Opioids are one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world, with an estimated 11 million people using them outside of a prescription in the United States alone. Opioids are often prescribed as painkillers, for short and long-term recovery, but are highly mentally and physically addictive. As a result, even well-meaning individuals taking their painkillers according to their prescription may become addicted and slip into abuse. Findings by the National Drug Abuse Institute showing that 21-29% of all prescription opioid patients abuse their prescription and 8-12% of all opioid prescriptions result in an opioid use disorder. In addition, an estimated 80% of heroin users abused prescription opioids first.
If you or a loved one is addicted to opioids of any kind, whether prescription painkillers or heroin, detox is the first step into a life of recovery.
The opioid detox program at Beginnings Treatment Center can be the first step on your road to recovery. Our comprehensive and personalized approach to patient care means that every person detoxing with us receives individual attention, custom withdrawal care, and physical and psychological attention based on their specific needs. Our Costa Mesa opioid detox facility is located in beautiful Orange County, California, complete with the resources and amenities you need to recover safely and with dignity.
While there are many types of opioids with slightly different withdrawal symptoms, most are very closely related and create the same pattern of withdrawal during detox. Common opioids include heroin, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone (sold as Vicodin), oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl, but most have a similar withdrawal profile unless used in combination with other drugs. Users experience symptoms at different severities, may experience withdrawal symptoms for different periods of time, and may not experience some symptoms at all.
However, most going through opioid withdrawal will experience:
- Fatigue and yawning
- Muscle aches
- Flu symptoms (general malaise, muscle aches, runny nose, tearing up)
- Insomnia or sleep issues
- Heart palpitations or hypertension
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Depression and anxiety
Most of these symptoms can be quite intense but are not typically medically dangerous. However, some can create medically significant side-effects. For example, diarrhea can result in severe dehydration, persons with heart problems may need special monitoring, and vomiting can result in choking and death.
For this reason, it’s important to either taper off opioids or use medication to minimize withdrawal symptoms for your safety and comfort.
Opioids are available as short-acting and long-acting drugs, which can take effect quickly and taper out over a period of 4-18 hours or take effect slowly and taper out over a period of 24-48 or more hours. Drugs like heroin are more short-acting, but if you are on any sort of slow-release opioid painkiller, you have a long-acting drug. This will greatly affect your opioid withdrawal timeline.
6-12 Hours – Withdrawal symptoms begin, typically starting with cold and flu symptoms, fever, and a runny nose or watery eyes. Cravings will hit and most users begin to feel anxious. Withdrawal symptoms gradually increase over the next 2-3 days. Anyone on slow-release or long-acting opioids can expect this process to begin as late as 30 hours after the final dose.
72 Hours – After 72 hours, opioid withdrawal symptoms will generally peak and remain plateaued for up to 1 week. This stage is characterized by the worst withdrawal symptoms and can last up to 10 days. Long-acting opioids will typically begin this stage after 5-7 days and withdrawal symptoms may not begin to decrease for up to 21 days.
PAWS – In some cases, users may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) or extended withdrawal symptoms up to months after the final dose.
Opioid tapering is the process of slowly reducing the amount of opioids being taken to ensure that detox is safer and more comfortable. If at all possible, opioid tapering should be undertaken with the support of an experienced professional team who can ensure the patient’s well-being throughout the process.
Medication assistance is the most common way to treat opioid dependence without a long withdrawal period, and this option is available at Beginnings. Here, we use an intake exam to determine the extent of each patient’s opioid addiction, which we use to create a custom detox program for them. This often includes a buprenorphine prescription, which allows even heroin addicts to switch over to a safer, medically managed drug without experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms.
Buprenorphine helps you to manage cravings and symptoms and is then tapered off slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms as much as possible. We also utilize other medication to reduce the severity of other withdrawal symptoms as detox progresses.
Detox is the process of controlling withdrawal and getting clean from a drug. It’s important because it allows you to control the progression of the body adjusting to a normal and healthy lifestyle. This is especially important with opioids, which interact with the opioid and dopamine receptors in the brain, typically enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. While using opioids, dopamine is overactive in the brain, which causes the body to produce less of it naturally. When you quit, the body doesn’t immediately adjust, which creates a state of lowered dopamine and sometimes intense side effects. This can result in depression and anxiety as well as a wide range of physically uncomfortable and painful symptoms.
While not always life-threatening, this process is intensely uncomfortable and can take weeks or months without professional care. Many users relapse simply to alleviate symptoms. Seeking out professional care during detox helps to alleviate symptoms and ensures that you move through them quickly and safely.
The Beginnings Treatment Center detox program is located in sunny Orange County, California. Our experienced and compassionate team is complete with licensed therapists and nurses, with 24/7 monitoring and full support.
Our detox process includes the following timeline:
Intake and Assessment
During intake, patients are given a thorough assessment so we can learn more about opioid use history, personal medical history, and to identify any physical or mental complications which may require treatment. We use this information to create a custom detox program, which is then adjusted for the patient as detox progresses.
Opioid withdrawal is not typically fatal, but our professional team is on hand 24/7, monitoring the health and well-being of our patients. With regular physical checkups, we can make adjustments to individual programs and medication to keep everyone as happy and comfortable as possible.
Beginnings Treatment Centers may use medication-assisted detox to speed up the opioid withdrawal process. With buprenorphine and complementary medication, most patients move through the detox process in about 5-7 days.
Counseling and Therapy
All detox patients have access to a full team of professionals including licensed therapists. With counseling available alongside therapy sessions and group meetings, we work to ensure that everyone has the support and emotional care they need to recover.
Everyone becomes addicted for differing and often deeply personal reasons. Emotional and social backgrounds, living conditions, mental and physical health, and other factors all play into how and why you will recover.
For example, you will need custom and personalized attention to truly detox from opiates if you:
- Have a very high opioid tolerance
- Use opioids in combination with other drugs (which can create life-threatening withdrawal symptoms)
- Pain management issues (if you were prescribed opioids to manage pain)
- Have a co-occurring disorder such as anxiety or depression
At Beginnings Treatment Center, we work to ensure that each patient receives the custom and personalized care they need to recover. That’s why all of our treatment is based around personal care, with program adjustments throughout the detox process to ensure a complete recovery.