Many people believe that opiate withdrawal will be easier than withdrawing from alcohol or other drugs. Because it is well-known that the former syndrome is not life-threatening, there is some confusion about how it should best be handled by the individual. If you have decided to go through opiate withdrawal, consider using some of the top 5 ways of coping with this syndrome.
Treat It Like the Flu.
Sometimes, individuals who took opiates as directed by a doctor and are unaware that they are dependent on these drug believe they are dealing with a severe case of the flu when withdrawal starts. One of the best ways to cope with the syndrome is to treat yourself as if you actually do have the flu.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Take a week or two off of work and school.
- Use over-the-counter medications to reduce your fever and minimize your body aches.
- Drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration from the common symptoms of diarrhea, sweating, and vomiting.
- Try to stay calm, and relax as much as possible.
Don’t Stay Alone.
If you need to be in your own home but you live by yourself, ask a friend or family member to stay with you for a few days. You could also stay with them if it is more convenient for everyone involved. Either way, it is better not to be alone. Opiate withdrawal is known to cause severe depression in some cases, to the point where suicidal thoughts can occur. According to the NLM, “Those withdrawing from opiates should be checked for depression and other mental illnesses” as these issues can often be triggered or exacerbated by the withdrawal syndrome.
Choose Sober Living.
Sober living homes are drug- and alcohol-free environments where you can stay with other individuals who are also attempting to remain sober. These homes allow residents to pay rent, work, go to school, visit loved ones, and generally come and go as they please. But especially when withdrawal becomes difficult, they provide these residents with the ability to stay in a safe place surrounded by individuals who understand exactly what they are going through.
Attend a Mutual-help Group.
Mutual-help groups like Narcotics Anonymous can be a wonderful way to receive the same kind of support that sober living homes offer without the requirement of living in a controlled facility. You can attend meetings with individuals in all stages of their recovery and learn more about what to expect from your own. This community fosters encouragement, strength, and friendship among individuals who share the common experience of dependence and addiction.
Find a Detox Facility.
If your withdrawal syndrome is extremely intense or you have been struggling with your addiction to these substances for years, choose to attend a detox center. In one of these facilities, you will receive medication, behavioral therapy, and assistance in transitioning from detox to addiction treatment. According to SAMHSA, “It is not recommended” that someone attempt to go through opiate withdrawal without the use of an “effective detoxification agent” such as clonidine, buprenorphine, or methadone. These medications can minimize withdrawal symptoms and make the entire syndrome much easier to endure.