Common Opiate Detox Methods

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Opiate detox, the process of ridding the body of toxins associated with the use of opiates, is an often challenging and uncomfortable process. Many different methods of opiate detox exist to help those who are addicted to drugs such as heroin, or prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin, to get started on a path to sobriety. While many of the most common opiate detox methods include the use of medications to counteract the symptoms of withdrawal, there are also natural or holistic methods of detox which don’t utilize medications unless absolutely necessary for the user’s health.

Methadone Maintenance

Also called MMT, methadone maintenance treatment is one method of opiate detox that helps users to stabilize without feeling the strong effects of withdrawal that are so often responsible for a user’s relapse. This method of detox requires the patient to take a regular daily dose of methadone as prescribed by a doctor to help ward off symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Methadone is an opioid which means it does carry some risk of causing addiction and should only be taken under proper doctor supervision to ensure the continued safety of the user.


detoxing from opiates

Methadone maintenance and other medications are commonly used treatments during opiate detox.

A relatively new method of treatment for opiate addiction, Suboxone combines two powerful drugs, Naloxone and Buprenorphine to provide ample relief from the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. This method of opiate detox is also performed under a doctor’s supervision to ensure the safety of the individual and does have some potential for abuse so it’s important to follow doctor’s orders directly for patient safety.

Rapid Detox

This method of opiate detox is not highly recommended as it is very dangerous and has not been proven to be any more effective than other, safer methods of detox such as medication maintenance or replacement techniques. Rapid detox involves placing the patient into a medically induced coma and administering various medications to promote the rapid detoxification while the patient is comatose. Unfortunately, this method of detox can lead to serious medical side effects and potentially even death.

Natural Detox

Rarely is opiate detox a danger for the user, but it can be uncomfortable! Natural detox is a method of opiate detox that involves using natural remedies to protect against severe withdrawal and to maintain comfort during the challenging times. While many people feel like they cannot go through a natural detox because the pain or discomfort associated with opiate detox is too strong, the good thing is that opiate detox generally only lasts about 7-10 days so, no matter how uncomfortable it is, it won’t be forever. For some, this is enough to encourage them to stay sober and push through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.

Medication Assisted Detox

Some people don’t want to take methadone or Suboxone to help them detox from opiates but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t need medical assistance during the opiate detoxification process. For these individuals, medication assisted detox that incorporates medical intervention and care into a program of support and relaxation is often best. Medications may be used to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting or to help induce rest or reduce anxiety to keep the patient comfortable during the early stages of detoxification in this type of program.

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