What Should I Expect During Opioid Detox and Withdrawal?

Opioids are very useful for people who are in severe pain. Unfortunately, they are among the most addictive substances available. They bind to the naturally occurring opioid receptors in the brain, thereby blocking pain and making the user feel calm or euphoric. Unfortunately, opioids also rewire the brain, so the user doesn’t feel normal unless they have drugs in their system.

Whether you’re using prescription opioids like Vicodin or Fentanyl or an illegal drug like heroin, dependence is possible. If you’re dependent on opioids, you will likely experience painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. It’s very difficult to quit cold turkey so you should always undergo opioid detox with supervision from trained medical professionals.

Detoxification, or detox for short, is the process by which the body rids itself of opioids or other harmful substances. Though uncomfortable, it’s absolutely necessary if you want to achieve sobriety. You must detox before you move on to rehab and other stages of recovery. Withdrawal symptoms vary in duration and intensity. However, when you have professional supervision during the process, you’ll be safer and more comfortable. You’ll have access to all the resources you need to get through the challenges of detox. Contact our Asheville rehabilitation experts today.

The Opioid Withdrawal Process

Opioid withdrawal symptoms usually begin within six hours to 12 hours of the last dose. These symptoms can be psychological, emotional, and physical. Physical symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle aches

Emotional and psychological symptoms include:

  • Intense cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems

For shorter-acting opioids like heroin, physical withdrawal symptoms tend to peak within three days and then subside. Chronic emotional symptoms then begin to appear. These symptoms can go on for months since it takes a long time to adjust to the absence of opioids after years of use. While the physical and emotional effects associated with opioid withdrawal are temporary, they are so distressing that many people relapse. That’s why professional treatment is so important.

The severity and duration of opioid withdrawal symptoms will depend on a number of factors including:

  • Which opioids you abused
  • Whether you were using multiple substances
  • How long you were abusing drugs
  • Your physical and mental health history

Each individual has a different experience with detox and withdrawal. However, people who abuse opioids for a long time tend to experience symptoms over a longer period. For most individuals, physical symptoms subside in about two weeks. Psychological and emotional symptoms can last for months and cravings may sometimes never go away. Individuals who experience prolonged opioid cravings need ongoing support to maintain their sobriety.

What Happens During Supervised Detox

There’s a lot to be gained from medically supervised detoxification. If you try to detox at home, you’ll be surrounded by triggers and temptations that make it even harder to follow through with your goal. However, when you check into a facility, you’ll be in a drug-free environment that’s staffed by professionals who understand what you’re experiencing. You won’t have access to the situations or people that enabled or supported your drug use.

Furthermore, you’ll have around-the-clock access to medical professionals who can provide relief from pain and other symptoms. If deemed necessary, you’ll also be given an opioid replacement medication like methadone. This reduces cravings and can make the withdrawal symptoms less intense.

What Happens After Detox

After you’ve successfully detoxed, you can enter rehab. This may take the form of inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, or partial hospitalization depending on your needs. In a rehab facility, you’ll be able to work with experienced recovery professionals and you’ll have access to mental health treatment. You’ll be given the resources to reduce the likelihood of relapse and help you maintain your sobriety over the long term. If you’ve been stuck in a cycle of abuse, you’ll need to learn how to take care of yourself outside of rehab. You’ll also need to learn to cope with stress without turning to drugs. Your care team will provide you with a personalized treatment plan to make things easier.

Contact Asheville Recovery Center Today!

If you’ve been struggling with opioid addiction, there’s help available. Even if you have tried to quit before and found it almost impossible, you shouldn’t give up hope. After you undergo a medically supervised detox program, the team at Asheville Recovery Center can help you with your recovery. We offer a wide range of treatment options and we’ll work with you to find exactly what you need to live a healthy, drug-free life. Call us today to ask questions or book a consultation.

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