How to Taper Down Your Opiate Use Safely

How to Taper Down Your Opiate Use Safely

how to taper down your opiate use

If you do your research on how to taper down your opiate use safely, you will find that there are many opinions floating around out there in the internet ether. One thing is for sure, tapering down your opiate intake is way better than going cold turkey.

Taper Down vs. Cold Turkey

You will want to taper down your opiate use. Trust me. If you have never experienced withdrawals or being dope sick, then you are quite lucky, indeed. Knowing what to expect so that you can prepare both physically and mentally is a great way to begin getting off of opiates, even before you actually start to taper down.

Going cold turkey is the opposite of doing a taper off plan. Cold turkey means to just up and quit without weaning yourself off of the steady supply of opiates you have been taking. If you don’t taper off, your withdrawal will be much more acute: the dope sick symptoms will be way more harsh and difficult to endure.

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Opiate withdrawal symptoms are often described as flu-like in nature. You will experience muscle aches, watery eyes, excessive yawning, runny nose, sweating, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and chills and goose bumps.

There are also psychological withdrawal symptoms when you quit taking opiates. You will experience insomnia, depression, agitation and anxiety. Neurological symptoms of opiate withdrawal are restlessness (such as Restless Leg Syndrome – which you may experience in your arms and neck, as well) and, in severe cases, seizures.

How to Taper Down From Opiates

You will want to go about your taper in a slow and regimented way. One way to do this is to reduce your opiate doses by about 20% to 25% every 2 or 3 days to minimize withdrawals. Tapering off your dosage before you stop cold turkey makes everything so much better. If you are taking anything above 10 mg of any opiate more than twice a day then tapering to a lower dosage is the best thing you can do for you and your body. You may think this is impossible but it can be done and your withdrawal symptoms will be greatly lessened.

Other Helpful Tips While You Taper Off Opiates

OTCs

  • Get over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Also get Epsom salts and take hot baths as often as possible during your taper down from opiates. These will help you to manage the body aches that you will experience during withdrawal. Remember: the small aches that you’ve been handling easily with opiates are going to feel magnified while the drugs are leaving your system.
  • Get an antihistamine with sedating effects, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or dimenhydrinate (Dramamine). These will help with the watery eyes as well as with the nausea and insomnia.
  • Get anti-diarrhea medicine. Again, going through withdrawal from opiates, even if you taper off opiates will cause diarrhea. Loperamide hydrochloride (Immodium AD) is your best bet.

**Helpful hint: Make sure to get a 2-week supply of these over-the-counter medications because, once you start the withdrawal process, you will not want to walk or drive anywhere.

Prepare a comfortable environment, whether it’s your room or the couch. Be sure to have comfortable pillows and comfy blankets.

Don’t go it alone. If you aren’t checking into a rehab facility, then stay with someone who will support you during the withdrawal process and who understands how to taper off of opiates. This is particularly helpful because you may be tempted to take more than you have planned once the going gets tough. Having someone help you taper down by holding onto your opiate supply and giving you each dose on a strict schedule.

And lastly, drink plenty of water and eat regularly, even if you don’t feel hungry. Your body needs nourishment and hydration. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration so be sure to drink water or fruit juice to replace any fluids that you lose.

 

 

 

 

Source:

http://www.wikihow.com/

The 5 Hardest Drugs to Kick

The 5 Hardest Drugs to Kick

When determining which drugs are the hardest drugs to kick, it is helpful to see which the most addictive drugs are. These two concepts are pretty much synonymous. This is because rate of dependence and severity of withdrawal symptoms have everything to do with trying to kick a nasty drug habit.

The following is a list of the 5 hardest drugs to kick, from least to greatest in difficulty. This list is based on a study put together by Dutch scientists who replicated a London study and devised a “dependency rating” that measures addictive potency of the biggest drugs out there. The scale of 0-to-3 shows how the hardest drugs to kick measure up.

#5 Crystal Meth 2.24

What makes crystal meth one of the hardest drugs to kick is that, like heroin and nicotine, meth also imitates dopamine, the reward chemical, and norepinephrine, the alertness chemical, causing your neurons to release more of both—all the while training your brain to want them more. But meth takes it a step further; it can damage dopamine- and norepinephrine-releasing neurons, which leads to a drastic decrease in their production, which makes you crave meth even more.

#4 Methadone 2.68

Basically legalized heroin, methadone is highly addictive because the way it works and is used as a treatment for heroin addiction is to build dependence. And in the case of methadone, dependence is the same as addiction.

