Opiates are a class of drugs that includes legal medications, such as painkillers like Morphine, Vicodin, and Oxycodone, as well as illegal street drugs like heroin and opium.
According to the U.S. government, 2.1 million people in the U.S. and about 30 million people around the world abuse these drugs. Most, if not all opiates are highly addictive, and have extremely uncomfortable, stressful, and sometimes painful withdrawal symptoms.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms may often include:
- Achy muscles
- Large amounts of sweating
- Tearing up of the eyes
- Feelings of anxiety and depression
- Dilated pupils and blurry vision
- Goose bumps on skin
- Rapid heartbeat
- Blood pressure increases
- Opiate or opiates abused
- Amount of use/intensity of addiction
- Duration of time opiates have been abused
- Genetics and lifestyle choices
- Physical characteristics, including height, weight, medical conditions
- Other drugs and medications used by the patient
Despite some variations, after opiate withdrawal symptoms begin, they should start to improve within 72 hours. Most people find that opiate withdrawal symptoms are nearly gone within a week.
After realizing they have a problem and deciding to get professional help, an addiction patient’s first step should be committing to a medical detox program. A medical detox program can make the opiate withdrawal process more comfortable and lessen the chance of a relapse. Medical professionals can also provide medication and other treatments to reduce some of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
Medical detoxes may be especially important for older patients and/or those who have been abusing large amounts of opiates for a long duration, as these patients can be expected to undergo a longer and more challenging withdrawal process.
Medical detoxes may also be a good idea for patients who have other medical conditions, such as heart issues, as changes in blood pressure and heart rate that often occur during withdrawal may be dangerous for them.
There are two major types of opiate addiction treatment programs; inpatient and outpatient, that can be completed after a patient undergoes a medical detox. Inpatient programs are usually best for patients who are beginning the opiate addiction treatment process, while outpatient programs are often better for those who are in the later stages of treatment and are trying to rebuild their lives with sobriety.
- Partial hospitalization
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Outpatient treatment
Partial hospitalization is the most time-intensive form of outpatient rehab, while outpatient treatment is the least. Each of these options may be right for people with different needs or patients who are in different stages of the drug treatment recovery process.
Outpatient programs have many benefits for patients, such as allowing them to fulfill professional and family obligations while undergoing treatment, but it’s important to remember that they’re not for everyone– especially those who feel they may be especially vulnerable to a relapse.
- Suffering from a co-occurring issue such as anxiety or depression
- Suffering from a heavy addiction with especially tough withdrawal symptoms
- Don’t have a strong support network and/or family and friends nearby
For patients who meet these criteria, it may be best to stay in an inpatient program as long as possible before transitioning to outpatient treatment. This can help reduce the chance of a relapse while giving a patient time to work on themselves and build confidence in their own sobriety.
Opiate addiction treatment programs save tens of thousands of lives every year– so if you or someone you know needs help with an opiate addiction, find a treatment center today that can help.
Opiate addiction isn’t just a series of bad choices; it’s a disease– one that can be deadly if left untreated. To find a high-quality, accredited treatment center that can help you or your loved one finally conquer addiction and take back control of their life, call 855-638-9268 today.