Opioid withdrawal is famously awful. It’s often described as the worst flu you’ve ever had, but what makes it even worse is that you know you can stop it any time if you just use again. For that reason, withdrawal is a major barrier to recovering from opioid use disorder. People often try to detox with the best intentions but give up after a few days because withdrawal becomes too intense. Symptoms may include irritability, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sweating, shaking, runny nose, excessive tears, bone and muscle aches, headache, anxiety, and agitation. There have been very few cases of people dying from opioid withdrawal and those cases have typically been from dehydration, but it is often an unpleasant experience. However, it can’t be avoided if you want to quit using opioids. Here are some ways you can lessen the misery of opioid withdrawal and start your recovery.
Detox in a clinic.
The best advice is just to do a medical detox. That way, you won’t have to make your own meals or do anything else but get the drugs out of your system. More importantly, you will have people around you making sure you stay hydrated and that your vital signs are all stable. This is especially important if you have a medical condition that might be exacerbated by extra stress on your body. It also increases your commitment to actually making it through detox, rather than quitting at the height of the discomfort.
If you’re detoxing in a clinic, someone will be making sure you get enough fluids, but it can’t be stressed enough that you need to stay hydrated. Many people enter detox already dehydrated and the diarrhea and sweating from withdrawal only make it worse. And it’s not just a matter of safety. Even mild dehydration can cause headache, dizziness, and dry mouth, symptoms you’re probably experiencing anyway. And severe dehydration can cause changes in blood pressure, elevated heart rate, fever, confusion, seizure, or coma. Withdrawal is bad enough without stacking dehydration on top of it. Keep some water or a drink with electrolytes near you at all times and sip it regularly.
Hot showers and baths.
Hot showers and baths are great for a number of reasons. First, you’ll be sweating a lot and you probably will feel gross. Regular hot baths or showers help you feel a bit fresher. Second, many people get chills when detoxing. A hot bath can relieve that. In fact, some people say it’s the only way they can get warm. Third, many people ache during detox and a hot bath or shower can help relax aching muscles. Finally, a hot shower or bath can help ease the anxiety and agitation many people feel while detoxing.
Go easy on your stomach.
You may not feel like eating very much, but if you do, take it easy. During detox, your digestive system is in total disarray. Stick to bland foods that are easy to digest. Soup is good, as are rice, crackers, and toast.
When it comes down to it, there’s only so much you can do for your symptoms. One way to deal with the discomfort of detox is to try to distract yourself. Anything that holds your attention is a good option, whether it be reading, watching TV, or playing video games.
Arbor Behavioral Healthcare offers an integrative and holistic approach to treat substance abuse and a wide variety of addictions, as well as underlying mental health and psychological issues. All of the addiction recovery programs offered by The Arbor are designed to heal the mind, body, and spirit leading to a lifetime of sobriety, health and wellness. If you’re ready to find healing and restoration in a peaceful, loving environment, please call us today at 844-560-7269.
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