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Opioids and opiates are both beneficial substances that can help manage pain ranging from moderate to severe. But when a person misuses or abuses their given prescription, things change for the worse.
Both opioids and opiates are potent painkillers that can be addictive when taken in high doses. Some people take them recreationally in order to feel better or more relaxed. But doing so is actually dangerous for your health. Not only will you get addicted, you will also experience a number of adverse health effects along the way.
So let’s say you or someone you care about got addicted to opioids. How long will it take to get completely detoxified? How does detoxification even work? On this article, we will give you an overview on how addiction treatment works, and how you can recover from opioid addiction or dependence.
Opioids and Opiates
Before we can understand how detox works, first we have to know the basics of the addictive substances. Opiates are the natural derivatives of the opium poppy plant. Opioids are the synthetic and semi-synthetic derivatives.
Other than that, there aren’t a lot of differences between the two, which is why these two terms are often used interchangeably in common usage. In the medical field, opiates and opioids are also known as narcotics.
However, in law enforcement, “narcotics” can also refer to any other drug that’s considered illegal, regardless of whether they are opiates or not.
Some opioids are legal provided that they are prescribed by a licensed physician and used strictly within the prescription. It is illegal to manufacture, distribute, and use opioids for non-medical reasons.
Some opiates such as heroin are illegal.
The Dangers of Opioid Abuse and Addiction
Taking high doses of opioids can lead to addiction, tolerance, and dependence. You can tell that a person is high on opioids if they seem sedated, elated, or confused. They may have constricted pupils, they may become constipated, and they can even lose consciousness. Opioid abuse can slow a person’s breathing.
Developing physical dependence can be tough. This means that the body has adapted to the drug’s presence, and will therefore react negatively if intake is stopped. The user will experience withdrawal if they attempt to quit opioids.
Common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, anxiety, vomiting, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and even respiratory depression.
This is what makes detoxification necessary. And this process should be done properly—with the aid of trained professionals. Self-regulation rarely works and is more likely to cause relapse.
How Long Does Detox Take?
The short answer for this question is that there is no definite time frame. Multiple factors come into play when speaking about opioid addiction treatment—and this applies for every other type of addiction.
A proper treatment plan will be made based on the person’s specific needs, their health condition, their substance abuse history, their drug of choice, and many other factors.
Addiction treatment may be done as an inpatient or outpatient program.
The duration will also depend on the severity of a person’s addiction. If they are physically dependent, their opioid intake will gradually be lowered. This way, their withdrawal symptoms will become easier to manage.
Opioid abuse not only has physical health effects but also psychological ones. And that is why the patient also needs to undergo counseling. Methods such as addiction education, meditation, and group therapy can help them learn how to stay sober.
If you are struggling with opioid addiction, we can’t say for sure how long it will take to fully detoxify. But you need to start at some point—so start seeking treatment today. Look for a rehab center near you and fight the effects of opioid addiction now.
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