Methadone as a Short-Term Detox Drug

Going Easy: How to Taper Off Opiates Without Withdrawal

opiate taper

With hundreds of people overdosing every day, tapering off of opiates is one of the best decisions you could possibly make. While it’s hard to start weaning off of a drug without help, we’ve got the story on how to taper off opiates without withdrawal. If you manage your tapering carefully, you’ll be able to avoid painful symptoms.

Here is everything you need to know about tapering safely.

Tapering Off Safely

When you’re trying to safely taper off of opiates, you should do so with the help of a doctor. Every person is going to approach the situation differently and have a different set of needs. Your taper could take weeks or months, regardless of how anyone else’s taper took.

The focus is for you to minimize any health risks that you could be subjected to. There are physical, emotional, and social changes to consider when you’re getting off of a drug, so you should talk to any specialist you can about it.

Your doctor should be monitoring your vital signs during the course of your taper from opiates. Any spikes one way or the other in your pulse, temperature, or your blood pressure should signal that there’s something wrong. They’ll be able to check your blood and urine regularly to see that the amount of opiates in your system is steadily dropping.

Your doctor might want to get in touch with the other health care providers that you work with. Your pharmacist or even your family members might offer useful insight into what’s going on with you. They can be part of the team to help you taper off.

As you kick opiates, you might need other types of therapy to supplement the place that opiates played in your life. Other medications might not be a good idea, but they work for some people.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

When you’re tapering off of opiates, your aim is to avoid experiencing withdrawal. Withdrawal could result in serious physical issues and medical problems that send you to the hospital. If they start giving you medication without realizing what was going on, you could have to start the whole process all over again.

If you notice uncontrollable restlessness or anxiety, you might be suffering withdrawal. Your pain often increases to such a point that you have trouble sleeping. If insomnia occurs and you can’t seem to get back on track, you might need intervention from a doctor.

One of the common feelings is GI related, and it’s a little different for everyone. There could be nausea, inability to eat, or vomiting, even if you haven’t eaten. Watch for extreme constipation or diarrhea.

Sweating might lead to fevers or a weakened immune system. If you end up getting a common cold, you could end up in medical care. Take your tapering off period seriously so that you avoid any of the tremors, heart rate, or extreme blood pressure changes that occur.

Have people around to talk to and to call. You want to avoid the kind of confusion and hallucinations that come along with withdrawal. It could put you in a dangerous situation.

Take Action

One of the best ways to counter the potential for withdrawal and to stay on your taper schedule is to find healthier ways to live. Some simple tips can make a huge difference when it comes to getting healthy and getting off of opiates.

Drinking more water and liquids seems simple, but it makes a huge difference. Only a small percentage of people are drinking enough water every day, with most people making it only a small part of their day. Drinking more water ensures that your whole internal system works better and even makes your skin look good.

If you haven’t been eating nutritious meals on a regular basis, it’s time to start now. It’ll get you back on track and feeling much better about life. When you’re full of good food, it’s hard to be unhappy.

If you’ve never meditated, find a friend to meditate with. Use this time for moderate exercise. Even long walks can be good if you’ve been dealing with a troubled immune or metabolic system for a long time.

Find ways to distract yourself with events. Go to a comedy show, out to see your favorite band, or even just make a regular movie night with friends. Having something to do on a regular basis and filling your schedule up helps to keep you away from a relapse.

Use as much positive self-talk as you need to get through it.

Build a Social Network

There are a lot of physiological issues to worry about, but they’ll only be helped or hindered by your social life.

While social media offers you one kind of social network, the kind that you need right now is a real in-person connection with friends. If you’ve damaged your relationships with friends and loved ones because of an addiction, now’s the time to build it back up again.

If you have frayed relationships, you need to work on repairing them. Talking with a therapist is a great way to start. If there’s a Narcotics Anonymous group in your area or something like it, connect there. Talk to your doctor and see what they can recommend.

If you have a religious community that you belong to, they’ll be happy to connect with you. If you’ve lost touch, reconnect with them now that you’re on a good path. You’ll find people who are excited to help you out. Anyone who is in recovery from addiction needs community support.

Now You Know How To Taper Off Opiates Without Withdrawal

Withdrawal is one of the scariest aspects of getting off of opiates. Once you’ve learned how to taper off opiates without withdrawal, you’ll be on track to good health and a better future.

For inspiration, check out our guide to how celebrities have dealt with their addictions in the past.

You can also give us a call at (855) 976-2092 and we can help you find methadone treatment near you.

Sources


[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 22). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

[2] Plain Water, the Healthier Choice. (2019, February 4). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html

[3] Recovery and Recovery Support | SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019, 30). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/recovery

 

About the author

Dr. Michael Carlton, MD.

Leading addictionologist, Michael Carlton, M.D. has over 25 years of experience as a medical practitioner. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and returned for his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1990. He completed his dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and his Fellowship in Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

He has published articles in the fields of toxicology and biomedicine, crafted articles for WebMD, and lectured to his peers on medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Carlton was a medical director of Community Bridges and medically supervised the medical detoxification of over 30,000 chemically dependent patients annually.

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