Finding out about the different medications you might be offered during opiate detoxification helps you understand your treatment options. Opiate withdrawal symptoms are generally severe, and although they aren’t life threatening, the intense discomfort can make continuing to abstain from drugs much more difficult. Because of this, different medications which substitute the originally abused opiate for a safer alternative, block the effects of opiate drugs or manage the withdrawal symptoms are often used to help people get clean. The most commonly used opiate detox medications are methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine, with other drugs such as benzodiazepines being occasionally used to manage withdrawal symptoms. Psychological treatment such as structured counselling is essential during opiate detox.
Methadone is the most well known opiate detox medication, because it is a substitute opiate used widely to reduce withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings. The drug is given according to a strict dosing schedule and is longer-acting than most commonly abused opiates, so it helps fight off cravings. It also doesn’t cause euphoria associated with most other recreationally used opiates. One problem with methadone treatment is that it is essentially replacing one addiction for another, and methadone detox is basically the same as any other opiate withdrawal. However, the gradual reduction makes this process less severe, and it also gives addicts time to address their psychological issues while they’re getting clean.
Buprenorphine is another opiate pain-killing drug that can be used as a safe substitute for illicit drugs such as heroin. By stimulating the same receptors as the abused opiate drug, it reduces the severity of opiate withdrawal symptoms and helps to reduce cravings. Many users report that they feel more clear-headed on buprenorphine than when taking methadone, and it is potentially safer if taken to excess. There is also a “ceiling” on the drug’s effects, which means that after a certain dosage the effects don’t get any more intense. This reduces the temptation to take more than the allotted dosage, because it won’t create a greater “high” for the user.
Naltrexone is a different type of opiate detox medication. It works by blocking the effects of opiates, so a dose won’t create the euphoric effects that substance abusers are looking for. This means that whilst it may not reduce cravings, it will render taking opiates essentially pointless, making it easier for the user to get clean. It can be used in combination with buprenorphine, so that withdrawal symptoms and cravings are also tackled. It’s important to note that even with this level of treatment; psychological counselling is still a mainstay of drug rehabilitation.
Clonidine and Other Withdrawal Detox Management Medicines
Clonidine, a sedative and hypotensive drug, and benzodiazepines such as diazepam can be used to make opiate withdrawal symptoms more manageable. Generally, they work by helping the individual get to sleep and reducing the high blood pressure often associated with opiate withdrawal. The only problem with using these drugs is that they have the potential for abuse themselves. If this approach is used for opiate detox, careful supervision of the dosing is advised.
If you or your loved one is addicted to an opiate such as heroin or codeine, getting the right help during detoxification is very important. Opiate withdrawal is rarely fatal, but it is a notoriously uncomfortable process and without the right support relapse is a very real possibility. We offer free advice to help you find the right treatment for your requirements. We have a detailed knowledge of the different drug rehab centres located across the country, and we’ll suggest the best options to you. Going through drug addiction is challenging for anybody affected, and we’re here to help. Get in touch with us today for some free, confidential advice!