Opiate Detoxification Treatment*
Clients receive opiate detoxification in a safe, supportive, home-like environment before joining Morningside's opiate addiction treatment program. We see all of our clients as individuals – their background, their needs and their goals are unique. Detoxification and therapeutic teams help clients get through this life-changing process. Clients are monitored and supported around the clock, getting the rest, nutrition and emotional support needed to begin a fresh start.
Our recommended detoxification centers use a research-based protocol to help clients get off opiates safely and more comfortably than simply stopping and suffering. Most clients need carefully monitored doses of diazepam to get much-needed rest. Diazepam is used in minimal doses, and withdrawal is easy when dosage is reduced in very small steps. Each client is unique and not everyone requires prescription medications during detoxification. However, if needed, Suboxone, an FDA approved medication, is used to gently and immediately substitute the opiates in the body. Suboxone not only relieves the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, but curbs the incessant craving experienced when an individual stops taking opiates abruptly. During detoxification at a licensed facility, clients are gently weaned off the Suboxone before entering the next phase of treatment.
Detoxing off opiates is a process of closely monitoring and managing the withdrawal symptoms. Opiates are analgesics (pain killers) that affect the central nervous system. Heroin and morphine are the best known, but very powerful opiates are marketed under various names with the active ingredients hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, etc) and oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, etc.). Other commonly abused opiates include: propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), and diphenoxylate (Lomotil). When taken as prescribed for acute andchronic pain management, these medications can be very effective. However, people of all walks of life become dependent on opiates. Perhaps a client has suffered a serious injury and opiates were prescribed to ease the pain. At first, they were very helpful managing pain. Over time, they seem less effective and the individual takes more in order to get the same relief. Frequently, individuals turn to any means necessary in order to get what they think they need. Going without the pills for even a day becomes difficult, then seemingly impossible. The person wants to stop taking the pills, but fears detox. So, he or she keeps taking them.
Pills are an insidious form of opiate abuse, but individuals using heroin know they are on a runaway train. Anyone who has tried to stop doing heroin on their own will tell you that the experience is not pleasant. They may even describe it as the sickest they’ve ever been. Often, only a stint in jail temporarily stops usage. Eventually, the brain becomes accustomed to opiates in order to feel good, even to feel normal. After some time, all the self-control in the world cannot stop the craving for opiates.
Withdrawal symptoms from opiates include:
- Intense agitation and anxiety
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Nausea and/or diarrhea
- Runny nose
- Sweating and chills
One client described his attempts to stop taking opiates: “I was spending a hundred bucks a day on pills, getting them anywhere I could. I hated myself. I tried everything. I went on trips to places where I knew I couldn’t get pills, but ended up drinking myself sick. Toward the end I became too afraid of the pain of stopping. I’d heard all about the muscle cramping, diarrhea, and nausea. But for me it was the extreme anxiety and insomnia. I couldn’t sleep.”
*Detoxification services are not provided at Morningside Recovery facilities. We work closely with local, fully licensed detoxification centers that provide the highest level of care to our clients. If a client requires detoxification and is admitting to any of Morningside's programs, our clinical team will follow the client’s detoxification treatment at these local facilities. If the detoxification period is to exceed 72 hours, we will also begin private therapy and other treatment services at the designated location. Our consulting physician and psychiatrist will also follow each client’s case at this outside center in order to ensure a smooth transition into any of our many levels of care. Although outcome studies have shown significant increase in client success when receiving full or extended treatment services after detoxification, if you require only a detoxification without further treatment, we are happy to refer you to one of the highly regarded and trusted detoxification facilities that we utilize.