Detox is required for anyone who wants to stop using opiates. Opiate addiction slowly requires more use of the drug to where it costs too much money and sacrifices. Contrary to common media propaganda, opiate addiction does not completely destroy the abuser’s ability to realize that it’s time to quit. Opiate detox is offered by many out-patient facilities, but the cost is high, and it requires several days off from work. The idea of explaining to management that time off is needed to deal with opiate addiction is unacceptable for most employees.
Initial Opiate Detox
The first couple of days are the easiest but be aware that opiate detox is a difficult task to do alone. As the drug begins to exit the system, the opiate withdrawals set the stage for the next week. Detox involves complete cessation from opiate addiction, so the body starts to crave the drug. Irritability, insomnia, and diarrhea make opiate withdrawal symptoms unbearable for the first few days. There are several ways to deal with the opiate withdrawal symptoms. The one ray of hope for opiate addiction is that the major physical withdrawal symptoms begin to subside after approximately a week to two weeks.
Opiate Detox Help for Diarrhea
Diarrhea symptoms last almost the entire week. Immodium AD (loperamide) is an over-the-counter remedy that helps patients through the opiate withdrawals. Although this medication helps with diarrhea, too much can cause constipation. Additionally, loperamide is an opiate, so it has a small effect on the central nervous system, although there are arguments in the drug user community as to its efficiency to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Treatment for the Insomnia
Cessation from opiate addiction and use brings extreme insomnia. The diarrhea symptoms play a large role in the patient’s inability to sleep, but night sweats, irritability, and depression cause insomnia. Several herbal remedies are available to help patients sleep. Valerian root or kava root are available from a local vitamin store in pill form or in tea bags for hot tea. These help the patient sleep and even increase mood and lower anxiety. Antihistamine medications like Benedryl that are over-the-counter have a drowsiness side effect that is also helpful.
Opiate Detox and Muscle Pain
Aches and pains throughout the entire body tempt the opiate addiction to return. Under no circumstances should any narcotics be used to treat the aches. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen are available. These are recommended to help alleviate some of the muscle aches that last for the duration of the opiate detox.
Opiate Addiction and Depression
Depression is an opiate withdrawal that lasts for weeks or even months depending on the patient. Care should be taken to deal with the depression especially during the first month. Exercise, diet, fresh air and sunshine are the best way to keep the body healthy and active. It also helps to forget the temptation and keep the mind off of the depression. Supplements like 5-HTP increase serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for mood. Vitamin B6 is also a precursor to epinephrine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which are the neurotransmitters that improve mood and help patients kick the depression from opiate withdrawals.
Finally, the encouragement to stay clean and kick the opiate addiction means a lifestyle change. While these tips will get the patient through the withdrawals, the temptation and cravings remain. Some opiate addicts claim the cravings never go away. For some people, staying away from certain friends is essential for recovery. Keep one’s health in mind and focus on oneself throughout the process. Opiate detox is a difficult task, but it can be done with determination and a little help from the remedies listed.