As maligned as prescription painkillers are in recent years, using these opioids is still the most effective method for managing acute, short-term pain following an injury or surgery. The pain medications are also useful for treating patients with chronic pain when other drugs haven’t been successful, although the risk of developing dependence to them is a near certainty. Opioid analgesics are highly addictive, with dependence occurring in as little as two weeks of use.
Opioid addiction should be taken seriously. More than 115 people die each day in the U.S. due to an opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This category of medications includes OxyContin, Vicodin, codeine, Dilaudid, Norco, and Demerol. What may have started out as a legitimate pain mitigation tool can grow into a serious addiction, many times leading eventually to a switch to heroin. Heroin and counterfeit versions of the narcotics can be cut with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin, and has resulted in countless overdose deaths.
In the event that an individual has used the drugs for a long enough period to lead to an addiction, they will notice that the medication no longer seems as effective at the prescribed dosage, indicating increased tolerance to the drug. In like manner, if the individual experiences unpleasant symptoms when attempting discontinue the opioid it is also an indication that dependence has developed. Learning how to get off narcotics safely is the first order of business.
What to Expect in Opioid Detox
Detoxing from narcotics is a highly uncomfortable process. Attempting to wing it and just stop taking the medication cold turkey will usually fail. This is because the withdrawal symptoms are so difficult to endure that the individual is likely to relapse right back to taking the narcotic just to avoid the pain of withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal symptoms might include:
- Muscle pain and cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
A medical detox is how to get off narcotics safely, where a team of trained detox professionals can monitor the process and provide medical interventions for the withdrawal symptoms.
How to Get Off Narcotics Safely
When someone has realized they are addicted to the pain medication they were prescribed they can access a medical detox program for evaluation. During the interview and assessment protocol the clinician will determine how serious the addiction is. The information provided, such as how long the person has been on the medication, the current dosing, the overall health of the individual, and whether a co-occurring mental health disorder exists all help the clinician predict the intensity of the detox process.
At this time, a tapering schedule is created to gradually wean the individual off the drug while simultaneously being monitored in a safe, supportive environment. As the withdrawal symptoms begin to surface, medications can be used to significantly minimize them, helping to guide the individual through the detox and toward treatment.
After Detox, Then What?
Some people make the error of assuming once they have successfully completed a detox they are good to go, ready to live a drug-free life. This strategy is likely to backfire shortly after one leaves the detox program. Why? Because during the period the individual was using the drug they had been in the process of changing their brain chemistry, the neurotransmitters that are woven into the brain’s reward system.
Without treatment, the brain will bombard the newly clean and sober individual with intense cravings for the drug. The purpose of rehab is to help the individual make behavioral changes following the distorted prompts, to reshape the thought-behavior mechanism using strategies learned in treatment. The treatment process takes time to develop new habits that will replace the reflexive addiction habits formed while dependent on opioids.
Treatment for Narcotic Dependence
After a medical detoxification it is time to consider the type of addiction treatment to pursue. Inpatient programs are residential, where the individual lives 24/7 for a specified length of time. Inpatient programs offer the highest level of care, with therapeutic programing throughout the day.
Some busy professionals may find it difficult to get away from their office for an extended period of time. For these individuals, an outpatient program is an ideal option. Outpatient rehab can provide ongoing therapy, but allows the flexibility to remain at home outside of treatment hours. An extra layer of support can be added if the individual chooses to stay in sober living during the month or two of outpatient treatment, while still allowing for the executive to remain engaged at work.
Executive 7 Day Detox Offers Effective and Safe Detox From Narcotics
Executive 7 Day Detox provides a very effective medical detox for busy professionals who have found themselves addicted to narcotics. Located in one of Orange County, California’s most beautiful seaside communities, Executive 7 Day Detox combines the trained medical detox support services with unmatched luxury in a tranquil setting. When wondering how to get off narcotics safely, contact our admissions line for informative, discreet assistance at (800) 381-0827.