Opiate withdrawal is a mental and physical struggle, and nobody experiences it the same way. While there are prescription medications to deal with the side effects, not everyone can or wants to go down that road, especially if dealing with more than just the addiction itself. These are some tips and tricks that have made their rounds and are considered decent alternatives to the widely used prescription drugs that fight withdrawal symptoms.
1. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water to cleanse the liver and kidneys naturally. Water detoxifies and hydrates, and sports drinks like Gatorade help with dehydration as well. Staying sufficiently hydrated helps the body to heal the way that it is supposed to, rather than pulling resources from already strained organs. Simply aim for the daily recommended amount of water consumption per day.
2. Over-the-Counter Products
Over-the-counter products can provide effective opiate withdrawal relief effectively. Those that will work include ibuprofen for aching in the body and muscles, Benadryl will aid in relief of watery eyes and itching, and Immodium to help prevent frequent visits to the bathroom. All of these products are safe to use when the instructions are followed, and can really curb some of the withdrawal symptoms.
3. Get Lost in a Book, Movie, or Show
Really, the trick here is to find an alternative to obsessively (not really) think about. There are so many ways to get caught up in any form of media, and the time will just fly by. This is especially great on days that you are not feeling up to tackling the outside world, like if you are recovering but also pregnant—as opiate treatment is more complicated for those who are expecting.
4. Take Advantage of Water
There’s no doubt aches are a serious sign of withdrawal, so use something that is at your fingertips all day at any time. A hot shower can give immediate relief from anxiety, tension, headaches, muscles spasms, and more. Simply being in water like swimming, can improve your mood immensely and provide therapeutic relief for the body.
5. Change Your Diet
Health is usually neglected when using opiates, so many people dealing with withdrawal also need to look at their diet. An appetite may not be present, but light and healthy meals will be easily digested to provide energy and nutrients to help the body heal. Soups are great for those with a low appetite, as well as vegetables, fruits, crackers, and eggs. Junk food should be avoided.
6. Go Outside, Take a Walk
The sun is necessary for most living things to thrive, this is why it is important for those who are dealing with opioid withdrawal symptoms—the sun helps to get you feeling better faster. The shining sun will help to produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in both sleep and mood. The sun is also an important source of vitamin D, and a lack of vitamin D can lead to depression.
7. Alternate Heat and Cold
Withdrawal symptoms include rapidly changing from having the chills to sweating, so you will need a cold compress as well as a heating pat to help cope with these quick changes. A moderately warm heating pad will do, as will a cool wash rag.
8. Get Plenty of Sleep
When you are initially detoxing, plan to sleep a lot. This will allow the body to heal much more and deal with less pain. Sleep lends itself to healing and not hurting. Just like when you exercise, the body heals while you’re sleeping, not while it is being stressed. It has the chance to rebuild and be stronger than it was.
9. Exercise Daily
Exercise will be hard when first detoxing, but once you are feeling better, light exercises are ideal. This can be simply walking or a light jog to reduce stress and aid the body to heal. The blood will start circulating and help to heal.
10. Find Peace and Quiet
Withdrawal is frustrating and challenging as there will be feelings of being uncomfortable, soreness, fatigue, and uneasiness. The last thing needed is unnecessary noise. Let anyone close to you know that you need peace and your own time when dealing with the withdrawal symptoms.