How to Detox from Opiates

Last Updated: Apr 2nd 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

How to Detox from Opiates

United States health experts consider the country in an opiate addiction crisis. Opiates are drugs derived from the poppy plant. Examples include prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet as well as illegal drugs like heroin. If you’re suffering from an opiate addiction, learning how to detox from opiates can save your life.

Recognizing the Potential for Addiction

sad looking young woman wonders how to detox from opiatesUnless you’re familiar with the powerful addictive qualities of heroin, you can’t fully understand the ease with which painkillers can result in addiction. In fact, prescription opioids easily become a gateway drug for heroin use. The compulsion to seek out larger and more frequent doses of various opiate pills results from the tolerance you build up.

Like alcohol, it eventually takes more of the opiate drug to get the same basic effects. Before long, many opiate users experience a physical addiction. The psychological addiction that results from opiate painkillers is similar to that of heroin. Since heroin, too, is a derivative of the opium poppy plant, withdrawal symptoms are similar.

Physical Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

What sets the detox associated with opiates apart from many other drugs is the strength of the compulsion to continue the use. The most common physical symptoms often require very little medical intervention, but can still be incredibly uncomfortable:

  • Gastrointestinal upset. Vomiting and diarrhea combined with feeling weak are the most common complaints of opiate withdrawal. Doctors may need to step in if dehydration results.
  • Flu Like symptoms. Basic muscle pains, sweats that alternate with chills, cramps, and fatigue fall under this heading.
  • Tachycardia. Recurring periods of rapid heartbeats can be a physical symptom of detox. Usually, tachycardia doesn’t create a serious problem for the person in opiate withdrawal. However, licensed medical professionals remain vigilant just in case the individual’s heart rate speeds up too much. Pre-existing heart conditions can complicate matters further.

Psychological Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

The strength and quantity of withdrawal symptoms you might experience depend on your overall health. Another contributing factor is the length of time you’ve been abusing drugs and the dose you regularly take. Even if your physical reaction to withdrawal is mild, it makes sense to detox in a medically supervised setting. A medically managed detox center has experts on hand to help you with the following psychological symptoms as well:

  • Insomnia and paranoia. The inability to sleep is a common experience for those who stop using opiates. However, when the sleeplessness continues for too long, it’s possible for a temporary form of paranoia to develop. Medications are available to help deal with this outcome.
  • Panic attacks. Due to high levels of emotion and anxiety during detox, many individuals who have never had a panic attack before suddenly suffer from one. Therapists on standby can help you deal with panic attacks as needed.
  • Depression. If you suffered depression before entering detox, you might find that these feelings get stronger. You may experience a mental type of restlessness that you can’t quite explain. Medical professionals can help you adjust the dosages of any prescription drugs you take for this condition.

Put Your Knowledge of How to Detox From Opiates to Good Use

If you’ve had enough of dealing with drug cravings, feeling sick, and relying on chemicals for false comfort that won’t last, it’s time to quit. You now know how to detox from opiates safely. Call (866) 319-6126 to reach the caring professionals at 1st Step Behavioral Health, and make it happen!

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.

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