There are basically three methods for stopping drug abuse: cold turkey, tapering off, and detox. Which one you should use depends on several factors, including what type of drug you have been using, how long you have been using it, how much you use each day, and your own ability to control your actions.
Going cold turkey, or stopping suddenly and completely, is only recommended when you have been using a relatively less addictive drug such as marijuana, have been using for a short time, and have not been using heavily each day. In all other situations, going cold turkey will have results ranging from very uncomfortable to possibly fatal.
The brain become used to being flooded by chemicals ingested by the user, and sudden withdrawal causes a strong reaction. Heroin, for example, suppresses the middle part of the brain called the locus coeruleus, which regulates the “flight or fight” response, and makes the user feel safe. When there’s no more heroin flowing to the brain, the user rebounds into paranoia, rage, and other “flight or fight” emotions.
Tapering off your use of drugs can help moderate withdrawal symptoms, but for many people, especially those who use highly addictive drugs, it simply isn’t possible to do that. The addiction is too strong and too well engrained. In these cases, drug detox centers are the safest route to recovery.
Options in Drug Detox Centers
There are several different methods of detox, and their use will vary depending on the drug detox centers and the type of drug. One method is the substitution of a less dangerous drug, such as giving methadone to wean addicts from heroin. Other drugs, such as Clonidine, block withdrawal symptoms. There are also some drug detox centers that use a rapid detox technique that must be done under general anesthesia and calls for the use of a breathing tube. Any of these techniques can have their own side effects, and must be done in a medically supervised environment.