Can I Quit Opiates on My Own?

Can I quit opiates on my own?

Can I quit opiates on my own?

When you know that you have a problem with opiate abuse, it is normal to discontinue drug use on your own. In most cases, attempts to quit “cold turkey” are very unsuccessful. All opiates, such as painkillers like morphine, Demerol and Vicodin, have roughly the same effect on your brain. Each of these drugs binds with specific proteins called opioid receptors that are found in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs in the body. When these drugs attach to their receptors, they reduce the perception of pain.[1] 

How Do Opiates Work?

When opioids are present in the body, the internal pain-managing chemicals make you dependent on the opiate to feel normal. Opiates create a powerful euphoric feeling stimulates the reward center of the brain. For many users, this quickly replaces any feelings of stress or anxiety. A tolerance to the drug is quickly established, which means the user will need higher or more frequent doses to feel the original effects. If this behavior continues, opiate dependency will evolve into an opiate addiction. Some of the common signs of opiate addiction include:

  • Dishonesty about opiate use. This could include prescription manipulation and doctor shopping.
  • Thoughts are preoccupied with opiate use.
  • Pain or other physical discomfort when opiates are not used.
  • Severe mood swings are experienced.
  • Anxiety about stopping opiate use.
  • Opiate abuse continues despite negative side effects.

Once an addiction is established it is difficult, if not impossible, for users to quit on their own. There are two sides of any addiction. The intoxicating high and supercharging of the reward center creates a psychological or emotional addiction. A physical addiction happens when the brain stops creating its own supply of certain chemicals. When you stop opiate use, your body needs time to recover. This causes withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from opiates can occur any time long-term use is stopped or cut back.[2]

These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, severe anxiety, fear, paranoia, joint and muscle pain, chills and fever, shakes or tremors and suicidal thoughts. Many opiate users who try to quit on their own are not able to endure the physical or psychological withdrawal and relapse quickly.

How Opiate Addiction Treatment Works

Opiate addiction treatment leads to success by thoroughly confronting all aspects of the drug addiction. The needs of each patient are assessed and medical professionals supervise the detoxification process. This often relieves most of the harsh physical symptoms of withdrawal. Recovery also includes in-depth therapy and counseling. These therapy sessions help users understand their addiction. When treatment is performed in an inpatient residential setting, opiate users are away from the source of temptation and the different triggers found in daily life. Time away often helps jumpstart the healing process. Patients spend their time with others in recovery and professionally trained counselors who understand addiction. Together, these forms of treatment increase the likelihood of long-term success.

Ready to Get Help and Quit Opiate Use?

If you have tried to quit opiates on your own and failed to curb your addiction, you are not alone. It can even be dangerous to try to stop opiate use without professional supervision. The good news is that help is available, and that you can live a life without substance abuse. Our toll-free helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our specially trained counselors are standing by. They are ready to take your call, answer your questions and help you find the help you need. There is no shame in asking for help. Addiction changes your chemical makeup and treatment has been proven to help you become healthy again. Make the call today.


[1] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/opioids/how-do-opioids-affect-brain-body How Do Opioids Affect The Body?

[2] https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000949.htm Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal.

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