Opioid Detox Program & Withdrawal Management
Opioid medications, derived from the opium poppy plant, can provide pain relief for patients who’ve undergone surgery or experienced an injury. When used properly, these medications are beneficial to helping people manage severe pain.
Common opioids include:
Opioids are also highly addictive and can become misused. For some, the misuse of a legitimate prescription turns into the illegal use of opioids like heroin.
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Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
When you are ready to break off the shackles of OUD and reclaim your life, you will inevitably experience withdrawal from the drug your body has become so accustomed to. Opioid detox and withdrawal symptoms can be broken down into three basic categories, early, later, and psychological.
Psychological Symptoms may last weeks or months:
- Profuse sweating
- Slurred speech
- Dilated pupils
- Inability to sleep
- Muscle aches
- Rapid heartbeat / high blood pressure
- Substance cravings
These symptoms can last from a few days to a month and are very painful, which in turn leads to the opioid users to use more of the drug to relieve the pain if they do not seek treatment. Since continued users of opioid painkillers need to increase their dosage to feel the same effects they did in the beginning, if they do not have enough opioids in their system, they will experience incredibly painful withdrawals.
What to Expect from an Opioid Addiction Detox Program
If you have become addicted to opioids and are having trouble getting off the drugs, an immediate opioid addiction detox program is your next step. The detox program is usually medically supervised and controlled by a physician, and this is where the withdrawal symptoms come in. When someone who is heavily addicted to opioids is taken off the drugs suddenly, the symptoms are inevitable, however it is the only way to begin the detox process. Medical detox programs usually happen in a hospital or residential treatment center with a detoxification unit. These medical detox programs are recommended for individuals suffering with a heavy addiction that needs to be monitored closely to prevent serious withdrawal symptoms that can also be life threatening. Usually what is done during the detox process is the gradual decreasing doses of a related agent to the actual opioid drug to help with the withdrawal symptoms.
For someone addicted to opioids with milder withdrawal symptoms, outpatient medical detox treatment is usually recommended. In this setting, buprenorphine-naloxone (BUP/NX) or clonidine alone, or combined with naltrexone are the medications used for opioid detoxification. Buprenex is another medicine used that takes up to two weeks to detoxify the opioid user.
If you or a loved one are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from opioid usage, or are having trouble getting off the drug, immediate medical intervention is necessary and effective in completely ridding the body of the toxins and beginning the journey to a healthy, clean life.
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