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Five Facts About Opioid Withdrawal Treatment
There are five facts about opioid withdrawal treatment that everyone wanting to get off opioids needs to know.
If you are looking for an effective, comfortable opioid detox for yourself or someone you care about, read this entire page. You will then be fully armed and ready to make opioid withdrawal work for you!
The five essential facts you need to know about opioid withdrawal treatment are:
- What is opioid withdrawal treatment?
- Why is opioid withdrawal so painful?
- What can be done to minimize withdrawal symptoms?
- How long does opioid withdrawal treatment take?
- What comes after opioid withdrawal treatment?
1. What is opioid withdrawal treatment?
Opioid withdrawal is the process of eliminating an opioid from a body that has become dependent on it.
Opioid withdrawal treatment refers to the method someone chooses to accomplish withdrawal from opioid dependence.
Withdrawing from opioid dependence is extremely uncomfortable, and can last for days, weeks or even months, depending on the chosen treatment method.
Treatment plans always include attention to dealing with the misery of withdrawal. This is true whether it’s attempted:
- alone at home, cold turkey – maximum pain and discomfort
- at a normal detox facility – one step up from cold turkey but about the same discomfort
- at an eminent medical detox center like Novus – the top of the line with minimized discomfort.
Novus provides highly specialized round-the-clock medical attention that minimizes discomfort and the time of withdrawal. This is never available at normal detox facilities.
2. Why is opioid withdrawal so painful?
There are a several reasons that opioid withdrawal creates such a storm of discomfort. Here are some of the reasons:
Roughly 60 percent of an average adult male is made up of water. For females it’s around 55 percent. When these water levels drop below normal – called dehydration – every single cell in the body – all the organs, muscles, tendons, your brain, even your bones, start to suffer. Nothing works right. It all just starts to shut down.
Almost everyone in opioid withdrawal is dehydrated. They’re already dehydrated because they haven’t been maintaining a healthy intake of water. They’ve been drinking coffee and soda and tea and juice and energy drinks. Problem is these all cause dehydration.
Now they’re in withdrawal, and they’re losing even more water – diarrhea, vomiting, frequent urination. It’s an open invitation to increased pain and suffering. To learn more about the serious side effects of dehydration on withdrawal, read our hydration series here and here.
Endorphins are hormone-like substances that are made in the brain and central nervous system to block or reduce pain and discomfort. They are why we “feel good” after a workout.
Endorphins are also generated by opioids – they’re what block the pain when you take your Vicodin or Percocet. However, they are also what make you feel high if you take more than your doctor prescribed. The effects of endorphins are what lead to addiction.
The problem is that after taking opioids for a while, the body produces less endorphins on its own. It relies on opioids to make endorphins. That is called dependence.
When a dependent body does not get enough opioids, everything starts to feel painful and bad because there are no endorphins to block any discomfort. These are opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Depletion of vitamins and minerals
When you see athletes downing bottles of a sports drink like Gatorade, they are attempting to replace the water and the minerals like potassium and calcium, called electrolytes, that they’ve lost due to heavy perspiration.
Your body is in somewhat the same condition during withdrawal. Because of the involuntary fluid losses mentioned earlier, you are losing the fluids and minerals you need to function normally. And it gets worse. The more electrolytes you lose, the more difficult it is for your body to retain the fluids it needs.
The most effective way to replace fluid and electrolyte loss is to drink lots of water and get an intravenous (IV) drip of minerals, vitamins and special supplements. These are the materials your body desperately needs during opioid withdrawal.
Fear of withdrawal
Opioid withdrawal is mentally and emotionally stressful just because of the withdrawal side effects. But it’s especially stressful when you don’t know what’s going to happen and you’re scared half to death. When you’re worried and frightened, your blood pressure can spike, your heart rate can soar, and the anxiety can just escalate out the roof.
This alone can drive someone back to the opioids, even before the real withdrawal symptoms have started.
3. What can be done to minimize withdrawal symptoms?
We’ve covered pretty much everything about the causes and dangers of opioid withdrawal. These details are essential to understanding withdrawal and helping to make it work for you.
Now let’s cover the flip side to the causes of pain and discomfort – minimizing withdrawal symptoms, making it as easy as possible to get through your opioid detox.
Dehydration, Vitamins and minerals
At Novus, proprietary IVs are an essential component of opioid withdrawal treatment. The Novus opioid detox protocols maintain correct hydration and levels of electrolytes and fluids in exact ratios for optimum health. IVs go directly into the bloodstream to immediately hydrate and repair the body. Novus IVs also include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other important substances.
Fear and anxiety
Knowing what to expect, and having people around you 24/7 who are “old hands” at helping folks get through it are hugely important to a successful withdrawal. Our experienced and caring staff is an essential part of the Novus opioid withdrawal treatment.
This is the key to the comfortable Novus opioid withdrawal treatment. Novus follows a proprietary medical protocol using buprenorphine to replace the patient’s natural endorphin production that’s been lost due to opioid dependence. The medication is carefully reduced over time until the patient’s own natural production resumes. This signals that the withdrawal period is near the end. Other medications are also used when needed, based on Novus’ proprietary research.
4. How long does opioid withdrawal treatment take?
Everyone wants to know how long their opioid withdrawal treatment will last.
The quick answer is “usually a few days, maybe a week or so.” And that applies to most patients.
But unlike the “usual” detox facilities, we don’t do a “one-size-fits-all” detox that takes a set number of days. At Novus, it takes as long as it takes, because no two patients are the same.
Your Novus detox will be different from everyone else’s because of these factors:
- Your unique DNA and metabolism
- Your age – chronological and biological
- Your levels of health, hydration, vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Whether you are withdrawing from just one or several substances
- How long you were taking them, and the amount(s) you habitually consumed.
Some older people turn out to be healthier and more able to get through detox sooner than younger people. But the truth of the matter is, when folks are dealing with their lives, a little extra time isn’t a major consideration.
5. What comes after opioid withdrawal treatment?
Patients who complete their Novus medical detox programs exactly how we designed them are no longer experiencing withdrawal symptoms. They are physically free from dependence and are ready to take their next step toward getting their lives back.
For a simple dependence not complicated by addiction, this is often the end of their treatment. We stay in touch and make sure they’re doing well, and they should coordinate with a medical health professional to help them complete their transition.
For addicted patients, the next step is rehab – the longer the better. The obligatory 28-day in-patient insurance standard is almost always woefully inadequate. If patients don’t have the resources for 90 or 120 days inpatient care, the one-month is at least a start. But we always encourage patients to continue with as long an outpatient program as they can.
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- 5 Facts About Opioid Withdrawal Treatment
- Opiate/Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
- Opioid Induced Pain
- Opiates and Pregnancy Find Out If Your Insurance Will Pay
- Assessment: Do I Need Detox or Rehab?
- What is Detox?
- How Long Will It Take?
- What Will It Cost?
- Symptoms of Withdrawal
- Our Facility
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