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Is Switching To a 'Less Harmful Substance' Helpful?

Discussion in 'Questions About Treatment' started by Rainman, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. Twinsmommy31

    Twinsmommy31 Active Contributor

    I think switching from one drug to a less harmful drug is still very dangerous and unhealthy Its still going to be addictive and it is still going to cause major damage to your liver. The best bet is to stop altogether. This is not a cigarette. You don't wean yourself down to something less than your using. You stop the best way you can.
  2. Onionman

    Onionman Active Contributor

    I certainly think it's all about degrees of "helpfulness". Yes, you might not be abusing your body to the same degree but there's still a pattern of behavior that needs to be dealt with. Switching may help to halt some of the physical signs but the psychological patterns wouldn't have gone away.
  3. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I also think that better to totally stop any drugs whether it is a hard one or lighter one as others would describe it. Whether what is the substance, addiction is still addiction. It will not help to get addicted to another substance to get rid of the first addiction cause I do not think that would help him really recover.
  4. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    I think in some extreme hardcore cases, switching from a hard drug to a less harmful drug can provide a temporary solution, but in most cases I would say that it doesn't really help to overcome the addiction, as it only substitutes one addiction with another. In my opinion, the best long term solution is to get to the root of an addiction and deal with it in a holistic way.
  5. Nergaahl

    Nergaahl Community Champion

    Well basically you're fooling yourself and the addiction isn't gone, just "softened". But practically it's better for you. Still there is a high possibility that the addiction may start again. For example, instead of cigarettes, I'm using an e-cigarette, but truth is that this one is also harmful. Not as harmful as a real cigarette, but still harmful. So better take small steps and try to quit your addiction at all.
  6. OhioTom76

    OhioTom76 Senior Contributor

    In response purely to the title of this thread - yes.

    If someone is doing street drugs and they are taken into a hospital and put on a cleaner comparable substance for the time being to assist with their withdrawals, then yes, that is better. That person is now being closely monitored and they are using a much cleaner substance without the risks of dying over some contaminated street drug. Is that long term good for them? No. Is it better than the situation they were in previously, yes.

    I'm on the fence if people who are naturally depressed are better off or not on prescription meds or not. My personal experience over the course of three years on prescription meds to treat my depression was not good. None of them ever really worked for me, and if anything they exasperated my drinking even worse. I really wanted the meds to work, since life would be so much easier if I just had to take a pill from time to time. But they didn't
  7. maryannballeras

    maryannballeras Senior Contributor

    In my opinion, I think it's just way too better if one can stop using drugs altogether. The fact that a substance is still being used, regardless if it's less hardcore or what, it still indicates that there's still a problem. Remember, be it less harmful or not, it's still drugs -- and drugs have destroyed relationships and have even killed people.
  8. karmaskeeper

    karmaskeeper Community Champion

    I totally agree cold turkey may seem extreme. Being a addict is also extreme, your life will be so much better without addiction. When people ask how you did it tell them cold turkey. You will be so proud of yourself. I know I was, and still am I went cold turkey.
  9. tasha

    tasha Community Listener Community Listener

    It is a compulsive disorder and if you substitute one for another you might find that the same problems will re occur. The best option for anyone is to get clean and stay clean which means avoiding anything that can become addictive. The sober living is not easy and there are some that remember the pattern and feel the void with not knowing what to do, which is why they begin new addictions and to stop the mindset is of great importance. Group support and outpatient facilities as well as a therapist can help break the cycle.
  10. kyliexo

    kyliexo Member

    I agree 100% that harm reduction is a better policy, to hopefully lead to full sobriety. Going from 0 to 100 is impossible for some people. If someone is willing to stop smoking crack but still wants to smoke marijuana, maybe going cold turkey into a sober lifestyle isn't the best option for them. I don't think it would make them any more prone to relapse, though. If you need to take steps to get to where you want to be, then so be it.
  11. malcomms

    malcomms Member

    It seems to depend on the effects of the 'less harmful substance'. I was taken off of a high dependency on Alprazolam (Xanax) by reducing the doses and replacing it with Endep. Changing to Endep also allowed me to change my pain medicines to a single dose every day. Then the Endep caused an interaction with my Seroquel doses, so, over time, the Endep was changed to Lyrica. With each step down, interactions and cravings were less, anxiety was balanced.

