Many of us know someone who has struggled with opioid addiction. If not yourself, perhaps it was a family member or close friend. Opioids affect a lot of families throughout the United States, so know that you’re not alone in dealing with them.
In fact, statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate the numbers of affected patients is significant. Studies show that 21 to 29 percent of patients who were medically prescribed opioids for chronic pain end up misusing them. On top of that, over 72,000 cases of death due to drug overdose have been recorded in a single year.
It’s clear that opioids affect many people throughout the country. If you or someone you know is undergoing a transition to sobriety from opioids, he or she will likely experience opioid withdrawal. Even though the transition can be challenging, consider these tips providing withdrawal help for you and your family.
Know What To Expect By Doing Your Research
Every opioid abuser has a different physical composition. That means that each patient has a different relationship with the substance, including how their body will react to opioid withdrawals.
Still, there are certain things you can expect that most patients experience during opioid withdrawals. If you’re a serious opioid abuser, you might already be familiar with the first symptoms of opioid withdrawals.
Within 6 to 12 hours, minor symptoms start to appear. These include muscle aches, excessive yawning, trouble sleeping, headaches, or even a fever. It’s around this time that most common opioid abusers give in and go back to their substance.
If the patient holds out, though, the worst part of withdrawals typically happens around 72 hours after last using the substance. These patients experience serious nausea, stomach cramps, depression, and serious cravings for the drugs.
After these intense symptoms, patients will still exhibit irritability and trouble adapting to life without drugs for up to weeks after last using. It’s up to them and the community around them to maintain sobriety through every avenue possible.
Maintain a Positive Attitude, Even When It’s Tough
The first step to remember is to remember your perspective throughout the entire process of transitioning to sobriety. Though withdrawal symptoms may be physical, the battle you’ll be finding is a mental one. You will be challenged to work through your pain instead of reaching for the drug again.
Don’t be too hopeful about maintaining such a positive outlook, though. It’s going to be pretty tough at times to remember that sobriety is worth the effort.
Many people go back to misusing their drug of choice simply because they choose to ignore their pain rather than fight through it. Break the cycle be sticking through even the toughest parts of the process.
There are benefits to staying grateful for being able to challenge yourself with sobriety. Consider this guidance to remain grateful even during your darkest times of overcoming opioid addiction.
Stay Connected To Surrounding Friends and Family Members
Not only will transitioning to sobriety challenge you in physical and mental ways. You’ll also be tested in an emotional capacity.
Many people don’t realize that drug abuse affects their emotional stability. The effects of consistent drug abuse can numb the natural coping mechanisms we’re supposed to use. When patients quit taking those numbing opioids, they tend to struggle with coping with emotions again.
Some patients overcoming addiction are fortunate enough to already be surrounded by family members and friends. Not everyone is so lucky, though. That’s why it might be necessary for some people to enter into a treatment facility to be surrounded by caring hands.
A stable community of support is crucial for adjusting a patient’s emotions back to normal. Consider this guidance for dealing with emotions during early sobriety.
Cultivating genuine relationships during withdrawals can be the difference between success and failure. Make sure you don’t try to handle the transition to sobriety all on your own.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help
As mentioned above, you’ll need other people around you to be successful in your sobriety. At the very least, you need to be able to talk to someone about your struggles throughout the process.
Misusing opioid substances ends turning our brain chemistry to have a dependency on those substances. It’s no wonder that many who attempt to quit the drug abuse turn back to it. The brain literally becomes hardwired to need the substance for peace.
Take care, though, to allow your brain to readjust after dependency on opioids. You’ll find that your cognition and emotional stability seem much healthier when you’re sober.
For a while after transitioning to sobriety, many patients tend to deal with symptoms of anxiety or depression. It’s unfortunate that the mood is so affected, but it’s important to prepare for.
Sometimes it can seem as though the transition to sobriety is too much for someone to handle. As difficult as it can be to deal with these strong withdrawal symptoms, don’t be afraid to ask for help during your dark times. There are plenty of resources available to assist you, such as the National Helpline for substance abuse.
Exercise At Least a Little Bit Every Day
It’s no secret that your body is going to go through some serious changes during this transition. You know from your research that you’ll experience trouble with energy levels and sleeping habits. The good news is that there are efforts you can take to help regulate your body’s needs.
That regulation starts with a thorough exercise routine. Don’t worry – you don’t need to become a bodybuilder just to transition away from drug abuse. It is a good idea though, even if just to maintain some level of routine.
It’s common that opioid abusers don’t make a habit of exercising while abusing substances. Since transitioning to sobriety is such a dramatic lifestyle shift, exercising can help normalize a sober life. For many, exercise is even a chance to substitute unhealthy habits for healthy ones.
Don’t push yourself, though. Only work out to the extent of whatever is recommended by your doctor. Don’t expect to be very active right off the bat.
Even if you only take a brisk walk every day, you’ll be off to a good start in your new sober lifestyle. You deserve to make the most of your new, healthy life of sobriety.
Get Plenty of Rest
Along the lines of physical health, don’t forget about your sleep cycle. It’s an unfortunate truth that going through opioid withdrawals could negatively affect your sleep. Don’t worry, though – there are steps you can take.
It might be difficult to get to sleep, especially at first during withdrawals. Do your best to stick to a regular sleep schedule anyway. Even if you’re only laying down without sleep for eight hours, your body will technically still get the rest it needs.
Over time, your brain will get used to calming down around the same time. The goal is to normalize a healthier sleep cycle than the one you had to rely on opioids for.
You’ll eventually notice that your sleep cycle becomes more regular. This is a sign that most of your withdrawal symptoms are wearing down. Work through those difficult withdrawal times knowing that a regular sleep cycle will surely be worth the investment.
Monitor Your Diet and Nutrition
Along with plenty of exercise and rest, don’t forget to watch your diet during addiction recovery. Your body is going to need all the natural help it can get to readjust without opioids.
The first thing to think about is making sure you drink plenty of water. Dehydration can be a huge problem for many patients overcoming opioid dependency. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day while you’re going through withdrawals.
When it comes to what you eat, do your best to stick to healthy greens and grains. That means you need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. It also means you need to minimize the number of carbohydrates and fats you consume.
Examples of healthy foods to eat include leafy greens like spinach or salads. You should also look at nuts and non-meat proteins.
Your body is doing a lot of internal work when it is readjusting to a life without opioids. Give it the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay strong during this time.
Check Out Recovery Facilities
It’s clear that recovering addicts need to be surrounded by a supportive and helpful community. The withdrawal process can be long and arduous.
For those patients who aren’t fortunate enough to have family members and friends ready and available, recovery facilities are normally available. Do plenty of research to find the best treatment center in your area.
Stay Informed About Withdrawal Help
As you recovery from opioid abuse, you deserve to be around as much withdrawal help as is available. We know how important it is to take the matter of your recovery seriously.
We encourage you to stay as informed as possible about the recovery process. Check out the rest of our blog today to learn about withdrawals and other parts related to the recovery process.