Opioid detox is a term that describes any medical process wherein the opiate receptors are destroyed. This destroys both the ability of the opiate receptors to transmit pain and pleasure and the receptors themselves. When this happens, withdrawal occurs as a result of the reduced amount of receptors at the synapse. This often results in a ” withdrawal syndrome ” which is used to measure the intensity and duration of the withdrawal.
Opioid detox can be accomplished in either the inpatient or non-inpatient setting. Generally, the inpatient process is done in over 3 days. Patients are evaluated thoroughly that includes a complete medical history, physical examination, and a treatment plan is developed that fits the individual patient’s needs, desires, co-existing conditions, and insurance coverage. The medication is taken until the body becomes dependent on the drugs to function normally. Once the body becomes dependent, the dose of the drugs will need to be increased to achieve the same effect.
Patients can become dependent on prescription opioids so the process of opioid detox will generally begin by using an injection form of the drugs. Once the body becomes dependent on the drugs, then it is difficult to wean the person from the habit. There are several ways in which people can begin the process of not using opioids. This includes, but is not limited to, the substitution of prescription opioids with illegal drugs such as heroin, methadone, or oxycodone; the discontinuation of prescription medications including hydrocodone and morphine; and the addition of any number of different drugs that have a strong stimulant effect such as cocaine or amphetamines.
If these methods of opioid detox do not work, or if you are unable to cease using opioids, then you may move on to the use of IV therapies. These include intravenous drug use, or IV sedation. This involves injecting a controlled amount of medications into your system. This helps to reduce discomfort and the associated withdrawal symptoms when attempting to wean yourself from opioids. When IV therapy is administered this way, your system will be under a lot of strain and not produce the necessary effects for detoxification. This will not help you stop using the drugs but will instead cause you to fall into a more permanent state of addiction.
An outpatient detox program can also be used in an attempt to wean someone from opioids. In this case, the patient does not have to undergo detox at the hospital. You would have your own facilities where you would go for your treatment. You would typically stay at home for the first ten days of your outpatient treatment. From there you will progress to a hospital detoxification environment. This can last anywhere between one night to two nights.
Once you complete an outpatient detox program at Neworld Rehabilitation Centre, you must continue to follow the program in order to maintain the detoxification process and ensure that you do not slip back into substance abuse. Detox is a life-long process and should never be rushed. Your withdrawal symptoms should remain relatively mild throughout the entire process. Any symptoms that occur should be treated and never ignored. If you are experiencing any kind of withdrawal, whether it is mild or severe, you should see a doctor immediately to make sure that you are not experiencing another problem or medical issue that could lead to further damage to your body.
If you are planning to enter one of the opioid detox facilities, you should be aware of the requirements that must be met. In most cases, individuals who are held in inpatient care programs are held on a day-to-day basis and monitored by medical staff. Outpatient programs are held on a day-to-day basis and require that individuals live at home and participate in group support sessions.
The Bottom Line
You should take into account that the symptoms of withdrawal will be stronger than those of most other types of withdrawal. You should also be aware that it can take up to two weeks for the full effects of the program to become apparent. If you are considering going through an opioid detox, you should always consult with your doctor before making the decision to enter one of these programs. Detox is a serious matter and should not be entered into lightly. If you have a plan in place for how you will follow through once you are home, you will be able to successfully complete the program and return to a productive and drug-free life.