Although withdrawal from Opioids is not considered as life-threatening as withdrawal from alcohol or benzodiazepines, but it is still deemed extremely difficult to endure. The major reason is because of continued relapse, but there are a number of medications that assist in easing the addict from physical dependence. The main concern for many is to also prevent the addict from trading one nasty addiction for the other.
One of the most prevalent medications used is Methadone, and it is a long acting medicine. The withdrawal symptoms are effectively eliminated because it activates the same opioid receptors as the narcotics. It eases the drug craving but doesn’t allow the euphoria to kick in. However, over a period of time problems can come with long-term use and when tapering off or quitting some methadone withdrawal can be as bad as the symptoms from the drug that placed them in drug treatment to begin with.
Another extremely popular medication, and the newest for helping detox from prescription drug addiction, is Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine, or otherwise known as Subutex in the United States since 2003, also activates opioid receptors, reduces drug cravings and prevents withdrawal symptoms. The benefit of using Subutex over Methadone, which is responsible for its rising popularity, is that when tapering off the medication it offers a lower level of dependence and very minimal withdrawal symptoms.
Although not necessarily the first avenue of detox, Rapid Detox Programs are also available. These programs claim to accelerate the process of detox and opioid withdrawal by giving large doses of opioid blocking drugs, even some going so far as to place the addict under and anesthetic during the entire detox process. Because there aren’t any proven programs to be more effective than the traditional methods mentioned previously, this could be considered more dangerous. This is why a lot of alcohol and drug treatment facilities do not offer this type of program.
Whatever the route of detox, it is strongly advised that someone do this under medical supervision, and to add a rehabilitation program to help the addict cope with the day to day activities of the outside world. Because relapse is prevalent, the addict needs to understand this common occurrence and know how to deal with it, if it does happen.