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Are You Considering Getting Off Opioids?

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Are you struggling with addiction to opioids? Have your attempts at quitting failed in the past? If so, you’re not alone. Opioid dependency is an issue that has plagued our society for decades and continues to cause major problems among those suffering from opioid use disorders. For many, getting off opioids completely seems like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. 

With the right guidance and support network, breaking free of this downward spiral of addiction is possible. Throughout this blog post we’ll look at different steps you can take toward recovery and share resources available that can help make achieving sobriety more realistic than ever before.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of powerful drugs used as pain relievers and often prescribed for chronic, long-term pain. While they are designed to help people with chronic ailments, too often opioids can cause addiction and withdrawal after prolonged use. 

Long-term opioid use can interfere with a person’s ability to carry out their normal duties and decreases their quality of life. Taking too many opioids can even be fatal due to the risk of overdose, which is why it’s so important that they only be taken under close medical supervision. 

How to quit using Opioids safely?

Getting off opioids is a long process that requires careful planning and medical supervision. Here are some things you should know about quitting opioid use safely:

Quitting Opioids Cold Turkey

Quitting opioids cold turkey may seem like an intriguing idea; however, it can be extremely dangerous. A sudden cessation of opioids can cause severe and painful opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, extreme agitation, insomnia, aches and pains in the muscles, depression, and in more serious cases even seizures. 

Quitting opioids cold turkey could also increase the risk of relapse due to feeling overwhelmed by the effects of withdrawal. It is always best to consult a healthcare professional before quitting opioids and develop a plan for how to wean off opioids slowly in order to reduce the impact of withdrawal symptoms on daily life.

Steps involved in getting off Opioids

Tapering from opioids is a slow and gradual process that requires careful planning and medical supervision. Here are a few steps involved in getting off opioids safely and effectively.

Taper Schedule 

Tapering means gradually decreasing your dose over an extended period of time until your body stops craving the drug. This allows for the body to slowly adjust to lower doses and prevents any adverse effects from sudden withdrawal. 

It is essential to work with a healthcare provider to determine an appropriate taper schedule tailored to individual needs. An addiction expert will help determine the appropriate schedule for you based on your age, duration of dependence, duration, etc.

Exercise

In addition to tapering, exercise can be an important part of managing opioid withdrawal symptoms. Exercise releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters which can help reduce pain, stress, and anxiety associated with opioid withdrawal. 

Exercise also helps improve sleep quality, increases energy levels, contributes to better overall mental well-being, and can provide structure as part of a daily routine.

Diet and Appetite

Diet and appetite are also important factors during opioid cessation. Eating healthy foods that are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals can help reduce cravings while providing needed nutrients during recovery. 

Appetite often decreases during withdrawal due to nausea or other side effects; however, it is still important to focus on eating nourishing meals throughout the day to maintain strength and energy levels. 

Supplements may be necessary if there is difficulty consuming enough food or if nutrient deficiencies are present prior to tapering off opioids. 

Sleep Schedule 

Sleep patterns are disrupted during opioid cessation as well so setting up a consistent sleep schedule is beneficial for managing withdrawal symptoms. Keeping regular sleep hours helps regulate the body’s internal clock which helps reduce insomnia and fatigue caused by opioid withdrawal. 

Creating an environment conducive to sleep such as having blackout curtains or reducing nighttime light exposure can also aid in improving the quality of restful sleep throughout the night. 

Common symptoms of Opioids withdrawal and how to deal with them

The severity of the symptoms depends on a number of factors such as the size of the dose and how long the patient has been using opioids. Common symptoms of opioid withdrawal can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Watery eyes

It is important to remember that each person’s experience with opioid withdrawal may be different. To deal with opioid withdrawal symptoms it is necessary to seek professional help from a healthcare provider. 

Tips for coping with Opioids crash

Opioid crash refers to the symptoms that can occur when the effects of opioid drugs, such as pain relief and feelings of euphoria, wear off. These symptoms can include fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and depression. 

If you are experiencing an opioid crash, there are several things you can try to help cope with the symptoms. For example, it may help to drink plenty of water, eat nourishing meals, and get enough rest. It can also be beneficial to remain active by going for a walk or doing light stretches throughout the day rather than sitting still for too long. 

Moreover, finding hobbies that make you feel fulfilled are also a great tool for managing opioid-related crashes. It is also crucial to stop using other substances like alcohol, nicotine, and ketamine, as they can hinder the effectiveness of treatment and contribute to substance use disorders. 

Lastly, deep breathing and relaxing activities like listening to music can provide much-needed relief during stressful episodes associated with an opioid crash. However, if the crash still proves too debilitating or uncontrollable, there may be a need to talk with a doctor who specializes in fighting opioid abuse. 

Taking these steps may not make the experience of an opioid crash enjoyable, but they can positively impact your overall comfort levels as you adjust to living without opioids eventually.

Common causes of Opioids rebound

Opioid rebound refers to the return of symptoms that were previously relieved by the opioid medication after the medication is stopped or the dose is reduced. There are several common causes of opioid rebound such as:

  • Sudden cessation of the drug as the body has still not adjusted to the absence of the opioids
  • Dramatic changes in medication doses
  • Withdrawal from opioids after long-term use
  • Decreasing tolerance over time 
  • Failing to taper off opioid medications slowly
  • Existing physical and mental health problems can also increase the risk of an opioids rebound

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before stopping or reducing the use of opioid medication to minimize the risk of withdrawal and rebound symptoms.

Professional treatment for getting off Opioids:

Professional treatment for opioid addiction can be an invaluable resource for individuals suffering from opioid dependence. With support from addiction counselors and medical professionals, individuals can find long-term drug-free solutions and increase their chances of achieving recovery. 

In addition to outpatient treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and individual counseling sessions, many centers now offer Methadone replacement therapy and other pharmaceutical interventions to help opioid users curb their cravings for the drug. 

Even if traditional treatments do not work on their own, supplementing them with support groups or rehabilitation programs can make a significant difference in a person’s health and progress toward sobriety. 

Professional treatment has helped countless people break away from the chains of opioid abuse and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives; the sooner someone seeks help, the better their chance of finding success in recovery.

Final thoughts on getting off Opioids:

Weaning oneself off opioids requires careful planning, medical supervision, and emotional support from loved ones if one wants the process to go as smoothly as possible. Although this process can be challenging at times, having knowledge about what resources are available along with understanding potential risks associated with opioid detoxification will allow individuals who wish to get clean the best chance at success.

Warren

Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.