wean off opiates

Discover 5 Ways To Successfully Wean Off Opiates

Why Is It Important To Wean Off Opiates?

To wean off opiates can be a difficult task and withdrawals can be dangerous. Understanding what Opiates are is very important. Opiates or Opioids are a class of drug that works in the brain to affect the opioid receptors. They bind to certain receptors in the brain which leads to a chemical in the brain called dopamine being released. This can make the user have feelings of euphoria and pleasure, which is why most will continue to abuse the drug. However, the longer one takes the drug, they will gradually build a tolerance. This means that he or she will have to take larger amounts to produce the feeling they desire. This can lead to physical dependency  which turns into physical addiction.They are often prescribed to people for pain but may also be abused without a prescription, either way, the wean off process is an uphill battle for those trying to quit abusing such substances. 



Opiate Dependency  

Oftentimes, people start out with a prescription to relieve and manage pain. After just a couple of days of use, our body can become dependent on it. When the medication runs out or a dose is missed, one may start to experience uncomfortable withdrawals. Leading them to get another prescription or turn to find more on the streets. Opiate dependency not only has an effect on the body, but it can also take a toll on our relationships, jobs, and overall quality of life. Withdrawals from opiates can be extremely uncomfortable, painful, and psychologically challenging when use suddenly stops. Weaning off the medication can help manage the withdrawal symptoms while getting off the medication. Opiate dependency changes the was the users brain works. They become so dependent on the drug that the chemical make up of the brain can change, located in the Locus Ceruleus (LC). This part of the brain produces a chemical called noradrenaline (NA), which stimulates wakefulness, breathing, and alertness. When opiates are not found in the system to suppress the LC brain cells, the opposite occurs. This can entail jitters, bowel movements, and muscle cramps.



Opiate Withdrawals 

  • Muscle aches 
  • Insomnia  
  • Anxiety 
  • Excessive sweating  
  • Runny nose 
  • Stomach cramps  
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Rapid pulse 
  • Dilated pupils 
  • Hyper refluxes 
  • Fever 
  • Chills 
  • Goosebumps 
  • Excessive yawning 
  • Teary eyes 


How to wean off Opiates 

To wean off of opiates, is to slowly reduce the amount taken. The time frame of the taper depends on the person, their opiate use, how long they have used for, and how each change of dose affects the individual. A taper is done to reduce withdrawal symptoms until completely off the medication. It is important to taper under the care of a medical professional. Tapering off on your own can be challenging, potentially leading to a relapse. Once your tolerance has decreased, a relapse could lead to an overdose and potentially be fatal. A doctor may prescribe Methadone or Buprenorphine to help manage withdrawals, and then start a taper with that instead of the opiate itself. The correct taper can vary depending on the addict, and a medical professional will decide which plan fits the patient best. Counseling is often introduced along with medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms of stress and anxiety, as well as preventing relapse.



Seeking Treatment To Wean Off Of Opiate Dependency 

Whether someone chooses to go to a medically assisted detox facility or wean off opiates at home, it is always advised to participate in an inpatient or outpatient treatment to deal with the addiction itself. Sometimes, a taper is done while at an inpatient treatment center. Opiate use and abuse take a serious toll on your body and overall health. Quitting opiates may be difficult at first, but once through the withdrawals or completely weaned off, it’s well worth it. Some benefits of quitting Opiates include: 


  • Improved self-love 
  • Improved financial security 
  • Better relationships 
  • Improved cognitive function  
  • Better mood 
  • More energy  
  • Overall better quality of life 


If you or a loved one is having trouble with opiate addiction, please don’t hesitate to contact a treatment center near you.




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *