When you develop an addiction to a substance, your body, and brain depend on that substance to function. Without it, the body goes through painful and extreme withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the substance, withdrawal symptoms may be more severe and last longer than others. An individual’s biological makeup also is a factor in the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms can be unbearable and drive someone to turn back to substance abuse to help mask the discomfort. Depending on the substance, some may need to taper off slowly. Certain medications are used to aid in recovery, known as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). For some, quitting “cold turkey” is possible without experiencing any serious side effects.
However, the question remains, should an individual quit cold turkey or taper off drugs?
What is Cold Turkey
When quitting cold turkey, this means they are stopping the use of a substance abruptly with no adjustment period. The name comes from the goosebumps an individual can get after quitting suddenly. Which these bumps look like the skin of a “cold turkey” you see in a fridge. For some, quitting cold turkey is beneficial because they get to begin their life of sobriety immediately. Rather than slowly tapering off while still using a substance or medication.
Although this may seem like the quickest way to fix an addiction, it is not always the best solution. An individual who quits a substance cold turkey is at higher risk of relapse. This is because they haven’t taken care or done anything to help curve their cravings. Furthermore, without seeking out professional help, stopping drug use can be dangerous depending on the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
For example, when addicted to a substance such as opioids, your brain becomes accustomed to the use of this drug. When quitting abruptly, dangerous symptoms can occur like seizures which can be life-threatening without medical or professional help.
What is Tapering Off
Certain drugs can change the chemistry of the brain which is why you experience such severe withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop or manage an addiction. Medical professionals slowly decrease the amount of the substance taken over a period of time, also known as tapering off a substance. This also includes MAT which uses specific drugs to mimic the effects of substances to help slowly wean off throughout treatment.
When tapering off substances with the supervision of a medical professional can help the body and mind safely transition and adjust to sobriety. Rather than all at once which can cause more intense symptoms. When tapering off a substance it is easy to accidentally take too much which is why you should turn to trusted treatment centers, like the Harm Reduction Center in Boynton Beach, Florida.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
A successful evidence-based treatment option to help individuals taper off substance use is Medication-Assisted treatment. Offered by the Harm Reduction Center, MAT helps treat addictions such as heroin and prescription pain relievers. MAT uses the combination of prescribed medications with couseling and behavioral therapies to provide a whole-patient approach.
The medication used in MAT helps normalize the brain chemistry that had been altered during the addiction, as well as block the euphoric effects of the substance, relieve cravings, and normalize body functions.
Some of the medications used for MAT are:
Breaking Free from Your Addiction
If you are ready to break free from your addiction with the support of a reputable treatment center contact the Harm Reduction Center. At HARC, we offer a variety of treatment options that will help every individual that walks through our door. These include MAT, Partial Hospitalization Programs, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Outpatient (OP), as well as aftercare programs.
The Harm Reduction Center is a private healthcare facility that provides a holistic and empowering approach to treatment as each client walks their path to freedom. Our team is made up of board-certified medical professionals and a group of highly trained personnel whose main purpose is to help smoothly transition each client back into normalcy after addiction.
Take your life back and contact us today!