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Individuals typically develop a physical dependence on a substance before they become addicted to it. That means the body adjusts to life with the substance in its system, and quitting abruptly could result in a painful physical reaction as the major organ systems try to readjust to life without it. Drugs that are dangerous to quit abruptly include Opioids, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Methamphetamine.
The two main purposes of tapering off a substance are to reduce any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and to prevent life-threatening complications from arising. It is still possible to experience some withdrawal symptoms when tapering off a substance, but they are usually mild. The particular symptoms depend on the drug in question and the extent of the addiction. Some of the most common symptoms of withdrawal that occur during tapering off any substance include headache and anxiety.
According to NIDA, illicit drug use is increasing around the country, and an estimated 9.4 percent of the population over the age of 12 admitted to using an illegal drug in a 30-day period in 2013. Addiction is a disease though, and there is no shame in seeking treatment. Tapering off drugs under the guidance of doctor and relying on replacement therapy have proven to be two successful ways to kick an addiction. Quitting cold turkey works for certain individuals in some scenarios as well, but quitting in a medical detox facility is the safest way to do so.
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