Now, it is debatable whether methadone belongs at #4 on the list of hardest drugs to kick because, in my personal experience and from others who have shared their methadone experiences with me, I find it to be a much nastier drug to kick than heroin.

The withdrawals are hell on earth. Heroin withdrawal is said to be more acute but lasts for a much shorter period of time, about a week depending on usage and your body chemistry. Methadone withdrawal is really just as bad when it comes to the severity of the symptoms. What makes methadone harder to kick than heroin is that the withdrawal symptoms last for a longer period of time. And I mean a lot longer. For me it was about a month and a half before I started to feel normal again. Some people experience methadone withdrawal for even longer than that. Because of this, many people return to their drug use to feel better again, making methadone one of the top 5 hardest drugs to kick.

#3 Nicotine 2.82

Nicotine mimics chemicals that stimulate the “reward system” in the brain and then actually replaces them. Nicotine addiction occurs because this replacement causes your brain to make less of the naturally occurring good stuff and so the brain now needs nicotine to maintain normal functioning.

Statistics don’t lie: nicotine proves to be one of the hardest drugs to kick by the sheer number of nicotine addicts in the US: 50,000,000; and one in every five deaths nationwide are the result of smoking.

And actually, there is a tie for spots 2 and 3 which many may find surprising. That’s right, the study found that nicotine is just as hard to kick as crack cocaine.

#2 Crack Cocaine 2.82

Although crack is comprised of cocaine, smoking processed crack causes a faster, higher rush that lasts for less time than powder coke. The intensity of the crack high combined with the efficient method of use—smoking—are the big reasons why crack is number two in the top 5 hardest drugs to kick.

Crack addiction is dramatically higher than that of snorted cocaine powder. In 2010, there were an estimated 500,000 active crack cocaine addicts in the United States. And although not physical in nature, the psychological withdrawal symptoms from crack are intense and terrifying: hallucinations, severe anxiety, and depression.

#1 Heroin 2.89

Again, statistics show how heroin is one of the hardest drugs to kick. In the US in 2003, an estimated 281,000 people sought treatment for heroin addiction, and according to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, 23% of people who try heroin become full on addicts.

Heroin is easy to get hooked on. It reduces pain while at the same time causes pleasure. Who wouldn’t want to feel this way? By injecting, snorting or smoking heroin, you are training your brain to make you crave it. After you are physically dependent on heroin, the nasty withdrawal symptoms are enough to keep you coming back for more. It’s clear that heroin is the hardest drug to kick once you’re hooked on it.

 Honorable Mention(s):

Alcohol and Benzodiazepines

Both alcohol and benzos (such as Valium and Xanax) are also some of the hardest drugs to kick because the withdrawal symptoms that result from trying to kick cold turkey are very intense and even possibly fatal. People who stop using alcohol and benzos can experience hallucinations, sweats, anxiety, tremors, seizures, cardiac arrest and even death as a result of these symptoms.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.alternet.org/

http://www.thefix.com/

http://www.drugabuse.gov/

How to Survive Opiate Withdrawal

How to Survive Opiate Withdrawal

First of all, good luck. If you have never experienced opiate withdrawal symptoms, also called being dope sick, you are lucky. If you have, then you know what hell on earth feels like. And, if you have gone through opiate withdrawals more than once, you probably also have noticed that they get worse every subsequent time you stop or run out of your supply. This is because your body is going through a kind of shock: your brain has been altered by taking opiates (such as Oxycodone, Roxicet, heroin, etc.) and without these substances, your brain and therefore body go into panic mode.

Often times compared to being flu-like symptoms, opiate withdrawals are intense, acute, and although not life-threatening, it sure feels like you’re dying.

While going through opiate withdrawal, you may experience some or all of the following:

  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle aches
  • Watery Eyes
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Restlessness
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Chills and goose bumps

Here are 10 things you can do to survive opiate withdrawal:

1. Prepare a comfortable environment:

Keep your tablet or TV and DVD player nearby so that you can watch some lighthearted movies.

Make sure that your room is at a comfortable temperature, and make sure that you have some soft blankets and maybe a fan. Prepare to change your sheets often because of sweating.

Wear loose and comfortable clothing. Again, you’ll probably have to change clothes a lot because of the sweating.

2. Avoid going through opiate withdrawal alone. If you don’t plan to check yourself into a rehab facility, then stay with someone who can support you during the withdrawal period.

