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Withdrawal Symptoms/Detox: An Opiate Addict’s Worst Fear

So you’re addicted to opiates, your life is in shambles, and you know you need to do something about it? So why do opiate addicts stay in their addictions so long before they get help when they say that they are ready? Well, sometimes it is the lack of knowledge on where to turn for help. But other times — and this applies to most addicts that I know – is a deeply seeded fear of being “sick” or “bogue,” in withdrawal and detoxing.
We use the word “sick” because we can’t find another word in the English language that can begin to explain the agony of opiate withdrawal. Even with an explanation of the symptoms, words cannot make you experience the torture of withdrawal. Body-shaking chills mix with rivers of sweat that roll across skin so sensitive it burns. Your muscles pulsate and twitch; your legs jump and kick.  Your body pours the foulest of fluids out of both ends, with diarrhea and vomiting that make the flu seem like a day at Disneyworld. Vomiting turns to fits of crippling dry heaves, as you have nothing left inside. nothing left inside. As horrible as this sounds, it feels a hundred times worse.
This is what we are trying to avoid when we get on Methadone or Suboxone. That is what we are running from most times when we leave detox facilities, where our families believe the nightmare is going to end. It is a horrible ordeal to face, and most of us will not do it cold turkey, no matter what the consequence.
So what is the solution? How do we remove that fear? The honest answer is that the fear will always be there, but finding a detox program focused on minimizing detox symptoms can help. Programs like Methadone and Suboxone treatment will eliminate the withdrawal process, but there is a trade-off. Eventually, you will have to deal with withdrawals from these medications.
There is one detox program that is not as well-known but is a miracle to those that have experienced it: sedation-assisted detox. With sedation-assisted detox, a patient is sedated through the worst of the detox symptoms. They then receive a few medications to ensure comfort over the next few days of the process. There is minimal pain and the process is conducted in a safe, medically supervised environment. The patient leaves the facility over the hump, no longer needing opiates to feel “well.” They are supported for 30 days by Vivitrol, a non-narcotic, non-addictive medication that blocks the euphoric effects of opiates and curbs the cravings that addicts so often have after attending detox. Do not confuse today’s sedation-assisted detox with the rapid detox methods of the past. Old methods had a much longer sedation period and were less safe.
Though the fear of withdrawal can delay an addict from taking the necessary steps to reclaim their lives, there are procedures and facilities available that can minimize this fear and help an addict detox from all opiates. Vivitrol support can help the addict stay clean, allowing them to build the solid foundation to recovery that they have wanted for so long but were too fearful to claim.
Yesterday, 129 addicts may have said they would get help tomorrow, a tomorrow they never saw. The help is out there. Please don’t wait another day.

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