What is the Best Way to Wean off Pain Medication
Prescription drug addiction accounts for one death every 14 minutes. Studies show that more people die from prescription drug abuse than from homicides or in car accidents. For many people struggling with addictions to Percocet, OxyContin and Vicodin, quitting cold turkey is not an option and they need to know: what is the best way to wean off pain medication.
How Pain Medication Addiction Begins
It starts off as a seemingly harmless prescription to manage the pain related to an injury or after surgery. However, after a few weeks the occasional pill for pain turns into a few more pills and over time becomes an addiction. Prescription pain medication is in a class of drugs called opiates. Opiates work to block the opioid receptors in the brain. Rather than the pain, the body experiences a euphoric sensation. Continuing to take opiate pain medication, when there is no longer a legitimate medical need for doing so, increases the person’s risk for dependency.
Tapering – or Weaning Off
Tapering, or weaning off of pain medication is a method of quitting without stopping “cold turkey” and involves reducing the amount of the drug taken over a period of time. This method is best advised under the care of a physician who knows the patient’s medical history and can advise as to how much a reduction can be made.
What to Expect during Withdrawal
Quitting pain medication abruptly can bring on withdrawal symptoms that can be quite severe and in some cases be life-threatening. For many individuals withdrawal symptoms are so painful that they return to their prescription pain medication abuse just to find relief. Prescription painkiller withdrawal usually includes the following symptoms
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flu symptoms
- Muscle pain
- Irritability, agitation and anxiety
Slowly weaning off pain medication over time will reduce the amount of withdrawal, give your body time to adjust to the lower dose of pain medication and decrease the chance of relapse. Most people take up a hobby or participate in an activity such as meditation or yoga to help them focus their energy on something else besides pain medication use.
Medical Detox is Another Option
Although weaning off pain medication is possible, most doctors suggest using a professional medical detox to safely and effectively quit prescription painkiller abuse or addiction. A professional medical detox will allow the individual to check into a facility for a specific amount of time to have the drugs removed from their system. For patients who have tried weaning off pain medication and have been unsuccessful, doctors suggest that IV therapy medical detox is the best method to help them overcome prescription pain medication abuse. If you have tried to wean off pain medication but have not been able to make it through withdrawal, Gallus Detox Center can help you. Call us today at 855-338-6929 to learn more about our facility and method.