Opioid Drug Detox: What to Expect

Opioid drug detox is far easier with professional help. Never try to detox from opioids by yourself.Shape

Opioid detox can be difficult, but it’s easier with professional help. Find out how opioid detox works and what to expect in our blog.

Learning what to expect from an opioid detox can decrease anxiety if you or your loved one are preparing to detox from opioids. The purpose of drug detox is to eliminate a harmful substance from the body. Making sure the detox is done safely and completely is essential so that the body can heal and begin to regulate itself correctly.

A drug detox should never be undertaken without medical supervision.

If you or your loved one struggles with opioid addiction and is interested in the process and benefits of opioid detox, here is what you can expect.

Challenges of an Opioid Detox

A detox is the process of eliminating a harmful substance from the body. When the body has been dependent on this substance, like it is in the case of addiction, the body will experience withdrawals as the amount of the substance in it decreases.

Since opioids affect your mental and emotional states, they can be especially challenging to eliminate from a brain that is used to relying on them. If you are highly addicted to opioids or have a history of opioid use, you will likely feel discomfort or pain as you go through withdrawal symptoms.

Though going through withdrawals can be very unpleasant, remember that the withdrawal symptoms will not last forever. Withdrawals are a temporary part of the body's process of detoxing and then healing. 

Medical professionals supervising a detox can ease the severity of withdrawals and ensure they do not become dangerous. For this reason, it is absolutely essential to have your opioid detox supervised by a medical professional, especially in the beginning phases of the detox.

Necessity of a Safe Detox

The various opioids on the market can lead to serious mental health concerns and long-term damage if dependence on them is left untreated. For example, opioids will compromise your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to the risk of infections. You could also cause major damage to your health if you overdose

It can be just as dangerous to attempt detox alone. If you try to detox without professional supervision, you will find yourself in very dangerous situations.

How to Ease Withdrawals

Fortunately, because researchers and scientists continue to develop their understanding of opioids, the addiction recovery industry is able to become even more effective with its protocols for detox supervision. There are treatment options available to ease uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms while going through a professionally supervised detox.

Unfortunately, even with the proper support in place, there is no way to counteract all the discomfort of going through withdrawals. Some withdrawal symptoms of an opioid detox include the following:

  • anxiety

  • depression

  • mood swings

  • cravings

  • fevers

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • muscle aches

  • stomach aches

  • cramping

  • poor concentration

  • difficulty sleeping

These symptoms, as well as other, less noticeable effects of detox, cause serious medical concerns if not managed in a medical environment.

Some individuals may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms than others. If you go through opioid detox in a professional environment, you can take full advantage of the latest research and technology in opioid detox management. For example, there are treatment options such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) that can decrease the severity of the withdrawal symptoms of an opioid detox.

Though withdrawal symptoms may be more severe at the beginning of detox, each phase of an opioid detox should be completed with a professional nearby to alleviate discomfort and provide supervision of the process. Another benefit of having a professional oversee a detox is that they can encourage, motivate, and provide emotional support through the most challenging phases of the detox.

Opioid Detox Timeline

The timeline of an opioid detox can begin with the initial phone call to your local treatment center. They can answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide you with resources so you can learn more. When you feel ready to start the detox process, they can schedule a time for you to come to the treatment center.

Usually, between 8 to 30 hours after the last opioid use, the withdrawal symptoms will begin. Withdrawal symptoms differ depending on which opioid was used and for how long the body has been dependent. These differences explain why withdrawals can vary from mild to severe and can last anywhere from a few days to a few months.

How to Detox Safely

If you want to ensure your withdrawal process is as safe and comfortable as possible, you should not attempt a detox outside of medical supervision. A professional can advise you on various treatment options that will best suit your needs and your medical history.

If you have already started a detox without medical supervision, it is not too late to receive medical attention and supervision to prevent further danger. Having someone who understands the process of detoxing and who can monitor your health and motivate you to continue can be the difference between a medical emergency and a successful detox.

Most individuals going through a detox from opioids will experience withdrawal symptoms for up to seven days. A professional can minimize the severity of withdrawal symptoms with an appropriate treatment plan for a safe detox. Getting as much information about opioid detox and what you can expect during a detox can only help you or your loved ones feel less anxious about the process.

The Forge Recovery Center is happy to address any of your questions and concerns about opioid detox so that you can begin the process of creating a healthy life free from substance abuse.

To learn more, contact The Forge Recovery Center today.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

May 19, 2022