We admire your decision to get clean and free of opioid dependence, congratulations on taking your first steps to recovery. However, as commendable as that decision is, the journey ahead won’t be an easy one. Depending on your level of addiction, you’re going to experience withdrawal symptoms. And along with your orthodox medications, you may also require some home remedies for the opiate withdrawal symptoms…
The opioid crisis in Canada has been a major cause for concern for a while now. Over 11500 opioid-related death cases were recorded between 2016 and 2018. Reports also indicated that as of December 2018, 9.6% of adults who were prescribed opioid medications stated some form of dependence on the product. Some took it in excess, others tampered with the product before taking it, and some took it when they didn’t need it.
Furthermore, the rate of opiate dependence is reinforced with the availability of illegal forms of the substance. The illegal production of drugs like fentanyl makes it easy for addicts to get their fix regularly without a prescription.
That said, opiate dependence is a dangerous disorder. It’s not only life-threatening but also capable of destroying your relationship, family, and all the things you hold dear. In addition, opioid withdrawal symptoms will make you relapse if you’re not careful enough. And sometimes, orthodox medicine may not be enough to counter the withdrawal symptoms. In such cases, you want to consider home remedies for the opiate withdrawal symptoms as you recover.
Signs of Opioid Withdrawal
To help you fully understand what you’re dealing with, it’s important to discuss some of the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. It will help you identify when you’re going through a withdrawal phase and help you guide against relapse.
Contrary to how many people view them, opioid withdrawal symptoms are sometimes subtle. Addicts don’t always roll on the ground in pain or tear up every time they experience withdrawal. Those are the extreme signs. Below are some of the common symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
- Sudden unexplainable muscle ache
- Anxiety and agitation without any form of provocation
- Increased yawning and insomnia. The individual shows signs of drowsiness but can’t seem to fall asleep
- Running nose and increased sweating even in a cool environment.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms can occur anywhere at any time. They generally happen hours after you consume your last dose of the substance. The signs will start with intense cravings for the drugs, then gradually progress into what we stated above. After a while, the withdrawal symptoms will graduate into a more severe phase with signs such as we have below.
- Abdominal cramping
- Dilated pupils
Opioid withdrawal can also cause you to exhibit some behavioural symptoms. For example, you may experience severe mood changes. In very extreme cases, it may result in various mental health disorders.
While people may attribute mental health conditions to result from withdrawing from opioids, most times, they’re not. In most cases, the addict was using the opioid to self-manage these conditions.
So when such an individual stops using the medications, they become vulnerable to their mental health conditions. All the painful moods they were avoiding with the drugs come back to haunt them. As such, we don’t recommend indulging in self-medication or home remedies as your only attempt at combating opioid dependency.
The best strategy is to seek professional help for your recovery. Then you may try home remedies for the opiate withdrawal symptoms. Employing such a recovery strategy will make the withdrawal process more bearable at the very least. It’ll also reduce the chances of a relapse and help you heal faster.
Related Article: What Happens During Detox?
Home Remedies for Opiates Withdrawal
Getting over opioid dependency is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever have to do for yourself. However, it may yet be the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself. The process rarely ever has any side effects, and the result is often a happier, healthier life.
That said, the best place to recover from opioid dependence is an environment designed specifically for that purpose. We’re talking about recovery clinics. These locations have all you need and are devoid of things that can trigger a relapse. However, you can also focus on your recovery at home. But in this case, you need additional help to cope with the opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Home remedies help to ease the opiate withdrawal symptoms and smoothen your recovery process. Below are some of such remedies.
Advising opioid addicts to use OTCs may sound counter-intuitive considering that they may be the original cause of opioid dependency. However, over-the-counter medications are still some of your most effective defences against withdrawal symptoms as they occur. In addition, you can easily take these drugs to address each symptom appropriately specifically.
OTCs are easily accessible since you can purchase them without a prescription from most pharmacies. They’re also usually affordable. Because opiate withdrawal is a recurring condition, you may want to get OTCs in large quantities while preparing for it. This way, you won’t risk running out of stock while going through your withdrawal phase.
You can get the following medications for withdrawal symptoms
- Acetaminophen or Tylenol for pains and muscle aches
- Meclizine (Antivert or Bonine) for nausea
- Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) also for nausea
- Antihistamines, e.g. Benadryl for nausea, vomiting and dizziness
- Loperamide (Imodium) for diarrhea
- NSAIDs such as ibuprofen for pains, muscle ache and abdominal cramps.
Note that these medications can only alleviate the symptoms; they may not eliminate them. Also, it can be tempting to take higher doses of these medications to reduce the symptoms further, resist the temptation. Overdosing on these medications can be dangerous. If these medications are ineffective in alleviating the symptoms, sign up for medical opioid detox programs.
Try Alternative Therapy
There’s little to no scientific evidence to support the efficiency of complementary therapy for withdrawal symptoms. Nonetheless, popular opinion strongly advocates the efficacy of alternative therapy in smoothing the opioid recovery process. Plus, most of these alternative therapies have additional health benefits to alleviating withdrawal symptoms.
Complementary therapies are often traditional healing practices adapted to modern conditions. These practices generally emphasize healing the body through the power of the mind. They have their roots in the belief in the connection between the mind and the body. But beyond what seems like spiritual methods of healing, these practices have a way of helping users relax.
