The statistics on opiate addiction are alarming. Between 2016 and 2017, over 279,793 people in England were abusing opiates. The UK government spends over £500 million every year on drug abuse treatment.

Despite being abused, opiates remain the most reliable and efficient means of treatment of severe pain resulting from trauma, surgery, or extensive burns. Since the use of this drug is unavoidable, detoxing becomes necessary for the patients.

But what are opiates? How can they be detoxed and how long is the detoxing period? Keep reading to find out!

What are Opiates?

Opiates include several prescription drugs used to relieve pain. They include drugs such as Dilaudid, Codeine and Tramadol. When taken in large doses or for an extended period than initially prescribed, opiates pose a high risk of creating dependency in the users.

When you become physically dependent on the drug, you feel the need to continue using it to function normally. If you quit using the drug, you go through uncomfortable symptoms as the body tries to adjust without opiates.

Opiate Detox

Opiate detox causes intense withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms begin to show when you’ve stopped using the drug entirely. They also occur when the body is dependent on the drug to the extent it craves more than you consume.

The symptoms depend on these factors:

  • A person’s established tolerance to the drug
  • Type of painkiller
  • The length of the addiction
  • Whether one abuses other substances
  • Medical and mental history

There are three common detox techniques one can try.

1. The Untreated Way (Cold Turkey)

The patient quits using opiates all at once and doesn’t use medication, thereby developing a number of symptoms throughout the detoxing period. The symptoms include shaking, bad mood, and nausea followed by fever and difficulty focusing on tasks.

These symptoms build up until they reach a peak and begin to lessen gradually as the detox process continues. However, the method is dangerous if you try it without the support of doctors, family members, or a rehab facility.

2. Detoxing with Medication

Here, a patient stops using opiates and instead, takes medication. After some weeks or sometimes months, their dosage is reduced until it becomes unnecessary.

Using medication minimizes the withdrawal symptoms you experience. It also lowers the likelihood of relapse.

Suboxone is one of the most popular prescriptions for the treatment of opiate addiction. Suboxone provides safe and comfortable detoxification from opiates and opioids. It also treats the side effects of the drug and protects users from withdrawal symptoms.

3. Detoxing Through Tapering

If the opiate being abused is part of a prescription, the dose is reduced at intervals. The body gets time to adjust so you don’t experience a harsh withdrawal process.

However, you need a doctor to monitor your condition and offer advice on how to detox through tapering.

How Long is the Detox Process?

Opiate detox can be a repeated, on-going process because of the high relapse rates. The duration of treatment depends on the followings factors:

  • Genetics
  • Age and overall health
  • The level of drug dependency
  • The type of opiate used and duration of use
  • The medication and detox method used
  • Other substances the patient is addicted to

For example, someone who abuses other drugs may require a longer detox process than one who only uses opiates. The medical expert analyzes these factors and recommends the most suitable detox period.

Recovery is Possible with Opiate Detox

What are opiates? If you or your loved one is abusing opiates, you need as much information about the drug as possible to overcome the addiction.

Visit our blog to learn more about substance abuse, treatment, and recovery.

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