Opioid Detox

A Guide To Opioid Detox

What Is Opioid Detox?

Opioid use leads to changes in the body and a build-up of toxins. When someone stops using opioids, they typically begin to experience the physical symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms are a tell-tale sign that the body is starting to detox from opioid use.

Opioid Definition

Opioids are a broad class of drugs. They are defined as drugs that work on the opioid receptors in the brain to cause sedating and pain-relieving effects. These drugs are highly addictive and are medically prescribed for pain management. Opioids also include street drugs like heroin. Common types of opioids include:
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Opium
  • Oxycontin
  • Morphine
  • Percocet
  • Vicodin
  • Codeine
  • Demerol

Why Does Opioid Detox And Withdrawal Happen?

Opioid withdrawal happens because when someone uses opioids, they develop a chemical dependence. Opioids are highly addictive and when taken for longer periods both tolerance and dependence develop. Over time, opioids also cause changes to both the brain and body. The body gets “used” to the presence of opioids and begins to need them. When someone stops using opioids, their body is no longer receiving the drug and begins to go into withdrawal.

Symptoms of Opioid Detox

Opioid detox can be compared to a very severe flu. Symptoms can be both mental and physical. Symptoms of opioid detox include:
  • Increased pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Insomnia and anxiety
  • Bone and muscle pain, muscle spasms
  • Sweating, teary eyes, and runny nose
  • Goosebumps, enlarged pupils, and increased respiratory rate
  • Cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
In mild cases, these symptoms can be managed at home. However, they do have the potential to be severe and lead to life-threatening complications. Working through a detox program can help you better manage these symptoms, if not completely avoid them.

Opioid Detox Timelines

Opioid detox timelines depend on many things. Detox from shorter-acting opioids (heroin, fentanyl, hydrocodone) begins within 8-10 hours of the last use. Detox from short-acting opioids usually lasts 4-10 days. Detox from longer-acting opioids begins within 12-48 hours of the last use and can last 10-20 days.

In severe cases, Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) can develop. With PAWS, symptoms of detox and withdrawal can last months or years. Working with a detox center can help prevent PAWS through symptom management.

Factors Affecting Opioid Detox

The above-mentioned timelines are not a fast rule. Opioid detox looks different for everyone. Age, addiction severity, and general overall health play a major role in the detox timeline. Also, those who are addicted to more than one drug may have longer detox timelines. Using a detox program can shorten detox length and severity. At Essence, our detox programs are designed to get you back to feeling better sooner.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) And Detox

For many individuals who are addicted to opioids, medication-assisted treatment is the best course of action for detox. Medication-assisted treatment works by reducing or eliminating withdrawal and detox symptoms. Medication-assisted treatment also helps reduce the risk of relapse. This is because the medications used in MAT block cravings as well as the effects of opioids. By managing withdrawal symptoms with MAT, you can begin to work on addressing your addiction sooner. Commonly used MAT drugs include:

  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone/Naloxone
  • Buprenorphine

Benefits of Medication Assisted Treatment

MAT for opioid detox and addiction treatment has other benefits as well. MAT has been shown to:

  • Increase patient survival 
  • Help individuals stay in treatment 
  • Decrease criminal activities associated with opioid use 
  • Help individuals get a job and stay employed

Opioid Detox At Essence Healthcare

Opioid detox can be frightening and difficult to manage on your own. At Essence, we work hard to ensure your care and safety during this sensitive period. We offer medical detox, subacute detox, and medication-assisted treatment programs. Our high staff-to-patient ratio ensures that no matter which program you choose – you will be in good hands.

Additionally, we have several treatment programs to choose from upon finishing detox. At Essence, we understand that treatment is not one-size-fits-all. Our programs are custom for each individual and employ a variety of therapeutic techniques.

Why Choose Essence?

Recovery is a long journey, and having a supportive caring environment is key to success. At Essence, you’re not just a patient – you’re family. We take special care to ensure that you feel right at home at our facilities. We also cater to the needs of the LGBTQ+ community by providing queer-friendly treatment. Give us a call today and start your journey to an opioid-free life.

About Essence Healthcare

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our major specialties include intensive outpatient program (IOP), detox, residential, and partial hospitalization program (PHP). Because we want the best for our patients, we skillfully blend different treatment programs to offer a unique recovery path for each and every one of them.