More than 2.1 million Americans suffer from addiction to prescription opioid painkillers, drugs such as Tramadol, Vicodin, and even Suboxone which like Methadone is used to treat opiate addiction. Additionally, another 500,000 more suffer from heroin addiction.
Only a fraction of people get professional treatment for their condition. Among those individuals who do try to quit, relapse rates range from 40% to 60%, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Generally, relapse rates depend on a variety of factors, including the quality of treatment received. However, the severity of withdrawal symptoms pose a significant barrier to successful recovery from opiate addiction.
Opiate Relapse is a Major Problem Facing Addicted Individuals
Going through withdrawal from opiate addiction is tough. Many people who try to quit give up because of the exhausting withdrawal symptoms, particularly those who try to quit without the appropriate professional support. For example, when users attempt a cold turkey opiate detox.
This sort of at home drug detox is not only uncomfortable, but dangerous. For those who have a longer addiction history or a higher level of opioid use, withdrawal symptoms may be more intense. The withdrawal process can even be dangerous for those with certain medical conditions. Getting treatment in the right professional facility can ensure that you will receive the medical support needed to manage these difficulties.
There is no disguising the fact that opiate abuse recovery is challenging. Many people who relapse cite unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings as the reason they went back to opioid use. However, getting the appropriate assistance during the detox treatment process can ease the withdrawal symptoms and make opiate detox safer and less unpleasant.
Common Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
Opiates affect receptors throughout the body, particularly those located in the brain and gastrointestinal system. Over time, using opioids causes the metabolism to be accustomed to getting a dose of the drug. This causes changes in the way particular body systems respond and function during everyday life.
When opioids are no longer present, as when a person is trying to quit using, the body is unprepared to respond. This results in opiate withdrawal symptoms, which may be the most challenging part of the recovery phase. Although each individual has a unique withdrawal journey, some symptoms are more common than others.
The early stages of withdrawal can begin within the first 24 hours and may last a few days. Common early opiate withdrawal symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Increased tear production
- Muscle aches
As the withdrawal syndrome progresses, other symptoms are more likely to emerge in addition to the ones mentioned above. For some lucky people, symptoms might subside within one week. Whereas, for others symptoms may linger for up to a month and in some cases even longer. Common symptoms during the later stages of opiate withdrawal may include:
- Dilated pupils
- Abdominal cramps
- Goose bumps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Intense cravings
Is it Possible to Find Painless Opiate Detox?
Many patients ask about the possibility of a painless opiate detox process. It is important to note that there is really no such thing as painless opiate detox. Regardless of the detox protocol a patient chooses, there is always a period of adjustment afterwards. Your organs and metabolism must become accustomed to an opiate-free state, and it may take some time to rediscover what baseline functioning feels like.
Despite this, there are certainly some opiate detox protocols that are more painful and challenging than others. Numerous factors contribute to the discomfort experienced during detox. These may include:
- Medical history
- Amount of time a person used opiates
- Amount and type of opiates used
- Dosage of medications to assist with the detox process
- Tolerance for discomfort
- Depressed mood
Sedation Detox Advantages
Emotional factors such as anxiety can play an enormous role in determining how a person responds to the withdrawal process. People with higher anxiety often feel things more intensely and worry more about the recovery process. For these individuals, sedation detox can be an excellent and compassionate choice. During sedation detox, a person is placed in a lightly sedated state while medications are provided to flush opioid molecules from their receptor sites. Being sedated through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms prevents someone from quitting before the detox is complete. It also allows an individual to focus on their recovery and less on physical discomforts after detox.