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How to Wean Yourself Off Pain Medication

If you are attempting to stop prescription pain pill use, you may be experiencing unpleasant symptoms. Get help to do this right and avoid endangering yourself.


  • : If you experience unexpected side effects, seek emergency care immediately.
  • Step 1: Notify physician Notify your health care professional that you plan to reduce the medication you're taking. The doctor will supervise the process and monitor your use. Communicate any ill effects as soon as you experience them.
  • Step 2: Get active Find safe and healthy physical and social activities to distract yourself from the need to use the drug. Pain medication affects the brain's pleasure centers, so find other, more satisfying pursuits to generate the endorphins that make you feel better.
  • Step 3: Stick to the plan Adhere to the recovery plan and be honest with your physician about when you've failed or feel like giving up. You might need a counselor to help with this.
  • TIP: Pre-existing conditions can complicate your recovery. People with diabetes or heart disease, for instance, must be proactive to manage their blood pressure.
  • Step 4: Enter treatment Enter an outpatient, inpatient, or residential treatment program focused on preventing relapse. Whether you attend individual, group, or family therapy, use the support to reinforce your resolve to be healthy.
  • Step 5: Seek self-help groups Seek self-help groups like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous through your own networks, the library, or the internet. A doctor or counselor can help in the search.
  • Step 6: Remain drug free Remain drug free with monitoring by a care provider who, through testing, can determine when the drug is completely out of your system.
  • FACT: More than 20 percent of patients who participated in the Mayo Clinic's Pain Rehabilitation program have experienced a 75 percent gain in aerobic activity. Depression and pain severity decreased in over 72 percent of the participants.

You Will Need

  • Health care professional
  • Physical activity
  • Recovery plan
  • Counselor
  • Treatment program
  • Support group
  • Self-control

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