Opiate addiction completely transforms an individual’s entire life. From having physical and mental health problems to neglecting personal obligations, addiction doesn’t only affect the person addicted, but the person’s entire family as well. Because of the complexity of addiction, there are many things that you should take into consideration when getting ready to get off opiates.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain — they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.” Because addiction changes the structure of the brain, to get off opiates is more complicated than simply stopping use of the drug.

Many people wonder, why are opiates dangerous? Opiates are potent, powerful, and potentially addictive drugs that are derived from the poppy plant and used to relieve pain within individuals. Common opiates include heroin, morphine, codeine, and opium. Even after centuries of use, opiates are still the most effective medications for relieving pain. While opiates such as morphine and codeine can be prescribed by physicians to relieve pain, heroin is one opiate that has no medical use. Even though most opiates are generally safe when used as directed by a physician, they can create dependence and addiction when used improperly or for long periods of time.

We tend to see the word opioid used more frequently than opiate. So, what is the difference between opiates and opioids? According to The NAABT, “Opioid is used for the entire family of opiates including natural, synthetic, and semi-synthetic. Medical professionals use the word opioid to refer to most opioids, and opiate for a specific non-synthetic opioid; however, many only use opioid.” The many dangers of opiates can be detrimental to one’s physical and mental health.

Detoxification To Get Off Opiates

The first step to get off opiates is the detoxification process, otherwise known as simply “detox.” Detox is the opposite of the cold turkey method to coming off a drug. The cold turkey method consists of abruptly stopping the use of a drug without weaning the body off of the substance. This method usually makes the individual experience severely harsh withdrawal symptoms, and this usually results in the person turning back to their drugs in order to avoid these life-altering symptoms. Detoxing does just the opposite; it gradually allows the body to adapt to the absence of the drug instead of taking it away all at once.

It takes around one week for most people to eliminate opiate drugs from the body and undergo the withdrawal stage. The amount of time the individual has been consuming the drug, the amount of the drug they have been consuming each time, and other factors such as the person’s weight, age, gender, and other health problems can all contribute to the duration of the withdrawal period. Even though the body will not experience the same withdrawal symptoms that would occur when undergoing the cold turkey method, withdrawal from opiate side effects may include insomnia, anxiety, depression, sweating, tremors, and more.

When being monitored by medical professionals, the detoxification process is more safe. They will know how to lower your dosage over time so that the withdrawal symptoms are minimized. Some people use Suboxone to serve as a temporary replacement for the opiates that they are used to having in their body. Suboxone contains the same chemicals that the body is used to, but does not have the same addictive qualities as other opiates.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is a great option for those looking to remove drug temptations, stressors, and triggers from their daily lifestyle. This form of treatment removes addicted individuals out of their typical environment for a period of time so that they can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle away from home. Inpatient rehabilitation facilities are usually located in a peaceful setting so the individual can avoid all distractions, focus solely on recovering, and give them time to reflect back on the things that have happened to them in their lives.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment utilizes many of the same techniques as inpatient treatment, except the individual can stay at their home while they are undergoing treatment. This form of treatment is the most effective for people who have a great support system at home, have a regular work schedule, and want to maintain their daily lifestyle as they are going through treatment. Although, outpatient therapy requires an abundance of personal motivation accountability because they have to make sure they attend the support groups, counseling sessions, and the other therapy forms that they are required to attend regularly.

Why is Professional Help Important?

It is very important for the addicted individual’s physical and mental health to seek help from medical professionals. Many people who are trying to come off of opiate drugs believe that their bodies will go back to normal once the drug has been removed from their bodies, but it takes some time after the fact as well.

Opiate addiction causes more than just the individual’s body and physical health to become impacted; their social life and personal life have been affected too. By combining individual and family counseling, nutrition and exercise programs, and aftercare programs into their treatment program, they will be able to learn the interpersonal skills they need to mend their relationships and gain the life skills necessary to go back to their normal lifestyle.

It is important that you find professional help and guidance when deciding to come off of opiate medications. For more information on the detoxification process and other forms of addiction treatment, call Stop Your Addiction as soon as possible. At Stop Your Addiction, you will be able to find the resources you need to start your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Call Stop Your Addiction today to achieve long-term sobriety and get off opiates!