Are you struggling with an addiction to fentanyl, morphine, or heroin? Maybe you became part of the Purple Drank craze and now have a problem with codeine. No matter which drug you’re dealing with, recovery starts with detox. But is it true that opiate withdrawal symptoms make quitting difficult?
Stepping Stones of Dependence
Opiate addictions don’t happen overnight. Instead, you develop a dependence through a number of steps. For starters, you enjoy the high that the drug gives you. This positive reinforcement causes you to chase the perfect high, the one that’s even better than the first one.
Next, your body builds up a tolerance to the opiate. To experience the same results, you now have to increase the dose. In the meantime, the chemicals in the substances alter your brain chemistry. They change specific neurotransmitter releases to occur only when the drugs are in your system.
At this point, you encounter a physical dependence. Failure to take the drug on time results in opiate withdrawal symptoms. The fear of the symptoms creates a strong psychological urge to use. With the vicious cycle now firmly in place, you need professional assistance to break out of it.
Typical Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms and Their Duration
Not everyone experiences withdrawal in the same way. Factors that contribute to your experience include the types of opiates you use and their dosages. Moreover, your physical health and length of use also add to your withdrawal symptoms. Typically, you begin experiencing withdrawal after eight to 12 hours of not taking any more drugs.
Initially, the symptoms consist of discomfort. Your muscles hurt and you deal with some gastrointestinal upset. You might sweat and develop a fever. Many of these symptoms remind you of the onset of the flu.
These symptoms gradually worsen. You experience cramps, more sweating, and gastrointestinal problems that might be similar to food poisoning. Cravings for the drug are now the focal point of your thoughts. You would do anything for another fix.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms are most substantial at the 72-hour mark. From there, they gradually taper off. The psychological effects may linger the longest. The physical symptoms cease within the next few days.
Why You Need Detox with a Medical Assistance Component
Because opiate withdrawal symptoms include intense drug cravings, you need someone by your side who dissuades you from using again. At a detox facility, you have that help. Moreover, therapists help you with medications that take the edge off discomfort and eliminate pain. Because for so many individuals the pain is a deterrent when quitting, this step makes the process easier.
Detox Goes Beyond Pain Management
Of course, a good-quality detox center does more than merely help you manage opiate withdrawal symptoms. To assist with overcoming a fentanyl or heroin addiction, or dependence on another opiate, specialists also conduct therapy sessions. Examples of possible treatments include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy to pinpoint destructive patterns in thoughts, emotions, and actions
- Dialectical behavior therapy that assists with control of feelings in light of active triggers
- Individual psychotherapy, which reinforces your decision to quit using drugs
- Group therapy sessions that encourage positive peer interactions and result in the creation of learning opportunities
- Family therapy to give loved ones a chance to learn better communication strategies and boundary setting
Because you live at the detox center, you immerse yourself in the therapeutic environment. Doing so offers you the added benefit of around-the-clock access to therapists. Caring professionals consistently reinforce your decision to quit doing drugs. They help you catch hold of a vision for your life that includes sober recovery and reintegration into society.
What Happens if You Don’t Seek Help
You might try to quit on your own occasionally. However, the pain associated with withdrawal symptoms persuades you to start using again. This creates a vicious cycle of misery, drug abuse, depression, and more suffering. In the end, you keep using.
But with the help of caring therapists, you have the opportunity to break out of the cycle. You don’t have to keep using heroin or other opiates. At Serenity House Detox & Recovery, concerned therapists routinely work with people just like you who want to quit. Call 866-294-5306 to talk to an intake specialist for more information.