Opiate drugs work directly on the brain’s pleasure pathways, bringing a user a sense of euphoria and release. While the emotional changes the drugs bring about can be fleeting, the damage left behind can persist, and that damage can become obvious when people attempt to get sober.
Brain cells touched by opiates react with alarm when the drug isn’t available, and they trigger a series of withdrawal symptoms as they attempt to adjust to a life without drugs. These symptoms can be frightening, but there’s no need for addicted people to endure the pain alone. In fact, by enrolling in an opiate detox program, people with addictions can get help for their pain and move through the transition with significantly less discomfort.
The physical manifestations of opiate withdrawal can vary, depending on the length of the addiction, the dose of drugs taken and the overall health of the person. In general, however, physical opiate addiction withdrawal symptoms begin within a few hours of a missed dose. Headaches, profuse sweating and stomach cramps usually characterize the initial stage of opiate detox. These symptoms generally increase in intensity and expand to include:
- Bone and muscle aches and pains
- Leg twitches
Without medical supervision, assistance and support, opiate detox is physically miserable, and it’s often compared to a very severe case of the flu. The symptoms can also last for days on end before they abate, and sometimes, people going through detox alone choose to simply return to their drugs in order to make the pain end.
While physical symptoms associated with withdrawal can be severe, the psychological component of detox can also be miserable. Often, people develop symptoms that include anxiety, irritability and depression. These emotional changes are accompanied by a deep, persistent craving for the drugs the person once took. A study in the journal Addiction suggests that cravings like this can persist for more than 30 days, and that they can spike when people come into contact with items that remind them of drugs.
Going through detox alone often means living in close contact with drug memories and drug-using friends, and it’s difficult to resist the cravings for drugs when temptation lies all around.
Replacement medications like buprenorphine work on the same receptors used by opiates, and when they’re provided, withdrawal symptoms may be handled with less discomfort. In a study of the issue in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, researchers found that buprenorphine given on a fixed schedule for 10 days was capable of alleviating both physical and psychological symptoms associated with opiate withdrawal. For some, medications can be immensely important.
But medications aren’t the only treatments provided in an opiate withdrawal program. Clients are also given access to healthy food, and they can work with psychological professionals who specialize in substance abuse and addiction treatment. Nourishing the body and receiving treatment for the mental pain can help discomfort to ease as well. In addition, the comfortable surroundings of a detox program can provide people with the rest and relaxation needed in order to allow a smooth transition to take place, with as little discomfort as possible.
Treatment at The Canyon
At The Canyon, we offer our residents opiate detox and opiate addiction treatment. Our approach is holistic in nature, addressing your personal needs on multiple levels through a number of cutting-edge and traditional treatments. If you have any questions about our personalized opiate rehab here in Southern California, contact us at The Canyon today.