Should You Detox From Painkillers?

Is Detox from Painkillers Necessary?

A resounding “yes” from the medical community is the reply. Not only is it not safe to detox “cold turkey” from these types of pain medications; it can be lethal.

Opiates introduce a high volume of dopamine into the patient’s brain chemistry, causes users to develop a tolerance to the chemicals, which can lead to a dependency and a requirement for more of the drug. This series of events leads to addiction that is so deeply ingrained in the psyche and habitual practices of the user, that withdrawal symptoms may prove fatal if not treated by an experience doctor. Cardiac arrest, sever respiratory depression, and comas are all potential side effects of unsupervised withdrawal from painkillers.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the government is cracking down on opiate prescriptions, across the board. The habit-forming pills have proven to create devastating effects in the community, particularly among the adult population attempting to detox from painkillers.

The Detox Process

Weaning oneself off of the drug is a common approach to eliminating opiates from your medical intake. Gradual steps toward complete abstinence may be aided by the use of a secondary non-habit-forming pain relief medication. Examples of these include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Non-addictive painkillers
  • Anti-nausea or anti-seizure medications
  • Sleep medications
  • Natural remedies (

In addition to these, commonly prescribed drugs include: Methadone, Buprenorphine, LAAM, Naltrexone, and Naloxone. Common practices characteristic of a proper medical detox from painkillers consist of:

  • Medical supervision during the process
  • Monitoring of vital signs
  • Routine checkups with doctors

Overdose is Common

"We know of no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently," said CDC director Thomas Frieden. With the growing epidemic of opiate use and heroin use, counseling and group therapy are vital steps necessary to recover long-term from opiate use. Groups such as relapse prevention, addiction education, and recovery goals may prove helpful in a wellness community. With opiate and heroin use, a reintroduction of the drug at the same levels as last use can be mistakenly fatal.

Long-Term Recovery Support

If inpatient treatment is an option, detox may be offered at the facility, or a nearby hospital. In that instance, the doctors may be in close communication with the treatment team, offering valuable insight into the recovery process.

Recovery is an ongoing process, achieved one day at a time, with the help of an experienced, supportive community of medical professionals and friends. Consult with a doctor before attempting to detox from painkillers, on your own.