Drug addiction can be a life long battle for many people. If you are not fully prepared, opiate or heroin detox can be a very difficult process to endure. Learning as much as you can about the facts of drugs such as heroin or other opioids can be beneficial in the recovery process and dealing with withdrawal symptoms. Understanding these facts about opiate addiction and other dangerous drugs can provide a clearer picture of what to expect and how to successfully recover.
In this article we will cover some facts on opiate detox, symptoms and medications that may help those dealing with withdrawal.
What is Opiate Detox?
The process of opiate detoxification involves acute withdrawal from opioid drugs (painkillers) such as heroin, morphine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone and fentanyl. Depending on the level of dependancy it can take anywhere from 7-30 days with the worst being the first 3 days due to the severe withdrawal symptoms. Although there are home remedies to help with detoxifying from addictive pain killers, the chances of success are much lower than checking in to a detox center and getting the medical help you will need. Due to the fact opiates affect the way the brain responds to painful stimuli, essentially giving the individual that “high” feeling, prolong use increases that threshold. Meaning, the more you use the drug, the more you will need or crave to reach that high. This is what makes detoxifying so difficult.
Symptoms of Opiate Detox
The early withdrawal symptoms of short-acting opiates can begin within 6-12 hours, they include:
- Increased tear production
- Muscle pain and aches
- Increased Agitation
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Excessive yawning
- Runny nose
- Sweating (Diaphoresis)
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
The late symptoms of opiate withdrawal usually peak around 72 hours and can last for 7-10 days:
- Stomach cramping
- Increase drug cravings
- Nausea & vomiting
The Problem With Self Detox From Heroin
Heroin is arguably one of the most addictive drugs. It is attributed to over 10,000 overdose related deaths in 2014 according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The fact that heroin is so addicting, makes detox a challenge due to the drug cravings and pain involved during the withdrawal phase. This is why most patients who try self detox fail an require an inpatient rehab clinic.
Opioid Detox Medications
There are many different medications that are used for heroin detox. Here are some of the most common:
Suboxone – Suboxone is an opiod agonist-antagonist that is commonly used for heroin abuse because it consists of 2 drugs. One (buprenorphine) which mimics the effects of heroin and two (naloxone) helps reduce the chance of overdose.
Methadone – Methadone or buprenorphine are opiod agonists. They have the same effects as heroin, but to a smaller, safer degree.
Naloxone – Naloxone is an opiod antagonist which blocks the effects of heroin. It is generally used for heroin overdose.
Naltrexone – Naltrexone is a controversial treatment for heroin addiction known as rapid detox. It works by pushing the opiates off the receptors in the brain. Watch the video to learn more:
How Inpatient Opiate Detox Centers Can Help
Having a medical support system makes a huge difference in successfully detoxing from opiates. Joining a local detox facility that offers medications and inpatient detoxification for long-term treatment, the chances of a successful detox are much more favorable. You will have 24/7 professional support and monitoring from a trained staff to help you through the process.