According to media reports, America is in the midst of an opiate epidemic, with more than two million adults having developed dependency or addiction to prescription painkillers and their illegal street alternatives. Due to the critical nature of this epidemic, there are now more specialist opiate treatment centers in America than ever before.

The most alarming fact about the staggering increase in opiate abuse that contributes to almost 65,000 deaths from fatal overdose every single year is that opiate use often starts in the physician’s office.

The fact that a person is prescribed a medication as powerful as morphine, oxycodone or hydrocodone to treat a chronic pain condition almost sanitizes opiate use from the get-go.

Why Are Opiate-Based Prescription Drugs So Addictive?

The effects of opiate-based drugs are intensely potent and they work by altering the pain signals neurotransmitters send to the brain so that the body is flooded with the pleasurable sensations. This effectively “distracts” the mind from the body’s pain, which is why opiate-based drugs are so widely used for chronic pain.

Unfortunately, most people with chronic conditions need to manage their pain for prolonged periods of time and it doesn’t take long before the body builds a tolerance to the effects of the painkillers they’ve been prescribed. This invariably leads to them having to take higher doses to alleviate their painful symptoms and when someone has reached this stage, they are at their most vulnerable to developing dependence.

Although doctors are prepared to prescribe opiate-based drugs within the parameters of the condition they’re treating; they are generally reticent to increase the dosage. In the absence of a legitimate prescription for a drug an individual’s body is beginning to crave, many turn to other sources for a prescription by visiting numerous offices or seek alternatives which are generally illegal.

These negative and often illegal behaviors and actions of a person who has developed opiate dependence should act as red flags to those close to them that they have a problem with prescription drugs.

What Is It Like To Detox from Opiates?

Because of the powerful influence opiate-based drugs have on the mind and body, it is always advisable to detox at a facility where there’s around-the-clock supervision from addiction specialists. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be severe and sometimes life-threatening. Detoxing from the drug can create different and wildly unpredictable responses.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to opiate detox but in general, withdrawal symptoms follow this timeline:

Around 6-12 hours after opiate use, early withdrawal symptoms will emerge and include:

  • Becoming emotional
  • Agitation
  • Aches and pains in the muscles
  • Insomnia despite a feeling of exhaustion
  • A runny nose
  • Racing heart
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Hypertension and fever

After 72 hours, the following symptoms may emerge and last for at least 7 days:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Prickly or itchy skin
  • Stomach cramps
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Deep depression

Is There Such a Thing as Holistic Opiate Detox?

Holistic approaches to addiction treatment are widely regarded to be highly effective in boosting recovery outcomes for patients with opiate dependency or addiction. Holistic therapies are dedicated to treating the individual as a “whole” in terms of mind, body, and spirit. The alternative practices allow patients to detox from drugs as powerful as opiates in natural ways while their body is healing from harmful chemicals.

Holistic detox often requires a longer time commitment than the medical alternative, although the objective of both is the same. However, holistic approaches work by addressing all the factors involved in a patient’s addiction at the same time and have been shown to have long-term results. The kind of holistic therapies that are useful in alleviating unpleasant physical withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Yoga
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy

After Detox, Choosing the Holistic Road to Recovery

ELEVATE uses several therapeutic approaches to provide support to patients as they navigate their way through the challenges faced in an opiate rehab center and after, in recovery. Among the holistic therapies offered both during and after opiate detox are the following:

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness techniques include holistic practices such as yoga and meditation and works by increasing a patient’s self-awareness so that they become more cognizant of their negative behaviors.

Individual and Group Counseling

Having open channels of communication is vital for patients in opiate rehab centers who have been addicted to a mind-altering drug. Through one-to-one and group therapy, patients are able to find out more about their addiction and how it affects those around them. Close bonds are formed in group therapy and the support gained from others coping with addiction can be vital in preventing relapse.

Family Involvement

It is important to remember that the family of an addict is sometimes as badly damaged by the experience as the sufferer themselves. Support from relatives and friends can be vital in a patient’s successful recovery and also serves to heal any bonds that were broken by addiction.

Physical Exercise and Good Nutrition

As part of a holistic approach to addiction treatment, physical fitness is an important component. Exercise is extremely effective in combating addiction as it replaces the chemical high of drugs with natural pleasure sensations from increased endorphin production.