How are the Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal Treated in Inpatient Rehab?

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Opioid withdrawal does not always require inpatient treatment, but some individuals do prefer to attend this type of program because they want to be in a controlled environment while withdrawing from opioids. This is often a choice people make when they have been abusing opioids for a long time and need extra help in order to stop. If you are in this situation and are considering attending inpatient treatment for your opioid withdrawal, you should learn how the symptoms of your withdrawal syndrome will be treated so you can be prepared for the process.

Medication

opioid withdrawal

Methadone is used to treat opioid withdrawal.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “The management of opioid withdrawal with medication is most commonly achieved through the use of methadone, buprenorphine, or clonidine.” These three medications can be used to treat the symptoms of withdrawal that are normally experienced by individuals who are dependent on opioids and decide to stop taking the drugs.

  • Methadone is an opioid agonist that, when taken at the correct doses, blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and minimizes withdrawal symptoms without causing euphoria or severe respiratory depression.
  • Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that is less intense than methadone but also is not as effective as the former drug when given to those with severe dependency issues. However, buprenorphine can be very effective for those who want to quit abusing opioids and who have mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms and physical dependencies.
  • Clonidine is an antihypertensive agent that can be used to treat some of the most problematic withdrawal symptoms caused by opioids, primarily “anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and cramping” (National Library of Medicine). Unfortunately, clonidine does not treat the symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, but these can be minimized using another type of medication.

Each of these pharmacological approaches may be used for different patients in different situations. Normally, one type of medication is chosen for a person’s opioid withdrawal treatment in inpatient rehab, but if one does not cause the desired effects, the individual can often be switched to one of the other drugs.

Each of these medications treat opioid withdrawal in different ways, and although they each have different levels of abuse potential, patients are monitored during inpatient rehab as to how much they take. This way, the temptation to abuse medication is not as present, as patients are given the drugs only in the necessary doses. This can be much safer for someone who has struggled in the past with abusing their opioid withdrawal treatment medication.

Counseling

Counseling is another way that opioid withdrawal is treated in inpatient rehab. Although many individuals do not start their therapy treatment until their withdrawal symptoms begin to subside, beginning counseling early could be beneficial to many patients who require guidance as to how they can best recover from their drug abuse and addiction. According to the North Shore LIJ Staten Island University Hospital, “Chemical Dependency Counselors work with patients on an individualized basis to identify the appropriate level of care the patient needs.”

This is extremely beneficial, as it can help a person get on the right track early and begin treatment for their addiction to opioids while they are working through withdrawal. Counseling, though, can help treat a person’s withdrawal symptoms as well; anxiety and depression are common symptoms of opioid withdrawal, and many people require therapeutic treatment for these issues. Therapy can help patients relax and remember their decision to stop abusing opioids, a decision that is going to help them lead a better life.

Opioid withdrawal treatment takes more than just medication, and counseling can help patients get in touch with the reasons why they feel the way they do as well as remember why they have decided to quit. This can be extremely beneficial in treating the psychological symptoms and effects of withdrawal.

Holistic Modalities

Holistic treatments are also incredibly beneficial toward helping patients learn to control their withdrawal symptoms and begin to heal. Inpatient rehab centers are often more likely to offer these types of treatments because they have more resources and are likely to provide more treatments to patients since they are staying at the facility.

Certain holistic methods can be extremely helpful to patients who have issues with traditional treatments like talk therapy and medications. For example, certain patients do not feel comfortable taking medications after they have become so heavily addicted to opioids. Instead, holistic methods, like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture, may actually be helpful in minimizing certain withdrawal symptoms. In addition, those who attend art or dance therapy instead of regular counseling may feel that it is easier for them to open up and share their feelings when they do not initially have to talk about them.

Other holistic methods may include nature walks, exercise therapy, Tai Chi, spiritual healing, etc. These treatment modalities, though nontraditional, can be a wonderful addition to a full treatment program that takes into account all of the individual patient’s needs so that they can recover in the best way possible.

Supportive Care

Though all the different treatment types used in opioid withdrawal treatment are important to a full program for an individual patient, the NLM states that opioid withdrawal treatment also “involves supportive care.” This will be provided by the staff of doctors, nurses, therapists and counselors, volunteers, and other individuals present during your opioid withdrawal recovery. By choosing inpatient care, you have made a decision to surround yourself with individuals who want to see you succeed, first at having a successful withdrawal and then at successfully recovering from your addiction. The care and kindness of the individuals working in an inpatient rehab center will become part of your overall treatment for opioid withdrawal, and you can slowly begin to see how your symptoms minimize with time and how you become ready for the next stage in your recovery.

Do You Want to Learn More About Inpatient Opioid Withdrawal Treatment?

You can call 800-584-3274 today to learn more about these programs and what they can offer as well as potential facilities in your area where you can attend inpatient treatment for opioid withdrawal.


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