Opiate Detox

The entire nation appears to need an opiate detox. Between 1999 and 2019, drug overdose deaths quadrupled. In 2019, opioids contributed to 70% of overdoses. 

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Opiate Detox

The entire nation appears to need an opiate detox. Between 1999 and 2019, drug overdose deaths quadrupled. In 2019, opioids contributed to 70% of overdoses. Opioid-related deaths drastically spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. And our nation has not yet made it out of the woods. During the first three months of 2021, emergency room visits for opioid overdoses rose 22%. One might conclude that the US has a pain problem. Because we certainly seem to need pain relievers.

Southeast Addiction remains concerned about opioids and their effectsBelow, find answers to the following questions:

  • How do we define opiate?
  • What’s the difference between opiates and opioids?
  • Can you tell me more about opioid use disorder (OUD?)
  • What treatments are available for OUD?
  • Where can I get more information about opiate detox?

How Do We Define “Opiate?”

We derive opiates from the poppy plant (Papaver somniferum). A cultivator will slice open the seed pod of the plant. The poppy secretes a viscous, gum-like substance. The cultivator harvests this gum and dries it. Now, we have opium.

Since they function as painkillers, opiates have legitimate uses to society. Prior to surgery, a surgeon might give a patient an opiate-based medication. To help manage pain after surgery, someone might receive an opiate prescription.

Examples of opiates include:

What’s The Difference Between Opiates And Opioids?

You may see the words “opiate” and “opioid” used to refer to some of the same substances. While similar, the two words do not mean exactly the same thing. “Opioid” paints a broad brushstroke. It includes both natural and synthetic substances. But “opiate” specifically refers to natural substances.

Examples of synthetic opioids:

What If I Have A Prescription? Isn’t That OK?

You may have a prescription for opioids. Perhaps you need to manage pain after an injury. Or, you need rehabilitation after surgery. In these circumstances, an opioid can help. But remember, you can have a prescription and still become addicted to that prescription. From 1999 – 2019, nearly a quarter-million people died from overdosing with prescription opioids. People can abuse prescriptions.

According to the CDC, these prescription opioids contribute to the most deaths:

Can You Tell Me More About Opioid Use Disorder?

Opioid use disorder

(OUD) results from extended opioid abuse. To diagnose and treat mental health disorders, mental health professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). Find some symptoms of OUD below.

Symptoms of opioid use disorder:

  • Significant urge to consume
  • Inability to cut back or quit
  • Continuing to consume despite negative consequences
  • Stopping previously enjoyable activities in order to keep consuming
  • Withdrawal symptoms occur when consumption stops

Opioid Dependence

Not everyone who consumes opioids becomes dependent on them. But those who do become dependent cannot function without opioids. Consider a general principle. If a person stops taking an opioid and has withdrawal symptoms, they have become dependent.

Opioid Withdrawal

Withdrawal happens when a dependent person stops taking an opioid. Withdrawal symptoms range from mild discomfort to heart attacks. Detox exists to try and make these symptoms more bearable. Some symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:

  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Insomnia

What Treatments Are Available For OUD?

Detox signifies the beginning of recovery. It aims to ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms. But we should not regard a person as “better” or “cured” simply because the withdrawal symptoms end. Prolonging sobriety helps to restructure one’s life into one without substance abuse. But even sobriety does not necessarily mark the end of one’s work.

Detox does not serve as a long-term treatment option. But it can provide a first step. A springboard, if you will, into something new.


Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) can have remarkable results. Telehealth options for MOUD exist as well. You may likewise hear the term medication-assisted treatment. MOUD/MAT involves prescribing an opioid to help lessen withdrawal symptoms. Over time, the prescriber gradually decreases the dose. This helps the client taper down their dosage over a long period of time.

Medications in MOUD/MAT include:

  • Naltrexone
  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps clients to establish emotional and mental baselines. Often, we feel like we drift through life enslaved to our thoughts and emotions. DBT helps us assume postures of curiosity and acceptance. From this vantage point, we can begin to understand why we think and feel the ways that we do. Although novel, DBT shows promise for helping those with OUD.

DBT focuses on 4 key concepts:

  • Mindfulness: deepening knowledge of what really happens in our minds
  • Distress tolerance: strengthening our ability to deal with strain and disturbance
  • Emotional regulation: directing our feelings instead of letting them direct us
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: empathetic, active listening and accurate, articulate self-expression


Music, art, and writing give humans ways to share our experiences with others. They give us a sense that we do not suffer alone. But does anything besides anecdotal evidence indicate that creative pursuits help prevent relapse? According to this study, music-based interventions lessened pain. Subsequently, participants felt fewer urges to consume their opioid pain medications.

Nutrition And Exercise

We could all benefit from tweaking our nutrition and exercise regimen. Eating healthy leaves both the body and mind fulfilled. This study examined the effects of exercise on those overcoming addiction to heroin. It concluded that 12 weeks of exercise worked well in conjunction with other therapies. Regarding nutrition, this study indicated that increasing omega-3 fatty acids helps reduce opioid cravings.

Where Can I Get More Information About Opiate Detox?

Southeast Addiction feels privileged that you read this far about opiate detox. We hope that you found this information helpful. We aim to serve struggling people in our community. Southeast Addiction has witnessed people with severe substance use disorders recover. We have seen people, crippled by mental illness, reorient themselves into health.

If you or someone that you love needs that kinds of reorientation, don’t hesitate. Give Southeast Addiction a call today.


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