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Detoxing from Opiates

Opiate detox is the process of allowing the toxins left behind by various opiates such as heroin, opium, Oxycontin, or other prescription opiates to clean out of the system.  During opiate detox the patient could feel downright lousy suffering from symptoms including nausea, vomiting, sweats, fever, chills and pain throughout the body.  Fortunately, once opiate detox is complete, the patient is no longer physically dependent on the drug and treatment can begin for the psychological dependence on the drug.

Successful Opiate Detox

Detoxing from Opiates

Detoxing from opiates is a very painful experience.

In order for opiate detox to be successful there are many steps that should be taken.  First, and foremost, opiate detox should be done in a monitored environment such as a treatment center where medical staff can ensure the absolute safety of the patient during these difficult days or weeks.  Because opiates are some of the most physically addicting drugs in the world, detoxing from opiates can be a dangerous and even potentially deadly process which is why opiate detox should never be done without medical supervision.

  • Health matters in opiate detox.  The healthier a patient is the better the outcome of the detox will be.  During opiate detox, the body will go through many physically challenging states but for an individual in overall good health, the process will run more smoothly, should take less time and will have a greater likelihood of success.
  • Attitude matters in opiate detox.  A strong, good attitude towards addiction treatment can make all the difference in the world during opiate detox.  When the struggles of the detox get the patient down, those who have a strong attitude and a will to get better are more likely to push through the struggling times and come out on top.  It’s important that the patient be willing to change.
  • Not all detox centers are created equal.  Professionalism is very important during opiate detox.  Just as it’s important that no patient tries to detox from opiates alone, it’s equally important that the patient receive quality care including medical supervision to ensure a successful detox from opiates.  Medication and various homeopathic or holistic services can also be used to aid in the reduction of withdrawal symptoms making the entire opiate detoxification process a bit easier and more comfortable for the patient.
  • Medication based programs are not for everyone.  Some programs provide medications to assist in the opiate detox process.  While medications such as Methadone or Suboxone can be helpful in the opiate detox process they are not for everyone.  For some, a medication based opiate detox leads to addiction to another drug and does not necessarily help.  Consider all of treatment options available to you prior to choosing an opiate detox program and make sure that you have discussed medication based treatment with a doctor prior to starting such as regimen.
  • Persistence is key in opiate detox.  Thousands of people who suffer from opiate addiction will attempt to detox more than once before they actually make it all the way through the process and have a successful detox.  It’s important to understand that being persistent is a key factor in any successful opiate detox plan.  If you don’t successfully detox the first time, try again.  If you have relapsed and began using opiates post treatment, don’t be afraid to try detox and treatment again—the key to success is persistence.
  • Opiate detox is just the beginning.  Opiate detox can rid the body of physical dependence on the drug but it does not provide treatment for psychological dependence which is another primary factor in addiction.  After you’ve completed opiate detox, enter into a treatment program that will provide you with counseling and support for the psychological dependence and possible traumas that caused your addiction or which were caused as a result of the addiction.  Further treatment is the key to successfully overcoming addiction to opiates.

How Long Does Opiate Detox Take?

Opiate detox typically takes about a week.  For some patients, detoxing from opiates can be completed in 3 to 5 days but for others a more extended detoxification process may be necessary.  Depending on physical health of the patient, the length of time that opiates were abused and the type of opiates abused as well as the amount of the drugs that were used or the dosage, detox could take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months to complete.  Each patient is different, each addiction is different and the true answer as to how long opiate detox will take depends on the patient and their individual situation.