Opiates are responsible for millions of addictions and thousands of overdoses in the US each year alone. With the rampant popularity of heroin and drugs laced with lethal fentanyl, addressing the opiate crisis has become more vital than ever in the history of the world. Knowing what to expect when you are completing a drug detox program after developing a serious addiction to opiates is essential to prevent feeling overwhelmed or discouraged once the detoxing process begins. With a complete and thorough understanding of opiate detox solutions along with the adverse side effects you are likely to encounter, move forward with your treatment plan feeling confident in and comfortable with your decision to live a life of sobriety.
Anytime an individual has a severe addiction to opiates, dual diagnosis is required (whether you are enrolled in an inpatient or outpatient treatment recovery program). Dual diagnosis allows both medical professionals and addiction specialists to work together to determine the best course of action for you based on your body’s physiology, the severity of your addiction, and your willingness to cooperate.
Addiction and mental illness are often linked, causing individuals who struggle with common mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD to turn to alcohol, drugs, and other substances that negatively impact their lives. A dual diagnosis is a tool used to learn more about an individual’s current state of mind along with their awareness of any mental ailments or disorders they currently have. Once medical professionals and addiction specialists have spent time with you and learned more about the root cause of your addiction, creating a treatment plan that is viable is much more likely.
When you are first detoxing from opiates, you may find yourself struggling with increased anxiety, irritability, and emotional instability. Detox counseling is a key element involved in the process of addiction recovery. Work alongside a professional addiction counselor or therapist who specializes in facing and overcoming withdrawal symptoms of opiates (even if you have had an addiction for years or even decades).
Meeting with a detox counselor regularly is a way to remain open and honest about the challenges you are facing while voicing concerns, thoughts, and opinions without feeling judged or shamed. Detox counseling is extremely beneficial for individuals who do not currently want to open up to family members or friends or those who simply do not have an outside support system while eliminating opiates and other toxins from the body. A detox counselor is able to properly and professionally monitor your progress while communicating with other counselors, therapists, and medical professionals who are also involved in your treatment program simultaneously.
Opiate Detox Effects
In 2016, nearly one million individuals in the US used heroin. With the opiate epidemic only growing stronger, understanding the physical, mental, and emotional effects of opiates is imperative to prevent the climb of overdoses around the world. Some of the most common opiates used that lead to an increase in detrimental effects on the body and fatal overdoses include:
Unfortunately, opiate addiction often begins innocently after an individual has had major surgery or has developed a chronic pain illness. Individuals who do not even have a history of drug or alcohol abuse are at risk of developing a serious opiate addiction if they are prescribed opiate medications for more than just two weeks. Without proper self-regulation and the monitoring of opiate usage, individuals of all ages and walks of life become addicted to opiates (which quickly lead to a serious physical addiction).
Psychological Symptoms and Effects of Opiate Detoxing
While not all signs and symptoms of opiate addiction are the same for each individual, there are a few common psychological effects to watch for if you or a loved one has developed a dependence on opiates of any kind. Some of the most prevalent and commonly associated psychological signs of opiate addiction include:
- -Increased Anxiety: Increased anxiety and worry are extremely common among individuals struggling with opiate addiction. Opiate withdrawal often immediately triggers increased anxiety and panic attacks.
- -Irritability/Rage: Irritability and outbursts of anger and rage are not uncommon when faced with opiate withdrawal.
- -Depression: A loss of interest in life, family, friends, and work is not uncommon for those with opiate addiction. The preoccupation of obtaining opiates can hinder any positive outlook, goals, or future plans, leading to severe depression.
- -Excessive Yawning: Excessive yawning is possible during opiate addiction withdrawal, especially when individuals experience a lack of sleep due to increased insomnia.
- -Social Isolation/Alienation: Individuals who are struggling with opiate withdrawal are less likely to attend social gatherings and outings, even if they once enjoyed the opportunity. Social isolation and alienation occur when an individual has become too preoccupied with obtaining and using the opiate of their choice.
Physical Effects of an Opiate Detox
- -Reduced Energy: Reduced energy and increased insomnia are extremely common among individuals who are overcoming a severe opiate addiction.
- -Watery Eyes/Runny Nose: As the body feels unbalanced without opiates once developing a physical addiction, watery eyes and a runny nose often occur.
- -Sweating: Profusely sweating (both hot and cold) are signs of physical withdrawal and occur as the body attempts to eliminate toxins from the body.
- -Chills: Chills or “goosebumps” also occur at random as an individual begins the detoxing process after long-term and severe opiate use.
- -Vomiting/Nausea: Abdominal upsets, nausea, and vomiting are most prevalent among individuals who have serious opiate addictions and those who have avoided living a healthy and nutritious lifestyle.
- -Cramping/Diarrhea: Abdominal cramping and diarrhea are most common among opiate users. Opiates can cause serious constipation, which triggers diarrhea in the body once an individual begins the detox and treatment process.
While a drug detox program is never easy, it is possible and safe with the proper guidance and treatment from experienced medical and addiction professionals. When you have a thorough understanding of how opiates affect the body and brain, work together with medical professionals and addiction specialists to create a plan of action that is individualized to meet your needs during the addiction recovery program that is right for you.