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How to deal with opiate withdrawls?

Discussion in 'Opiate Withdrawal Treatment' started by blinghoblanger, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @excuses... Please don't be too hard on yourself. You're trying to get clean. That's the important thing. That said, I don't think using heroin--even a small amount--is really the best idea to offset withdrawal symptoms. Have you considered seeing an addiction specialist? They can assess your situation and recommend the best next steps for you. They may also be able to help you with withdrawal, possibly by prescribing Suboxone or another medication. I'm a huge advocate for using medical professionals to help overcome addiction. Trying to do things on your own can often be unsuccessful and dangerous.

    Go to the American Society of Addiction Medicine's website and use their "Find a Doctor" tool to find an addiction specialist in your area. Here's the link:

    We're here to help and support you however we can and we're rooting for you big time. I would just much rather have you under a doctor's care than trying to alleviate withdrawal symptoms by using heroin. That's just not a safe option.
  2. Katethenurse

    Katethenurse Member

    If you look at my profile you will be able to tell I am a huge fan of recovery and I think that stopping a drug of abuse is a very good thing. That being said I am a huge proponent of medically assisted detoxification or withdrawal . There are so many variables involved in withdrawing from an opiate that one is addicted to that there can be a dual diagnosis situation where someone is self-medicating for depression or another disorder , there can be pain issues that need to be addressed by and addictionologist during the time a person is deciding to stop using opiates and many other situations too numerous to mention here . If someone has a history of opiate abuse and or addiction and will experience withdrawal symptoms it is usually suggested that they go through medically assisted detoxication with Suboxone or methadone. The length of time that a person might need to be on one of these medicines will vary from person to person and situation to situation but even while on one of these medications the brain begins to return to functioning in a healthier way. Scientists know now that because of neural plasticity it is possible for the habitual behaviors that had become hardwired in the brain to change to a new and healthier behavior that does not involve drug seeking and using . There is a huge difference between someone taking methadone or Suboxone as prescribed by and addictionologist for an opiate use disorder versus someone using opiates in a way that creates a pattern of highs and lows in the bloodstream . One of the reasons these drugs are preferred in the treatment of opiate use disorder is because they have a very long half-life and it is possible to achieve a steady-state blood level with them and not have the highs and lows of drug levels which are characteristic of drug use disorders. Since the 1960s medically assisted treatment for opiate use disorder's has been the gold standard of treatment when accompanied by behavioral therapy counseling and other whole person approaches to addiction. While about 50% of drug and alcohol users will experience what is called a natural recovery meaning there is no intervention from an outside source most people who are addicted to an opiate have a high incidence of relapse immediately after they stop taking drugs cold turkey. The goal of methadone or Suboxone is harm reduction in the form of helping patients not return to active drug use and allowing them to learn coping mechanisms and other skills which will help them remain sober while alleviating the symptoms of withdrawal which are quite debilitating and terrible. Depending on the amount of time and severity of an opiate use disorder some patients will be on MAT for a period of days and some for years it is very individualized. Withdrawal from Suboxone or methadone is never done abruptly but rather over a long period of time the drug is tapered along with counseling and support of the patient. At a drug treatment center authorized to prescribe methadone and or Suboxone there would be no need to abruptly discontinue one of these medications unless the patient became violent or threatened the staff. Even then most facilities try to do a 30 day taper to minimize the withdrawal symptoms from the medications . But in my experience these drugs are tapered over quite a long period of time to prevent with drawl symptoms from occurring. When looking at the possible side effects of medically assisted treatment it is important to remember that these drugs like methadone and Suboxone are used when patients cannot remain abstinent without assistance - also they allow for the patient to be maintained in a way that their emotional and physical needs can be met without the acute withdrawal associated With cold turkey opiate withdrawal. Efficacy of a holistic program using medically assisted treatment is quite high – Suboxone programs that employee counseling and other modalities average about 70% success rates. Medically assisted treatment also allows for the treatment of post acute withdrawal syndrome which can be a protracted and very uncomfortable time of sub acute withdrawal occurring anywhere from 3 to 6 months after the initial cessation of the opiates of abuse .
    I am just offering this as information because there is definitely a place for medically assisted treatment it is often life saving for patients who are suffering from a long term opiate addiction and trying to stop using drugs. To be clear the goal is harm reduction when using medically assisted treatment or to put it more simply risk versus benefit it is often more beneficial to the patient to be maintained on a treatment drug rather than to continually relapse, engage in high-risk behaviors and experience severe withdrawal symptoms as well as emotional distress.
    For more and factual information about this I refer you to a publication from SAMHSA called T IP 43 and entitled medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction in opioid treatment programs. This is a treatment protocol developed by the department of health and human services for medically assisted treatment. This publication discusses the risks and benefits of methadone and Suboxone as well as many many other facets of medically assisted treatment. Best of luck to anyone out there who reads this and is seeking help
  3. Katethenurse

    Katethenurse Member

    I know from experience that a lapse can be a depressing thing when it happens but it is important to realize that it is part of the disease process called addiction. Sigh It might be helpful to realize that you stopped yourself before you just threw the whole thing in and said I'll just keep using heroin and not try to return to treatment. A lapse is something you can learn from by looking at what led up to it and how it can maybe be prevented in the future. I sincerely hope you do not return to using heroin even in small doses because it is very risky these days with Fentanyl and worse out there on the streets . If you are having severe withdrawal symptoms I would suggest you seek the help of an addictionologist as was suggested by another person or even speak with your family doctor about what can be done to help stop some of the with drawl symptoms. Attitudes these days are changing and Addicts seeking recovery are finding a little bit more compassion out there so I encourage you to try to find someone I eat a medical professional to assist you immediately. I agree with the other writer who answered your post in that you should not be too hard on yourself about this and use it as a learning experience. I wish you the best of luck - it gets easier as you progress in your recovery, I promise
    deanokat likes this.
  4. Hal80

    Hal80 Member

    I too suffered from opiate addiction for 8 years, it is a terrible to withdrawal from however I found a Suboxone doctor and it helped me with the major part of my withdrawal symptoms. I would suggest if they get on suboxone they need to go to therapy to heal the reasons why they used in the first place, also I wouldn't recommend staying on Suboxone for longer then needed. The right doctor will only want you on them for 4 to 6 months tops, anyone else says differently it's because the doctor wants to just make money from your friend. Suboxone and therapy got me clean and I have been clean almost year. I am very happy that I got clean and now live free of any addiction. I wish your friend lots of luck, and they are very lucky to have you by their side. :)
  5. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    @Hal80 congrats on your clean time! that is wonderful! also thanks for sharing. helps others who are battling addiction....