Do Tapering Methods Work In Addiction Recovery Programs: Experts Answer

There are plenty of recovery methods in addiction recovery. One of them is the tapering method. The real question is: does it work?

We’ll give you the answer in this guide based on what the experts say. Addiction recovery can be a challenge for me. It’s also a good idea to find the right method that will be a good fit for their treatment plan.

For more information on the different methods that are available for addiction recovery, visit Gallus Detox. Let’s answer this question and discuss how the tapering method works from start to finish.

What is the tapering method?

The tapering method is defined as the gradual weaning of a drug that someone may be addicted to. This is claimed to be a method used to reduce the occurrences of withdrawals. The drug is given to them at decreased doses at set intervals until they are completely weaned off of it.

This method is believed to be done based on the individual’s ability to adjust to the decreased amounts of drugs they can handle. This may also depend on the kind of addiction they are fighting. If they are being treated for alcohol addiction, medical professionals can use benzodiazepines to help combat the withdrawals.

The method has to follow a specific guideline that is designed for it to work. This includes but is not limited to the following:

  • A medical professional administers a dose of medication that will ensure no withdrawal symptoms occur. The patient will be monitored throughout the method beginning with the initial dose to see if the symptoms still occur or not. 
  • A 10 percent reduction will begin at the discretion of the medical professional. This will depend on factors including the reaction of the patient. This reduction may occur at least two weeks after the initial dose. However, the timing may be shorter depending on the treatment protocols.
  • Dosage reductions can occur every week or two. The percentage will be around 10 percent.
  • Once the reduction has reached a level of 95 percent, it can get to a point where they may discontinue the medication completely.
  • Mild withdrawal symptoms can still occur at any point during the tapering process. Medical professionals can respond to these symptoms by providing the patient with treatment options including behavioral therapy and nutritional support. 

What are the different types of tapering methods?

There are three tapering methods that are used in rehab treatment. Let’s take a look at each one and how they apply to a patient:

Direct tapering

This is one of the more common and straightforward methods of tapering. This is where it starts with an initial dose and it gets reduced over a period of time (1 to 2 weeks at best). This happens until the patient is completely weaned off the drug without experiencing significant withdrawal symptoms.

Substitution Tapering

This method will be useful for those who were addicted to drugs that were short-acting or administered in low doses. The medication used will contain a similar ingredient to those drugs, but it can be easy to taper off of.

The process is about the same as direct tampering. The dosage is reduced by a percentage over the course of a week or two.

Titration Tapering

This is a method where a small amount of a low-dose drug will be dissolved in water. The drug is diluted in the water and is ingested in small amounts. In a clinical environment, this tapering method is rarely used (if not at all).

This may also be one of the riskiest methods considering that some drugs used for tapering methods are not water soluble. Because of this, the patient may be lead to take a larger amount of the drug than originally intended.

This can lead to an increased risk of an overdose that can have fatal consequences. Nine times out of ten, the titration method is not used.

Do tapering methods really work?

The short answer: yes. The tapering method can work. Both the direct and substitution tapering methods have been proven to work over the course of a patient’s treatment period.

If it is intended to reduce the occurrences of withdrawal symptoms, it may work for someone in treatment. However, the patient should still remain under the supervision of medical professionals in the event of an adverse reaction.

The tapering method will prove itself as a more effective way to recover from drug addiction compared to cold turkey. The cold turkey approach is perhaps the riskiest way to wean yourself off of a drug you are addicted to. Especially when the withdrawal symptoms can take a turn for the worse. 

The tapering method will work for a lot of people. Especially if they are trying to recover from serious addictions. It would be almost a suicide mission for anyone to quit the drug cold turkey.

What drugs are common with tapering?

The three major drugs where tapering methods are effective is when someone is addicted to opioids, alcohol, and benzos. Because of this, it will be easier to treat these addictions medically.

It would be safer for tapering to be the best method of these drugs since cold turkey will lead to serious withdrawal symptoms. These include but are not limited to hallucinations and seizures among others. The more these can be avoided, the better your chances of survival will be.

Final Thoughts

Tapering methods have been proven to work in addiction recovery. If anything, it’s considered one the more common approaches. It would be dangerous for anyone to quit a drug cold turkey.

Especially if it’s a drug like opioids or benzos. A safe recovery method while reducing the occurrence of withdrawals is possible and should be done in a medical environment. This may be what you’ll be going through if you are dealing with a serious addiction and need to get the inpatient help you deserve.

Don’t take your chances by going cold turkey. See if the tapering method is the best approach for your treatment now.

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