The Detox Process
If you’ve decided to quit drug use, particularly opiates, you will likely experience withdrawals while your body is detoxing. During this time many people give up and go back to abusing drugs in order to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal. We encourage you to hold fast to your decision to quit; the withdrawals will end, but more importantly, this is the beginning of freedom from addiction, so keep that perspective in mind as you manage your detoxing period with purpose.
Commonly, opiate withdrawals are not fatal and can happen to anyone at any age, with minimal or extreme use of prescription or illicit drugs. And remember everyone is different so people will respond differently to withdrawal and various methods of easing the detox. Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work for you; try another avenue for managing your detoxing until you find what helps. Regardless of how you go about the process, one thing is certain—you will get through it so don’t panic.
Types of Detox
- Medical detox: A medical detox may or may not involve medication. Some facilities just use the term “medical” to refer to your stay in a clinical setting. For centers that do administer medication, this is usually done to ease withdrawal symptoms.
- Inpatient detox: You’ll stay in our facility, where you’ll have constant supervision. This is the safest way to go through detox. You may or may not have medical options. Your facility will choose the best course of treatment, depending on the severity of your addiction.
- Outpatient detox: While some facilities do offer outpatient detox as an option, the risk of relapse is higher since clients don’t live in the facility. Therefore, it’s wise to avoid rehab centers that offer this as a primary option.
The Detox Playbook
We don’t necessarily recommend detoxing at home as there can be complications, but if you’re planning on detoxing at home, you should create a comfortable space and prepare to keep your mind preoccupied with movies, books and music that are positive and uplifting.
During the first initial parts of acute withdrawal your body may experience pain. One way to minimize that pain is to have NSAIDS on hand like aspirin or Ibuprofen.
To help alleviate stress, depression and fatigue, some natural ways are by taking supplements and vitamins. L-Tyrosine, a non-essential amino acid, when taken during detox, can in some cases help alleviate symptoms like depression and fatigue. B-Complex vitamins may also help relieve stress. Calcium and Magnesium may help with cramps, twitches, and relieving severe anxiety. Taking Epson salt baths is another way to lessen stress and relax the overall tension.
While we don’t recommend herbal remedies some things like Passion Flower have been known to help alleviate anxiety, insomnia, stomachaches, pain and high blood pressure. Ginger, in tea or pill form, can help with nausea and physical pain, and Ginseng may boost energy and help you cope with anxiety.
Again, if you experience extreme side effects while detoxing, we recommend that you visit a doctor of check in to a detox facility immediately.
Mental Health Issues Signs And Symptoms
Why Do I Feel Like This During Detox?
Your brain manufactures its own opioids, which are responsible for many things including decreasing pain, lowering respiratory rate and preventing depression and anxiety. If you take opiates, whether prescribed or illegal, the opiates attach themselves specifically to the opioid receptors in your brain, spine and digestive tract and exert their effects. Prolonged use of the drug changes the way these receptors work, which also leads to tolerance that can dangerously increase your risk of accidental overdose. When you stop taking the drug, your body goes in to withdrawal as it learns to adjust to life without the drug.
What Should I Expect And For How Long?
Depending on how long you’ve used the opiate, symptoms of acute withdrawal will vary from mild, moderate to severe. And though you may experience less or more symptoms during certain points in the detox process, we’re giving you a general list and timeframe of what you may experience.
The first three days are the hardest to get through and usually the days where many give in to relapse. Stay strong and resolved, your days will get easier.
About 6-12 hours after the last dose of short-acting opiates (30 hours for long-acting opiates) the first round of acute withdrawal symptoms begin.
General symptoms include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Flu or cold-like symptoms
- Tearing up
- Running nose
- Excessive yawning
- Racing heart
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme anger
- Drug cravings
- Chills and shakes
So How Can I Ease The Process?
Now that you know a little about what’s happening and what to expect, here are some suggestions on what you might try doing to not only ease your detoxing process but also set you up for victory that reaches beyond the process itself.
- Tell Your Accountability People
- Power through
- Remain Positive
- Live Purposefully