Every individual is different and will experience a unique combination of withdrawal symptoms, differing severity of symptoms and a distinct duration of symptoms when detoxing from certain substances.
Unlike many substances, where detox requires an individual to immediately cease substance use, there are certain substances where it is generally recommended for an individual to taper off the substance as opposed to stopping abruptly. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Opioids: are a type of drug used to alleviate moderate to moderately severe pain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), “Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.”
- Barbiturates: belonging to a class of medications known as sedative-hypnotics, barbiturates act as a central nervous system depressant, and are usually prescribed as sedatives to help prevent seizures, relieve anxiety, and muscle spasms, and as a sleep aid.
- Benzodiazepines: also classed as sedative-hypnotics, benzodiazepines are fast-acting, psychoactive substances. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved benzodiazepines for use in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), insomnia, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), seizure disorders, and panic disorder.
- Methamphetamine: is an illegal, synthetic chemical that is used recreationally. It is a highly addictive, neuro-toxic, central nervous system stimulant.
The tapering-off method entails gradually decreasing the total daily dose of an abused substance, typically with the goal of discontinuing the drug entirely. This process can take anywhere from days to weeks (and possibly months) depending on drug-specific factors and the individual’s response to the decreased dose. The timeline to wean off drugs will be different for each person as it will be greatly informed by the individual and his or her unique situation.
An individual tapering off drugs will work with a medical professional to develop a plan to effectively take him or her off the substance. Depending on the substance, tapering off drugs is not only safe as it enables one’s body to slowly acclimate to the reduction of drugs present in his or her system, but it can also lessen the severity of some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced. Tapering off drugs can be successfully accomplished with ample medical supervision, and it is often the recommended method for safely removing certain substances from one’s body.
For Information and Support
Contemplating detox can be a very challenging time. Before any individual can begin to work on the underlying issues contributing to their substance abuse problem, they must be separated from the substances in their systems. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Sherwood Detox offers a stand-alone detox program. For additional information on detox, please do not hesitate to contact us at: 818-626-9959 or feel free to email us anytime. One of our trusted counselors is available to talk and discuss how we can best support you on your journey.