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Withdrawal from Opioids Without Medication: Is it Even Possible?

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The opioid withdrawal stage can be a make or break point for someone trying to overcome opioid addiction. Withdrawal from opioids often becomes the single greatest barrier to a person’s success in recovery.

Medication-assisted treatment approaches work to correct for the damage left behind by opiate abuse. While effective, not everyone will require this level of support to make it through the detox stage.

In effect, it’s possible to make it through withdrawal from opioids without medication; however, it’s important to consider your condition beforehand in order to keep a bad situation from getting worse.

Call our helpline at 800-662-8079(Who Answers?) to ask about opioid detox treatment options.

The Effects of Opioid Dependence

Once opioid addiction enters the picture, opioid dependence has as much to do with uncomfortable physical symptoms as it does psychological need. With long-term opioid addictions, the brain and body have reached a point where opioids are just as essential to normal functioning as food and water, according to Brain – A Journal of Neurology.

While the physical effects of withdrawal do make it difficult to maintain continued abstinence, your mind’s need for the drug continues to work against your efforts to remain drug-free.

When are Medication Treatments Necessary

Withdrawal from Opioids

Those with emotional problems may require medication during opioid withdrawal.

A severe opioid addiction damages the brain in the following ways:

  • Reconfigures the brain’s chemical pathways
  • Changes the brain’s structure
  • Changes how the brain works

Under these conditions, stopping drug use altogether not only leaves a person to contend with the effects of addiction, but also with the state of severe physical dependence that’s developed as a result of chronic opioid abuse.

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine help to restore a normal chemical environment in the brain. These effects greatly reduce the severity of withdrawal from opioids.

Questions to Ask When Considering Withdrawal from Opioids Without Medications:

Have I Tried Already Tried Drug Treatment?

If you’ve gone through multiple rounds of drug treatment without medication, this is a pretty good indicator that some form of medical treatment is needed to maintain continued abstinence. In essence, medication-assisted approaches act as medical treatments for the damage left behind by chronic opiate abuse.

Opioid Withdrawal Doesn’t Have to Be More Painful Than Anything in the World

Am I Struggling with Emotional Problems?

Addictions that exist alongside emotional disorders, such as depression and anxiety are that much harder to treat. As emotional disorders tend to thrive inside a chemically-imbalanced brain environment, these conditions only work to worsen the damage caused by chronic opioid abuse.

Under these conditions, withdrawal from opioids will be that much more difficult to bear. Medication treatments can help alleviate much of this discomfort.

How Bad Is My Addiction?

If you’ve reached the point where the effects of addiction have all but destroyed your quality of life, a severe addiction problem is likely at work. Losing a job, a broken marriage and declining health are all signs of a severe addiction problem.

Once a person’s judgment and decision-making abilities reach a point to where his or her life is falling apart, it’s likely the brain has undergone considerable damage from the effects of opioid abuse. While it may be possible to make it through withdrawal from opioids in this state, you may want to at least consider the need for a medication-assisted treatment approach.

If you need help finding the type of opioid addiction treatment that meets your specific needs, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-662-8079(Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addiction counselors.

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