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Traditional Treatment for Opioid Dependency

Traditional treatment for an individual with opioid dependency involves an individual  allowing the body to rid itself of the drugs over time, usually alone or monitored by a non-medical professional. The process of the drug leaving the body’s receptor sites can take days and is the cause of acute withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include, within the first 24 hours, muscle aches, restlessness, runny nose, excessive sweating, sleeplessness and anxiety. After the first 24 hours severe flu like symptoms begin including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and goose bumps and chills. The process can last 5-10 days with residual effects lasting even longer. Because the drug can remain in the body’s tissue, the user will still have physical cravings, adding to the likelihood of re-abuse. 

In more recent times, a medical component has been added to the traditional treatment and withdrawal process. The user enters a rehab facility and is monitored by a medical professional. They are given medicine to help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms, as well as, fluids and vitamins to replace those lost through the detoxification process. The process can last 5-10 days with residual effects lasting even longer.