Pain Medication Withdrawal 101

White Pills
Stefan Holm / EyeEm / Getty Images

Tapering off pain medication comes with many possible withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, delirium, nightmares, headaches, and tremors. These symptoms are a result of addiction or dependency on the medication. Addiction is defined by craving the drug for the purpose of its psychological effects. Furthermore, dependency is defined by using the drug to relieve pain. Being tolerant is related to the reduction of the drug’s effect on the patient.

The reason for the withdrawal symptoms is because the processes in your body such as digestion, metabolism, and mental stimulation have slowed down due to the medication you have taken over a long period of time. While weaning off your medication, these processes in your body get back up to speed. When you stop your medications abruptly, your bodily processes speed up too quickly, leading to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. The speeding up of your digestion can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Rapid acceleration of metabolism can lead to weight loss and nausea. Mental functionality issues include delirium, depression, or nightmares.

An important thing to note is to never go off pain medication abruptly to avoid intensifying the symptoms. It is important to use extreme precaution and be in a positive state of mind when starting your withdrawing process.

Pain Medications: Ideal Scenarios

The ideal protocol to wean off medication is to slowly cut down the doses over a long period of time.

Cutting down the doses over a longer period of time as opposed to a few days will ensure that you experience pain ranging from less intense to minimal withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor to see if he or she can change your prescription to help monitor your dosage or make it easier for you to split your dosage.

In order to cope with your withdrawal symptoms, various medications can be used. A very common and effective medication is Methadone. It prevents the withdrawal symptoms and helps ease any craving from your pain medication, without the feeling of euphoria that is often present with pain drugs. Subsequent to the tapering off of the pain medication, methadone can be tapered off without withdrawal symptoms.

Examples of Pain Medications: Taking withdrawal into Account

Buprenorphine and suboxone is a combination that is used for purposes of detox from addiction. Buprenorphine is responsible for easing the drug craving, while suboxone prevents misuse of the medication.

Clodine is another medication. It is typically used to decrease blood pressure. By doing this, the “fight or flight” response is diminished. The downside to Clodine is that it does not ease or prevent the drug craving. It is most commonly coupled with other medications.

Lifestyle tips that you should follow during this withdrawal period are drinking a lot of water, eating the right amounts of food, and exercising. These are the best ways to flush the medication out of your system and will push you towards a happier lifestyle while helping you deal with any potential withdrawal symptoms.

Dealing with these withdrawal symptoms can be difficult.

Withdrawal from Pain Medications: Getting Family Involved

Having your partner, family member, or friend involved will make this experience more ideal for you. He or she will be a source of motivation and will also help you deal with your withdrawal symptoms. Nonetheless, the most important thing that you could do is be motivated and have perseverance. Withdrawal will be a long process and you will at times want to go back to your previous regimen. Thus, it is important to keep reminding yourself of why you are going through this process and what you’re going to get out of it.

Just thinking about withdrawing from your medication is a huge process and you should be proud of making that first step.

Continue Reading