opiate detox

8 Things to Expect During Opiate Detox and Treatment

It seems like you can’t turn on the news today without hearing about the opiate crisis. While our society has been fighting a battle against illegal drugs, this massive problem with prescribed opiates has been growing under our noses.

In 2016, 11.5 million Americans used opiates for non-medical purposes. If you’re among those 11.5 million, there’s hope.

Supervised opiate detox and rehab treatment is a powerful way to get your life back. Unfortunately, the fear of the unknown is enough to keep too many candidates away. To take away the mystery, here’s a look at what you can expect.

What to Expect During Opiate Detox and Treatment

The first steps toward and positive change in life are always scary, but they don’t have to be. Here’s a peek into your drug-free future.

1. You’ll Need to Take Dedicated Time Off

First of all, it’s important that you take your detox seriously. Recovering from drug addiction is a full-time job. Trying to stop your opiate use on your own is a recipe for relapse.

Instead, get help from a dedicated detox and treatment center. Your withdrawal symptoms could be severe or dangerous, so you need medical supervision to keep yourself safe. Getting clean is a major turning point in your life, and it’s worth the time out.

2. Your Doctor May Provide a Gradual Program

Most people assume opiate detox will require them to quit “cold turkey.” That’s the most common scenario because it’s the fastest way to start your new, opiate-free life.

There are situations, however, which may require you to go through a gradual detox instead. In this case, the doctor would replace your drug of choice with a safer alternative and lower your dose little by little.

Your suitability for a gradual or immediate detox will depend on your health and your addiction. This is another reason it’s important to seek medical help instead of detoxing by yourself. You would have no way of knowing if quitting cold turkey would put your health at risk.

3. You’ll Have Initial Withdrawal Symptoms

When your body begins to run out of opiates in your system, your withdrawal symptoms will begin. Depending on the last drug you used, symptoms could start between four hours and 30 hours after your last dose.

The early withdrawal symptoms include tremors, insomnia, sweating, muscle aches, anxiety, agitation, and more. Your detox experience will depend on your addiction and your body, so it varies from person to person.

In general, the first symptoms of withdrawal will last for around 72 hours. If you’re in a detox facility, the medical team may be able to give you medications that will reduce the symptoms.

4. Your Symptoms with Reduce and Change After a Few Days

After those first 72 hours, your symptoms will change. At this stage, you’re more likely to experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and other physical symptoms. In some cases, those symptoms will begin before your initial symptoms have passed.

While some people expect that they only need medical care during the first few days of detoxing, it’s still vital during this second stage. Depending on the details of your opiate use, the second stage can last between four days and three weeks.

5. Detox is Just the Beginning

There’s a myth that if you get through detox, the opiates will be out of your system and you’re equipped for a drug-free life. In truth, your post-detox treatment is just as important as the detox stage.

While detox deals with your physical addiction, longer-term drug rehab is vital to deal with the psychological aspects of your addiction. You need to get past the emotional struggles that made you turn to opiates in the first place.

This is also a time when you’ll develop tools for dealing with life’s struggles in a less destructive way in the future. Your rehab counselors will empower you to work through future stress and hardships in a way that doesn’t risk your health.

6. You May Learn About or Get Treatment for Other Disorders

While substance abuse itself is a mental illness, it’s shockingly common for people with addiction to have other conditions too. In fact, half of all people with mental illnesses will also have a substance abuse disorder at some point in life.

During the course of your opiate rehab, you may find out that you have other mental illnesses too. For many patients, this discovery answers countless questions about why life has been different for them than it is for others.

You may already know that you have another mental illness. In this case, opiate addiction treatment can be an opportunity to get the help you need for that condition too. It’s important to know if your treatment center offers dual diagnosis treatment: treating substance abuse along with other mental disorders.

7. You’ll Need to Invest in Yourself

Drug rehab is a treatment in which you get what you give. In other words, the more you participate in the process, the more success you’ll enjoy.

After your detox, your treatment will include a variety of therapies to deal with the psychological side of your addiction. The only way for this to be successful is if you’re honest and active. The counselors aren’t there to judge you. Chances are that they’ve heard far worse than anything you have to say.

8. You May Have Long-Term Psychological Symptoms

It’s important to be prepared for long-term side effects from your addiction. You may experience cravings, depression, anxiety, mood swings, and other symptoms for months or a few years after your treatment.

This is part of the reason it’s so important to participate in your therapy treatments. Your counselors will be able to prepare you for life after rehab and give you the tools you need to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Getting the Help You Need and Deserve

A life of day-to-day opiate addiction isn’t a life anyone needs to have. Between the constant quest for more pills, the hiding, the lying, and more, no one deserves that life. You deserve more, and it’s doable through the opiate detox and treatment process above.

If you’re ready to get on the road to recovery, contact our treatment center today.

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.