Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quitting Pain Pills – A How-To Guide

You, like many people, may have begun taking pain pills to address a knee injury or aching back. Initially, there was no cause for concern. The pain was reduced and your daily activities could commence as per usual. Why worry? After all, the medication you take is prescribed by a licensed physician – How bad could it be? Unfortunately, these substances carry a high risk of dependency with long-term use. If your pain medication use seems to have spiraled out of control, it’s important you seek help as quickly as possible.


1 – Discuss your concerns with the doctor. Avoid catering to any feelings of embarrassment of guilt. With your physician’s help, organize a plan of action. The intensity and length of your withdrawal will ultimately depend on the  amount of time you have been taking the medication.

2 – Enroll in a drug addiction detox program. Any attempt to stop taking the medication abruptly – without proper care – could result in a variety of symptoms, including seizures, tremors, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression and suicidal thoughts.

3 – Make a commitment to at least 7 – 10 days of medically monitored detox. Once you’re admitted to the facility, an addiction counselor will guide you through a thorough exam to inspect your vital signs and obtain a basic idea of how long you will need to remove the drugs from your system.

4 – Communication is key. Be sure to keep a log of any symptoms you experience, and provide them to your doctors and counselors. Typical symptoms include mood swings, anxiety, sadness, aches and fatigue. If these symptoms begin to escalate, you must inform your physicians immediately.

5 – Locate a local area Narcotics Anonymous (NA) treatment program and begin attending meetings on a daily basis. Addiction recovery is a life-long struggle, and you’ll need all the support you can get.

6 – Once you’ve detoxed, you may be left with pain from the prior condition. Seek out a pain management specialist who can provide nonnarcotic medication and treatments such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture, acupressure and occupational therapy.

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