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Challenges of Doing Opiate Detox at Home

Detoxification of any substance is a challenging process; however, few detoxes are as difficult as an opiate detox. Opiates come in a variety of guises- from morphine to prescription medications like OxyContin. According to Harvard Health Publications, the withdrawal symptoms that these drugs produce such as muscle aches, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, among others can be so unbearable that it can cause a person discomfort or put them in a situation where medical attention is required.

There are many issues that patients may have to tackle if they try to detox at home. These include:


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Detoxing from opiates involves drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, which can be very hard to cope with on your own.

Many patients have a high tolerance to the opiates they are addicted to. This tolerance level prevents the user from experiencing the intense highs of the drug but it does not prevent damage to the body caused by the opiate’s side effects. According to the US National Library of Medicine, the patient will not only have to struggle with more intense withdrawal symptoms but they may also find that other opiates are ineffective.

Pain management

Many opiates are often given at the direction of a doctor for other previous existing medical conditions. These medical conditions are often related to intense and painful issues. Because the patient does not have another way of coping with the pain, they will often have a hard time not only with the detox process but also with future pain issues.


Those looking to try detox at home often find that their environments to not encourage a drug free life. From the people they’ve surrounded themselves with to the homes they currently live in, it is often impossible for an addict to avoid being exposed to their old familiar opiates.

Other drug conflicts

Many opiate addicts use many types of drugs to help them get through the day. Every pill and drug they use has its own side effects and withdrawal symptoms. When a person tries to detox at home, many times they will go cold turkey on all of their medications. This can cause a chain reaction of withdrawal symptoms that can feed off each other. Many times these symptoms can conflict with each other to the point that hospitalization is required.

Lack of available home detoxes

While there are several detox methods available to the public, many of them are not available to be done at home. Opiate methadone detox for example must be done at a clinic, a rehab facility or with a specialized doctor. The maintenance method that also uses opiate methadone must be done under medical supervision, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Currently there are only two detoxes available to a person doing them at home: going cold turkey or taking over the counter medication Suboxone. Neither of these methods have been known to be effective long term, especially when done without proper support.

Because there are many challenges with home opiate detox methods, it’s recommended that those looking to start detox work with a medical professional. By seeking an appropriate facility and medical personnel, the patient can ensure they are in a safe environment with trained and experienced professionals who can look after them as well as coach them for a life without opiates.

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