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Pain pill addiction!

I have a friend of mine who has a pretty serious pain medicine addiction. She take about 8 to 10 pills a day and has be for over 5 years. She made the decision to stop, which is awesome but want to do it cold turkey. Is it dangerous to cut it off so quickly? What's the best way to do it? Thank you so much for you help
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1684282 tn?1614701284
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Here is my answer to your friend, please let her read it: There is really no easy way of detoxing from home. Realization that you have hit the bottom sometimes makes your determination to get clean more serious and lets you get the the tough points of withdrawals with the help of your commitment. The road up is not easy.  
I have dealt with hundreds of addicts who have all told me horror stories of doing it by themselves.  I would only guess that if are successful in doing it at home you don't end up in my clinic.
Just in case you are curious, it takes us three to four days to detox a patient and get him/her back home drug free and feeling well on Naltrexone therapy (no opiates). I know we help many people get clean and stay clean,
At home, the basic technique is to take less and less every day by cutting down by about half a pill every one or two days until you are down to nothing. See if your doctor can write you a prescription for some Requip for restlessness, Neurontin for anxiety and malaise, some Flexeril or Soma for a few weeks for muscle spasms and maybe some Seroquel low dose, for sleep.
Clonidine is very helpful  for the creepy-crawly feeling and control of blood pressure variations. It will make your withdrawals easier.  Valerian and Magnesium is sometimes helpful remedies over the counter.
The residual symptoms of insomnia and depression can last another few months. Thus, it is not easy, but it gets better and better over time and you can look forward to a drug free healthy energetic you in the future. When you take opiates for a long time like you have, your body's physiology has been altered. Your central nervous system has created a multitude of opioid receptors that all are screaming for endorphins (opiates) to fill them, but your body has now forgotten how to make them by itself.  It will take time - two to four weeks at least, for your receptors to down-regulate (for the brain begin to heal) and to start making its own endorphins. Brain heals pretty slowly, so it may take you as long as a couple of months to get rid of feelings of sluggishness, restlessness and depression. The best thing you can do is take good care of yourself, eat healthy food, stay hydrated, keep active and busy. Stay away from sugar, soda, and simple carbs. Do not consume caffeine at least 6 hours prior to bedtime.
Take a look at my blogs about options for detox and recovery. You may also take a look at my clinic website where I also have my blogs and a lot of other info about drug addiction and recovery. Look especially into the blog and the info on Naltrexone therapy after getting clean. It really improves your chances of staying clean for good by cutting down your physical cravings. Look into my clinic website as well. All this can be done by clicking on my name in blue and on clinic logo.
There is a injectable form available now that is covered by all major medical insurances called Vivitrol that you would need to get only once monthly to stay clean. Just keep it in mind for the future. Good luck to you.  
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Avatar universal
Going cold turkey on opiates/opiods (as opposed to alcohol) generally is not dangerous (assuming no major health problems) but it is awful and many cannot withstand it and go back to pills to stop the withdrawal.

If you look at the Health Forum Addiction: Substance Abuse you will see many, many posts about going off opiates/opioids and making it through withdrawal. You can get lots of good insights and suggestions from reading the posts.

It's tough, but you can do it on your own.  Scroll down to the very bottom of the page on that forum and find most viewed posts to locate the Thomas recipe with suggestions for OTC medications, vitamins, and other tips to ease the person through.  It also suggests prescription drugs you can get from a PCP to make withdrawal easier.  

I'd also suggest your friend look into getting on to a naltrexone regime as soon as possible after detox.  This is nonaddictive and blocks opiate receptors so taking the drugs will not produce the desired effect.  It also helps with cravings and can minimize post acute withdrawal syndrome which can go on for months.  It is available in pill form and in the form of a once a month injection,  The latter is preferable because the person can't decide not to take the naltrexone one day in order to relapse on their drug.

I wish both of you luck.
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