    What I am saying, I guess, is that each 'substance' has it's effects and benefits, so its a step by step process that, correctly guided, works.

    I do recognise, and have great respect for those who come off of addictions with 'harder ' drugs like Heroin (although, in Australia, Alprazolam and Heroin are both Schedule 8 drugs and addiction is treated similarly).
  12. NikkiDesrosiers

    NikkiDesrosiers Senior Contributor

    I don't that any one addictive substance is 'less bad' than any other. I think that yes, in some cases doctors will prescribe certain treatments to help wean people off of dangerous substances but I don't think someone should attempt this on their own.
  13. Nikkishea21

    Nikkishea21 Active Contributor

    Hard or not, once it is something that have you dependent on it to the point where it impacts your life, then it is dangerous. Addiction is a dangerous thing and it is a state that one should try not to be in regardless of what it is that you become addicted to. Individuals have been known to have done extreme things just to feed an addiction, things that may end up at times being even worse than the addiction itself. Our body do not need these poisons that are being allowed to remain there in order to satisfy stupid sensations.
  14. There is a difference between helping and curing. Substitution of one substance for another is no a solution, but it can be a step closer to realizing that you need to free yourself form the chains of addiction. Eventually you will need to face the fact that an addiction is still an addiction.
  15. Nate5

    Nate5 Active Contributor

    Everyone is different. Some people are strong enough to immediately go cold turkey and go straight to freeing their addiction. It's ideal but it's probably less common. If a less harmful drug has proven to work for you, coupled with advice from your doctor, then go for it. Do whatever it takes to get back on the right path. However, I urge to take extreme caution, it's just so easy to relapse.
  16. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think when you are in that state you need to try whatever might work especially if your addiction is killing you quickly. I don't see much wrong with substitution as long as it is just being used to gradually reduce the risk instead of relying on it as a permanent replacement.
  17. jubjubb

    jubjubb Member

    I don't know, it's such a hard thing to say. It depends on how yuo feel, how you react, what you're trying to accomplish, what you think needs to happen in your life. I tend to believe that you need to quit everything to gain the sense of self control, but I can't say that I'm always right.
  18. Kamarsun1

    Kamarsun1 Active Contributor

    • It may work for some but for the most part, that's not a good ideal. I know people who use to smoke crack and now they only smoke weed, but they smoke way to much. It's like deep down they still want the crack but instead they just increase the amount of the replacement drug.
  19. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    I have seen people lose their family due to their addiction, and rob from others to get the habit fueled and all they care about is drugs and don't think of consequences that occurs. A lesser drug is still bad, as the person just runs from their problems like if they have bills to pay in the mind when having drugs they believe it will go away kind of like if someone has a debt think it will just leave them alone and can escape problems by doing drugs. When they choose this way, their health is affected and, way of thinking is distorted and only care about getting drugs and will do anything to get the drug and not care what happens in the process.
  20. Fern

    Fern Active Contributor

    I agree strongly. Switching from a 'hard' drug to weed is an improvement but it's still addiction and in most states still illegal. Switching the addiction from weed to nicotine makes it legal (no more jail risk!) but still has plenty of dangers, like cancer. Quit smoking and start binge eating as your solution...now you've gained 100 pounds and have obesity related risks. Or switch to caffeine and have heart or kidney damage. Even legal substances can cause problems in someone prone to addiction because they just go too far, too much, no ability to find a safe middle ground and stay there. They have to be nothing or find some really good coping skills to learn to be at the middle ground if nothing isn't an option (like for medical problems that require treatments that may be addictive).