It’s no secret that the United States has an opiate addiction problem. Because of the effects they produce, as well as their easy accessibility legally and illegally, opiates have become one of the most used and abused drugs over the last decade. Luckily, as opiate addiction becomes more prevalent, more and more places are offering services for those who find themselves addicted to opiates sometimes even through no fault of their own. This includes opiate detox, opiate rehab, and various opiate-related treatments.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an opiate addiction and could benefit from opiate detox and rehab, continue reading. Learn more about what you can do to get the help that you or they need.
What Are Opiates?
Before we discuss detox and treatment, it’s first necessary to understand what exactly opiates are and how they work.
Opiates are a type of opioid, which is made from the opium poppy plant. These are strong prescription painkillers that are commonly prescribed by doctors and medical professionals to treat pain in patients. Common types of opioids include:
Opiates and opioids attach themselves to the opioid receptors in the brain to let the body know that it’s no longer in pain.
Due to the euphoric feeling one can feel while on opiates, as well as the way they affect the brain, it’s easy for the body and the brain to grow dependent on the substances and even become addicted. This can lead to people abusing opiates by either taking higher amounts than what is prescribed, or even continuing to seek out and abuse opiates when their prescription has run out.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Addiction?
Due to the way opiates react to the body, it can sometimes be difficult to identify if you have begun developing an addiction to the substance. For many people, they take opiates that are prescribed by their doctors and wind up becoming addicted to them through no fault of their own. That’s how powerful opiates are and how strong of a reaction they can have on the brain and the body.
If you think you might be developing an opiate addiction or know someone who you think might be, there are some signs that you can look for that might identify an addiction is either developing or has already developed. Some of these signs include:
- Uncharacteristic mood swings
- A noticeable change in sleeping and eating habits
- Finishing a prescription earlier than directed
- A change in interests
- Trouble completing even basic tasks
- Struggling in school, work, and at home
- A change in social groups
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Showing visible signs of intoxication
- Using the prescribed medication in ways other than prescribed
- Obtaining more of the drug through any means necessary including visiting multiple doctors or buying it on the street
- Stealing in order to obtain more of the drug
If you or someone you know check off any of these listed above, you should seek treatment immediately. Prolonged use of opiates in ways other than directed can lead to an overdose and death.
What Happens During Opiate Withdrawal?
One of the biggest struggles people find when it comes to trying to quit taking opiates is the withdrawal symptoms associated with no longer taking the drug. For many people, they acknowledge that they have a problem and want to stop taking opiates, but the withdrawal symptoms are so bad that they simply continue to just take the substance to avoid those symptoms.
So, what are some of the symptoms that are associated with opiate withdrawal? They can include:
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Hot flashes
- Dilated pupils
Due to the nature of withdrawing and the extreme symptoms that people can suffer from, it is advised that the withdrawal process be done under constant medical supervision through opiate detox.
How Long Do These Withdrawal Symptoms Tend To Last?
When you start to withdraw from opiates, the effects can start to be felt almost right away, within the first eight to 24 hours after you stop using. While each person reacts to the process differently, the entire withdrawal process tends to last around 10 days. While going through withdrawal can be painful and uncomfortable, it’s important to know that the feelings are only temporary and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. So, what can you expect during the early days of the withdrawal process? Here is a brief breakdown:
As you would imagine, the first few days are by far the worst as the body reacts to no longer having any opiates in its system. During these first few days, you will likely experience any of the following symptoms:
- Panic attacks
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Stomach issues
- Loss of appetite
As the days progress, you’ll notice that the symptoms will slowly start to go away or become less severe. This doesn’t mean you are in the clear yet, though. During this time, you can still expect to experience the following symptoms:
- More minor muscle aches and pains
- Stomach cramps
It’s important to know that while you can expect many if not all symptoms to dissipate after 10 days, that isn’t always the case. It’s not uncommon for some of the more mild symptoms to continue to linger even after the 10 days are up. Doing things like exercising and eating healthy can help speed up the process when it comes to these symptoms dissipating.
What Is the Best Way To Detox from Opiates?
As you can see from some of the symptoms listed above for opiate withdrawal, opiate detox can be tricky. Because of the symptoms associated with it, it’s crucial that it be done under the constant care and supervision of a trained medical professional. This can be done at either a medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment facility like Chapel Hill Detox that also offers opiate detox programs. Attempting to self-detox can be incredibly dangerous and can also increase the chances of a relapse.
Opiate detox can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the severity of the addiction. The entire detox process involves three main steps. They are:
- An evaluation
- The actual detoxing
- Transitioning into addiction treatment
The first step in the detox process is to first undergo an evaluation so the treatment professionals can determine the best course of action for you. Since everyone is different, the way they react to both the detox and treatment process will also be different. Through the evaluation process, a customized treatment plan will be created, starting with opiate detoxification.
Once the treatment plan has been created, the actual detoxing can begin. As we mentioned above, the entire detox process is done under 24-hour medical care and supervision. This is done to make sure that the body reacts properly to the detox process and any medical issues that may arise as a result of detoxing can be addressed right away.
During the detox process, some people may be given medications in order to help with the management of the withdrawal symptoms. Methadone and buprenorphine are the most commonly used medications. They are used to help relieve some withdrawal symptoms as well as help kill off any potential cravings.
Transitioning to Addiction Treatment
Once detox has been completed, it’s then time to begin treatment. If you underwent detox at a medical facility or detox center, you will likely be given a list of potential treatment centers to which you can go. If you undergo detox at a place that provides both like Chapel Hill Detox, then the transition process is practically seamless.
Whether you choose inpatient or outpatient treatment, during the treatment process you will participate in a variety of therapy sessions, both one-on-one and in a group setting. These therapy sessions are intended to help you understand what led to your addiction in the first place as well as learn ways to go about your new life being clean and sober. Group sessions are also a great way to begin building a support system on your road to recovery as well as potentially learn things from others that might have shared similar experiences as you.
Are You In Need of Opiate Detox?
At Chapel Hill Detox, we understand how difficult and painful the detox process can be, especially when it comes to opiate detox. That’s why we provide round-the-clock medical supervision for all our detox patients so they can be as comfortable as possible while undergoing detox treatment.
If you or someone you know could benefit from opiate detoxification and treatment, contact us today.