Addiction Treatment
Addiction Treatment

Can I Detox from Prescription Opiates at Home?

Badge Icon

Medically reviewed: 03/15/2019
Last updated: 05/13/2019
Author: Medical Review

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s totally normal to want to stay where you feel safe when you go through something physically difficult. Nothing is worse than getting sick when you are at work or in a store or even at another person’s house. All you want to do is go home and rest and take care of yourself. So, it isn’t surprising that you would think about ways to detox from prescription opiates in your own home.

We also live in a very do-it-yourself culture that places value on being industrious and thrifty. Therefore, you might also wish to avoid the expense of professional detoxification, preferring to take care of it on your own.

These are both understandable reasons to research home detox, but no amount of help from Google will make a home detox a good idea. Most people who try it need to make several attempts because they are unprepared for the sheer, unrelenting discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and they go back to using just to make the pain stop.

It’s a better idea to seek the assistance of a professional opiate addiction treatment center that has the training and experiences needed to use a variety of interventions to alleviate your discomfort and to support you during this difficult time.

What Is Withdrawal Like?

To make an educated decision about the type of detoxification to pursue, you need to understand what you will be facing. There are a lot of withdrawal symptoms and they can range from mild to excruciating depending upon:

  • The type of opiates you are using
  • The dosage sizes
  • The frequency of use
  • The length of time you have been using them

Normally, more chronic use and larger doses are associated with more severe symptoms.

There are two stages of withdrawal: early and late.

Early withdrawal symptoms:

Prescription Opiates

Prescription opiate withdrawal can cause severe flu-like symptoms.

  • Yawning
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • A runny nose
  • Bone and muscle aches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Tearing

Later withdrawal symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Goosebumps
  • Diarrhea
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Muscle spasms
  • High blood pressure and body temperature
  • Heightened reflexes
  • Increased respiratory rate

Typically, these set-in within 12 hours after your final use, but some people may take a bit longer.

Why Can’t I Detox at Home?

You may be thinking that these sound a lot like flu symptoms and think that you have weathered the flu at home before. Yes, these are the same symptoms associated with the flu, but they are so much more severe. Plus, you are experiencing them on top of terrible cravings and an increased sensitivity to pain in the absence of your opiates.

You need to consider that you have a limited base of knowledge. Of course, you know your body and the way that it reacts. You know your pain threshold. You know what typically works for you when you feel unwell. And, you can Google everything along the way. But, you aren’t trained in the field. You aren’t an addiction specialist or physician. You certainly wouldn’t undertake any other physically dangerous process at home rather than seeking professional help.

You also run the risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance because of vomiting and diarrhea. These complications can exacerbate other problems and can put your health in jeopardy. It is best you have a professional present in case this sort of complication arises.

What Will Professional Detox Do?

Firstly, you will be given prescription medication. Management of this syndrome without medications can produce needless suffering in a population that tends to have limited tolerance for physical pain. You will not have access to these medications at home.

The most commonly used medications for treating withdrawal are:

In addition, individual symptoms that remain after the primary medication has been used may be treated with secondary medications. For instance, insomnia may be treated with Benadryl. Head, bone, and muscle aches may require aspirin, Tylenol, or Motrin.