A Timeline Of Opiate Withdrawal

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Opiate Addiction Treatment: Detoxification and Withdrawal

Opiate addiction plagues our country. A large number of opiate users need opiate addiction treatment in order to stop this dangerous addiction. The first step in that treatment is through detoxification and withdrawal.

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are addicted to opiates, you have probably heard the horror stories about opiate withdrawal. Most of them are true. According to the National Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus service, these symptoms are:

  • Agitation
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Joint and muscle pain

Although these symptoms do not look that bad on paper, they can range from moderate to so severe that you need hospitalization. The most dangerous part about opiate withdrawal is the risk of relapse and relapse related overdose.

Detoxification Treatments

Fortunately, a number of treatments can help you through the withdrawal period. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, these treatments are:


The medications useful in treating opiate withdrawal are:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naloxone
  • Clonidine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Antinausea medications such as zofran or phenergan

Each of these medications either provides relief from the withdrawal symptoms or stop you from taking opiates by making you ill.

Behavioral Counseling

Behavioral counseling is a part of detoxification. During detoxification you will experience a variety of emotional symptoms. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • A sense of loss
  • Fear
  • Agitation

The behavioral counseling helps to calm you and is the beginning of a comprehensive treatment program that goes beyond just detoxification.

Detoxification is only the beginning of the process. If you simply detox and do not continue in with opiate addiction treatment, you are likely to fall right back into addiction. The majority of those who stick with a comprehensive addiction treatment program find that they do not have to return to opiates.