Understanding Opiate Detox

The opiate detox process is designed to treat the immediate bodily effects of ceasing drug use and to remove toxins that opiates have left in the body. Studies have shown that opiate addicts who choose detox are more likely to go longer without relapse. Like all detox programs, opiate detox is not curative, but can provide a great deal of physical comfort and mental stability upon entering the rehabilitation process.

Opiate withdrawal symptoms are usually not dangerous, but can be quite uncomfortable. Our goal is to help clients begin the opiate detox process as comfortably as possible, and reduce pain and discomfort from opiate withdrawal.

Potential Symptoms

  • Muscle Aches and Pains
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Reducing stress, avoiding high risk situations, and having a strong support system are also paramount to successful opiate rehabilitation, and should also be part of detox. Our patients receive highly individualized opiate detox treatment that may include:

  • Gradually decreasing doses of opiate-substitute medications (muscle relaxants, narcotic analgesics, phenothiazine antiemetics, etc.) to reduce severe withdrawal symptoms
  • Some of these medications may eventually be used for long-term maintenance
  • Relaxation training and cognitive therapy to reduce anxiety
  • Medications to treat anxiety and agitation
  • Medications to treat vomiting and diarrhea

Both the type and quantity of medications administered during detox may vary depending on the client’s level of addiction. In some cases, a client may require rapid detox, where patients are comfortably sedated while medications cleanse the opioid toxins from the body. Though this type of treatment has made it possible for many clients to return to normal life quickly, it is not recommended for everyone and should be considered carefully by both client and physician.