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What to Expect During an Opioid Drug Detox


Published: June 21, 2023

Opioid addiction is a prevalent problem in several countries worldwide, with 16 million individuals having or currently experiencing an opioid use disorder. Breaking free from the grips of opioid addiction requires determination, support, and professional guidance. One crucial step in the journey to recovery is undergoing a drug detox.

Completing a drug detox is not only uncomfortable but also potentially dangerous. Seeking professional help is vital for a safe and successful recovery. Rockland Treatment Center is an excellent resource for those looking to detox from opioid addiction. In this guide, we’ll discuss what to expect during an opioid drug detox and how you can prepare.

Understanding Opioid Withdrawal and Dangers

Opioid withdrawal refers to the physical and psychological symptoms that occur when an individual reduces or stops using opioids. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and even dangerous, depending on the severity of the addiction and the specific opioid used. Some common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating and chills
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate
  • Strong cravings for opioids

It’s important to note that severe opioid withdrawal symptoms may pose serious risks to an individual’s health. In some cases, medical complications may arise. These complications may include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and increased heart rate, which may be life-threatening. That is why it’s crucial to seek professional help during the detoxification process.

The Stages of an Opioid Drug Detox

An opioid drug detox typically consists of several stages, each with its own challenges and milestones. Knowing what to expect during each stage can help you prepare for the road ahead and make sure you are in the best position to reach a successful recovery. Here’s what you can expect during an opioid detox:

Guided Detox: Medical Supervision and Assessment

During the guided detox stage, medical professionals conduct a thorough assessment of your overall health, addiction history, and specific needs. Based on this evaluation, they create a personalized detox plan. Throughout the detox process, you will receive close medical supervision and support to ensure your safety and comfort. As you undergo your drug detox, your healthcare team will monitor your vital signs, provide necessary medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and adjust the drug detox plan as needed.

Withdrawal Symptom Onset

Opioid withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 6-12 hours after the last use. This stage can involve intense physical and psychological symptoms such as nausea, muscle aches, anxiety, and cravings. Peak withdrawal symptoms typically last about a week, and the intensity may vary depending on the individual’s addiction severity and other factors.

The peak of this stage is the most grueling and is when many individuals give up on their recovery. Therefore, most individuals will need support from family, friends, and healthcare professionals to manage the symptoms. As time passes, your withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside. Most withdrawal symptoms tend to be gone within two to three weeks.

Supporting Recovery: Care and Medication-assisted Treatment

Once the assessment is complete, the detox process begins with medical supervision and support. During this stage, you will be closely monitored by trained professionals. Medical supervision is especially crucial during an opioid drug detox because withdrawal symptoms can be intense and, sometimes, dangerous. To assist with the discomfort of withdrawal, you may be prescribed medications such as buprenorphine. These medications are also effective in helping individuals maintain their sobriety once they have completed detox and entered a recovery program. 

Healing Together: Individual and Group Therapy

After your withdrawal symptoms have subsided, you will gradually transition into recovery. This drug detox stage is all about learning to cope with cravings and triggers, developing healthy habits, and building a strong support network. During this process, you may attend individual therapy sessions as well as group therapy with other recovering addicts. The psychological support provided during this stage will help you remain on the path to recovery.

Relapse Prevention: Aftercare Planning

Addiction is an ongoing battle, and even after you have completed a drug detox, there will still be challenges on the road to recovery. The final stage involves developing a relapse prevention plan and preparing for ongoing recovery. Having a plan can help you stay focused and motivated in your recovery. However, going through relapse prevention alone can be difficult. That’s why seeking professional help from rehab centers like Rockland Treatment Center is vital. 

Find Your Beacon of Hope With Rockland Treatment Center

Embarking on a recovery journey is a brave and transformative decision. With the right support and guidance, you can regain control of your life and create a brighter future. Rockland Treatment Center offers a compassionate and comprehensive approach to addiction recovery. Our experienced team of professionals is dedicated to helping individuals overcome addiction and build a foundation for lasting recovery. If you or a loved one is ready to break free from opioid addiction, contact us today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

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