Opiate addiction is unfortunately common these days. From Vicodin to Oxycontin, these drugs produce a feeling of euphoria that can be highly addictive for some people. Even when used for pain relief, people can still develop a tolerance, needing more and more to get the same effects.
Opiate withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable, but it’s certainly not life-threatening. Initial withdrawal symptoms include irritability, low energy, anxiety, agitation, and muscle aches. The second phase of withdrawal includes abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Symptoms can last anywhere from a week to a month and their severity dissipates with treatment and time. In order to make the withdrawal symptoms a little less uncomfortable and a lot more manageable, here’s a look at five tips to help you through:
With stomach cramps and diarrhea, drinking water is probably the last thing you want to do, but staying hydrated is essential. Drink as much water as you can. You need the H2O to help flush the lingering opiate toxins out of your body.
Rest, Rest, Rest
You need to sleep as much as you possibly can in the first few days. That’s easier said than done, but your body is quietly screaming for some good quality rest. Without it, you’ll never make a full recovery. Only when you sleep can your body and mind truly be given ample opportunity to heal and rebuild.
Chances are that when you were abusing drugs you weren’t eating very healthy. Now it’s time to focus on eating clean! Naturally, the stomach problems associated with opiate withdrawals initially prevent you from feeling hungry or wanting to eat. However, your body needs those essential vitamins and minerals to help boost your energy levels. So, in the beginning, try sticking to eating lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
One Thing at a Time
Managing opiate withdrawal is all about tackling one symptom at a time. If you’ve got a killer headache or your muscles are in knots, lay in a warm bath or opt for a massage. If your mind is racing and you can’t get a moment's peace as a result, try listening to soothing music or reading a book. To reach sobriety, you have to find natural, healthy ways to cope.
The euphoric feeling opiates create is caused by a massive release of endorphins, a “feel good” chemical found only in the brain. Without a consistent and massive dose of opiates every day, the brain needs a while to reset and begin manufacturing its own adequate levels of endorphins again. Exercising is the single best natural way to boost those magical “feel good” chemicals. You won’t feel like running a marathon during early withdrawal, but give it a few days and you can start out with easy, low-impact exercises like yoga and stretching.
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