As a consequence of America’s deadly Opioid Crisis, more than 115 Americans die from an overdose in a single day.
In fact, nearly 66% of drug overdoses happen with drugs that can be classified as opioids.
The takeaway here?
The Opioid Crisis is not only still in full force within the United States, it may actually be getting even more severe.
Luckily, help is available for those who want to break the cycle of addiction and get clean and sober. While many addicts fear the potential social consequences of life without opioids, many also worry that they won’t be able to handle the process of opiate withdrawal.
Looking for advice on how to make it through the difficult, but incredibly rewarding, opiate withdrawal period?
If so, then read on.
A Brief Timeline
To overcome opiate withdrawal, it’s important that you first know what to expect. It is true that, while this class of drugs is one of the hardest to overcome an addiction to, it also has shorter physical effects than the withdrawal periods of other drugs.
However, the mental impact of withdrawal is often severe.
In the first three days of withdrawal, you’re the most likely to relapse.
You may find that you’re overly aggressive, experience serious mood swings, and perhaps even want to become violent.
You’ll also experience the physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
These include headaches, sweating, insomnia and nausea, issues with digestion, and aches and pains. Many people may also experience high anxiety and panic attacks.
After you make it through the first three days, you’re well on your way to beating withdrawal.
You likely still deal with a feeling of the shakes, you may not be very hungry, and you’ll probably deal with exhaustion.
After about a week, it will be time to focus on your long-term recovery process and, most importantly, your overall mental health.
Advice For Overcoming Opiate Withdrawal
Now that you have a better understanding of the timeline associated with withdrawal, let’s take a quick look at the best methods of survival if you’ve been a victim of the Opioid Crisis.
1. Detox In A Treatment Center
The reality is that detoxing and going through the symptoms of withdrawal without professional support and medical supervision can be incredibly dangerous.
No matter how strong you think you are, the truth is that you’re much more likely to relapse, or perhaps even face serious setbacks or death, if you try to detox on your own.
If possible, enter a detox and rehabilitation center to make it easier.
Plus, doing so will also increase your chances of staying clean and sober in the long-term.
2. Fuel Your Body
If you’ve been struggling with an opioid addiction, then chances are you haven’t been giving your body the nutrition it needs for quite some time.
We mentioned above that you’ll likely deal with a loss of appetite in the first few days of your withdrawal.
However, once you’re ready to start eating again, you need to begin to pay attention to the foods you put inside your body.
Above anything else, make it a point to drink as much water as you’re able to keep down during the detox process. If you become dehydrated, you put yourself at serious risk — and the opiate withdrawal process will only become more uncomfortable.
When you’re ready to take on solid food, make it a point to avoid anything that’s processed and unhealthy. Reach for vegetables, lean proteins, and a few fruits.
This will help to fuel your body without overwhelming your already weak system.
Try things like nuts, olive oil, kale and other leafy greens, and even salmon.
If you want to take natural vitamins and supplements throughout the process, first, talk to your doctor.
3. Pay Attention To Bathroom Habits
It may not be pleasant to think about, but when you’re going through opiate withdrawal, you may struggle to go to the bathroom.
While some may struggle with diarrhea, others may find that they’re faced with severe constipation. If you experience the latter, then we suggest taking a mild laxative to help get things moving.
Also, be aware that some of the medication you’re given during the detox process may cause you to need a bathroom a little more frequently than you’re used to. This is normal, but can be severe for some patients.
4. Sleep, Sleep, And Sleep Some More
Our final piece of advice when it comes to surviving opiate withdrawal?
Make sure you’re getting as much sleep as you can. Aim for a minimum of eight hours every night.
In some cases, once you’ve made it past the first three days of withdrawal, you may still experience trouble with sleeping. If this happens, you can speak to medical professionals about potentially using a sleeping medication.
However, you shouldn’t expect to get a completely normal sleeping schedule back until about six months after you’ve stopped using.
Do You Or Someone You Love Struggle With Opiate Addiction?
We know that the thought of going through opiate withdrawal is intimidating.
However, we can guarantee that it’s worth it if it means you’ll live the rest of your life clean and sober.
Remember, during the detox process, get plenty of rest, fluids, and healthy, unprocessed foods. Also, if at all possible, seek the help of a professional medical team or rehabilitation center.
Methadone treatment has been especially helpful in combatting an addiction to opioids.
Looking to learn more about whether methadone is right for you? Ready to find a clinic in your area?
If so, spend some time on our website to set yourself on the road to recovery.