Using Medication During Opioid Withdrawal

April 28, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

Detoxing from opioids can be excruciatingly unpleasant and even dangerous to do on your one. It is so dangerous that it is considered life-threatening. Therefore, it’s vital to have the right team of medical professionals with you during opioid withdrawal. Without the help of medical professionals monitoring you and providing you with medications through this process, you can have serious health problems or even die from opioid withdrawal symptoms. If you have been using opioids or other drugs, it is crucial that you detox under medical supervision in a hospital or detox program. 

What Are Opioids?

There are opioids and opiates. Opiates are pain-relieving medications used to treat pain, and opioids are synthetic versions of opiates. Both of these are considered narcotics. In 2018, 11.4 million Americans used narcotics without a prescription. 

These types of pain relievers include:

  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Methadone
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone (Percocet or Oxycontin)

The Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be severe and life-threatening. The severity of each person’s withdrawal symptoms can depend on many factors: the type of opioid you were taking, the amount you took, and how long you were taking it. 

Some common symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

You Shouldn’t Go Through Opioid Withdrawal Alone

Opioid withdrawal is a serious medical condition. The symptoms you see above may not seem that intense. However, it is very serious and can lead to death if a doctor does not manage some symptoms. Therefore, you should not try to attempt to detox alone at home. 

Doctors not only try to keep you alive during opioid withdrawal, but they can give you non-addicting medications to help you through this process. These medications can help you feel more comfortable during the detox process, and they can help some of the symptoms not escalate too much. 

Types of Medications Used During Opioid Withdrawal

There are many medications used when someone is withdrawing from opioids. Some are used to treat the symptoms of withdrawal, and some of them are used to distract your mind and body from craving your drug of choice. 

Here are four of the most common medications used when someone is medically detoxing

#1. Methadone

This medication is considered a full opioid agonist, meaning it activates certain receptors in the brain and results in a full opioid effect. This can be used as a long-term medication for people who are opioid dependent. Ideally, you would begin to receive less and less to wean off of it completely eventually. However, this can take a long time, sometimes years. This medication is great for reducing the intensity of most withdrawal symptoms. 

#2. Buprenorphine

This medication is a partial opioid agonist. Partial agonists work similarly to full agonists, just to a lesser degree. So they still activate opioid receptors in the brain. This medication works by changing how your brain responds to opioids in your system and helps by reducing cravings. 

#3. Clonidine

This medication is mostly used to treat some of the symptoms of withdrawal, like reducing anxiety and agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and cramping. However, this medication does not directly reduce cravings. 

#4. Naltrexone

This medication is commonly used for relapse prevention. For opioid users, this is most likely an injectable medication. However, this medication should not be used while still having opioids in your system. 

How Can a Professional Detox Help?

If you are ready to stop using opioids finally, a medical detox facility might be exactly what you need. Here at Buena Vista Recovery, we have medication professionals who help with every step of the detox process. There is licensed staff on-site 24/7 to ensure your safety during detox. Each client receives a private room with a beautiful serene setting. We offer fresh, healthy, and delicious food for all of our clients. It is our priority to welcome your family to come and see you so you don’t feel alone through this process. 

Through the detox and treatment process, we create an individualized plan to help have the best chance at successful long-term sobriety. We have therapy programs, both individual and group. 

Recently, we also try to incorporate activities such as exercise and yoga. We want to make this process calming and relaxing for you as you accomplish one of the biggest hurdles to reaching sobriety. 

You do not have to do this alone. It is especially crucial that you should not attempt detox alone. Detoxing alone can be life-threatening. We are here and ready to help you in the beginning steps of treatment all the way to years of recovery. You can do this; let us help you.

Opioid withdrawal can be almost excruciating and uncomfortable, as well as incredibly dangerous. But there are people out there who care and want to help see you through this process. We have highly trained medical professionals who are here to help make this process as comfortable as possible for you. You don’t have to, and you shouldn’t do this alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to opioids or other substances, we want to help you get sober and live a life of recovery. Please take a moment to come at least and check out our facility and see what we offer. For more information, call (480) 741-9414.