Opioid addiction in the U.S. ranks high among the substance use disorders that threaten the health and lives of many. A person undergoing withdrawal from opioids will experience symptoms that often prove uncomfortable. Many wonder about the possibility of home remedies for opiate withdrawal.
Opioids include prescription drugs used to help manage chronic and severe pain. Popular ones include oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone. Street drugs that fall under the heading of opioids include heroin.
Opioids attach to the receptors on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and other places. They block pain messages sent to your brain and release dopamine, which causes a person to feel good. Withdrawal symptoms are caused by the absence of opioids in a system that has come to rely on them.
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists the most commonly used medications used to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms as buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone, and naloxone. These drugs can be prescribed to a person who undergoes either outpatient or inpatient treatment for their substance use disorder.
Withdrawal symptoms can show up as soon as 12 hours after taking the last dosage of an opioid. Common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:
- Body aches
- Rapid breathing
- Fast heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Difficulty sleeping
- Cravings for the drug
How long withdrawal symptoms last depends on a number of factors. These include the length of time using the drug, the amount taken, and the overall health of the person. Another factor that influences the amount of time opiate withdrawal symptoms last is if the individual has stopped “cold turkey” or is gradually stepping down their intake. Symptoms typically last from a few days to a few weeks. They taper down in terms of severity after the first several days.
Helpful Home Remedies for Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
The NIH describes opioid withdrawal as “a life-threatening condition resulting from opioid dependence”. This makes it imperative that a person undergoing withdrawal from opioids is monitored by a medical professional. An individual who has returned home from an initial detoxification program or otherwise needs home remedies for opiate withdrawal may not know where to start.
The following approaches can help ease symptoms:
Staying hydrated: Vomiting and diarrhea often occur when a person undergoes opiate withdrawal. Both of these contribute to a person becoming dehydrated, making it important to make sure to stay hydrated. Dehydration can land a person in the hospital, so make sure to drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids. Drinks with electrolytes, such as Pedialyte, can help assist in hydration. Avoid consuming coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol, which can dehydrate the body.
Eat Healthy and Exercise: While these may seem like standard recommendations for good health, they can contribute to a reduction in symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Indulging in comfort foods and junk food choices often contribute to lethargic feelings. Eating regular, well-balanced meals helps keep the mind focused and the body in good condition. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help elevate a person’s mood. Exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety and help reduce the odds of relapsing.
Over-the-Counter Medications: Some of the withdrawal symptoms that result from going off opioids can be treated with over-the-counter medicines. People often experience diarrhea, nausea, body aches, and cold-like symptoms. Having a supply of helpful medications that address these conditions can help a person get through bouts of them.
Acupuncture: Many people do not associate the ancient Chinese art of acupuncture with drug withdrawal symptom treatment. Many studies have shown a correlation between receiving a round of acupuncture treatments and the relief of withdrawal symptoms. Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny needles in key pressure points of the body. While many fear the process may be painful, most people report little to no pain during the procedure.
Herbal Chinese Medicine: Some of these types of medication can be beneficial when it comes to using them as home remedies for opiate withdrawal. Anyone looking to try this should consult with someone who has expertise in the subject and can recommend the right combination of herbal Chinese medicines for them.
Make Plans For Your Comfort: Opiate withdrawal symptoms can cause a person to feel discomfort. Make sure to have clean sheets and a source for cold air to combat sweating. Soft blankets and a comfortable bed to retreat to help when a person feels shaky or cold. Plan for entertainment that raises the spirit and occupies the mind. Streaming favorite TV shows and comedic movies can help a person stay focused and upbeat. Playlists full of inspirational music often help elevate an individual’s mood, making it easier to keep their eyes on their goals.
Opioid Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles
If you or someone you love needs assistance with an addiction to opioids, we can help. Launch Centers offers a long-term program designed to teach you to embrace recovery and plan for your future. We offer detoxification, outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs that address substance abuse and mental health issues. Our multiple treatment modalities give you a wide range of ways to heal and stay in recovery.
Call Launch Centers today to get started on hitting the reset button on your life.