinic when he got his dui.  Now I fear for the worst that he is using street drugs.
He overdosed a year ago, I picked him up to go to lunch and he asked if I could stop at a "friends" house to drop off a phone charger cord.  (I don't know this friend).  I did and he was there for about three minutes got back in the car to go to lunch.  Within 10 minutes he was totally slumbed over and gurgling, turned blue.  I drove to the emergency room with him.  Narcam brought him awake immediately.  So therefore I know if was and opiate.
What scares me is when he nodds off is the fact that it could be another overdose at any time.  He always has an excuse when I ask what is wrong with him.
I wish I had magic words to say to him just to get him to admitt he is using.  He denies that he is!  He denied the day the narcam brought him back.  Tried telling me that it was cold meds.  I told him that day, "sweetheart, you are first of all very welcome for me taking you to an emergency room and saving your life, second of all your mummy did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday! Narcam only works on opiates!"
He is a wonderful loving, intelligent young man.  He is also the king of maniupulative behavior!
I just wonder if it is heroin? He talks constinuosly about his drug knowledge.
Also, he uses Kratom?  Says it works great for pain.  Anyone know about Kratom?

Avatar universal
Does this addiction also cause paranoia?  My boyfriend does the nodding at the dinner table, stays up all night and nods off randomly. He is often like a statue standing, leaning over and just stops moving except for breathing and then maybe his body will shift a bit after a while. He’ll wake up for a moment and then nod off again, over and over. In the bathroom; at the kitchen sink; and just about anywhere else. He claims that he is a narcoleptic but I find his pupils are pin points and he has the Oxy prescription for back pain. His “narcoleptic” moments are more severe when celebrating an event.
I am also noticing that he is accusing me of walking too close to a contractor working in my home; shining and being too nice to his son; showing not enough interest in him but too much for others. Others in my family have seen his behavior while medicated and are very concerned for me. The paranoia scares me.  Will crazy behavior follow the nodding and accusations?
4204073 tn?1361831476
Hi Sbecca,

This is an old thread.  If you'd like to get more responses, go to the top and start a new question by copying and pasting your question.    

In my experience, yes!   I had an ex that would just nod off sitting on the edge of the couch and other peculiar places.   He was either always super energetic  working on something or nodding off.   One or the other.   On top of that, the paranoia was awful.   He was so sure he was hiding his useage and would hide his pills so nobody could see how much he was taking.  Accuse me of odd things, call me paranoid, etc.    Pinpoint pupils, sweating, exciteability, talkative, itching...all signs of over using.  
Avatar universal
My dad will nod off for hours on end but claims to not be on anything. Is this even possible for someone who isn't sleep deprived. He used to be addicted to narcos and oxicotton but claims ti be clean of it now. I just don't think I can sit here and watch him nod off for hours and not say something but I don't want to offend him in case he really is clean. Any help is very appreciated.
Avatar universal
i have a friend..that was addicted to oxycotin for 5 years and he has admitted to me that he takes methodone...i have been around him for 6 years and i have grown to notice his behaviors..he tells me hes not doing anything...but he can be out of money,,and lay on the couch for weeks and hardly move..and then he will leave for a day ..and come back full of energy..all excited..up all night and nodding off..like hes so tired but is fighting sleep..hes got like a mean look on his face..and acts like hes in so much pain...i know hes taking something..but he wont admit it...he swears hes just tired but if hes that tired..why cant he sleep?? does anyone have any suggestions on what painpills have this reaction and side effects? or is it what i think ...methodone?
Avatar universal
i can honestly say i am not addicted to any street drugs or perscription drugs. and i find myself nodding off alot, and i dont know why. yes i work alot (construction/painting) and im on the rode driving at least 4 hrs out of each day.but lately i've found myself nodding off at least 5 times thru out the day??? I get at least 5-6 hrs of sleep every nite. unless theres a big job due then i may be up at least 48 hrs straight. so why do I nod off so much?  i thought maybe some1 was spike N my water but who knows. IF theres a doc. out there or anyone help me w/this issue, thank you
Avatar universal
HI Bootlace although this is a addiction forum.. You may want to have your thyroid checked. my hubby was tired all the time Falling asleep when he sat down for any time, it turns out he has low thyroid. So it sounds like a physical and a blood work is in your future !! You work hard also but really you should be checked by your Dr, my hubby feels like he has more energy now that he is on meds for low thyroid. I wish you well, lesa
Avatar universal
When I first met my boyfriend he admitted that he was doing pain killers. He said he quit while I was away in Europe. He really downplayed the whole thing and I didn't have the impression that it was a major issue in his life. Now, after doing long distance for a year, we are living together and I noticed him doing the same "nodding off" thing which had always been my indicator that he was on them when I first met him. I've confronted him, asked about his eyes and if he's sleepy. He gets very defensive and angry that I brought it up. Once I video taped him nodding off and showed it to him. He seemed really concerned and unaware that he looked so ****** up. I told him it's been really hard for me because I feel like he has a problem and every time I bring it up he blows me off. Well he held me and kissed me and said, I'm so sorry. You shouldn't have to feel like that. I'm not on any pills now. Yatta yatta. But now he reacts the same way when I show concern for nodding off. Defensive, dismissive. I was reading some other symptoms and he does eat an absurd amount of sweets. Once he ate an entire bag of kit kat bars in one day. He also told me he stopped smoking cigarettes and wasn't addicted. That one he can't hide. I am going to look more closely at his pupils. He has very dark eyes and his pupils are hard to see.
Avatar universal
He might be clean from the pain pills. It sounds just like methodone to me. The first year or so methodone will make you fly around cleaning things, give you more energy. Then if you sit down and not moving it will make you nod, nod, nod but not really ever go to sleep. And at first you don't eat much. It could also be H. Now pain pills never did that to me like that. But both H and meth will do all of that and make you itch like crazy as well.
Avatar universal
Hey Kris I don't know if you still need help with this issue since its been a couple years but I would like to state my opinion in hopes that somebody finds this on Google like I did and gains from reading it.

