Opiates are narcotic analgesics and contain natural or synthetic opium. Derivatives of this drug commonly include:
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Oxycodone (Percodan, Percocet)
Opiate addiction can lead to emotional distress and the onset or activation of mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, to name a few. Often, opiate addiction impacts relationships, friendships, and career experiences. The effects of opiate addiction are far-reaching. Many individuals benefit from comprehensive, integrated treatment that treats both the substance dependence and any accompanying emotional or mental health conditions at the same time.
Individuals who are able to build up a support network and who are able to participate in an effective opioid detox with the benefit of a medically-supervised detoxification program stand a much better chance of full recovery.
How Opiate Dependence Begins
The human brain produces a set amount of natural painkiller hormones. Opiate dependence begins when the brain perceives an influx of external opioids. With these added opioid drugs, the brain begins to stop producing natural painkiller hormones, and begins to rely fully on these drugs to provide natural pain tolerance and pain management.
Over time, the brain slows and may even stop the natural production of painkiller chemicals. When the individual suddenly stops taking the external opioid drugs, the brain experiences a temporary, but extraordinarily uncomfortable pain crisis. This initial feeling, and accompanying bouts of nausea, fever, or shakes lead many people to return to opiate drugs once again. This uncomfortable feeling is known as opioid withdrawal.
To completely and suddenly cut opiates out of the body without medical supervision can be dangerous and the extreme withdrawals on a fragile body of a user could result in death. Instead, a medically supervised detoxification is recommended for the health of the individual.
Opiate Detox Methods
Traditional methods of detoxification include opioid agonist drugs like:
- Levo-alpha-acetylmethadol (LAAM)
These drugs are helpful to block some withdrawal symptoms. These drugs act like opiates but do not produce the same rush and are slowly reduced to wean the patient back to health.
The clonidine patch is another method that allows the drug to have a consistent and gradual dispense in the body for a severe day period of time. For the first two days with this method, Clonidine should also be taken orally since medications through the skin take two days to reach a steady effectiveness. Blood pressure should be monitored in this method because clonidine causes hypotension and sedation.
Relapses are possible and a patient may have to undergo additional detoxification if needed.
Another option for opioid detoxification is a medically-supervised detox. During this type of treatment, the individual is offered around-the clock medical supervision in a comfortable, home-like environment that offers some medical assistance to ease discomfort, but opioid agonist drugs are used only as needed and each individual receives an individualized treatment plan.
Opiate Addiction Help
If you or someone that you know is ready to go through a detox from an opiate addiction, or if you have questions or concerns about the process, we are available 24 hours a day to help you through the process. Please call us at: