Substance Use

Opioids Detox

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How to Detox From Opioids Safely

Opioids are potent drugs often used to treat chronic pain and other health issues. Many people who use opioids can become addicted, leading to severe physical and psychological effects.

Due to the risks associated with opioids, which can be life-threatening in some cases, it is crucial to find treatment from a professional detox center if you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction.

This article will provide an overview of everything you need to know about opioids, the opioid detox process, and treatment options.

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Understanding Opioids and Their Adverse Effects

Opioids, a class of potent pain-relieving medications, are derived from the opium poppy plant or synthesized to mimic its effects. (1) These drugs interact with opioid receptors in the brain and peripheral nervous system, modulating pain perception and producing feelings of euphoria.

While opioids are invaluable for managing pain, their use carries a range of potential negative effects.

Common adverse outcomes include:

  1. Physical Dependence: Prolonged opioid use can lead to physical dependence, where the body adapts to the presence of the drug. Abrupt cessation may result in withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, and anxiety. (2)
  2. Tolerance: Opioid tolerance develops over time, necessitating higher doses to achieve the same pain-relieving effects. This escalation increases the risk of overdose and other complications.
  3. Addiction: Opioid addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior. It can profoundly impact an individual’s life, leading to social, occupational, and health-related consequences.
  4. Respiratory Depression: Opioids can suppress the respiratory system, slowing breathing rates. In cases of overdose or misuse, this respiratory depression can be life-threatening. (3)
  5. Constipation: Opioid use often leads to constipation, a side effect resulting from the impact on gastrointestinal motility. This can be a persistent issue for individuals on long-term opioid therapy.
  6. Cognitive Impairment: Opioids may cause drowsiness, runny nose, confusion, and impaired concentration. These cognitive effects can interfere with daily activities and increase the risk of accidents.
  7. Increased Sensitivity to Pain: Paradoxically, long-term opioid use can heighten sensitivity to pain, a phenomenon known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia. This can complicate pain management strategies.
  8. Social and Economic Consequences: Opioid misuse and addiction can lead to strained relationships, employment challenges, and financial hardships. The broader social and economic impacts contribute to the complexity of addressing opioid-related issues.

What Are Opioids Medically Used For?

Opioids, a class of potent medications derived from the opium poppy plant or synthesized to replicate its effects, serve various medical purposes under the supervision of healthcare professionals.

  • Pain Management: Opioids are primarily prescribed for their analgesic properties to alleviate moderate to severe pain. They are often employed after surgical procedures, injury, or for individuals experiencing chronic pain conditions such as cancer-related pain or severe arthritis. (4)
  • Postoperative Pain Control: In the postoperative setting, opioids play a crucial role in managing acute pain following surgeries. They help enhance patient comfort and facilitate recovery by mitigating the immediate discomfort associated with surgical procedures. (4)
  • Palliative Care: Opioids are integral in palliative care, providing relief for patients facing serious illnesses, especially those in advanced stages of cancer or other terminal conditions. The focus is on enhancing the quality of life by managing pain and improving overall comfort.
  • Treatment of Severe Trauma or Injury: In cases of severe trauma, such as accidents or injuries, opioids are utilized to manage acute pain. Their potent analgesic effects contribute to pain relief during the critical phases of recovery.
  • Chronic Pain Conditions: Opioids may be considered in the management of certain chronic pain conditions where other interventions have proven ineffective. However, their use in chronic pain is approached cautiously due to the risk of dependence and potential side effects.
  • Cough Suppression: Certain opioids, such as codeine and hydrocodone, are included in cough medications for their antitussive (cough-suppressing) properties. (5) They act on the brain’s cough center, providing relief for individuals experiencing persistent coughing.
  • Diarrhea Management: Opioids, specifically loperamide, are utilized to address diarrhea by slowing down the movement of the intestines. This property proves beneficial in managing acute diarrhea and reducing associated symptoms. (6)
  • Sedation in Medical Procedures: In certain medical procedures requiring sedation or anesthesia, opioids may be employed to enhance the overall anesthetic effect and manage pain during and after the procedure.

What is an Opioid Detox?

An opioid detox program is a treatment program designed to help individuals overcome their physical dependence on opioids.

These types of addiction treatment programs involve medically supervised detoxification in a hospital (inpatient) or residential (outpatient) setting, followed by counseling and other therapy services. (7

The goal of the detox program is to minimize opiate withdrawal symptoms and ensure that the patient is physically and emotionally stable enough to continue with additional treatment for opioid use disorder.

During opioid treatment programs, patients typically receive medications to help them manage their withdrawal symptoms and cravings such as (8):

  • Buprenorphine (Subutex)
  • Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone)
  • Methadone 

How Long Will an Opioid Detox Last?

The duration of opioid detoxification varies and is influenced by individual factors like the level of dependence, the specific opioid involved, and the chosen detox method. Typically spanning from one week to several weeks, this timeline is flexible, adapting to the unique aspects of each person’s withdrawal experience.

During the initial phase of opioid detox, individuals navigate acute withdrawal, lasting around one week. This period brings about physical and psychological symptoms as the body adjusts to the absence of opioids.

Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia (9)

Post-acute withdrawal, individuals enter a crucial phase in their recovery journey. It’s essential to note that detox alone is a preliminary step and not a comprehensive solution. Following detox, individuals are encouraged to participate in ongoing treatment programs tailored to address the root causes of opioid dependence. (9)

These post-detox programs encompass counseling, therapy sessions, and engagement in residential treatment programs. These components provide individuals with the necessary tools and support to navigate the challenges of sustaining sobriety and preventing relapse.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms During an Opioid Detox?

Opioid withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, but with the help of an opioid detox center, you can get through it.

However, with the support of an opioid detox center, individuals can navigate this process more comfortably and effectively.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms encompass a range of physical and psychological manifestations, including: (2)

  • Sweating: Profuse sweating is a common withdrawal symptom, often accompanying the body’s effort to regulate temperature during the detox process.
  • Nausea: Individuals undergoing opioid detox frequently experience nausea, a distressing symptom that contributes to overall discomfort.
  • Vomiting: Vomiting is another prevalent withdrawal symptom stemming from the body’s response to the absence of opioids and its attempt to expel toxins.
  • Excessive Yawning: Excessive yawning is a distinctive withdrawal symptom, often linked to changes in respiratory patterns during the detoxification process.
  • Restlessness: Restlessness is a psychological manifestation of opioid withdrawal, reflecting the body’s adjustment to the absence of the substance.
  • Irritability: Opioid detox commonly triggers irritability, a mood-related symptom that may challenge an individual’s emotional well-being.
  • Insomnia: Sleep disturbances, including insomnia, are prevalent during opioid withdrawal, impacting an individual’s ability to achieve restorative sleep.
  • Diarrhea: Gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea, is a common physical symptom during opioid detox, reflecting the body’s response to the withdrawal process.
  • Dilated Pupils: Opioid withdrawal often results in dilated pupils, a physiological response associated with changes in the autonomic nervous system.

Enduring these symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be taxing, underscoring the importance of professional guidance provided by opioid detox centers. These facilities and health care providers offer a supportive environment, medical monitoring, and interventions to manage and alleviate withdrawal symptoms, ensuring a more manageable detoxification process.

How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?

The duration of opioid withdrawal is a variable and individualized process influenced by several factors, including the specific opioid involved, the duration of use, the dosage, and an individual’s overall health. 

Knowing the timeline of opioid withdrawal is essential for individuals seeking recovery and those providing support. The withdrawal process typically unfolds in distinct stages:

  1. Early Stage (First 24-72 hours): The initial phase of opioid withdrawal is marked by the onset of symptoms within the first 24 to 72 hours after the last opioid use. During this period, individuals may experience intense cravings, anxiety, sweating, and physical discomfort. Symptoms progress rapidly, reflecting the body’s adjustment to the absence of opioids.
  2. Peak Symptoms (Days 3-5): Days 3 to 5 often represent the peak of opioid withdrawal symptoms. Individuals commonly report heightened physical and psychological distress, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, insomnia, and irritability. This phase can be particularly challenging, requiring comprehensive support and medical attention.
  3. Subacute Withdrawal (Days 6-14): The subacute withdrawal phase, spanning from days 6 to 14, sees a gradual decline in the intensity of symptoms. While individuals may still experience lingering discomfort, improvements in mood and physical well-being become more noticeable. Professional monitoring and support continue to be crucial during this stage.
  4. Resolution of Acute Symptoms (2-4 Weeks): Acute withdrawal symptoms typically begin to subside within the first 2 to 4 weeks. The physical manifestations of withdrawal, such as nausea and muscle aches, diminish, and individuals often experience an improvement in overall well-being. However, psychological symptoms, such as cravings and mood fluctuations, may persist.
  5. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS): For some individuals, a protracted phase known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) may occur. (10) This phase can extend for weeks or months and is characterized by intermittent, residual symptoms, including mood swings, sleep disturbances, and anxiety. PAWS underscores the importance of ongoing support and relapse prevention strategies.

It is vital to recognize that the duration of opioid withdrawal is variable, and individual experiences may differ.

What Types of Treatment Are Used During an Opioid Detox?

Opting for a facility that provides a multifaceted treatment program is essential, ensuring a holistic approach that addresses the complexities of opioid dependence.

