Opiates or opioids is a class of drugs used to treat moderate pain, which includes drugs like Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid), Codeine, Heroin, Morphine, Oxycodone (Percocet or Oxycontin), Methadone and Meperidine (Demerol).
These drugs are known as effective painkillers that have been prescribed for the treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain, such as back pain or osteoarthritis. However, the problem is the use of these drugs is associated with dependence, misuse and withdrawal symptoms. Stopping or cutting back on these drugs after for a prolonged period may produce a number of symptoms, a condition called a withdrawal.
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms is the major challenge for people undergoing treatment as it can cause some discomfort and stimulate drug-seeking behaviour patients with chronic, non-cancer pain (CNCP) and opioid use disorder. However, recent studies have suggested detoxification as an effective strategy to complement treatment for opioid addiction:
It is important is a scenario when, according to Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 9.7 million Americans aged 12 or older misused prescription pain relievers in the past year compared with 745,000 people who used heroin. In 2019, the majority of the 9.3 million misusers of prescription pain relievers had misused only prescription pain relievers in the past year, but they had not used heroin.
Rapid Detoxification Methods to Treat Opioid Withdrawal
Detoxification is a healing process aims at the safe discontinuation from a substance of dependence. Depending on the severity of dependence, substance being misused, and the support available to the user, detoxification may usually take from a few days to few weeks to complete, depending on the substance being misused,
Detoxification treatments may be considered to control the intensity of any withdrawal effects while alleviating any possible side effects. However, the primary aim of the process remains to successfully accomplish the withdrawal procedure and targeting sustained abstinence of drug use.
Choosing the Right Detox for Opioid Addiction
The choice of a right strategy for detoxification from opioids is dependent on different factors, including the user’s personal preference and circumstances, degree of dependence, lifestyle and expectations, and concomitant health problems.
The majority of opioid users seek detoxification of opioid drugs (predominantly heroin). The first detox strategy for such users is to substitute opioid prescribing such as buprenorphine or methadone to attain stabilization on a controllable drug, dose and regimen.
In some cases, diamorphine (heroin) administered through injectable or intranasal delivery is also prescribed to attain stabilization. In addition, some modified forms of opioids such as morphine, dihydrocodeine and tramadol may be recommended. Generally, the drug used for maintenance is initiated for detoxification.
It is important to note that detoxification is not a conclusive treatment. In fact, it is a transitional state between abstinence, dependence and/or reduced use. It offers an opportunity for abstinence to complement other treatment modalities to reduce the recovery journey. It is seen as an effective strategy to attain an equilibrium state between the substance user’s needs and preference, methods of administration, choice of medication, and the intensity of keyworking and psychosocial programs.
Research studies suggest that pharmacological treatment can work to treat substance misuse, however it needs to be integrated with psychosocial treatment like detoxification and behavioral therapies. But, like other illnesses, patient’s willingness and cooperation are important determiners in defining the success of a treatment program. And detoxification is no different, especially when it is used to treat people battling mental health issues.
Opioid addiction can be life-threatening condition, including the risk of overdose. Overdose may lead slowed or stopped breathing, which may lead to unconsciousness and death if the overdose is not treated immediately.