If you or a loved one is addicted to opioids, it is critical to seek treatment at an opiate detox center. Drug overdoses are one of the top causes of death in the US. Sadly, opiates are responsible for the majority of these deaths.
One of the reasons so many people die from opioids is that it is difficult to quit using. Opioids have severe and extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that deter many people from abstaining.
There is good news, though. Opiate detox centers have the skilled professionals and expertise needed to help with withdrawal management. You or your loved one can detox in a safe and comfortable facility.
If you are considering detoxing from opiates, you may wonder what to expect. In this guide, we will explain the opioid detox process and what to expect once you are opiate-free.
What Is Opioid Detox?
Detox is the process of eliminating a drug from your system, which, in this case, is an opioid. The drug class of opioids includes illegal drugs like heroin and opium. But it also includes legal prescription drugs like:
People who use illegal opioids or abuse prescription opioids can develop substance use disorders (SUDs). One of the signs of an opioid SUD is the appearance of withdrawal symptoms after cessation of use.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms start to appear at different times depending on the exact drug. Some drugs have withdrawal symptoms that last longer than others. The difference depends on whether the drug is short- or long-acting.
For example, heroin is a short-acting opioid. Users can feel its effects almost immediately. Heroin withdrawal symptoms appear quickly, often as soon as 8 hours after the last use, and last for up to 10 days.
Fentanyl transdermal patches are long-acting opioids. These prescription drugs can cause withdrawal symptoms 12–48 hours after someone’s last use. The symptoms tend to last longer than short-acting opioids or for up to 20 days.
Opioid withdrawals can vary in intensity depending on the exact drug. However, most opiates cause flu-like withdrawal symptoms, including muscle spasms and tension, stomach cramps, chills, aches and pains, and trouble sleeping.
What Does an Opioid Detox Program Include?
Opioid detox centers provide a supervised setting to get through withdrawals. You or your loved one will have access to medical professionals and 24/7 support from specialized staff.
Here’s how an opioid detox program works.
The first step toward recovery is a thorough health evaluation. You will be asked about your overall medical and health history, what types of opiates you need to detox from, and any mental health conditions you may have.
Why are these things important? Good opioid detox centers do not just treat your substance use disorder but take a holistic approach. They also address other mental and physical health conditions that could explain why you use.
If you need to undergo methadone maintenance or another opioid withdrawal management medication treatment, we also need to determine the right dose for your needs.
Detoxification and Stabilization
Stabilization is the medical term for going through detox. A medical professional will help you or your loved one get through your withdrawal symptoms with the treatment method determined during your evaluation.
Some of the more common treatment methods used during opioid detoxification include the following:
- Hydration (at least 2–3 liters of water per day)
- Proper nutrition
- Vitamin supplementation (e.g., vitamins B and C)
- Medications (e.g., clonidine, buprenorphine, codeine phosphate, or methadone)
- Mental health counseling
You will have someone supporting you and monitoring your progress throughout the entire detox process. All the while, the detox center’s staff will work to ensure you are as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
Detoxing is only the first step to treating an opiate SUD. The most uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms may only last a few weeks. But there’s a longer-term withdrawal phase that can last for up to six months after detox.
This phase does not come with the often debilitating symptoms of acute withdrawal. However, the six months after detoxing from opiates are the most common time for relapse.
The longer-term withdrawal phase has two symptoms that often lead people to start using opioids again. The first is strong cravings for opioids. The second is a reduction in feelings of well-being.
During this period, people in recovery from opioid addiction are also at a higher risk for overdose. Detoxification reduces tolerance to these drugs. Using pre-recovery amounts of an opioid after detox is often fatal for this reason.
For these reasons and more, it is critical to get treatment after detox. Next, we will explain what that might look like for you or your loved one.
What Happens After Detox?
Opioid detoxification is not a treatment for a SUD. Instead, people who undergo detox programs should immediately enter an inpatient or outpatient program. Only then can you get on the path toward lifelong recovery.
Residential Inpatient Programs
Inpatient programs take place at the rehab center. Many rehab centers offering detox also have residential programs. You can stay at the facility while receiving treatment.
Aftercare programs take place in outpatient settings. In other words, you attend these programs while living in your home or a loved one’s home.
Studies show that aftercare adherence can greatly increase your chance of lifelong recovery. Aftercare may include programs like Narcotics Anonymous (NA), mental health counseling, and much more.
Recovering from an opioid SUD is a lifelong journey. With the tools you get in detox and subsequent inpatient and outpatient programs, you can learn to live a full and happy life without drugs.
Are You Searching for Opiate Detox Centers in Ventura County?
Detoxing from opiates comes with some incredibly uncomfortable symptoms. Get the support and medical care you need during withdrawal at a rehab center offering detoxification services.
Are you searching for ‘opiate detox centers near me’? Altitude Recovery Community is Venture County’s most trusted detox center. Contact us today to learn more about admissions to our programs.