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Millions of us are suffering from severe daily chronic pain and it is understandable that you would want to seek some form of relief to alleviate that situation, which is a fundamental reason why there has been significant growth in opioid pain relief prescriptions.
The obvious downside to taking this pain relief route is that opioid pain pills are highly addictive and that means it is a major challenge to withdraw once your body has become used to these pills.
Here are some pointers on how you can put yourself on the road to ditching the pain pills and making a recovery from addiction.
Understanding how opioids work
One of the first steps to take on your road to recovery is to understand exactly how opioids work in the brain and why taking them can become so addictive.
Opioids naturally occur in your body and they communicate with special receptors in your brain known as neurotransmitters, which then help your body to regulate pain and stress.
Chemical opioids such as suboxone detox are specifically designed to attach themselves to these same receptors in your brain, heightening the sensation of pain relief in what can be described as a euphoric way.
It should be noted that these chemical opioids are considerably more powerful than anything that your body can produce on its own, which is why it so difficult to withdraw from this heightened state of euphoria that the pills create.
Opioid withdrawal will produce a number of physical symptoms that you will have to contend with when you start the withdrawal process.
These symptoms are similar to suffering from flu and you are likely to experience issues such as stomach pain, aching muscles, vomiting, and other related responses.
There is also an emotional response to withdrawal and this means you are likely to experience feelings of depression, irritability, and strong cravings for the opioid drugs that you have been taking up to this point.
Expect a reaction from your nervous system
Withdrawal symptoms will normally start within a day of taking your last opioid drug and another aspect of withdrawal that you need to be aware of is the chain reaction caused in your central nervous system.
Autonomic functions of your central nervous system will have been chemically suppressed while taking opioid pain relief drugs and the withdrawal process will create hyperactive symptoms such as changes to your body temperature, an erratic heart rate, and respiratory problems.
Withdrawal needs to be done in stages
You will likely be aware of the phrase “cold turkey”, which is a term used to describe when you suddenly stop taking drugs and experience severe reactions in response to this action.
Suddenly stopping taking a prescription opioid pain reliever can often create severe withdrawal symptoms as already described, which is why it is often recommended that you seek advice or get help in slowly reducing your dependence over a period of time rather than cutting off completely straight away.
By slowly reducing your dependence and cutting down your opioid dosage in increments, this should give your brain a better opportunity to cope with the recovery process and re-stabilize to normality as the recovery gathers pace.
Replacing your drugs
One treatment option that might be suggested to you on your road to recovery is to replace the short-acting opioids that you have been taking with longer-acting alternatives such as methadone, which could help with the weaning-off process.
These replacement medications are designed to help you manage your withdrawal symptoms and the various drugs prescribed to treat opioid addiction recovery and counteract the cravings are FDA-approved.
It is recommended that you gain admission to a suitable medical detox program in order to help you stop taking pain pills safely and cope with the withdrawal symptoms.
If you are going to replace your drugs to reduce your dependence on opioids via the medical detox route this should be safely monitored by a qualified professional.
It should be noted that detox and medications are only part of the potential solution when you are going through withdrawal and it is wise to consider the emotional aspects of your treatment too.
It should be understood that the withdrawal process will not always run smoothly and there is the possibility that your body will resist the changes and you could experience a relapse.
Relapse is a reasonably common occurrence, but this can be an extremely challenging experience after a period of abstinence.
Putting yourself forward for counseling and other related therapies would be a good way of helping you cope emotionally with the cravings that you will experience.
Behavioral therapies are designed to help you recognize and control the triggers for relapse and counseling will give you that level of emotional support that is so often needed to help cope with the physical responses to withdrawal.
Managing without medications
If you suffer from chronic pain it is likely to prove extremely challenging reducing your dependence on opioid pain relief pills.
There are pain-control alternatives that could help you cope without resorting to medication.
Stress management techniques can help you avoid the potential triggers for relapse and strategies such as taking up yoga or practicing mindfulness can help reduce your sensitivity to pain.
Look after yourself
If you commit to looking after your body by eating and sleeping well and getting plenty of exercises this can help your body function at its highest level and this will have the natural effect of helping to minimize any stress or pain that you are experiencing.
Other alternative therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic care can also promote a healthy body and aid a reduction in pain without the need for drugs.
Keep your mind active
Plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation will help you to focus on more positive things and put the thought of physical pain to the back of your mind.
Consider starting a few new activities or hobbies to keep your mind active and in a positive state, as this will also help keep your focus away from pain and aid your long-term recovery from opioid addiction.