Opiates and opioids, also known as narcotics, are commonly prescribed by medical professionals for pain relief. Unfortunately, these drugs can also be very addictive, even after just a few weeks of use. Consistent abuse of these drugs can change the way a person’s brain chemistry works, resulting in serious physical and psychological dependence.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to an opiate or opioid, it’s never too late to get help. The caring addiction professionals at Briarwood Detox Center understand where you’re coming from and we are here to support you, however long it takes.
Opiates are drugs that are derived from opium, which is a substance that is obtained from the poppy plant. The term “opioid” is used to refer to the entire family of opiate drugs, including synthetic, semi-synthetic and natural opiates.
Opioid drugs include illegal substances such as heroin, but they also include a host of prescription narcotic pain relievers, including:
- Vicodin (Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen)
- Percocet or Oxycontin (Oxycodone)
- Demerol (Meperidine)
- Dilaudid (Hydromorphone)
Although opioids are commonly prescribed to treat pain, they are also highly addictive. Consistent opioid abuse is extremely harmful and affects many different parts of the body.
- Brain – Opioids flood the brain with dopamine, creating a sense of euphoria. Over time, the brain adjusts to the presence of artificial opioids and rewires itself so that objects and activities that used to bring natural pleasure no longer do so.
- Lungs – Opioids depress the central nervous system, slowing breathing and interfering with normal functioning of the lungs.
- Stomach and intestines – Opioid abuse slows down bowel functions, causing constipation, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.
- Liver – Opioids, especially when combined with alcohol, can severely damage the liver. With repeated abuse, the liver loses its ability to process toxins, and as a result, opioid abusers can suffer severe liver damage or failure.
- Kidneys – Chronic abuse of opioid drugs can severely damage the kidneys or cause complete kidney failure.
- Heart – Opioid abuse also damages the heart and can cause a heart attack.
The opioid crisis in America is a growing concern and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 33,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose in 2015 and roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients who are prescribed opiates for chronic pain end up misusing them. Prescription opioids may also serve as a gateway to illicit drug abuse, as about 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
Do I Need Detox?
Most people who are addicted to opiates and opioids need a medically assisted detox program to help manage the uncomfortable symptoms they experience during withdrawal. We can help you determine if you need detox with a clinical and medical assessment.
Why Choose Medically Assisted Detox?
While unassisted opiate and opioid detox are not life-threatening, it is very uncomfortable. Oftentimes individuals who attempt to detox on their own relapse due to the severe discomfort they experience.
Individuals who undergo medically assisted detox are less likely to relapse because they have access to medical and therapeutic support, as well as medications that can lessen the severity of their withdrawal symptoms.
Briarwood Detox Center offers clinically monitored opiate and opioid detox programs for men and women in a safe, comfortable facility located in Austin, Texas. We will provide a personalized program based on your needs and current condition. Our nurses and therapy team are here to provide the support you need to not only complete the detox program but also prepare for entry into inpatient or outpatient rehab.
Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms during opiate and opioid withdrawal may include:
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle aches
- Intense cravings
Management of Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal experience is different for every person, but our medical team will ensure your safety and comfort by managing any physical symptoms you experience throughout the course of your detox program. Our experienced medical staff knows how to recognize and treat opioid withdrawal symptoms and will be available 24/7 to provide assistance as needed. We help ensure the comfort of our clients by using tapering medications to gradually diminish physical symptoms of withdrawal until they are completely gone. We also treat other uncomfortable side effects and symptoms of withdrawal as appropriate. Our medically assisted opioid detox program is the safest and most comfortable way to discontinue all use of opioids.
Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal Timeline
- 6 to 12 hours after the last dose: Early symptoms of withdrawal from short-acting opiates will begin to appear. These typically include muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety.
- 1-2 days after the last dose: Withdrawal symptoms of long-acting opiates appear and typically include muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety.
- 3 days after the last dose: Withdrawal symptoms typically peak at this time. You may experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, depression, diarrhea, goosebumps, and drug cravings.
- 5-7 days after the last dose: By this time, symptoms have mostly receded but some individuals may still experience lingering nausea, anxiety, and have difficulties eating.
What Happens During Opiate and Opioid Detox?
We want to make sure you feel welcome and at home here at Briarwood. The first thing we’ll do when you arrive at our facility is give you a tour. You and your family will also meet your detox counselor and resident advocate at this time. We will walk you through your onboarding paperwork and answer any questions you have before a nurse performs your individual health assessment. This will take place during your first hour on-site at our facility.
Detox protocol will begin based on the nurse’s initial health assessment. Within your first 24 hours here, our medical team will also perform a comprehensive need-finding assessment and gather more information to effectively meet your needs throughout your detox program.
A medical team is on-site at Briarwood 24/7 so you and your family can rest easy knowing you are well taken care of. During your detox, our medical team will monitor you constantly to make sure you are comfortable and safe while experiencing withdrawal. This process is highly individualized, allowing for frequent communication between you and our medical team to best meet your needs.
Individual and Group Counseling
The therapeutic component of your detox program will be facilitated by certified psychiatric staff who are experts in addiction treatment. Throughout your counseling here, the main focus will be on addressing physical and emotional issues that arise during your program. Detox isn’t just about ridding your body of addictive substances—it’s also about shedding a toxic way of living. These counseling sessions will help you identify damaging behaviors and thought processes and learn how to replace them with more productive ones.
How Long Does Opiate and Opioid Detox Take?
Detox for opiates and opioids may take anywhere from 3-7 days, but the timeframe will vary greatly from person to person. The length of your stay depends on your individual circumstances such as your drug abuse history, co-existing conditions, and medical status. We can tell you how long you can expect to be in detox after we perform your physical evaluation.