According to the stats provided by the Drug and Abuse department, approximately 36 million people all around the world abuse opioids. In the US alone, more than 2.1 million people are addicted to opiates where most of the cases are related to the prescribed drugs.
Opioids are psychoactive chemicals that grow naturally in the resin of the poppy plant. However, due to increased demands of these drugs, experts could produce these medicinal products in the laboratories as well synthetically. Opiates attached to the opioid receptors in the brain and work by mimicking the natural chemicals which are responsible for easing pain and producing the feeling of relaxation and pleasure.
The different types of opiates
Generally the Opioids are classified into two categories:
- The Legal Opioids: The FDA approves these drugs, and doctors may prescribe them for pain relief. The legal opioids include morphine, hydrocodone, codeine, OxyContin, etc.
- The Illegal Opioids: These are the drugs labeled as “dangerous” or “drugs of concern” by the DEA for their potential to cause addiction in the users.
However, since opioids can produce a “high,” a dangerous trend has been observed where people became addicted to the prescribed opiates. According to the National Institute on Drug and Abuse, the abuse of prescribed opiates has led to thousands of overdose deaths. In 2008, prescription opioids were responsible for 14,800 overdose deaths and in 2009, for more than 475,000 emergency room visits.
Today countless people are struggling with opiate addiction and relapse. Rehabilitation centers are helping the abuser’s day and night to detox their bodies. It also helps them to improve the quality of their health and life.
Unfortunately, the detox therapy isn’t as simple as it may sound. It comes along with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that can make the patients uncomfortable and even frustrating.
Moreover, there is 85% chance of relapse in the patients due to these withdrawal effects. Thus medical intervention and constant care are extremely important during the opiate detox.
What are the symptoms of opiate withdrawal
Opiate addicts will have to undergo thorough detoxification with the help of medications and other procedures at the Rehabilitation centers. The detox will enable the patients to get clean and sober once again. But unfortunately, they will have to bear with the some of the withdrawal effects, which may include:
- Muscle aches
- Restless leg syndrome
- Runny nose
- Sweating and palpitations
- Digestive discomfort
- Nausea and vomiting
- Agitation, anxiety and frustration
Whether the opiates are prescription drugs or illicit drugs, the withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, making the detox frustrating and unbearable.
The symptoms usually subside anywhere between one week and one month. But it is the emotional effects of the drug that last the longest, such as depression, low energy levels, insomnia, anxiety, and confusion.
The health experts continually administer medications to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms during rehab. However, once the early stage withdrawal symptoms are over, some patients may also experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms.
Different methods of detoxing from opiates
Health experts perform physical exams and lab tests of urine and blood to screen for drugs or confirm opiate use. They may also ask questions to enquire about medical history and the duration of drug use of the patient.
Depending on an individual’s current status and condition, the rehab professionals would map out an extensive opiate detox program to ensure complete riddance from the drug.
Detox at the rehabilitation facility
The traditional methods of detox from opiates include admission in special rehabilitation facilities set up to provide full treatment and care to the patients struggling with opiate addiction and relapse.
A team of experts keeps the addict under observation and with the help of medical intervention patients are helped with opiate withdrawal.
The detox from opiates primarily works by alleviating the withdrawal symptoms and preventing patients from craving the drug. The medicines used to treat withdrawal symptoms and help detox, include:
|Methadone||Methadone works by blocking the sensors and signals in the brain and the spinal cord to prevent the high caused by opiates. Methadone is a widely used anti-narcotic medicine.|
It is extremely beneficial and efficient in relieving withdrawal symptoms. It can be used for a longer period without any fear of dependency or side effects.
|Buprenorphine||This is another medication used for treating opioid addiction. It mimics the effects of opiates, but unlike those drugs, it partially saturates the opioid receptors of the brain.|
Meaning, it will deliver same effects as that of opiates but without causing dependency. Thus, it is a very practical solution to help people come off opiate addiction and abuse.
Experts have observed that Buprenorphine is very helpful in shortening the length of detox.
|Clonidine||This medication may not help with opiate cravings, but it is an effective reliever of other withdrawal symptoms.|
Clonidine efficiently alleviates muscle aches, anxiety, runny nose, and sweating. Ultimately it helps reduce frustration in the patients.