Let me paint a picture for you: a beautiful, attractive 24 year old college woman who has been addicted to opiates for a year and is still currently addicted and living the worst times in my life currently. Okay, that's me. I have never been one that people would look at as a risk taker or drug user and I'm smart and charming. Well I quickly became addicted to painkillers (tabs, percs) and since then my life is decaying. I have to do something about it, my house is absolutely disgusting as I really have no desire to do anything of responsibility, even keeping up my own personal hygiene. I always make up excuses in my head, "I'm not going to clean my house until I get at least three tabs, I will clean SO MUCH BETTER THAT WAY" then when I get them I'm just lazy and sad. I literally spend 20-$40 a day on pain pills. $20 for 4 percocets or lortabs, $38 for 3 Diludid sp? Or 3 roxicodones. Three seems to be the magic number. I am now relying heavily on my mother for money, I say that I have a lot of bills and don't make enough to pay them, but its really my addiction I can't afford. I feel so relieved when I take pills, but the the same time and the whole day I also feel so depressed and horrible due to my conscious. I know it is ruining my life, that I have lost my friends because I have alienated myself on purpose because I get too high and am afraid people will know, I am always on the defend, especially with my family. Anymore, I just think people are against me, that the whole world is against me. Which is why I stay away from people, and if for some reason I can't get any pills, then my whole day is spent inside on the couch with nothing on my mind except pills.

A lot of time and money is wasted because of my addiction. I feel like the only way I can converse with people anymore is if I take pills first. I've found that the times I've really alienated myself from people have been when A. I've been taking high quantities everyday  and ashamed to let people see my eyes so heavy and pupils so small, and my skin itching so much B. I couldn't score any pills and can't stand to be around anybody or let alone even move from chills and body aches C. I'm just plain depressed because of my lifestyle choice.

I haven't told ANY family member or friend about my addiction, pretty much only my dealer knows. I am scared more than ever for anybody to find out and I keep telling myself everyday that I don't have to tell them because I'm going to stop on my own. Well the next morning rolls around and I get more without giving a second thought. It isn't till after I take one when I start telling myself I'm going to stop again. I am aware that I am scared to tell anybody but also aware that the only way for me to get off of these IS to tell my family and get their help. But I am still in this cycle, I can feel it getting darker and I really am scared. It sounds like your son is going through this too. Depression is a common side affect of pain pill use, and some people lose weight when they are depressed, which could explain his weight loss. Also, it is extremely common to inject pain pills, especially if they have built up a huge tolerance eventually injection is the only method to feel the high (long sleeves). The anger he is displaying is a MAJOR side effect of pain pill abuse. I have never been so angry and defensive until my addiction, particularly towards the evening hours and morning. And his isolation is all to common with opiate abuse.

Don't gather the whole family to talk to him until u have talked to him one on one. He already knows everyone would want him to get help, he would be expecting it and it would make him feel very alienated. You could fake it and say you understand his addiction and will do everything to help him, or you could do a lot of research and truly understand and let him know. I am going to make an appointment with a Suboxone certified doctor. It's embarrassing, but I have to. Suboxone is a medication used to treat withdraws and cravings from opiates (pain killers). It's very effective so I've heard, I suggest doing some research on that as well. Good luck with everything. Lisa
Avatar universal
Also, the staying up all night isn't necessarily uppers, I have had a very interesting sleep life since being addicted to opiates. I have hallucinated many times often after I have taken a high amount that day, and that has, many times, kept me up. Also I've realized that staying up at night is a way for me to feel better knowing that everyone is sleeping in America just makes it easier for me to live as crazy as that sounds. But you see, that's what these drugs do to you.
Avatar universal
Hi keep going, this is an old thread, up top click "back to community" and you will see the latest questions. We would love to help you, it sounds like you really want to quit. I was in the exact same situation as you last week. We can give great advice to wd. Be very careful with subs as they too are very addictive, you don't want to be replacing one drug with another.
3197167 tn?1348968606
Hey keepgoing....like ouchie said above, since this is such an old thread, not many people are still around anymore.....and it'd be great to have you hit the orange "post a question" tab at the top and post your situation.

It will put you on the first page of the substance abuse forum and lots more people can comment and help.

I would encourage you to read all you can about going on subs for a pill addiction.....I did without knowing ANYTHING about it....and in hindsight, wish I hadn't.
Hope to see you on the main forum page.....we're here for you~
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