These practices may not alleviate the symptoms; however, they can help you ignore the signs. In addition, alternative therapy practices can put you in a very relaxed state where you’ll barely feel the withdrawal symptoms. When in such conditions, you feel at peace, and you’re better able to cope with distress.
However, you want to take extra care when choosing an alternative therapy as a home remedy for opiate withdrawal. Some alternative therapies are also addictive, and you may end up literally substituting them for the opiate. That said, below are some safe alternative therapies you can opt for while undergoing opiate withdrawal treatment at home or elsewhere.
Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine, and it’s pretty popular as a remedy for various conditions. It involves inserting needles into certain parts of the body for specific effects. Most people recommend it for treating muscle-related problems and chronic pain. It’s also well known for its relaxation capabilities.
Recent reports indicate how acupuncture can help to relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms. The research shows that acupuncture influences the production of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that causes pleasure and is often responsible for addiction.
By reducing the dopamine released in the brain during the period of craving, acupuncture can reduce the extent of the withdrawal symptoms. With constant use, it drastically reduces your cravings for opioids and, with it, the likelihood of a relapse.
Supplements and Vitamins
Similar to over-the-counter medications, you can also take vitamins as home remedies for opiate withdrawal. Supplements can also serve as powerful, non-addictive substitutes to opioids. On the other hand, the vitamins will strengthen your immune system against opioid withdrawal-related ailments such as diarrhea.
Some supplements such as Tai-Kang-Ning are said to be effective for heroin withdrawal. In addition, U’finer, a Chinese herbal blend, is said to repair brain damage resulting from opioid use. Finally, ginseng is what you may call a universal cure, and it has properties that mitigate the effects of opiate withdrawal. These are examples of supplements you can try at home.
Many people also recommend Mitragyna speciosa (Kratom) for countering opiate withdrawal symptoms. Kratom has numerous properties, which makes it effective in reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms. People often describe it as an energy booster, mood enhancer, appetite suppressant and pain reliever.
However, we believe it’s not the best solution against opioid withdrawal symptoms. Kratom has opioid-like properties, which are also very addictive. When you use Kratom, you’re replacing your substance with a different one that has similar effects. So, while recovering from opioid dependency, you’re also transitioning to kratom dependency; that’s not recovery.
We cannot overstate the importance of adhering to a healthy diet during your recovery from opioid dependence. Although it doesn’t exactly sound like a home remedy for opiate withdrawal symptoms nonetheless, it’s an integral part of every recovery process. It doesn’t matter the type of ailment; consuming sufficient nutrients goes a long way.
Then again, it’s most likely you went through malnourishment during your period of addiction to opiates. Addicts tend to pay less attention to their diet, and they usually end up losing significant weight. So it’s essential to get enough nutrients to replenish what you lost. Everyone needs to eat a balanced diet, but it’s crucial for someone detoxing off opiates.
Most times, people will advise you to get a hobby during your recovery period. The whole point of this advice is to get you to find a means of distraction. Distract yourself from thinking about the pain, the withdrawal effects and how you miss the substance. Do this by involving yourself in healthy activities to take your mind off your present condition.
A good habit you can indulge in is reading. Drown yourself in interesting books to forget your worries. You can also watch TV shows, movies and play video games, but don’t spend too much time on those; they’re scarcely productive. Instead, spend more time with family, friends and other loved ones, surround yourself with people who can give you strong emotional support. You’ll find a healthy distraction in all these things.
Some opioid withdrawal symptoms are conditions that’ll make you lose bodily fluids. For example, vomiting, diarrhea, and heavy sweating are ways through which you can lose a significant amount of body fluids. So, to keep healthy during the recovery process, ensure to hydrate frequently. Drink a lot of fluids to replenish lost fluids.
Also, take hot baths with Epsom salts to relieve muscle aches and cramps which occur during withdrawal. This makes the process a lot more bearable and reduces the likelihood of a relapse.
Exercising, Practicing Meditation and Getting Adequate Sleep
Regular exercise increases the production of endorphins in the body. Endorphin helps to counter depression and anxiety tendencies as well as reduce pain. You don’t need to hit the gym frequently; light exercises are enough. However, if you feel like hitting the gym, go for it.
Also, practice meditation. It’s an excellent way to work on your mind and deal with the mental effects of withdrawal from opiates. Meditation helps to train your mind not to dwell on the pain, cravings and negative emotions. Through meditation, you can condition your mind to recover from opioid dependency.
Adequate rest is vital for your recovery. The human body heals better when we’re asleep. Also, getting sufficient rest improves your peace of mind. You’ll take a break from the conscious by sleeping, and you can no longer dwell on the withdrawal effects. However, if you have insomnia during recovery, don’t fret. Listening to soothing music and having a consistent bedtime routine will help you sleep better.
Related Article: Dangers of Alcohol and Drug Detox at Home
Seeking help for recovery will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. However, orthodox medicine may not be all you need; you want to consider some home remedies for opiate withdrawal symptoms. But before opting for home remedies, ensure you are undergoing professional treatment too.
If you are trying to quit your addiction to opioids but don’t know how to, reach out to us at Medical Detox Ontario, we’ll love to help you. Check out our medical detox centre for comprehensive opioid detox programs. We have everything you need for your recovery, you only need to reach out, and we’ll grab your hands.