Prescription Drugs: The Complete Guide to Weaning Off Medications

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In the US, it’s estimated that opioid crisis and misuse costs us $78.5 billion a year. Unfortunately, addiction is more common than you may realize, whether it’s opioids or other common drugs or alcohol.

If you’re ready to get sober, congratulations! Wanting to make a change and acknowledging the issue is the first step.

However, you may be wondering about rehab, recovery, and weaning off medications. What can you expect through the process?

How do you wean off medication safely? If you’re ready to learn more, keep reading for the complete guide to getting off drugs safely.

Seek Professional Support When Weaning Off Medications

If you’re getting off drugs, one of the most important things to do is seek professional support. If you’ve been using drugs for a long time, whether prescription or illegal drugs, your body is probably physically and mentally addicted.

Quitting can be difficult as your body may go through intense side effects. With professional medical treatment, your doctor can help you manage these withdrawal processes so it’s less taxing on your body.

Professional support can also help with the mental side of giving up drugs, something that can be difficult after many years of using.

Don’t feel like you need to wean off drugs on your own—there are plenty of substance abuse support programs to help both the patient and their family.

Don’t Go Cold Turkey

For casual drinkers or smokers, quitting all at once, known as cold turkey, may work for them.

However, for serious users, your body is accustomed to the drug, and quitting all at once could have serious health consequences. These can include seizures, heart problems, and uncomfortable side effects.

The safest way to give up drugs is to wean yourself off them slowly, under the supervision of a doctor.

If you do go cold turkey, your body will quickly lose all of its tolerance to that drug. Meaning, if you ever start using again, an overdose is likely, as the amount of drug you used to take daily is now too much for your body to handle.

Avoid Friends Who Are Using

If you’re trying to wean off drugs, temptation and peer pressure can make things even harder than they already are.

Often, you will have friends who are still using. If you’re working hard to get sober, it’s important to avoid spending time around your old friends who are using drugs.

Even if you think you’ll be fine, there’s no point to put yourself in a position where you may be tempted. Instead, work to build up a new group of sober friends who will support you and your healthier life choices.

Although it can be hard to cut out people from your life, your recovery is the most important thing to consider.

Be Prepared for Any Side Effects

Giving up drugs almost always means physical side effects, which may start within a few hours of your last use.

With opioids, common withdrawal side effects include nausea, shaking, fever, agitation, and sweating. Drugs such as heroin and meth can have more challenging side effects, which can be eased with medication.

With the right support, you can work through your side effects.

Have a Support System to Help You

If you’ve been suffering from addiction, you may find the process to quit to be tough, both mentally and physically. It’s important to know you don’t have to shoulder the burden on your own—if you have a support network, it can help you greatly.

For some, this may be family, a partner, or close friends. Others may find support through groups such as AA or other support organizations.

Try to have the number of a mentor or friend that you can call at any time if you feel like you need help—sometimes, an honest conversation about why you feel like using can stop the craving.

If you’re going through rehab, you’ll learn more about the importance of support and how it can work for you.

Create a Long-Term Plan

To have success with staying off drugs, you’ll need to have a plan for your future.

With the help of your doctor or support team, create a plan for discontinuing your drug use and for longer-term support.

The discontinuation plan is more medically focused. It outlines your steps for weaning off drugs. This includes details such as how much to take each day, how many days in total until you’re clean, and expected side effects.

It’s a useful tool so you know exactly what to expect and how to manage the withdrawal process as safely as possible.

You can also work with your treatment team to create a plan for your future. There are many things to consider as part of your new, sober lifestyle.

Where will you live? What sort of job will you do? Will you attend regular support meetings? Do you have a sponsor?

Outline as many of the details as you can, creating a clear framework that you can follow.

Contact Us for Recovery Support and Guidance

Weaning off medications and starting a sober lifestyle can be challenging, but the success and sense of achievements it provides is unlike anything else.

Now that you know a bit more about what to expect when giving up drugs, are you ready to end your cycle of addiction, for good this time? If so, we are here to help.

We believe in a multifaceted approach to beating addiction, which includes customized treatment plans, volunteering, mindfulness, and family support.

To learn more about the enrollment process or for answers to any of your questions on insurance coverage, our caring team is ready to help.

With the right support and care, you can begin your sober, healthy life, so contact us today to begin. Oasis Recovery, based in gorgeous Asheville, NC, is the perfect setting for recovery and growth.