How to Safely Detox from Opiates

Opiate addiction is a growing problem in our society. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly three million people in the U.S. are addicted to either prescription opiates or heroin. If you love an opiate addict—or are one yourself—you probably know that trying to quit using opiates is an incredibly difficult feat. The withdrawal symptoms are often so unpleasant that many people choose to continue taking the drugs for longer to avoid feeling so bad. There are key tips to detox the right way, however, and make sobriety a realistic option. Here’s how to do it.

Don’t Go It Alone

The best option for a safe detox from opiates is in a supervised program with trained counselors. A supervised detox has the advantages of having nearby medical care if needed, skilled and caring staff to guide you through the process, and the controlled environment where you’re less likely to quit when it gets tough. Although insurance may cover these programs, the life-or-death nature of quitting opiates makes it worth any cost. Many facilities, including Arizona Drug Rehab, have financial assistance programs to make it more affordable. Ask family and friends for support to help get through it.

Ask a Doctor for Help

If you’re determined to detox from opiates at home, it’s important to see a doctor for help before beginning the process. A number of medications can help make the detox process more comfortable and, therefore, also more likely to be successful. Suboxone (naloxone) can help to relieve some of the discomfort in the short-term, although many addicts report that it merely prolongs the addiction. Many opiate addicts have trouble sleeping in the first weeks and months after they quit taking the drug. A short-term course of non-narcotic medications, such as Seroquel or Trazodone, can help you sleep.

Stay Near a Bathroom

There’s no way around a simple fact: detoxing from opiates doesn’t feel good. Imagine the worst flu you’ve ever had, with body aches, fever, stomach cramps, and intense diarrhea. These symptoms will keep you close to the bathroom in the first few days of detoxing, although your bowels may not feel normal for up to a week. Even though diarrhea is a common symptom, taking a laxative can help in the early stages, especially if you are dealing with the chronic constipation of a long-term heavy opiate user.

Line Up Treatment after Detox

Having treatment lined up after detox is an important key tool in staying clean and sober. Knowing that you have a treatment program already in place will help you defeat the excuses that are common after detoxing (e.g. “the worst is already over” or “I can do it on my own.”) You need counseling and support to teach you the tools that will help to prevent relapse.