What is tapering?

Tapering refers to a gradual reduction in the dosage of a drug, often used in the context of opioid addiction treatment. The purpose of a taper is to minimize withdrawal symptoms and allow the body to adjust to lower levels of the medication or drug, leading to discontinuation or permanently reduced dose without causing undue distress or discomfort to the patient. While some people will choose to taper, and can be supported in this process, others will choose to continue indefinitely on treatment that is working for them as a healthy part of their recovery. It is important to note that rapid tapering is rarely successful and can be extremely uncomfortable symptomatically. This approach to tapering is often dangerous and unsuccessful, increasing the risk of overdose and return to use.

Historical context

Tapering off opioids has been a standard practice in addiction treatment for decades. It is considered a safer and more comfortable approach to discontinuation compared to abrupt cessation, which can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms and increase the risk of relapse.

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