Opioid Withdrawal & Our Opiate Detox Program
What Is Opioid Withdrawal?Opioid withdrawal is a natural process that occurs in people who have become dependent on opioids. When people with dependence stop using opioids, their bodies need time to readjust to working without the drugs. As the body adjusts to the withdrawal of opioids, people may experience uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal?The symptoms of opioid withdrawal vary from person to person. As you go through the early stages of withdrawal, you may experience some of these symptoms:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Excessive sweating
- Watery eyes
- Frequent yawning
- Dilated pupils
- Blurry vision
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Stomach cramps
- Heart attacks
- Delirium tremens
What Is the Timeline for Opioid Withdrawal?Opioid withdrawal occurs in two stages. Depending on the type of opioid that a person has used, the first stage of withdrawal could last up to three weeks. The second stage of the withdrawal process lasts for several months.
The timeline for acute opioid withdrawal depends on whether you have taken short-acting opioids or long-acting opioids. Short-acting opioids start working very quickly, and they last for a short period of time. Long-acting opioids take a little longer to work, and they last for a longer length of time.
Heroin, codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, and tramadol are short-acting opioids. If you have been using short-acting opioids, you may start to experience acute withdrawal symptoms eight to 24 hours after your last dose. Most people complete the acute withdrawal process from short-acting opioids in around four to 10 days.
Along with methadone, the extended-release and controlled-release versions of fentanyl, oxycodone, tramadol, and morphine are categorized as long-acting opioids. When you withdraw from these medicines, the first symptoms typically begin within 12 to 48 hours of the last dose. The acute withdrawal process usually takes 10 to 20 days.
After you complete the acute withdrawal period, you will enter the post-acute withdrawal phase. In general, this period lasts up to six months. During the post-acute period, you may feel unwell, and you could experience mental health issues. You might have strong cravings for opioids.
What Is Opioid Detox?
Opioid detox is the process of healing from an opioid use disorder. It involves completely removing opioids from the body, recovering from the effects of the drugs and ending one’s dependence on opioids. It includes the acute and post-acute withdrawal periods.
Since opioid detox can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging, most clinicians recommend entering a detox program. This allows patients to receive appropriate medical and psychological support.
What Types of Opioid Detox Programs Are Available?
Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are the main types of detox options for people with opioid use disorders. Medically assisted detox is included with inpatient care at many facilities, and partial hospitalization programs may be available as an outpatient.
Since opioid withdrawal may cause severe symptoms, inpatient care with medical supervision is typically necessary during the acute withdrawal period. In the post-acute phase, patients may transition to outpatient care.
What Are the Stages of Opioid Detox?
The detox process is divided into five stages:
Stage 1: The Choice To Start Detox
In this stage, you decide to stop taking opioids. Usually, you will enter a rehab facility with a medically assisted detox program at this point. The staff members will support you throughout the withdrawal and recovery process.
Stage 2: The Beginning of Acute Withdrawal
You will experience early-stage withdrawal symptoms during this time. For example, you may have anxiety, insomnia, and muscle aches.
Stage 3: The Intensification of Withdrawal Symptoms
As you continue the withdrawal process, your symptoms may become more intense. You could notice some of the late-stage withdrawal symptoms, including high blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, diarrhea, and nausea.
Stage 4: The Peak of Acute Withdrawal
During the peak period, you may be at risk for seizures, hallucinations, heart attacks, and other severe side effects of withdrawal.
Stage 5: The Completion of Acute Withdrawal
In this phase, your acute withdrawal symptoms will be over, and you will enter the post-acute withdrawal period. You will usually remain at a rehab center for most of this time, and you will receive therapy and medications. This process is designed to help you fully recover from opioid use disorder and to break your dependence on opioids.
After you complete the detox process, you can be discharged from the rehab facility. Normally, you will continue to receive therapy and medicines as an outpatient, and you may enter a transitional housing facility.
What Can I Expect During Opioid Detox?
When you enter inpatient treatment, you will have a physical exam to assess your overall health. Since opioid withdrawal can affect your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature, the clinician will measure these as part of the exam. Blood and urine tests may be performed to check your opioid levels, and you will be asked about your health history. You should let the doctor know about any health conditions you have, including cardiovascular conditions and mental health conditions.
The first part of your stay at the rehab facility will include lots of medical monitoring. You will be given medicines to ease the symptoms of the acute withdrawal phase, and healthcare professionals will help you manage side effects. They will look out for any warning signs of severe withdrawal symptoms.
What Medications Are Used During Opioid Detox?
The medications you receive during acute withdrawal will be tailored to your symptoms and overall health. You could receive some of these medicines:
- Methadone or buprenorphine to control opioid cravings
- Naltrexone to block the pleasant feelings and other effects of opioid use
- Lofexidine to ease overall withdrawal symptoms
- Loperamide to ease diarrhea
- Promethazine to relieve nausea and vomiting
- Ibuprofen for pain relief
- Clonidine to reduce blood pressure, vomiting, and diarrhea
As you transition to the post-acute withdrawal period, you will continue to receive maintenance medicines to help reduce your risk of relapse.
What Types of Psychological Support Are Provided During Opioid Detox?
Psychological support is a significant part of the care you receive, particularly during the post-acute withdrawal phase. You will continue to have group, individual and family therapy sessions during this time. Your therapists will help you learn to identify the triggers that lead to opioid use, and they will teach you healthy coping mechanisms that allow you to avoid drug use. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and motivational interviewing may be used as part of your treatment.
Where Can I Receive Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Indiana?
If you are looking for opioid use disorder treatment in Indiana, you may want to consider the treatment options at First City Recovery Center in Kokomo. At First City Recovery Center, we provide inpatient and outpatient services, including medically assisted detox, inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization options, intensive outpatient care and outpatient programs. If you need treatment for a co-occurring disorder, we offer dual diagnosis treatment for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Our model of care provides holistic support for people in recovery and for their families, and we offer support at every stage. First City inpatients are supervised by physicians during the medically assisted phase of detox, and outpatient clients also receive care from our physicians.
Types of Therapy We Provide
At First City, therapists use cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy and motivational interviewing.
If you tend to be anxious, you may want to consider our post-traumatic growth treatment option. It’s designed to help you be successful in recovery, and it includes reality therapy, accelerated resolution therapy and body-mind psychotherapy.
In reality therapy, your therapist will help you develop a realistic view of where you are and what you need to do to achieve your recovery goals. Accelerated resolution therapy combines cognitive therapy with solution-focused techniques, and it is particularly helpful for people who have experienced trauma.
With body-mind psychotherapy, your therapist will help you understand the connection between your body and your mind. Through this work, you can learn to release fear and build healthier relationships with yourself and others.
After you complete your treatment, you may choose to live in our sober living facility. We provide relapse prevention programs and monthly activities for all of our alumni.
Get Treatment at First City Recovery Today!
If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, contact our team at First City Recovery to take the first step on your journey to sobriety. We can help you understand your treatment options, and we are honored to be part of your recovery story.
Dr. Vahid Osman, MD is a psychiatry specialist in Indianapolis, IN.
Dr. Osman completed a residency at Austin State Hospital. He has over 32 years of experience in Psychiatry & Behavioral Health. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.