October 10th, 2023
Opiates and opioids are some of the most addictive substances in the world. Opiate addiction can be very difficult to overcome, but with the right detox and treatment plan, it is possible to change your life. Opiates do a lot of damage to your body and brain, and when you stop taking them withdrawal can be incredibly uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important to seek professional help when detoxing from opioids.
It is worth noting that on this page, we will use the terms opiates and opioids interchangeably but there is a difference. Opiates are drugs that are derived from the opium poppy plant while opioids are synthetic or semi-synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of opiates. Despite these differences, the detox process for the two is ultimately the same.
What is opiate detox?
Opiate detox is the process of removing opioids from your body and managing the withdrawal symptoms that come with it. Detox is a crucial part of treatment because it allows you to break the physical dependence on opioids and start working on the psychological aspects of your addiction.
Opiates work by attaching to opioid receptors in your brain and spinal cord. This creates a feeling of euphoria and pain relief. Over time, your body becomes used to opioids being present, so when you stop taking opiates, your body goes into a kind of shock due to the chemical imbalance. It is this imbalance that causes opioid withdrawal symptoms with only two ways to detox from opioids: start taking the drugs again or wait until your system has cleared all the opioids.
Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and range from mild to severe and can also be both physical and psychological.
Common opioid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Slow breathing
- Trouble staying awake
- Pinpoint pupils
- Pale face
- Blue nails and lips
- Cold, clammy skin
- Confusion and forgetfulness
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Low blood pressure
- Chronic vomiting
There are also more serious opiate withdrawal symptoms which can be potentially very dangerous. These include:
- Heart attack
- Brain damage
Why is opiate detox potentially dangerous?
There are a few reasons why opioid withdrawal can be dangerous. First, the symptoms can be serious and even life-threatening. Second, opioid withdrawal can be incredibly uncomfortable, and this can lead to people giving up on their detox and relapsing. This can be very dangerous because your tolerance will have declined so taking opioids again can cause you to overdose which can be potentially fatal.
That’s why it’s so important to seek professional help when detoxing from opioids. A professional detox facility will be able to monitor you closely and make sure that you are safe and comfortable. They will also be able to provide you with medication that can help make a withdrawal from certain opioids more easily.
At UKAT, we have helped many people complete their opiate detox safely and effectively.
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioids, please reach out to us. We can provide you with the care and support you need to start your detox and take the first step on your road to recovery.
Do I need opiate detox?
If you or somebody close to you is concerned about your opioid use, you may need opiate detox. Here are some questions to ask yourself which can help you make a decision:
- Do I feel physical withdrawal symptoms when I stop taking opiates?
- Do I need opioids just to feel “normal” to get through the day?
- Has my appearance changed causing loved ones to be concerned?
- Do I get confused or disorientated when I haven’t taken opiates?
- Has taking opioids affected my appetite causing me to lose a lot of weight?
- Am I constantly tired due to my opiate use affecting my job, school and general welfare?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, it is likely that you will need detox and treatment in order to overcome your condition. UKAT provides a comprehensive detox programme that can help put you on your road to recovery. Get in touch with us today to find out more.
What to expect from opioid withdrawal
Withdrawal from opioids can be a difficult and uncomfortable experience, but with the right care and support, it is possible to get through it. Different opioids have different withdrawal timelines, but in general, the timeline of withdrawal symptoms looks something like this:
The first day of opioid withdrawal is often the most difficult. You will experience intense cravings as well as a range of uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms.
On the second day, your symptoms will most likely peak. You may feel like you are going through flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sweats, nausea and vomiting. You may also experience anxiety, irritability and insomnia.
By day three, your symptoms will start to improve. You will still feel uncomfortable but you should start to feel more like yourself.
On day four, you will continue to experience some withdrawal symptoms but they should be much less intense than they were in the first few days.
By day five, most people will have started to feel better. However, you may still experience some mild symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety and irritability for another five to seven days.
Detoxing from opioids can be a difficult process but with the right care and support, it is possible to successfully recover and start living a healthy and sober life. UKAT can provide you with the care and support you need to detox safely and effectively. Get in touch with us today to find out more.
The benefits of opiate detox
Detoxing from opioids can have a range of benefits. First and foremost, detox will clear your system of the drugs so that you can move on to opiate rehab treatment for a full recovery. Detox can also help to improve your mental clarity, physical health and overall wellbeing. It is important to remember that detox is only the first step on your road to recovery but it is an important one.
Opioid detox will also provide a number of mental and physical health benefits. These include:
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved concentration
- Increased energy levels
- Improved mood
Detoxing from opioids is a crucial step on your road to recovery. UKAT can provide you with the care and support you need to detox safely and effectively. Get in touch with us today to find out more.
Common fears about opioid detox
“I won’t be able to deal with the withdrawal.”
This is a worry that many people have, especially if they have tried to stop taking opioids before and have experienced opioid withdrawal symptoms. However, it’s important to remember that going through withdrawal at a professional opioid detox centre isn’t the same as doing it at home. At a detox centre, you will have 24/7 care and support from medical detox specialists who will keep you safe and comfortable during the process.
“Opioid detox won’t work for me because I am mentally addicted too.”
Remember that opioid detox is just the first step in recovery. First, you need to detox to overcome your physical dependence on the drug and after that, you will begin treatment to address the mental and psychological aspects of the condition. The only effective way to do this is to allow your body to remove all traces of opioids from your body first. Then, you will be able to start your treatment with a clean slate.
“I am worried about what my friends and family will think about me going to opiate detox.”
Being worried about your loved ones judging you is completely normal but it is far more likely that your friends and family will be happy that you are getting help. Speak to them before you start opiate detox and you will probably find that they are fully behind your decision and are eager to help in any way they can.
What to do next
If you need to detox from opioids, the first step is to reach out for help. UKAT can provide you with the care and support you need to detox safely and effectively. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our detox programmes. We will help you get through the detox process and then provide a comprehensive treatment programme that will help you address the mental and psychical causes of your condition. We will also help you to develop the skills and tools you need to maintain your sobriety in the long term.
Frequently asked questions
What types of opiate detox are there?
There are detox programmes for every type of opiate. These include:
The process for these drugs is similar and will involve many of the same withdrawal symptoms.
Can I die from opiate detox?
While opiate detox is usually not fatal, there are some risks associated with the process. These include dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and seizure. These side effects of opioid withdrawal can lead to a number of potentially fatal health conditions so it is important to detox under medical supervision to minimise these risks.