Getting Past Opiate Withdrawal

Published on April 6th, 2014

Opiates are known as narcotics, they are the strongest pain reliever available and are only offered through prescription. They are also known to be the most widely abused drug in the world today. When dependent on opiates and abruptly stopping its use the user will experience physical and psychological pain, known as the withdrawal period. Many will avoid this at all costs, continuing the use of their opiate of choice for comfort, thus creating a repetitive and destructive cycle of addiction.

Overcoming an addiction to opiates can be difficult as it begins with acute symptoms of withdrawal. For you to get past opiate withdrawal you will need determination, be prepared for a fight, and do not shy away from asking for help from friends and family, as well as turning to a medical professional. If you choose to go at it without treatment the following are tips on getting past opiate withdrawal.

Over-The-Counter Analgesics

Over-the-counter analgesic medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, will help to relieve and manage the body aches that you will experience during withdrawal. The aches and pains you have been relieving with opiates may become excruciating as the drugs begin to leave your body, it is important to substitute with a non-addictive medication to find some relief.  NSAIDS, ibuprofen and naproxen, work in a similar way to the drug you are addicted to when they are mixed at its maximum dose.

Antihistamine With Sedating Effects

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) or meclizine (Dramamine II) are all antihistamines with sedating effects, they will help to relieve nausea and allow you to sleep through a portion of the withdrawal period.

Anti Diarrhea Medications

Loperamide hydrochloride (Immodium AD) is a medication that is structurally similar to the opioid meperidine (Demerol), and does not cross the blood/brain barrier. This medication will act on the opioid receptors in your intestines, stopping any intestinal spasms and diarrhea. Loperamine moves food slowly through your gut and increases water absorption. It should only be taken as you need it. However, when taken you should use double the suggested dose on the package because your intestines are use to the effects of opiates and a normal dose is not going to be as effective.

Prescription Medications Used to Combat Opiate Withdrawal

If over-the-counter medications are not helping you to find relief from opiate withdrawal symptoms turn to your primary care Doctor for your prescription medication options.

  • Clonidine a non-opiate, non-addictive blood pressure medication. It works by inhibiting your body’s sympathetic response during opiate withdrawal, decreasing the sweating, chills, anxiety and restlessness that you may experience.
  • Suboxone is a long-lasting partial opioid agonist that blocks withdrawal symptoms. It is taken once in the morning and can help you to feel normal pretty quickly. Some taking this medication report feeling fine the next morning.
  • Diazepam (Valium) or clonazepam (Klonopin) can have physically addictive properties and withdrawal associated with its long term use. However when taken in small doses, 2 to 3 times daily, it can relieve the effects of opiate withdrawal. Tapering off the medication will prevent you experiencing any withdrawal symptoms from its use.



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