Opioid addiction is a major problem across the United States. More than three million U.S. citizens are thought to have an opioid use disorder and the majority of drug overdose deaths in the country involve opioids like oxycodone, heroin, and fentanyl.[1,2]
One of the reasons why overcoming opioid addiction is so difficult is because of the excruciating symptoms of withdrawal that appear when someone stops taking opioids. Since they don’t want to get professional treatment or admit to having a problem, many people attempt detoxing from opioids at home multiple times before they finally break down and get professional detox treatment.
4 Reasons Detoxing From Opioids at Home is a Bad Idea
You may be tempted to detox from home for a number of reasons including comfort, finances, and personal preference. While these are legitimate concerns, at-home opioid detox is never a good idea. Here are 4 reasons you should consider detoxing at a medical facility rather than trying to detox from opioids on your own.
1. The Relapse Risk is Extremely High
Opioid withdrawal is generally not life-threatening unlike alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal. The main concern surrounding self-detox involves relapse.
When you stop taking opioids, one of the first withdrawal symptoms you will experience is intense drug cravings. These cravings can consume your thoughts, overriding everything else that is important. Without medical and psychiatric support, cravings, along with physical discomfort, often result in relapse.
People who are addicted to opioids are extremely vulnerable to relapse, especially during the early stages of recovery. And, if they relapse after their tolerance has begun to decrease, they could be at an increased risk of overdose.
2. Unmanaged, Uncomfortable Symptoms Can Encourage Self-Medication
Opioid withdrawal is often compared to a severe case of seasonal flu. You may experience a range of uncomfortable, painful symptoms ranging from body aches and muscle pain to a runny nose, goosebumps, sweating, and more. These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, and they can linger for several days, especially without detox medication.
People who try to detox from opioids at home often turn to other medications or drugs to self-soothe. For example, people may try to taper themselves off of opioids (a practice that rarely works unless facilitated by a medical professional), get relief from addictive benzodiazepines, or rely on alcohol or marijuana for symptom relief.
This type of self-medication can easily lead to swapping one addiction for another. If you manage to quit opioids with the help of alcohol or benzodiazepines, you may get addicted to one of those substances, next.
3. Mental Distress During Withdrawal is Hard to Cope With Alone
Opioid withdrawal isn’t all physical; it is mental and emotional, too. In addition to intense drug cravings, you may also experience depression, anxiety, agitation, irritation, sleeplessness, vivid dreams, and suicidal ideation. These symptoms can be incredibly distressing and difficult to cope with by yourself.
4. There are Health Risks Involved
Just because opioid withdrawal is typically not life-threatening doesn’t mean that there aren’t health risks involved. Detoxing from opioids can still be dangerous, especially without medical supervision. Potential risks of detoxing from opioids at home include:
- Panic attacks
- Suicide attempts
Rather than facing these troublesome symptoms alone, it’s best to seek professional help.
Why You Should Seek Help From an Opioid Detox Center Instead
The safest way to detox from opioid drugs is to do so at a medical facility under 24-hour supervision. Addiction detox facilities will assess your situation, prescribe medications, and monitor your symptoms to ensure your safety and comfort.
Certain medications, such as buprenorphine or methadone, can be prescribed during detox. These opioid treatment medications bind to and activate opioid receptors in the brain, thereby reducing symptoms of withdrawal and making it easier to steer clear of opioid drugs.
Benefits of seeking help from a nearby opioid detox center include:
- Medications for withdrawal
- Medications for comfort (sleep medications, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, etc.)
- Psychiatric support and supervision
- Reduced relapse risk
- Reduced risk of health complications
- Access to holistic healing therapies
A detox center will also make sure that you have made arrangements with a rehab center for continued care so you can maintain your sobriety.
Find an Opioid Detox Center in Massachusetts Today
At Woburn Wellness, we work with some of the highest-rated and most trusted drug and alcohol detox facilities in Massachusetts. After a brief phone call, our admissions team can connect you with an opioid detox center near you and arrange your transition to one of our outpatient programs so you have somewhere to turn for support after detox.
Our opioid rehab program is unlike any other in the immediate area. We offer a comprehensive curriculum of clinical care, one that includes varying levels of treatment including a Day Treatment Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, and Outpatient Program. We believe that recovery is possible for everyone, no matter how severe an opioid abuse disorder has become – however, long-term sobriety can only be achieved when effective relapse prevention skills are adequately instilled.
Opioid addiction is a life-or-death matter, so there is no need to wait. Call today to speak with a team member about starting your recovery journey.