The Detox Process: What to Expect When Quitting Opioids
Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin, as well as illegal drugs like heroin. Opioid addiction is an ongoing crisis in the United States, with more than 2 million Americans addicted to opioids. If you’re addicted to opioids and want to quit, you’ll likely undergo a detox. The detox process can often feel complicated for anyone trying to quit opioids. However, with the correct information and support, it is possible to get through this time and start on the road to recovery.
What Exactly Are Opioids?
Opioids are a certain class of drugs that includes both prescription painkillers and illegal drugs. Doctors typically prescribe opioid painkillers to treat moderate to severe pain. However, they can be highly addictive, and many people who start taking them for legitimate pain relief end up becoming addicted. Opioid addiction is a serious problem everywhere in the United States.
Examples of Opioids and What They Do to the Body
There are several different types of opioids, both prescription and illegal. Here are some examples of opioids and how they work in the body:
- Prescription painkillers: These include drugs like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. These drugs work by binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which reduces pain signals.
- Illegal drugs: Heroin is the most well-known illegal opioid. It also binds to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, but it produces a much more intense high than prescription opioids.
- Fentanyl: Often used as a cutting agent for other drugs, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than heroin. It can be prescribed in its own right for pain relief.
- Carfentanil: This is an even more potent version of fentanyl and is not meant for human use. It is also sometimes used to cut other drugs, or it can be used to tranquilize large animals like elephants.
The Dangers of Opioids
Opioids are dangerously addictive drugs that can have severe consequences for those who use them. Some of the risks associated with opioid use include addiction and overdose.
The feeling of being on opioids can be described as a “high.” This high is caused by the release of dopamine in the brain, which gives users a sense of pleasure. However, this feeling is short-lived and quickly wears off. As a result, users often take more opioids to try to achieve the same high. This repetitive cycle can lead to addiction.
When a person starts becoming addicted to opioids, they will feel a strong need to keep taking the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. They can also include anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Overdose is another serious risk associated with opioid use. Opioids tend to slow down the respiratory system, leading to shallow and even stopped breathing. This impaired breathing can lead to a lack of oxygen in the brain, which can cause brain damage or even death. In 2021, there were 107,000 record-breaking opioid overdose deaths in the United States.
What Happens During Opioid Detox?
Overcoming opioid addiction begins with detox. The opioid detox process can be complex, and it’s important to have support from a medical professional or detox facility during this time.
Detox is a process where your body gets rid of all the opioids in your system. This can be done gradually, or it can be done quickly through detoxification. Gradual detox involves slowly tapering off your opioid use over a period of time, which can be done with the help of a medical professional who will prescribe you smaller and smaller doses of opioids until you are completely detoxed.
Quick detox, also called detoxification, involves going through withdrawal under medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to deal with, but they will eventually subside, and you will be free from opioids.
What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?
Specific withdrawal symptoms tend to vary from person to person, but they can include the following:
- Muscle aches
- Trouble sleeping
Withdrawal symptoms can be a challenge to deal with, but they are not life-threatening. Detox is the first step in overcoming opioid addiction and getting on the road to recovery.
During detox, it’s vital to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Here are some tips for managing detox and withdrawal symptoms:
- Get plenty of rest: Withdrawal can be exhausting, so make sure to get plenty of rest. This includes both getting enough sleep at night and taking naps during the day.
- Drink lots of fluids: Dehydration can make withdrawal symptoms worse, so drink lots of water, juice, and herbal tea. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks.
- Eat healthy meals: Eating healthy meals will help your body recover from detox. Make sure to consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Exercise: Exercise can help reduce stress and relieve some withdrawal symptoms. Taking a brisk morning walk or going for a swim are great options.
- Talk to someone: Withdrawal can be emotionally tough, but it often helps to talk to a friend, family member, therapist, or detox professional about how you’re feeling.
Opioid Detox in Redlands, CA
Living on opioids is not sustainable. Opioid addiction can cause problems in all areas of your life, including your relationships, finances, work, and health. Detoxing from opioids can be a fresh start of taking back control of your life and getting on the road to recovery.
Detox can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. At Liberty House Recovery, our professional detox center in Redlands, CA, takes pride in providing holistic, evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction. Our detox program is designed to help our patients safely and comfortably detox from opioids. Contact us today to learn more about our detox program and how we can help you overcome addiction.
If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome opioid addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available, including support groups and therapy. If you are currently detoxing from opioids, take it one day at a time and reach out for help when you need it.