One way or another, anyone who takes opiates for an extended period of time will experience the withdrawal effects of the drug. Once these effects develop, continued opiate use will only help to worsen the severity of the effects. The pain and discomfort of opiate withdrawal symptoms accounts for why most people remain trapped in an addiction cycle, according to the California State University resource site.
Some people attempt to break an opiate addiction on their own, while others seek help from drug treatment programs. Regardless of which way a person goes, there are ways to make the process go a little smoother.
Here are five ways to better cope with opiate withdrawal symptoms:
Opiate withdrawal symptoms can last as long as two weeks, so some preparation may be needed to ensure you have the time and space needed to work through this process. This means special arrangements are in order for people who have jobs and/or families.
It’s also important to be selective about the people you hang around with during this time. People who tend to enable drug-using behaviors should be avoided at all costs. This includes suppliers as well as friends and family who’re still using.
2. Physical Considerations
Opiate withdrawal symptoms develop as the body goes through the process of rebuilding and repairing damage caused by long-term drug use. As diarrhea and vomiting will be par for the course, supporting the body along the way can help to ease your symptoms.
Drink plenty of fluids throughout the two-week withdrawal period. Bland foods like yogurt and saltines will go easier on the stomach and help keep the body nourished. Also, be prepared for periods of sweating by having multiple changes of comfortable clothes and bed sheets on hand.
3. Join a Support Group
The opiate withdrawal symptom period can quickly start to feel like a lonely time with few people really understanding what you’re experiencing. Joining a support group like Narcotics Anonymous can provide some well needed support and guidance during this difficult time.
Support group members have a bird’s eye view of the withdrawal process and can be an invaluable source of guidance and companionship. People just starting out in recovery also have a good chance of finding a sponsor through a support group.
4. Countering Emotional Setbacks
For most people, opiate withdrawal unfolds in stages made up of an acute withdrawal phase and a post-acute withdrawal phase. While the acute phase typically runs two weeks long, the post-acute phase can run for another two weeks.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms experienced during the post-acute stage include mood swings, depression and problems sleeping. During this time, light exercise and participating in fun activities can help relieve some of the emotional discomfort along the way.
5. Detox Treatment
In the event a detox attempt fails, seeking help from a detox treatment facility may be the best way to go. Opiates exert an incredible strain on the body’s normal processes. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can easily overwhelm most anyone attempting to go it alone.
Detox treatment facilities offer medication therapies to help ease opiate withdrawal symptoms. Recovering addicts also benefit from the support and guidance made available through psychotherapy sessions and 12-Step support groups.
While some people can make it through opiate withdrawal on their own, detox treatment programs can greatly reduce the amount of discomfort a person experiences during the detox stage.