It has also been found useful in relieving diarrhea and insomnia in opiate addicts.
|Naltrexone||Naltrexone is administered to prevent the patients from relapse. It is available in the form of a pill as well as an injection.|
Instead of going to the rehabilitation centers, people also have the choice to start a home-based treatment. The facilities may provide you with a fanatical support system and prescribe medication to detox from opiates, and alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
But since self-treatment requires a willpower of iron, and lacks close supervision it can be quite challenging and tricky. The home-based treatments usually take a lot of time, and there is a high chance of relapse among the patients.
Joining support groups
Individuals can also join self-support groups for counseling, and get guidance and motivation to quit. Support groups have quite an influence on the members of the club. They can be exceptionally helpful to people trying to overcome opiate addiction.
Keeping a close eye and providing full care to anyone going through detox for opiates is pivotal. A regular check for anxiety or depression and anti-depressant medicines should be taken whenever needed. This could help considerably in preventing relapse.
However, patients with severe symptoms must be hospitalized in regular hospitals.
Kratom for opiate withdrawal
Kratom is a therapeutic herbal plant native to Southeast Asia and it belongs to the coffee family. For ages people have used Kratom as a stimulant and a painkiller. Today science has confirmed more benefits of this plant and one of the benefits includes withdrawal from opiates.
In the traditional medicine systems, Kratom is prescribed to help drug addicts overcome dependency and alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Kratom produces similar effects as opiates, but since it is not addictive users can easily quit using Kratom after they have completely gotten rid of opioid addiction.
Kratom eases withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea, muscle aches, sleep deprivation and low energy levels, and also prevents users from returning back to addictive drugs.
Home remedies to detox from opiates
People who are unwilling to go the rehabilitation centers and rely on heavy medication to detox from opiates can also use natural alternatives to overcome addiction.
Following are some natural remedies that can help with withdrawal effects and make detox easier:
Consume nutrients dense diet
People who are addicted to are very likely to suffer from vitamins and minerals deficiency. This takes a toll on their health, compromising their immune system which is most needed when dealing with withdrawal effects.
A strong immune system allows for faster recovery and effective defense against the withdrawal symptoms of opiates.
Those attempting to detox from opiates must include in their daily diet foods rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin C. They can also use commercial supplements to attain the similar benefits.
Opiate addicts are very likely to suffer from dehydration because of withdrawal effects. People who use opiates feel constipated, but when the effects of this drug begin to fade away during detox, patients may experience severe diarrhea.
This could lead to an imbalance of electrolytes and dehydration.
Another important reason why detox candidates must drink plenty of water is that it helps to flush toxins out of their bodies, and helps them to recover faster.
Soaking in hot baths
Soaking in a hot bath is a useful natural remedy to expedite detoxification and helps to recover from opiate addiction easily.
Addicts will experience discomfort and muscle ache because of withdrawal from the drugs, but taking a hot bath relaxes their muscles and relieves pain.
Adding crushed Epsom salt to the hot bath can further add to the benefits. It is helpful in relieving muscle aches as well as ridding your body of harmful toxins.
Use natural anti-inflammatory agents
Opiates can cause inflammation in the body, and this is the reason why people experience unpleasant withdrawal effects during the detox therapy. The muscle aches, discomforts, diarrhea everything is a result of underlying inflammation.
Using natural cures like green tea, turmeric, fish oil, etc can provide great aid to overcome inflammation and fight the withdrawal effects.
Passion flower tea is an astounding natural remedy to cure muscle aches and relax nerves. It helps users to sleep better so that their body gets enough time to rest and recover from opiate addiction.
Passion flower contains a compound known as GABA, which acts as a natural tranquilizer.
Entertainment and distraction
Distractions can significantly help opiate addicts to overcome withdrawal symptoms. Attending social gatherings and participation in recreational activities can improve mood. As a result, your brain produces endorphin which aid in dealing with withdrawal symptoms, efficiently.
Moreover, support from friends and family can also boost morale and motivation among patients. They can complete the detox without fretting, and reduce the chances of relapse in future.
Several methods to detox from opiates are available today, but some methods that promise relief also have the potential to cause health problems and complications in the recovery process.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that the candidates must consult a doctor and seek expert advice before undertaking any detox therapy.
Detox conducted under the special conditions and medical supervision is always the best rehabilitation option. It provides patients with staunch support as well as timely medical intervention to ensure maximum safety and results during detoxification.