What’s the easy way to kick opiates? News flash — there is no such thing as an easy way out once you are physically dependent on opiates. If you’re addicted as well, it’s even worse. The only ways to avoid having to kick opiates is to either remain on them indefinitely or never start taking them in the first place. Asking if there’s an easy way out is like asking if there’s an easy way to get through childbirth. Sorry, no. You’re either going to push the kid out yourself or it will be cut out of you during a cesarean operation, which is major abdominal surgery.
Don’t Underestimate Opioid Withdrawal
While there is no easy way out, there are some methods for kicking opiates that work better than others. Unless your dependence is very mild, which would mean you’ve been taking no more than double a normal dose for no longer than a few months at most, cold turkey is not a good choice. Opioid withdrawal is tough. It’s bigger and meaner than you are. It will make you so sick you’ll run screaming for the first opiate you can find just to get relief. A very low level of use might be manageable cold turkey, but higher doses and longer use times measured in many months or years is out of the question. While opioid withdrawal is typically not physically dangerous, it’s so awful few people can stand it for long.
Opiate and opioid withdrawal typically involve some or all of the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme weakness
- Restless leg syndrome
- Muscle tremors and twitches
- Stomach, bone and muscle pain
- Inability to concentrate
- Hot and cold flashes
These symptoms can range in severity from mild to extreme, but they’re usually pronounced and very difficult to endure. You can expect symptoms to last from anywhere to a week to more than a month. Intensity of symptoms is usually directly related to the intensity of drug use and is almost always dose and timeframe related.
Kicking it on Your Own
You might be able to kick small doses of weaker opioids like codeine, tramadol and hydrocodone by yourself if you can stand the symptoms for a week or so. These drugs tend to produce the mildest symptoms compared to the heavy hitters like oxycodone, hydromorphone, morphine and heroin. If you’re addicted to those, the withdrawal will be miserable, guaranteed. It can go on for many weeks without much improvement. Both buprenorphine, the narcotic in Suboxone and methadone are also known for protracted withdrawals. They’re even worse in many ways because they’re long-acting, and it takes the body a much longer time to eliminate them.
For a mild dependence, you may be able to do it at home. Plan a week without any obligations. Stock up on movies to watch and books to read or other activities that don’t take a lot of effort. You’ll probably feel very weak and not much up to a lot of activity. Make sure you have your laundry done and have plenty of clean clothes. Withdrawal can produce a smelly type of sweat and other odors, so you’ll want to change your clothes, sheets and pillow cases frequently. You’ll need water, ice tea or juice to stay hydrated. Don’t consume any dairy products until well after any vomiting has subsided on its own. Get some loperamide at the drugstore to help with diarrhea. If not treated, this diarrhea can be severe enough to interrupt any sleep you might get and can also lead to dehydration. You can also look up the Thomas Recipe online and follow that. Some people say it really works.
For everyone else, you will probably need opioid medication like Suboxone or methadone to get through the worst of it. There is nothing wrong with using these drugs as a means to an end. Although many people stay on them for the long term, you don’t have to. You can use them to taper down and reduce your brain’s dependence on opioids. A three-week methadone or Suboxone detox is typical. Your drug treatment professional will figure your starting dose and then reduce that slowly. Trust me, it’s a whole lot better than cold turkey. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Get some help.
For More Information
If you’d like more information about drug detox and treatment, call us at 833-497-3812 anytime. We have lots of resources to share with you and can help you find the best treatment facility for you in your area. We’ve helped many others, and we can help you, too.