* Opiate addiction withdrawal symptoms
* Opiate withdrawal medication
* Managing pain without opiates
* Avoiding addiction relapse from opiates
I have already written about opiate addiction before but I wanted to talk a bit more about relapse and opiate addiction. If you have never really been serious about quitting opiates and living a clean life then here are some things you might want to consider.
Opiate addiction withdrawal symptoms
Most opiate addicts have been through withdrawal to at least some extent before. Generally you will have flu like symptoms and generally feel pretty miserable when you are withdrawing from opiates of any kind. Of course, the severity of your withdrawal will depend on how much opiates you were using, how long you were using them for, and how powerful those opiates were.
Some opiate drugs are stronger than others. This is measured by how strongly the opiate molecules will occupy the opiate receptor sites in the brain. For example, Fentanyl that has been turned into heroin is a much stronger opiate than, say, Hydrocodone. The actual molecules are stickier and more powerful when reacting in the body. So this can change the nature of withdrawal.
Also realize that there will be some delay in some cases based on the strength of the opiates being used. For example, with regular heroin, the detox process happens fairly quickly and there is not much delay. But if someone is using, say, Methadone, then they might go for a full day or two without feeling any withdrawal symptoms until the start to detox. This is because the methadone is “stickier” and stays in the body longer than other opiates. Because of this, methadone can be a particularly challenging detox for an opiate addict.
Opiate withdrawal medication
If you go to rehab, they might give you medication to help you to detox from opiates. There are basically two things they can give you: one is medications to try and treat the symptoms, such as using Tylenol to treat body aches, or a stomach medication to treat stomach cramping. The other route they might take is to give you Suboxone or Subutex, which is a partial synthetic opiate that can help relieve the withdrawal symptoms. When they do this, they do it under the care of a doctor who orders the medication.
Some people will choose to use Suboxone long term in order to help avoid opiate addiction relapse. Although it is expensive, some people take it twice a day in order to stay off of other opiates.
Managing pain without opiates
If you have chronic pain issues then the whole idea of opiate addiction becomes complicated. You need a way to manage your pain in the long run without resorting back to heavy opiate use.
One solution for this is to use Suboxone to treat your pain. This is actually an off label use of the drug but some people have success with it in treating their chronic pain. It is expensive though, and not every doctor will be comfortable in prescribing the medication off-label like this.
You could also attend a pain clinic and tell them that you are an addict and can not use opiates at all. They will work to come up with alternative solutions to treat your pain.
At the very least you could alternate Ibuprofen and Tylenol throughout the day (as directed by your doctor) and also use some holistic techniques such as massage, relaxation techniques, acupressure, and so on.
Avoiding addiction relapse from opiates
In the end, if you are intent on getting clean from opiates, then you will need to take real action in order to prevent relapse. If you are truly addicted to the drugs then this will be no easy task. In fact it will probably be one of the hardest things you have ever done.
There are programs that can help you to stay clean, such as 12 step programs like Narcotics Anonymous. This is a good idea for most people who are just getting clean because there is a lot of support to be had in the meetings and within the fellowship. There is recovery beyond a 12 step program and you can explore this as you remain clean over time, but starting out in the 12 step group makes a lot of sense.
Some people use medications in order to stay off of opiates, but most people do not need to. In early recovery, you are going to have to take massive action in order to change your life and stay clean and sober. This means going all-out and fully embracing a recovery solution for yourself.
In long term recovery, you will need to form healthy habits and push yourself to keep growing as a person.