Here are the components of a comprehensive treatment program that sets the stage for a successful detoxification process and sustained recovery: (11)

  1. Medically Supervised Withdrawal Management: A cornerstone of opioid detox, medically supervised withdrawal management involves the careful and monitored reduction of opioid use. Healthcare professionals adeptly manage withdrawal symptoms, adjusting interventions as needed to alleviate discomfort and enhance safety.
  2. Treatment for Underlying Mental Health Conditions: Recognizing the intricate connection between opioid dependence and mental health, a robust detox program includes the identification and treatment of any underlying mental health conditions. This dual-diagnosis approach ensures that both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction are addressed concurrently.
  3. Counseling and Therapy: Counseling and therapy sessions form a fundamental component of comprehensive opioid detox programs. These therapeutic interventions assist individuals in identifying and addressing the root causes of addiction, fostering self-awareness, and equipping them with coping mechanisms to navigate the challenges of recovery. Additionally, mental disorders from drug abuse can be dealt with.
  4. Peer Support Groups: Peer support groups play a crucial role in enhancing motivation and accountability during the recovery journey. Engaging with individuals facing similar challenges provides a sense of community, reduces isolation, and fosters collective strength in pursuing sobriety.
  5. Comprehensive Aftercare Services: The commitment to sustained recovery extends beyond the detoxification phase. Comprehensive aftercare services are integral, encompassing relapse prevention planning and access to sober living housing. These post-detox elements create a continuum of care, offering ongoing support and resources as individuals transition back into their daily lives.

In essence, a well-rounded opioid detox program recognizes that successful recovery involves more than just managing physical withdrawal.

It necessitates a combination of:

  • Medical expertise
  • Mental health considerations
  • Therapeutic interventions
  • Peer support
  • Strategic aftercare planning

Can You Detox from Opioids at Home or Not?

Detoxing from opioids can be a dangerous process and should only be done under the supervision of a medical professional.

An opioid detox center can provide medical supervision during withdrawal and offer comprehensive treatment programs tailored to each individual’s needs.

Without professional help, it can be difficult to safely and effectively stop using opioids or get rid of a substance abuse issue.

The benefits of an opioid detox center and specific human services treatments include:

  • Professional supervision: Medical staff can monitor the patient’s progress, provide medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms and help them cope with cravings.
  • Comprehensive treatment: Treatment plans include counseling, group therapy, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and other options for long-term recovery. (12)
  • Supportive environment: The opioid detox center provides a safe and comfortable setting where patients can focus on their recovery without distractions or temptations. They can get the proper health information for the use of opioids and any medical conditions from this pill.

How to Find an Opioids Detox Center Near Me

The initial step in addressing opioid addiction involves finding a suitable detox center nearby. Utilizing user-friendly online platforms can streamline this process, offering an efficient way to explore various treatment programs.

Here’s how to find an opioid detox center near you:

  1. Utilize Online Platforms: Online resources simplify the search for an opioid detox center. Explore reputable websites that provide comprehensive information on available treatment programs.
  2. Specify Treatment Preferences and Location: Enter the platform and specify the type of treatment you are seeking and your current location. This helps narrow down options based on your unique needs and geographical proximity.
  3. Access Expert Insights: Some platforms connect you with substance use disorder specialists who offer valuable insights into available programs. These specialists guide your decision-making process, providing information on effective treatment options based on your circumstances.
  4. Browse Comprehensive Listings: The platform should furnish a comprehensive list of opioids detox centers in your specified location. This ensures access to facilities offering various detoxification approaches, from pharmacologic interventions to non-opioid alternatives.
  5. Consider Pharmacologic and Non-Opioid Approaches: Opioid detoxification involves pharmacologic interventions, including medications to manage withdrawal symptoms. Some centers may also offer non-opioid alternatives, recognizing the importance of personalized treatment approaches.
  6. Evaluate Programs for Prescription Opioid Addiction: For those dealing specifically with prescription opioid addiction, explore programs tailored to address this subset of opioid dependence. Understanding the nuances of prescription opioid addiction is crucial for developing an effective recovery plan.
  7. Prioritize Supportive Care: Recovery from opioid addiction requires proper supportive care. Detox centers that prioritize a multidisciplinary approach, combining medical expertise, counseling, and therapy, offer a holistic recovery experience.

Following these steps, individuals can initiate their search for an opioids detox center confidently, leveraging the resources available online. With the right support, anyone can overcome opioid addiction and take steps towards a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Don’t Let Opioid Drugs Run Your Life; Say Yes to Quitting

The influence of opioid drugs on one’s life can be pervasive and challenging, but it’s crucial not to let them dictate your path. Taking charge of your journey involves acknowledging the impact of opioid dependence and seeking the necessary support to break free from its grasp.

By actively engaging in recovery, individuals can regain control, fostering a future where the narrative is shaped by resilience and positive choices rather than the constraints of opioid drugs. Remember, the first step towards a clean life begins with a decision to reclaim control.

If you’re interested in learning more about opioid detox centers, please give the Zinnia Health clinicians a call. Our compassionate and experienced intake professionals will be more than happy to help you find the substance use treatment that best fits your needs. Contact us today at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about our programs and how we can help get you started on your recovery journey.


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Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us