What is Demerol?
Demerol is the brand name of Meperidine. It is a prescription medication most prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Demerol belongs to a class of drugs called opiate analgesics.
According to the National Institute of Health , in 2018, about 11.4 million people used narcotic pain relievers such as Demerol without a prescription. However, Demerol can cause physical dependence. This means that a person relies on the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Over time, the body’s tolerance increases, and subsequently, more of the drug is needed for the same effect. Therefore, taking any drug more often than needed or in higher doses than prescribed may lead to addiction requiring Demerol detox.
Like other opiate painkillers, Demerol has a high risk of abuse because of its mood-altering effects. Although it is a Schedule II prescription drug, people may visit several doctors (“doctor shopping”), purchase Demerol from dealers, forge prescriptions, or steal.
The abuse of Demerol is dangerous because it can easily lead to:
- Tolerance (needing increasing amounts to feel the same effects)
- Physical dependence
- Withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug
- Numerous physical health issues range from mild, for example, drowsiness, to potentially deadly, like, respiratory depression.
A person may abuse Demerol in one or more of the following ways:
- Taking a higher dose of Demerol than prescribed
- Using Demerol to get high (not to relieve pain)
- Taking someone else’s prescription (even for a legitimate reason like pain relief)
Tolerance to Demerol
Demerol may increase the frequency of seizures in patients with seizure disorders. Also, it may increase the risk of attacks occurring in other clinical settings associated with seizures.
If the dosage is increased much above recommended levels, seizures may happen in individuals without a history of any seizures disorders.
Physical Dependence to Demerol
The physical dependence on this drug happens when the person has reached a situation where they discontinue taking Demerol or reduce the amount they take; they begin to experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction to Demerol starts when the user begins to act in damaging ways to continue its use.
Demerol addiction can occur at prescribed dosages. More so when the drug is misused or abused. Abuse of Demerol poses a risk of overdose and death. Do not abruptly discontinue Demerol in a person physically dependent on opioids.
When stopping this drug in a physically dependent patient, gradually taper the dosage. Rapid tapering of Demerol in a person physically dependent on opioids may lead to withdrawal symptoms and return of pain. Time perfect to look for a medical-assisted Demerol Detox program.
Signs of Addiction to Demerol include:
- Drug tolerance and increased dosage
- Inability to stop taking Demerol or multiple unsuccessful attempts to stop
- Taking more of the drug and for longer than intended
- Inventing pain symptoms to get more of the drug
- Lack of interest in things not revolving around obtaining Demerol
- Absenteeism at school or work and decreased productivity
- Inability to fulfill daily obligations
- Sleeping at odd times
- Weight loss and changes in appetite and eating habits
- Mood swings and a possible complete shift in personality
- Continued use of Demerol despite known adverse consequences
- Using Demerol in situations that may be potentially hazardous
- Potential legal or criminal issues
Demerol Detox Withdrawal
Withdrawal happens when a physically or psychologically dependent individual stops taking the drug or reduces the amount they take. As their body adjust physiologically to no longer having Demerol in its system, the user will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and agitation.
Try to find a medical-assisted Demerol detox to deal with withdrawal and other side effects when you stop taking the drug.
Demerol withdrawal symptoms are typically moderate to severe and can include the following:
- Runny nose and eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
- Dry mouth
- Increased blood pressure
When one stops taking Demerol without tapering off, severe symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and even death can occur.
Demerol users may also experience intense cravings when they first quit the drug, prompting some to begin using again. To reduce the likelihood of relapse, those who are addicted to Demerol should seek the help of a medical Demerol detox program.
Duration of Withdrawal & Timeline
There are two phases of withdrawal that a user will experience during Demerol detox. These are acute withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).
The acute withdrawal is the first phase and usually occurs during the 3rd and 10th day of your last Demerol dose, while the PAWS lasts more prolonged, in some cases as long as 24 months, but the symptoms eventually fade as time passes.
First 24 Hours Demerol Detox Process
This is where irritating symptoms arise, such as anxiety, nausea, physical discomfort, and irritability. You may also feel powerful urges which, if not adequately addressed, could lead to relapse.
Expect your withdrawal symptoms to worsen. Some common signs that manifest during this phase are nausea, vomiting, sweating, and muscle aches.
The withdrawal symptoms are fading. The remaining signs are not that painful. PAWS is expected to begin during this phase.
During the Demerol Detox process, other symptoms such as depression, mood swings, restlessness, inability to feel pleasure, poor concentration, decreased appetite, agitation, anxiety, lack of motivation, and insomnia fade away. However, the urge to retake the drug may persist.
Demerol abuse is dangerous, as it increases the risk of overdose. In addition, taking large amounts of the drug can depress and halt respiratory function, fatal.
Other Symptoms of Demerol Overdose include:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Weak or limp muscles
- Cold, clammy skin
Access to Naloxone for Opioid Overdose
To avoid the risk of a life-threatening opioid overdose, a medical doctor that you consult with should assess the need for naloxone upon initiating and renewing treatment if you need to. They should also consider prescribing naloxone based on:
- The client’s risk factors for overdose (e.g., concomitant use of CNS depressants, a history of an opioid use disorder, prior opioid overdose)
- Household members (including children) or other close contacts at risk for accidental ingestion or overdose
You May Consult the Following with a Medical Doctor or Caregiver:
- Availability of naloxone for emergency treatment of opioid overdose
- Ways differ on how to obtain naloxone as permitted by individual state dispensing and prescribing requirements or guidelines (e.g., by prescription, directly from a pharmacist, as part of a community-based program)
Medically Assisted Demerol Detox
Demerol Detox is much like detoxing off other drugs. Your clinician will determine the best way to wean the body off its dependence on the medicine in a gradual, phased approach.
For example, you may be prescribed medications to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, and a nurse will monitor your progress and make adjustments to your medications as needed.
You may also be given NAD+ IV treatments to help boost cellular regeneration, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and kick-start the recovery process.
During medical Demerol detox, doctors may taper off your dose of Demerol for weeks. However, it is more common to switch to a similar substance, such as Buprenorphine, Suboxone, or Subutex.
Either method helps you reduce withdrawal symptoms and is safer and more comfortable than quitting “cold turkey.” Sometimes, a physician will prescribe you medications to help with the withdrawal process.
Demerol Detox Treatment
Demerol users are advised to consult a doctor before quitting the drug if they have a prescription. Demerol users who do not have a prescription are advised to evaluate whether they complete withdrawal in a medical detox program.
Prolonged abuse of Demerol can cause abnormalities and changes in your brain. When these changes occur, it means that you have become reliant on Demerol—you have developed a tolerance, dependence, or even an addiction.
Therefore, even those who follow a prescription can become dependent on Demerol as well.
An approximated seventy-five percent of individuals who abuse heroin started taking prescription opioids, highlighting the dangers of prescriptions.
When you look at these factors, you begin to realize that treatment for Demerol addiction is crucial. Moreover, opioid addiction has been the leading cause of drug overdose in many users. 
The first step in the continuum of care for Demerol addiction is medical detox.
Because withdrawal symptoms vary for each person but are distressing in general, medical detox is the best to discontinue the drug. Given that, Detox is an around-the-clock outlet that will help you wean off the substance safely under the guidance of medical professionals.
If you or someone you love is seeking a safe, secure, and compassionate resource for Demerol detox, Level Up Palm Beach County is here for you. Call us and speak with an addiction counselor today about our levels of care.