Opioid dependence can occur because of the recreational use of drugs or the therapeutic use of prescription medications. Regardless of the underlying cause of dependence, it may be necessary to stop using the medication. Since withdrawal from opioids can make it harder for someone to stop using, there are ways to manage withdrawal symptoms.
1. Reduce Opioids Slowly
In most cases of opioid dependence caused by illicit use, the drug is usually stopped abruptly, unless someone tries to stop on their own. For people who are weaning off prescribed medications, they should do so by slowly reducing their medications. One method might be to use half your normal dose each day and tackle symptoms as warranted.
This way, the symptoms are less likely to be severe and adapting to a lower dose of medication can be more tolerable. Over time you can slowly reduce your medication and may reach a point where you can stop altogether without intolerable symptoms. In any instance where you want to stop abruptly, it is best to have medical help with the process.
2. Manage Gastrointestinal Symptoms
It is common for people to experience nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea during withdrawal. Depending on the severity of dependence, these symptoms may be eased with self-care, or they may require medical intervention. For self-care, staying hydrated is most important to prevent gastrointestinal symptoms from turning into severe dehydration and become life-threatening.
In addition to drinking water or other caffeine-free fluids, eating fluid-rich foods can also help. Soups and fruit might be easier on the stomach while adding extra water. For people with severe symptoms, medications to reduce nausea combined with intravenous fluids may be the only way to prevent dehydration.
3. Incorporate Medications
There are various medications available to reduce the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal and to help reduce drug cravings. These medications are usually reserved for people with moderate to severe symptoms that would not benefit from treating the withdrawal symptoms alone. Methadone is commonly used for this purpose, specifically when the person is dependent on illicit opioids. The goal is to help ease symptoms in a controlled manner, by replacing the illicit drug with a prescribed opioid. Other medications, such as lofexidine, are specifically used to control symptoms of opioid withdrawal, but unlike methadone, it is not an opioid.
Stopping opioids is not an easy process, and the symptoms associated with withdrawal from opioids can make it harder to fight dependence. The most important step to stopping opioids is to go through the withdrawal process in the safest manner possible.
For more information, contact a company like Lucemyra.