3. Take some time off from your usual activities. Opiate withdrawal may take up to 2 weeks, so try to take some time off of work. If you have a family, then check yourself into a rehab facility or go somewhere where your children won’t have to see you going through opiate withdrawals.

4. Slowly taper off your narcotics. Reduce your doses of opioids or medications by about 20 to 25 percent every 2 or 3 days to minimize opiate withdrawals.

5. Try community detox. Check out your local methadone clinic so that you can gradually wean yourself off of narcotics by taking gradually decreasing doses of methadone. Community detox will allow you to go on with your daily life without checking in to an in-patient facility.

6. Go to a psychiatric ward or other inpatient psychiatric facility if you’ve had episodes of suicidal thoughts or hurting yourself in the past. Opiate withdrawal can bring out these negative behaviors, which could put you in real danger. If you have a history of depression or other psychiatric problems, then do your detox under medical supervision.

7. Check yourself into a rehabilitation facility.

Also called inpatient therapy, you will receive individual and group therapy and support. While you stay in a rehabilitation facility, you can talk to counselors about your addiction or you can spend time in support groups with other addicts.

8. Give yourself a lot of positive reinforcement. Try some of these strategies:

Tell yourself that your withdrawal pains from opiates are like labor pains. You’re giving birth to a new you.

Write a notice to yourself that says, “I’m a fantastic person, and I’m doing something amazing.” Post the notice where you can see it.

Give yourself a non-drug reward for every day that you make it through opiate withdrawal.

9. Remember to eat food and drink water. You may not feel like eating or drinking fluids, but your body needs nourishment and hydration. Eat saltines or yogurt or other foods that are easy on your stomach. Also, be sure to drink water or fruit juice to replace any fluids that you lose from vomiting or diarrhea.

10. Get some light exercise. Don’t overdo it, but take a short walk around your neighborhood or do some light housework. Exercise will keep your spirits up and will help to distract you from the symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.wikihow.com/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms           

Methadone is a synthetic opioid used for the maintenance of patients with opiate addiction.  Methadone is mainly used in the involvement of stopping or reducing the use of illicit drugs such as heroin and morphine although it also used in the treatment of chronic pain. While this is the case it has been found to be used recreationally for those with opiate addiction.

Methadone addiction is common because it is readily and easily available at methadone clinics. Clinics are where a user may go for the maintenance of their illicit opiate addiction. There they will receive methadone doses for a small payment each day legally. Just because methadone is legal whereas heroin is not, does not mean it is any less addictive or dangerous. The death toll from methadone use has spiked upward dramatically since 1999, with there being about 3,849 known in 2004 compared to 790 in 1999. Mixing methadone with other drugs such as benzodiazepines can be extremely dangerous also.

Methadone is highly physically addictive just as any other opiate. Methadone’s effects can last up to 35 hours and can remain in the body for days. This makes it prime for the maintenance of opiate addiction but also extremely hard to quit. That’s because when stopping methadone use there are going to be methadone withdrawal symptoms. The physical changes in the body after using methadone for a period of time are similar to those when using heroin or any other opiates.

To know if you are going to have methadone withdrawal symptoms, you can look for signs of methadone addiction. Signs of methadone addiction are pinpointed or contracted pupils, drowsiness, constipation, and suppressed breathing or cough reflex. If you or someone you know has been taking methadone for a long period of time and has these signs they most likely are going to go through methadone withdrawal symptoms once they stop their methadone use. Methadone withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and while they are not fatal it is very frightening. It can become psychologically as well as physically painful. Methadone withdrawal symptoms can vary based on age, gender, how much or how little you have been using and usually consist of;

  • Physical Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms:
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tearing
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Sneezing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe Itching
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Tremors
  • Aches and pains, often in the joints and/or legs
  • Elevated pain sensitivity
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Reduced breathing (may be fatal between 2–4 hours)

 

  • Psychological Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms:
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Susceptibility to Cravings
  • Depression
  • Prolonged insomnia
  • Delirium
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Increased perception of odors, real or imagined
  • Marked decrease in sex drive
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions

Methadone withdrawal symptoms have shown to be up to twice as severe as those of morphine or heroin and are last a significant more amount of time; methadone withdrawal symptoms can last for several weeks or more. At high methadone doses, sudden cessation of therapy can result in methadone withdrawal symptoms described as “the worst withdrawal imaginable,” lasting from weeks to months.