Can You Go Through Opiate Withdrawal at Home?
Fear of withdrawal is the number one reason so many remain trapped in the deadly cycle of heroin or opiate addiction.
Frequent use of opioids (and other drugs) alters the chemistry of the brain, resulting in physical dependence. This means that without the drug of choice, the body can’t function “normally,” and withdrawal symptoms occur.
Symptoms of opiate withdrawal may include agitation, anxiety, muscle aches and pains, sweating, fever, stomach cramps, nausea, heartburn, and diarrhea. In some cases, these symptoms may begin within hours of last use.
Typically, side effects peak in intensity within 3-5 days, but some symptoms may continue for a week or even longer.
If you’ve tried detoxing at home, you are aware that it’s not an easy process. Although we recommend pain pill and heroin withdrawal in a supervised, medical detox facility, there are several methods you can use to make opiate withdrawal easier.
Here are the best home remedies to help with opiate and heroin withdrawal.
Heroin Detox at Home
Get Out in The Sun
At least 20 minutes of unfiltered sunlight, regardless of the time of year, will produce the necessary neurotransmitters to improve clarity, mood, and sleep. The sun is also a great source of Vitamin D, which most addicts are profoundly deficient in. Without the proper amount of Vitamin D, we are more likely to become depressed.
Getting some sun is one of the most overlooked tools we can use during heroin addiction withdrawal.
Soak in a Hot Bath
Try purchasing natural bath salts, such as EPSOM, and then soaking in a hot bath tub. These products were created to soothe the body and are quite helpful during the opiate withdrawal process.
If a bathtub isn’t available, a hot shower will soothe tension, muscle spasms, body aches and anxiety. Hot baths and showers also encourage comfortable sleep, which will help you make it through withdrawal.
And if neither option is possible, getting in the water (even cold water) can help as well. If you live near a lake, the ocean, or have a pool, you’ll want to take advantage of the calming capabilities of water.
Some people say that switching from a hot bath to a cold shower and back again forces the body to detox faster. This may be difficult to do in the early stages of detox, but it’s definitely worth a try.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, exercise may be helpful. Of course, your body is experiencing stress, so we aren’t recommending anything strenuous. However, some light exercise can lift your mood, decrease your anxiety, and help you better manage your symptoms.
You may wish to go for a walk or do some Pilates or yoga, but don’t overexert yourself. If you’re in immense pain, even light exercise may not be the best option for you.
Eat a High-Fiber Diet
Opiates can be harmful for the digestive system, so it’s a good idea to eat a high-fiber diet while undergoing opiate withdrawal. High-fiber foods can also restore much-needed nutrients to the body. These foods include whole grains, beans, nuts, berries, and green vegetables.
If you’re experiencing muscle cramps, you may also want to consume some potassium-rich foods such as bananas, beans, yogurt, and sweet potatoes.
Take Over-the-Counter Medications
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications may help you manage some of the more difficult symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
For instance, you may wish to purchase antidiarrheal or anti-nausea medications, such as Imodium and Pepto-Bismol. Advil, Tylenol, or Icy Hot can help with muscle aches and pains, and you may consider a sleep aid if you’re struggling to get quality sleep at night.
Never take these medications in larger doses or for longer amounts of time than recommended.
If you aren’t well-rested, your symptoms will only feel worse. You’ll also struggle to manage the emotions and stress that come along with opiate withdrawal.
For these reasons, it’s important to get plenty of sleep. Try turning off all screens at least an hour before you wish to go to sleep (which should be at a reasonable hour). Take a hot shower or bath and, if needed, a sleep aid. When you get enough rest, everything else feels more manageable.
Massage Therapy for Opiate Withdrawal
Muscle cramps and skin sensitivity almost always accompany opiate withdrawal. A deep tissue massage will not only relieve tightness and body aches, but also helps to speed up the detox process.
Skin sensitivity might make you nervous about getting a massage, but don’t worry. Once the massage begins, you’ll be glad you opted for this type of withdrawal relief.
Drinking plenty of water may not sound like the optimal thing to do when you’re feeling nauseous, but water is the easiest way to flush toxins out of the body, and that’s exactly what you want to do when you’re going through opiate detox.
You need proper hydration and electrolytes to detox safely. Hydration is especially critical if you’re experiencing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, which dehydrate the body. Gatorade, Pedialyte, and similar electrolyte solutions can be beneficial.
You can also make a healthy infused water by adding about six slices of cucumber and an equal number of lemon slices to a pitcher of water. Let this steep in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and you’ll have a supercharged detox water.
Try to stay away from soda and coffee during heroin withdrawal, as these beverages tend to dehydrate you, which pushes toxins farther into your body instead of flushing them out. Dehydration can also exacerbate many of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
Acupuncture Therapy for Heroin Detox
Acupuncture is gaining in popularity in the recovery industry. As an ancient Chinese therapy used to treat stress and relieve pain, it is proven to be exceptionally helpful for opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Acupuncture decreases stress-related muscle pain and discomfort. It regulates brain regions connected to pain and emotion, and most importantly, acupuncture promotes the release of endorphins, which are your body’s own opiates. Many individuals experience a euphoric sensation described as feeling lighter and happier after their first acupuncture session.
Get Comfortable and Relax
Set up a comfortable environment for yourself with pillows, blankets, and perhaps a fan. Sweating typically accompanies opiate withdrawal, so you may want extra sheets or blankets on hand in case you need to change your bedding.
Take your mind off withdrawal with books, movies, or other healthy and positive activities.
Personal Obligations and Planning
We can’t always plan out when we’re going to detox from opiates, but if it’s possible, it is highly recommended.
The worst part of heroin withdrawal lasts between 3-5 days, so setting that time aside and making sure you don’t have to work or function outside of your home during that period is best.
Take care of personal obligations such as childcare, bills, emails, and phone calls beforehand so you can take the time to detox in an environment that is as stress-free as possible.
Phone a Friend
Ideally, you can find a friend or family member to keep you company and support you as you attempt to detox on your own.
If not, make sure that you at least inform a loved one what you’re planning. Have someone check on you periodically to ensure that you’re safe and don’t need medical attention.
The Medical Detox Option
If you are interested in medical detox and treatment for opiate addiction, we highly recommend this route.
During medical detox, you’ll have supervision and 24-hour support. The painful symptoms of withdrawal can be medically managed by a team of professionals. You’ll also be able to relax in pleasant surroundings while slowly tapering (as opposed to a cold-turkey approach).
Overall, medical detox is the safest and most comfortable option. Still, if this isn’t a possibility for you, try using the home remedies listed above to ease the pain and discomfort of opiate withdrawal. Are you ready to take the next step toward freedom from opiate addiction? Give the caring staff of The Shores a call today. We are here to support you in your journey.