Most persons will experience withdrawal symptoms of opiate addiction if they have abused pain medication or heroin for some time, and when they stop taking the drugs. It is possible foe someone to withdraw from opiate addiction at home, though there are some possible remedies they can try to help relieve the associated symptoms.
Opiates are illegal drugs and sometimes prescription medications that act on opioid receptors in the body. They can help ease pain while causing a sense of exhilaration when taken.
READ ALSO: Opioid Addiction: All You Need To Know
On the other hand, opiates can be advantageous when a person uses them as prescribed by a doctor, for a short time. When used illegally or excessively, they are addictive and lethal.
Opiates withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to control, though they are not usually life-threatening, they can be uncomfortable and difficult to navigate.
Symptoms of Opioids Withdrawal
Fever and sweating
Opioids withdrawal can cause symptoms that are similar to having the flu, such as sweating, fever, and chills.
Common treatments that can reduce a higher body temperature include over-the-counter (OTC) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as are ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
To absorb sweat and prevent excessive sweating, wear loose, comfortable clothing made of absorbent materials, such as cotton.
READ ALSO: St. John’s wort: Benefits and Side-effects
If someone experiences chills associated with their symptoms, they can put on layers of clothing that they can remove one at a time.
Using cool compresses, such as washcloths dipped in cool water or cloth-covered ice packs, can also help a person reduce a high body temperature.
Abusing opiates can cause the muscles and limbs feel heavy. When people withdraw from opiates, they have the opposite experience where they may shake and experience muscle pain. The tremors should stop with time
Try St. John’s wort
One potent treatment for shaking due to opioids addiction is St. John’s wort. An animal study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology discovered that taking the herb Hypericum perforatum or St. John’s wort, helped to ease opiate withdrawal-related shaking in rats.
According to the researchers, taking St. John’s wort helped ease the incidence of diarrhea in the rats. St. John’s wort is used to treat a host of conditions such as wound healing, insomnia, depression, and lots of others.
READ ALSO: St. John’s Wort for Treating Depression
This herb can interact with many medications, such has blood thinner warfarin, HIV medications, birth control pills, antidepressants, and some HIV medications. So people should be careful when taking this herbs. It should be under a doctor’s prescription.
Most persons may discover that they shake less if they avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee or soda or if they drink decaffeinated alternatives. Caffeinated drinks can aggravate symptoms and may stimulate tremors.
People may want to try taking OTC pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to reduce muscle aching that is related to tremors. These drugs may help deal with symptoms.
Nausea and diarrhea
Nausea and diarrhea can occur when a person withdraws from opiates. Both prescription medications and at-home treatments are available to help reduce nausea symptoms caused by opiate withdrawal.
According to researchers from Stanford University who experimented on mice, taking the medication ondansetron (Zofran) may be able to help reduce not only nausea but also pain sensitivity when withdrawing from opiates.
Zofran, a prescription medication for pain and nausea, blocks the 5-HT3 receptor that responds to the neurotransmitter serotonin in the body.
While the medicine will not necessarily reduce all withdrawal symptoms, it may be able to help when a person is trying to stop their opiate habit.
Another medication a person could take to reduce diarrhea symptoms related to withdrawals is loperamide (Imodium). This OTC medication is available at most drugstores to reduce diarrhea symptoms.
Nausea home remedy tips
Additional steps a person can take to reduce their nausea include the following:
- Eating bland foods, such as bananas, rice, apples, toast, or crackers. These foods are less likely to cause stomach upset.
- Eating several small meals throughout the day instead of large ones.
- Drinking small sips of water to stay hydrated, as it is essential to replace fluids lost with diarrhea and nausea. Another option is to drink cooled Pedialyte or other electrolyte-replacement beverages. While sports drinks are also an option, they can be high in sugar, which could further worsen diarrhea.
- Avoiding foods that are high in fat and greasy, as these can irritate the stomach lining.
A person should drink fluids to prevent dehydration wherever possible, as dehydration can worsen withdrawal symptoms.
A person withdrawing from opioids at home may experience strong cravings that cause them want to take a pill or return to their patterns of drug abuse. However unpleasant, going through these cravings is a part of withdrawing from opioids. Some of the methods a person can use to overcome these cravings include:
Making a list
A person should write down a list of reasons why they want to withdraw. It may help them to retreat to their list every time they feel tempted to return to their drug use.
Recognizing negative thoughts
It is essential for a person to recognize when they are having negative thoughts relating to their withdrawal period. When a person recognizes these thoughts, they can then focus on a more positive or optimistic thought pattern.
Using distraction techniques
When a person feels an intense craving, distraction techniques may be another tool they can use to help them through the moment. They may want to go for a brief walk, listen to music, or engage in another activity that helps them take their minds off the craving.
While a person going through withdrawals from opioids can feel sleepy, they may find they have difficulty getting good-quality sleep.
Because rest can help them feel stronger, getting a good night’s sleep can be vital.
Some methods to promote better sleep and naps include:
Keeping to a schedule
Maintaining a sleep schedule of bedtime and waking up will assist the body in keeping its own “clock,” which can help make going to sleep easier.
Considering your sleeping environment
Promoting a better sleeping environment by keeping the room cool or between 60 and 67 degrees, as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation, can make it easier for someone to get to sleep.
Keep the bedroom dark, use devices to block noise, such as earplugs or white noise machines to enhance sleep.
It can be a good idea to spend about an hour before going to bed, relaxing and winding down. This can include refraining from looking at computer screens and phones.
Drinking warm, decaffeinated tea or milk, reading a book, and listening to relaxing music are all ways that can promote sleep.
Some people may choose to take the sleep hormone melatonin, which is available OTC as a dietary supplement.
However, melatonin supplements may not work in promoting sleep in all individuals, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Some people have reported its benefits when taken as recommended by the manufacturers. It is worth remembering, however, that the FDA does not regulate these supplements.
When to seek help
Withdrawal from opiates is not deadly when it is a person’s only addiction, the symptoms can be severe and sometimes warrant going to a medical facility for withdrawals.
If someone has a history of chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, irregular heart rhythms, lung problems, or other conditions that withdrawal can impact, they may benefit from going through the process at a professional treatment center.
Specialist centers can prescribe medications to decreases the effects of opiate withdrawals such as buprenorphine and methadone. These prescription medications can help reduce cravings without giving the same “high” that taking opiates can create.