Benzodiazepine tapering programs can be used for withdrawal management for benzodiazepines, alcohol, and some other drugs. A number of opioid replacement medications, such as Suboxone or methadone, are used for withdrawal from opiates on a tapering program. Despite a number of online sources providing instructions on how to taper off different types of drugs and even how to taper off use of alcohol, a tapering strategy should only be used under the direct supervision of a physician. There are a number of potential dangers associated with tapering, including possible adverse reactions to specific drugs, the development of seizures when withdrawing from alcohol or benzodiazepines (can be fatal), and the potential that an individual becomes confused or distraught and may overdose when they are attempting a tapering strategy from any drug of abuse. Individuals may also not readily recognize potential complications associated with discontinuing a certain substance, such as the development of dehydration, the development of hallucinations, or a loss of rational thinking and judgment that may occur. Because of these risks, medical supervision is always required for any tapered detox approach.
How Titration Tapering Works
Many medical journals use the term titration when discussing increasing doses of drugs in a safe and medicinal matter and use the term tapering when decreasing them. For other purposes, such as the use of the term in chemistry, titration is often defined as a method to determine the concentration of a substance by dissolving it in some form of liquid such as water.
Titration has also received some minor popularity as a method for discontinuing certain prescription medications or drugs of abuse. Individuals who have a substance use disorder problem are often looking for “quick fixes” or methods to overcome their disorder that do not involve traditional approaches that include medical support. Many individuals with substance use disorders have problems with authority, issues with control, and may even have other mental health disorders that result in a general distrust of convention. As a result, many of these individuals will attempt any number of unconventional approaches to dealing with their substance use, including attempting to taper down potentially dangerous drugs of abuse on their own.
Titration tapering is a method where individuals use the drug dissolved in water or some other liquid to slowly taper off the drug. Titration tapering allows individuals to attempt to develop their own personalized and unsupervised withdrawal management tapering approach by tapering down the amount of the drug they use in specific intervals by dissolving the drug in liquid and then taking decreasing amounts of the liquid over time. The method is advertised online as a means for withdrawing from even potentially dangerous drugs such as benzodiazepines. The stated advantages are that using titration tapering (often termed water titration tapering) allows an individual to better estimate the dosage of the drug they are getting. A number of sites offer schedules, instructions, and even videos to assist individuals in performing this method on their own; however, the instructions are very often not provided by trained medical personnel. This practice can be extremely dangerous, and it should be noted that not all drugs of abuse are water-soluble; hence, the practice may be not even be applicable for some drugs.
Individuals should not attempt to taper down the dosage on their own of any prescription or illicit drug. This includes the practice of titration tapering. This practice can result in a number of potential dangers even with drugs that may normally not be considered to be dangerous to discontinue. The practice of attempting to taper down the dosage of any prescription drug or substance of abuse without being under the supervision of a physician cannot be recommended in any context. If one wishes to become involved in a tapering strategy to discontinue their use of any medication or drug of abuse, including alcohol, one should first consult with a physician. There are no exceptions to this rule.