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Opiate Withdrawal Remedies

Opiate withdrawal, regardless of whether you go cold turkey or slowly distance yourself, is bound to have some ill effects on your body. Fortunately, there are some remedies which make things a lot less difficult.
HolisticZine Staff
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018

Fast Fact

If World Health Organization (WHO) estimates are to be believed, around two million Americans are addicted to prescription opiates.


Opiate withdrawal is not an easy task. It is known to produce a series of ill effects on your mind and body. The severity of these effects depends on the type of opiate and the duration of use. The good thing, however, is that there exist some opiate withdrawal remedies which can make the tedious task relatively easy―mainly by working on its physical effects, and help you to pursue a life free of drugs.
Withdrawal Symptoms
Opiate withdrawal is usually triggered when the individual abruptly stops using opiate-based drugs. These include banned substances, like heroin and morphine, as well as prescription drugs containing synthetic derivatives of opiates, like oxycodone and hydrocodone. The symptoms of withdrawal in this case include headache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle ache, insomnia, abdominal cramps, etc. Additionally, you may also start sweating profusely, or even experience stress, goose bumps, and severe tiredness. While these symptoms may make it difficult to get rid of the said addiction, it is important that you put up a brave fight against them.
Dealing with Opiate Withdrawal
Regardless of whether you were involved in opiate drug abuse or were just taking some opiate-based medicine prescribed by a doctor, withdrawal can be difficult with all those adverse effects surfacing one after the other. In such a scenario, being well-versed with both medical and home remedies to deal with opiate withdrawal symptoms can be of some help. These remedies target the symptoms which make it difficult for the individual to 'quit'.
Prescribed Medication
Though detoxification is useful to get rid of opiate addiction, it has to be backed by other means. In detox facilities, addicts are advised to take the alternate route, where they are administered synthetic opiates to deal with withdrawal symptoms―the dose of which is gradually reduced. Methadone is one of the most popular synthetic opiates used to manage symptoms of withdrawal.
Then there is the option of going for medications like buprenorphine and clonidine. Like opiates, these drugs produce euphoria and help in alleviating withdrawal symptoms, thus helping in getting rid of the said addiction. Having said that, it's worth noting that you need to take these medications only under a doctor's supervision. After studying your case, the doctor will prescribe a dosage, which may range from 8 - 16 mg per day. As the symptoms alleviate, the dosage will be altered.
The time required for recovery will depend on the severity of the addiction. However, the chances of the individual getting addicted to withdrawal medication cannot be ruled out. If there is even the slightest doubt in your mind, it should be promptly brought to the doctor's notice.
Simple Home Remedies
Treading this path alone is difficult, not impossible. If you are willing to do it on your own without going to a detox facility, you will have to get well-versed with every minute detail of what is coming your way. While not life-threatening, withdrawal symptoms will be utterly discomforting. It is this discomfort that you will have to deal with. You can start off with your surroundings by keeping your bedroom cool and dark, and limiting the amount of noise around you. Having warm bath or shower, or using hot or cold press will help you relax. So will a relaxing massage. If body ache is becoming unbearable, you can use bath salts to ease the pain.
You will have to drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated. When it comes to opiate withdrawal, most people prefer natural remedies and resort to passionflower, ginger, Valerian root, etc. There is no dearth of studies that reveal that passionflower extract is apt in dealing with various withdrawal symptoms. While ginger root is helpful in treating nausea and vomiting triggered by the withdrawal process, Valerian root is helpful in treating sleep disorders associated with it. At the same time, you will have to make sure that you get ample rest. Ideally, following a proper sleeping schedule will be of great help.
Besides these dos, there are some don'ts that you will have to take into consideration. For starters, you will have to make sure that you don't switch one addiction with another. The chances of this exist in plenty, as made evident by a number of cases. So, alcohol and smoking are strict no. Caffeine products should also be avoided. Similarly, anything that causes stress is best kept off radar. This is where having company will matter the most. Even if you are of the firm belief that you can go solo, you should keep your family and friends by your side.
Other than these remedies, there are methods such as rapid opiate detox, wherein opiate-blocking drugs are injected in the individual's body after administering anesthesia. Whether these methods really help is an issue of contention, especially because of their adverse effects which can even lead to death!
At times, you will have a strong urge to go back to those addictive substances, but doing so will only lead to further complications. In such cases, drug rehab programs can help a great deal. You can choose any of these methods, but at the end of the day, your success will depend on your will power.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.