Is Natural Opiate Detox Safe?

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The decision to stop using opiates often comes with great trepidation as addicts well known the types of symptoms that come with abstinence periods. Since there’s no getting around the dreaded detox stage, it only makes sense to ensure the detox method used is safe and effective.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, opiate overdose death rates increased by 300 percent between the years 1999 and 2006. Overdose incidents can happen to chronic users as well as to people who’ve just completed detox treatment, which makes it all the important to ensure the detox method used is safe.

Natural opiate detox exists as one of many different methods used to break the body’s physical dependency on drugs. While any one method can work under the right conditions, a person’s individual circumstances should ultimately dictate which detox approach will work best.

Natural Detoxification

natural detox

Detoxing from opiates can be done without medical intervention.

Prolonged opiate use changes overall communications processes within the brain. Much of the discomfort experienced during the detox stage results from damage done to brain chemical processes. In cases of chronic opiate use, brain cells can actually deteriorate, which makes the detox process even more difficult.

Natural detoxification entails allowing the brain and body to restore normal functions without the help of prescription medications. Over-the-counter remedies, such as herbs, supplements and non-addictive pain relievers can be used to help provide some degree of relief from withdrawal effects. In this way, the body’s repair processes have a chance to restore functions back to normal on their own.

Detox Considerations

More than anything else, a person’s tolerance level for opiates determines how severe the detox stage will be, according to the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Tolerance level increases occur in the brain, driving users to increase their dosage amounts accordingly.

While the brain readily develops a tolerance for opiates, the body does not. This disparity can result in considerable damage done to bodily structures and functions. Likewise, people who’ve abused opiates for years at a time may well experience severe withdrawal effects during the detox stage due to the overall damage done to brain and body processes.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Long-term opiate use not only damages brain and body functions, but can also cause psychological conditions to develop. In effect, continuous opiate use creates chemical imbalances in the brain that become progressively worse over time. Under these conditions, psychological disorders can easily take shape.

With natural opiate detox, depression and/or anxiety disorder symptoms can greatly aggravate the body’s withdrawal process making it that much harder to maintain abstinence. Medication-based detox methods, such as methadone and buprenorphine therapies help restore the brain’s chemical balance thereby addressing complications brought on by co-occurring disorders.

Relapse Dangers

For the most part, opiate detox withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening so natural opiate detox poses little to no danger in this respect. The potential for relapse during or after a detox period is where the danger lies.

During detox, the brain’s tolerance levels plummet. If a person were to relapse after tolerance levels have dropped, the risk of overdose increases substantially. As overdose deaths account for the majority of opiate-related fatalities, natural opiate detox may not be safe for people coming off long-term opiate addictions.


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