What to Expect in Opiate Detox
Going through drug rehab takes courage and strength. Opiate detox can be a painful and uncomfortable process, but it’s the first step toward recovery. Here’s what you need to know.
Drugs suck you in, making you believe you feel amazing. They make you feel invincible. It’s one of the most effective tricks you can pull on your brain. Then, when you haven’t had your fix for a certain period of time, you begin to detox and you feel awful and ill. These detox symptoms are so strong, they can convince the user that they need the drug to feel normal. This makes the user desperate for more and if the addiction is severe enough, they will not rest until they get their next fix. Detoxing is not a pleasant situation to be in, but a necessary one if you’re trying to beat an opiate addiction. The detox process is at it’s core, denying the strongest craving, the most powerful desire for something. Whether it’s yourself or a loved one, you should be prepared. Below you’ll find what to expect in opiate detox whether it’s for yourself or your loved one.
Fighting Off Toxins
Detox means ridding your body of toxic or unhealthy substances. Your body is working to purge itself of the substance that’s been built up in your body. Opiate detox specifically, is similar to having a flu or bad sickness, you will feel uncomfortable and in most cases, awful.
During detoxification, it’s not uncommon to experience:
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- General weakness
Opiate Detox Symptoms
If you’ve seen the hit TV show House, you might’ve seen the portrayal of Dr. House withdrawing from Vicodin (an opiate) on more than one occasion. When you’re addicted to a substance and you kick it to the curb, your body is going to have a tough time dealing with it.
The addiction has told your mind and body that you need opiates to function normally, and in many respects, with prolonged opiate abuse, your body does become physically and psychologically dependent on the opiates.
Even in painkiller form, when abused, they can be as dangerous as heroin, since they’re both derived from the same chemical.
When the body begins to go through opiate detox, the user may also experience:
- Increased tearing
- Runny nose
- Joint and muscle aches
Joint and muscle aches are symptoms to especially watch. If the user has been taking opiates for pain relief, joint and muscle aches during detox will make the user feel like they’re experiencing their typical, old medical problems potentially at a higher severity due to the general weakness of the body. It is important to understand that these feelings will pass as the detox process progresses and your body begins to regulate it’s own chemicals and pain receptors.
It’s very important to keep this in mind because if the opiate user can’t cope or aren’t in the right environment, it’s most likely they will seek out more opiates. There’s a risk of the user seeking more, relapsing and potentially falling back into the grips of addiction and/or overdosing.
Second stage detoxification may include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Dilated pupils
Sounds a bit like when you get the flu, doesn’t it? On paper, it doesn’t sound too bad but for the user, it is usually an intesnse, trying time. How long can opiate detox last? It can be anywhere from one week to one month or so, with later symptoms possibly lingering a few months.
Detox Properly With Help
No one likes being ill. People go to great lengths to prevent being unwell. Some addicts are afraid of these symptoms and want to avoid them, too. This is why it’s important to face detox, even opiate detox, in the right facility. Withdrawing with the proper medical supervision can make the process much easier on the user and therefore, more likely to stick.
Detoxing in a treatment setting will give the user access to treatment professionals that know how to deal with withdrawing.
For example, with opiate detox, the user may be given other drugs (proper ones under clinical care) to make the detox process smoother and more comfortable. A doctor may also prescribe short-term medications to help ease the detox symptoms, too.
In a proper treatment setting a therapist will be on hand, too, for the strong emotions the user may face during the detoxing process. This is especially true if the user turned to opiates in an attempt to cope with strong emotions and/or trauma.
While addiction treatment facilities work to help the patient to the best of their ability, it’s extremely important that the patient is completely transparent about their substance abuse and the struggles they are facing.
If the patient isn’t completely honest about their struggles, the care provider won’t be able to provide the very best care to the patient. As much as we wish we could, we can’t read minds. After the body has finally withdrawn from the opiates, rehab will be the next step to make sure the user doesn’t turn to opiates again.
Honesty plays a big role in recovery.
Detox at Muse Treatment
Know that recovery is possible. Detox symptoms and suffering are only temporary, not a permanent state of reality. At Muse Treatment, we know the implications of opiate addiction. We know that it burns bridges, upsets families and friends, and compromises morals.
We know that detoxing from any substance can be a real challenge.
That’s why we use and believe in our three-pronged approach to recovery:
- Neural Recovery
- Twelve-Step Programming
We focus on the patient with customized care. Everybody is different and will experience detox and rehab differently. No two people recover from substance abuse and mental health disorders the same way.
If you or your loved one needs help kicking the habit, contact us. With our high level of care, affordability, and customized care, we’re confident that we will help patients (and loved ones) through the challenging process of recovering from opiate addiction.