Pain Medication Withdrawal

Pain Medication Withdrawal

Pain medication withdrawal carries no intrinsic moral implications, but somehow the suffering of withdrawals has gained a reputation as if it were "karma" or punishment for the "crime" of becoming addicted in the first place.


From a scientific, medically and fact-based standpoint, nothing could be further from the truth.  Many myths, fears and misunderstandings surround addiction and recovery. The facts are simply that addictive drugs cause painful withdrawals when stopping them, whether they came from a doctor or a dealer or the devil himself. 

Why Are Pain Meds So Addictive?  

Medication for pain works by suppressing pain messages along the neurons. The numbing effect does not cure the source of pain, but simply blocks the nerves from sending or receiving pain messages. For those suffering cancer, illness, broken limbs, etc., this is a welcome relief. 

The mechanics of addiction occur when the body responds to and becomes dependent on the presence of pain medication (or any opiate-based substance), in several ways:

1. Pain meds block pain messages, causing anesthesia, pain relief. 

2. The body reacts defensively to anesthesia (over time) by expanding the neural network with new pain nerves. 

3. A higher dose of medication is needed to block and overcome this expanded CNS capacity for pain message traffic.

4. Always seeking balance, the body reacts defensively to the continuing presence of the drug by shutting down its production of natural pain-killing chemicals (i.e., hormones, endorphins, etc.).

5. During withdrawal, the body is defenseless and cannot fight back against the increased volume of pain impulses (see 2, 3, & 4 above). 

6. More medication is needed just to lower the pain to a tolerable level; this is not pleasure seeking or thrill seeking behavior and has no moral implications. 

This series of events is appropriately named addiction, or medication dependence. The mechanics are the same. It matters more that one is given effective help for the condition.  

We can help. We do not focus on the long-term substitution of opiates. While prescribed conversion opiates (i.e., suboxone) are sometimes helpful during short-term withdrawal from street-sourced drugs, that is not the final or best answer. For most of our clients, focusing on addressing the root causes of addiction can free a person from addictive medications altogether. 

Easing Painful Withdrawals

If one has a broken limb, withdrawing from pain medication is probably best left until after the bones have fully set and healed. If the source of the pain was from a bad tooth, one would seek dental repair before attempting to come off pain meds. Where the cause of suffering is known, the best sequence would include medical attention as a necessary preliminary step. Where the source of pain is unknown, a thorough medical assessment can provide much insight as to the most effective next steps to bring it under control. 

Where addiction itself is the source of pain, the primary focus would be to begin preparing for withdrawals. Helping the body to restore its capacity to produce endorphins, dopamine, etc. will bolster defense against pain throughout and after the drug withdrawal period. Nutrients can be supplied orally or by IV 

to coax the body to begin restoring its neurotransmitter production once again. This excellent defense strategy helps reduce the magnified pain of withdrawal. This help is necessary to counteract neurotransmitter depletion that always accompanies pain medication withdrawal. 

Balancing the repair actions as above can be flanked with physical therapies that also work to reduce and eliminate residual pain, such as therapeutic massage, acupuncture, mineral baths, etc. To further assist the body, the toxic residues of opiates which tend to lock up in the fatty tissues can be purged through low-temperature sauna, chelation, nebulized glutathione, colonics, exercise and other therapies to cleanse the body.  The cleanse acts as a "re-set" enabling the CNS to resume proper functioning. In this way, the once-compromised neurochemistry can revert to normal non-addictive, robust condition.  

Would You Like to Find Out More?

Call us today at the number on this page. We can supply much more detailed information on opiate and medication treatment. Most private insurance will cover at least some portion of the fees for our residential program. Come to the Alternative to Meds Center in Sedona, where you can finally experience healing and relief from pain medication withdrawal.


Call us today to find out how we can help you too.

The path to becoming medication free begins with your first step.

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Our overall costs are half that of traditional programs yet we provide you with customized holistic inpatient residential treatment programs of personalized care from a licensed facility and recovery team that really cares about you and your health. We have limited space available so contact us today for a FREE Consultation to determine your costs and our next available admission dates.

There is an alternative to meds ... and we are it.