Over 15 million people used opiates recreationally in 2013. Opiates come from the opium poppy plant which contains psychoactive compounds such as morphine, heroin, and codeine. And even more recently fentanyl and carfentanil which have blossomed all over the country causing two main things; 1. fatalities and 2. more individuals seeking detox from opiates.
Opiates fall under the narcotic category AKA “downers.” People mainly begin taking them for pain relief; these painkillers can be prescribed by a doctor (minus heroin). Opiates are considered to be one of the most addictive drugs that can be prescribed to you by a doctor. The most popular ones are Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, are Morphine. For a lot of individuals, opiate addiction actually begins due to injury and being prescribed opiates, which in return physically and chemically makes the individual dependent on the opiate causing them to seek a cheaper option which leads to heroin. As stated above, heroin is recently being cut with Fentanyl and Carfentanil which is lethal. Whether opiates are prescribed or even taken recreationally, no one likes to disclaim the detox from them. Detox from opiates is very intense, even painful.
Detox – a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.
Detoxing from opiates should always be monitored by medical professionals such as a detox facility or hospital. The detox off opiates can be so excruciating and intense the best way to ensure your safety is by not doing this alone. Even though detoxing from opiates is not fatal, opiate detox is highly recommended because the symptoms are so severe that a human should be under supervision.
Some of the main symptoms from detox of opiates;
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Muscle cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Runny nose
Due to these symptoms taking a serious toll on the human body, the patient may be prescribed methadone as a drug replacement therapy, but they will start lowering the dosage and weaning you off so you do not suffer as much. Methadone is considered an “old school maintenance.” Some newer prescriptions that may come in handy is Suboxone and Subutex, which are not only a mild opiate but an opiate blocker as well. When taking these, the withdrawal time can be cut in half and help with symptoms. When taking either methadone, Subutex, and Suboxone, you always want to make sure you are being observed 24/7 by a medical professional.
The addict’s body will go through three main stages when detoxing from opiates;
Stage one is considered the “acute withdrawal.” This stage will last about three days, symptoms will resemble the flu. Stage two is mainly about the muscle aches which can last anywhere from 3-15 days. Stage three is less intense mainly consisting of anxiety and insomnia. Stage three can last anywhere from one day to three months. The only way to expedite the opiate detox process is to check in to your nearest detox facility where they mainly will hold you for eight days of monitoring.
I recently sat down with a “recovered” addict and asked him about his experience when he was admitted to a detox facility for having to detox from opiates. Below is our conversation, he requested to remain anonymous due to personal reasons. He went to detox once and has remained sober ever since. He truly believes that starting his recovery journey surrounded by a medical staff guiding him on what steps to take play a huge role in his recovery.
Question: Did you detox off opiates in a facility or on your own?
Addict : “In a detox facility, only after failing to do so on my own, it was not until I was under medical supervision where I actually succeeded.
Question: How long were you in detox from opiates?
Addict: “ 8 days and then proceeded to rehab”
Question: What do you remember about detoxing from opiates?
Addict: “Being constipated, not sleeping for two days, honestly I do not remember much”
Question: Were you scared, and why?
Addict: “Yes, because I was scared to be sober, I was scared to get sick thankfully I was under medical supervision and they took the proper steps on how to keep me in minimal pain.
Question: How many detoxes have you been to? And how long do you have sober?
Addict: “I have been to one detox and will have 11 years sober in July”
Question: What advice would you give someone thinking about detoxing on their own?
Addict: “Don’t do it, call a medical detox”
Detoxing from opiates can be very hazardous and definitely not recommended to do on your own. The astonishing benefit about admitting to a medical detox besides having 24-hour care from nurses, doctors & clinical staff is the clinical staff will address any co-occurring issues that the individual may have, as well as address any trauma, depression, anxiety or PTSD. They will provide you with a nutritionist to make sure your dietary needs are met and your health is getting back on track. Primary therapists are included in the clinical staff making sure all questions and concerns are answered. If needed, an aftercare plan will be provided. Detox from opiates is hard enough, so to be in a safe and comfortable environment makes things just a little easier for the individual. This will build a solid foundation to begin the recovering process.
In Need of Detox?
It can be intimidating to know that addiction and alcoholism are always right around the corner. Sometimes getting that little push and having medical guidance can be what it takes. Relapse and active addiction/alcoholism are only as preventable as much as we value the sobriety we hold in our hands. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 800-982-5530 or visit restoredtx.wpengine.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.