9 Ways to Detox from Opiates

A study done in 2010 revealed that about 12 million people in the United States abuse painkillers for nonmedical and recreational purpose. One among these drugs that is abused includes a class of drugs known as opioids. These include hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone etc. Although, the drugs are used in many medicines and have health benefits when used within limits, excessive usage of the drug when not prescribed or when taken more than the prescribed dosage can cause affect the health in a negative way leading to mental and physical health problems. Hence, de-addiction to opiate is very important.

9 Ways to Detox from Opiates

Ways to Detox from Opiates

The strong effect of the opiate to cause addiction makes it very difficult for a person to withdraw from it. Most of the opiate drug abusers become dependent on them and have difficulty overcoming dependency on these drugs. In a large number of cases, they develop opiate withdrawal syndrome which may be associated with serious complications which are often difficult to manage and also leave abusing opiate drugs making it a vicious cycle. Detoxing from opiates is a challenging task. Some of the effective ways to detox from opiates includes the following:

  • Eating Healthy Can Help Manage Withdrawal Symptoms When Detoxing from Opiate:

    It is advised to eat well and follow a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Regular snacking can help is overcoming depression and it also helps in fighting nutritional deficiencies. Healthy eating helps in improving the body’s ability to fight the negative symptoms of opiates withdrawal and it thus increases the body’s potential to beat drug addiction.

  • Adequate Hydration:

    Dehydration is one of the most common side effects experienced while detoxing from opiates. Dehydration may be secondary to increased sweating, frequent diarrhoea and vomiting experienced while giving up opiates. It is therefore very important to drink adequate water and stay well hydrated. In addition to water and fluid intake, patients must also increase electrolyte intake. Gatorade is an excellent choice of drink when detoxing from opiates.

  • Natural Anti-Inflammatories:

    Other withdrawal symptoms include muscle ache, muscle cramps and sleeping issues. A large number of home remedies are available for overcoming these symptoms. These include intake of fish oil, turmeric, green tea, astragalus root, passion flower etc. Most these natural products are also available as supplements in the market.

  • GABA Supplements:

    Additional supplements of GABA can help in detoxing from opiates. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system which precludes neural transmission and it helps in calming down the neural activities. This provides rest and relaxation and evokes feeling of tranquillity which is needed while overcoming opiate addiction.

  • Activated Charcoal

    Activated charcoal is a burnt plant material with natural anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. It helps in absorption of the toxic material accumulated from excessive use of opiates in the bodies. It also helps in fighting against any gastrointestinal side effects caused while detoxifying from opiates. It also helps in overcoming dehydration and inflammation caused during detoxing from opiates.

  • Detox from Opiates with Cannabis:

    It is one of the most powerful tool for combating side effects of opiates withdrawal syndrome. It helps in overcoming anxiety, irritation and pain caused while coming off opiates. It is available as CBD oil, i.e. a non-psychoactive oil extracted from cannabis plant. However, this product should be used carefully as over dosage of cannabis can cause permanent physiological damage and should also be taken under expert supervision as cannabis usage itself can also lead to its addiction.

  • Proper Clothing and Heat Pads & Cold Compress:

    It is very common to experience fluctuation between hot and cold body temperatures. To overcome this discomfort, care should be taken to wear proper clothing as needed. One can also consider using heat pads and cold compress as the temperature fluctuates. This will provide comfort and help in relaxation.

  • OTC Medications to Manage Withdrawal Symptoms While Detoxing from Opiate:

    A large number of over-the-counter (OTC) medications are available that may help to detox from opiates. These include pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol. These help in fighting muscle aches and other pains and cramps. Other pain medications include NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin etc. Medicines such as Imodium AD can help in fighting diarrhoea and other opiate withdrawal symptoms. Topical ointment such as Ben Gay or Tiger Balm can help in management of restless legs experienced during opiate withdrawal. Anti-nausea drugs such as Pepto-Bismol can help in overcoming nausea and related symptoms. It is advised to consult a physician before starting these medications as some of these drugs may lead to side effects or may interact with other drugs leading to unfavourable response.

  • Prescription Medications while Detoxing from Opiates:

    Besides the natural remedies mentioned above, one can consider prescriptions medications after consulting an experienced physician. Most of these drugs have serious side effects associated with them and thus it has to be taken only as directed and instructed by a physician.

Some of the commonly prescribed drugs include:

  • Benzodiazepine: This include drugs like Xanax and Klonopin. They help in fighting anxiety and insomnia. These are usually prescribed for a very short period of time to avoid dependency and development of side effects.
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin): It is a synthesized form of GABA neurotransmitter which help in fighting symptoms such as insomnia, restless legs, pain, depressions and involuntary muscle jerks.
  • Clonidine: This drug helps in management of restless legs, anxiety, insomnia and hot flashes.
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors: SSRI anti-depressants such as Prozac and Paxil help in overcoming anxiety and depression which comes in while detoxing from opiate.
  • Seroquel or Quetiapine: It is commonly prescribed for management of anxiety, insomnia and stress.


Detoxing from opiate becomes often very difficult due to the intense withdrawal symptoms that a person experiences while coming off opiate. Many a times, people restart taking opiate to escape from experiencing the withdrawal symptoms. Detoxifying from opiate takes time and patience. Even, family members need to be patient and extend the support so that de-addiction program can be completed effectively.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 2, 2021

Recent Posts

Related Posts