What is it Like Detoxing from Opiates?

Detoxing from opiates is not only extremely uncomfortable, but dangerous to go at it alone.

Opiates are quite possibly the most addictive drugs on the streets in the United States today. Whether they are prescription opiates like Percocet and Vicodin or illicit opiates like heroin, these drugs are responsible for some of the worst cases of addiction across the nation. The overdose rates are also quite staggering when it comes to opiates. If you are suffering from an addiction to opiates and want to avoid becoming just another opiate overdose statistic, then you are likely wondering what detoxing from opiates and the rest of the treatment process entail. Get to know more about opiate addiction treatment and detoxing from opiates and then you will be able to move forward in your recovery process.

What Does Detoxing from Opiates Entail?

Many people do not realize that detox is only a part of the addiction treatment process rather than the entirety of treatment. Detoxing from opiates breaks the physical dependence that a person has to the opiate drugs. This means that the biochemical balance in the brain will be thrown off-kilter while the drug leaves the person's system and the brain and body adjust to no longer receiving a steady influx of opiate.

As such, opiate detox will involve going through withdrawals. Withdrawals occur when the body and brain react to not receiving the opiates as it has come to rely on and come to expect.

How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

Of course, given the fact that detoxing from opiates involves going through withdrawals, one of the questions many people ask is, "How long does opiate withdrawal last?" The answer to the question is not that simple, though and it can help to think about the process as an opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline.

The first phase of the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline is the onset of symptoms. This usually occurs within the first 12 hours after a person quits consuming opiates. While symptoms can begin at any time in those initial 12 hours, the peak of the symptoms (or the worst of them) occurs at around three days after the detox process starts.

After the intensity of the third-day peak, symptom intensity begins to drop and the person moves into the next phase of detox and withdrawals. The third phase generally lasts two weeks as the body starts to adjust to not having opiates and to find a "new normal." And finally, the last phase of treatment can last anywhere from several weeks to several months and drug cravings can sometimes last or recur even months after the detox process begins.

What Are Some of the Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms?

Now that you know more about the process of detoxing from opiates, you are likely wondering what some of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal are. These withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Leg and muscle cramps
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Cold sweats
  • Dilated pupils
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chills
  • Drug cravings
  • DTs

What Can a Drug Addiction Treatment Center Do for You?

The detox process can be quite difficult when you are addicted to opiates. Going through the process alone can be next to impossible as the symptoms can become so intense that a person will give up and resume opiate abuse. And sometimes, symptoms like seizures can occur which can be medically dangerous and even life-threatening.

Drug addiction treatment centers can offer you a safe and secure environment in which to go through detox. Medical staff members oversee the process which ensures that if severe symptoms occur, the patient will receive immediate medical treatment. This detox environment also ensures that the person does not relapse while in the detox process. Withdrawal symptoms can also be reduced or managed through the administration of prescription drugs.

Opiate detox can be a challenging process, but is not one that is impossible to make it through. With the help of drug treatment programs and detox, you can get through your withdrawal symptoms and move forward in your recovery process.

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