Tapering off opiates is a good idea under the right circumstances. There are few ways to taper down off an opiate. Some of these ways are easier than others to accomplish without the fear of breakthrough symptoms or relapse. Tapering can be a delicate subject for some because it means leaving the crutch of opiates behind gradually.
Why Taper Off Opiates?
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are many reasons to discontinue opiate use using a variety of techniques. Some of these reasons are:
- removing opiates is medically necessary
- there are signs of addiction
- there are signs of illegal behaviors
- opiates are causing severe reactions
- opiate therapy is no longer working correctly
- the patient is more stable than when opiates were prescribed
Each of these is a logical reason to begin a tapering schedule. There are several ways to taper off opiates. Although you can taper off opiates without the assistance of a treatment center, it is not recommended. To find a treatment center to help you taper off opiates call 800-405-7172.
Setting up a Tapering Schedule
The first thing a treatment center will help you do is to set up a tapering schedule that works for you and keeps your withdrawal symptoms at bay. According to the Utah Department of Health, some suggestions are:
- start with determining your regular dose, a doctor can help you do this safely
- each week drop your dosage by 10 percent, this gives your body time to adjust
- if you have issues with breakthrough symptoms, drop your dose by 5 percent instead of 10
- Breakthrough symptoms may occur in the first few weeks
- if you experience breakthrough symptoms use other medications to help treat them
- be sure to report to your doctor any breakthrough symptoms or side effects
The length of the tapering depends on how high your dosage is when you start. How fast you taper is between you and your doctor.
The Forced Taper
There are times when a doctor will taper a patient off their opiate against their patient’s will. Although it is always better to have to patient’s cooperation, sometimes this is not possible. When this happens there are some issues that need to be addressed. Some patients react badly to their medication being tapered down.
If a patient is having a difficult time with tapering, then sometimes inpatient treatment is best. Due to the mood swings and other behavioral issues during withdrawal, a patient is safely away from both their triggers and their ability to get the drugs if they are in inpatient care.
Tapering in General
If done properly tapering is an excellent way to leave opiates behind. If done without a doctor’s supervision it is a recipe for relapse. Most people choose to taper under a doctor’s care to help prevent relapse. To find a treatment center or outpatient center that can help you with tapering call 800-405-7172. We can help.
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