Opioid withdrawal can be difficult and painful. It is often described as a terrible flu. Symptoms include irritability, anxiety, insomnia, goosebumps, yawning, runny nose, muscle and bone aches, tearing up, fever, sweating, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms typically peak after a few days then begin to decline. For most people, acute withdrawal from opioids lasts about a week or two. People who try to detox on their own often find the symptoms are too intense and they start using again. Although withdrawing from opioids is more miserable than withdrawing from other drugs, it is not particularly dangerous. A small percentage of people die withdrawing from alcohol and benzodiazepines, which is not typical of opioid withdrawal. Despite the often repeated claim that opioid withdrawal can’t kill you, there have been cases where dehydration from opioid withdrawal led to death. However, it appears that in every case, death would have been preventable with the proper care. The biggest danger from opioid withdrawal is dehydration. Among other effects, opioids cause constipation, which your body gradually adapts to. Therefore, most people experience bad diarrhea when they quit opioids abruptly. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, especially if it’s compounded by vomiting. Untreated dehydration can be dangerous in two ways. It can cause a severe electrolyte imbalance which can lead to seizures or heart failure. Dehydration can also lead to low blood volume, which causes a drop in blood pressure and doesn’t allow enough oxygen to the cells of your body. Both of these conditions can be life threatening. Detoxing in a facility is the best way to avoid the danger of opioid withdrawal and to improve your chances of following through despite the unpleasant symptoms. Under medical supervision, you can receive IV fluids and emergency medical care if necessary. Staff can make sure you’re drinking enough fluids and give you medications to ease symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and insomnia. Therefore, it’s not only safe, but less uncomfortable in general. Detoxing from opioids at home is not recommended for a number of reasons. The first is that it’s very difficult to follow through. If you’re experiencing the worst flu of your life and you can make stop by using again, the temptation is enormous. Also, you don’t really know who bad symptoms will get or how long they will last. You don’t want to find yourself weak and exhausted and unable to get your own food, drink, or medication. If you decide to detox on your own anyway, be sure to seek medical advice before you start. Also, stock up on Gatorade or Pedialyte so you have plenty of electrolyte-replenishing beverages to drink. Finally, make sure there is someone who can look after you, or least check on you regularly to make sure you’re ok.
If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.