Have you, or has one of your loved ones, struggled to get clean from opioids but struggled to get through the withdrawal process? If you’ve experienced opioid withdrawal, then you are already too familiar with the pain and agony that comes with it.
Opioids are incredibly physically and mentally addicting, building a chemical dependency that keeps users in a constant cycle of sickness and relapse.
Due to these intense withdrawal symptoms, a medically assisted detox is the safest and most effective way to beat the cycle of opioid addiction. Read further to find out what to expect during opioid detox and why treatment can help you beat your addiction.
Understanding Opioid Withdrawal
Opioids come in many different forms. Each different type of opioid may have different timelines for withdrawal symptoms. Short-acting opioids have a faster onset of withdrawal symptoms and a shorter timeline. And long-acting opioids have a slower onset of withdrawal symptoms with a longer timeline.
Short-acting opioids include:
- Codeine (a common cough syrup ingredient)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Fentanyl (as found in street drugs)
Long-acting opioids include:
- Fentanyl (as found in extended-release patches)
Opioid Withdrawal Timeline
Opioid withdrawal symptoms strike along a bell curve and can be defined by four stages.
Stage 1 of Opioid Withdrawal
The first stage has mild symptoms surrounding anticipation of the next fix. Here the user may experience anxiety, intense cravings, and fear of inevitable withdrawal.
Stage 2 of Opioid Withdrawal
Here, the user begins to experience acute withdrawal 8 to 10 hours after their last opioid dose. Anxiety continues and the user becomes restless. The user may experience stomach aches, sweating, nausea, and vomiting.
Stage 3 of Opioid Withdrawal
Acute withdrawal symptoms peak after 24 hours of abstinence and lasts an average of 3 days. The opioid user may start to experience stomach aches, cold sweats, nausea, fever, diarrhea, muscle spasms, increased blood pressure, and body tremors. The recovering addict may also become severely dehydrated if severe diarrhea and vomiting occur.
Stage 4 of Opioid Withdrawal
After more severe symptoms begin to subside, lingering withdrawal symptoms may persist. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can last up to two years after one’s last dose. Someone with PAWS may experience trouble with mood swings, anxiety, and spontaneous intense urges to relapse.
If someone is experiencing PAWS from opioid abuse, they should be careful to avoid environmental triggers. Even after you move on from your drug-abusing days, the toxins you have exposed yourself to may have lingering effects on your health and it is important to address them properly.
What is an Opioid Detox?
An opioid detox aims to minimize the dangers associated with opioid withdrawal. In a safe medical setting, a patient dependent on opioids can be given medications, supplements, and other accommodations to make their withdrawal experience more manageable.
As it was mentioned earlier, there are a number of different opioids that may make your detox experience unique. However, the treatment for different opioid addictions follow a similar path.
Stages in opioid detox include:
- Assessment — To better understand a client’s unique dependencies, they engage with one of our clinicians to develop their personalized program. This meeting will be related to one’s history of abused drugs, relevant personal history, relevant family history, etc.
- Stabilization — As the patient begins to experience withdrawal symptoms, they are monitored by our staff. The detox team may prescribe medications to reduce the severity of symptoms as they also provide mental consultation.
- Rehabilitation — After the client has successfully detoxed themselves from opioids, they are recommended to complete inpatient rehabilitation. Residential-inpatient drug rehab can greatly increase the chance a person maintains their sobriety after detox. Detox alone does not heal the underlying causes of addiction, and a continued inpatient rehab program can further support long-term sobriety.
Because everyone’s addiction is unique, some people may be recommended to continue to inpatient rehab while others may only need to proceed with outpatient rehab. The choice is entirely up to the individual.
Since prolonged opioid use alter’s pathways in the brain related to the reward system (resulting in addiction) we strongly recommend most users continue with inpatient rehab. Similarly, we may recommend medication-assisted treatment with FDA-approved opioid use disorder medications.
Opioid Use Disorder Medication
The term medication-assisted treatment (MAT) refers to the use of medication as an adjunct in the treatment of opioid use disorders. These medications can be used early in the recovery course and the length of time they are used depends on the needs of the client.
Opioid use disorder medications include:
- Methadone — greatly reduces cravings for opioids and can suppress symptoms of withdrawal.
- Buprenorphine — greatly reduces cravings for opioids and reduces symptoms of withdrawal during detox.
- Naloxone — is used to reverse the effects of an overdose. It is commonly paired with buprenorphine to reduce its euphoric effect and prevent relapse overdoses.
- Naltrexone — blocks the euphoric effects of opioids. It is not a medication used during opioid detox, but it may be used afterward to prevent relapse.
Detox from Opioids in Huntington Beach
If you, or a loved one of yours, is struggling to get clean from opioids, call Wavelengths Recovery.
Our Huntington Beach Rehab can provide the necessary care and supervision you need to detox from opioids.