Opiate Detox

Step By Step Recovery can facilitate a variety of opiate detoxes at our residential detox and rehab clinic, The Lighthouse.

Detoxing from opiates can be very challenging in the community, especially if you have been taking opiates for a prolonged period of time and regularly.
All clients that admit to us with an opiate dependence, will be offered a full medical opiate detox and the opportunity to benefit from a bespoke rehabilitation programme.
We detox clients from all manner of illicit, prescription and over the counter opiates, including:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • OxyCodone and OxyContin
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Co Codamol
  • Tramadol
  • Nurofen and Solpadeine plus

Whatever opiate you are struggling to stop, we assure you we can help. Our clinical team have years of experience in successfully treating opiate dependence, abuse and addiction. We can help you to become completely opiate free!
It is important to follow any opiate detox with a full bespoke rehabilitation programme, which we can also facilitate at our clinic. This helps to safeguard against relapse and can free you from the compulsion and psychological craving to take opiates.

What is an Opiate Detox?

Our opiate detox is the process by which all opiates are eliminated from the body over a period of time and with the assistance of an approved medication and high levels of support.

On admission to our clinic you will be comprehensively assessed by our qualified Psychiatrist; who, with your agreement, will prescribed a course of medication to assist you through the worst of the opiate withdrawals.

We value our clients input when planning a detox, as those that have attempted an opiate detox before, usually know what does and doesn’t work for them.

Our aim is to make you as comfortable as possible whilst you are detoxing, so that you can still benefit from the healing therapies we have to offer, and more importantly – complete your detox and become opiate free.

Why are opiates so addictive?

It is a known fact that tolerance and dependence to opiates can develop in as little as 3 to 5 days of continuous use. The reason for this, is that the body and brain accepts them so readily as a replica for their own organic pain killing chemicals.
Opiates have powerful analgesic and euphoric effects; so even those that are prescribed them, can quickly develop a dependence and become addicted to the euphoric feelings they produce.

What Causes an Opiate Addiction?

Any opiate, when used for a prolonged period of time, with frequent exposure, can make a number of structural chemical changes the users brain. These changes create dependence and addiction and can be very hard to reverse.

Eventually, most chronic opiate users will reach a place where they are no longer able to feel any pleasure at all, regardless of the amount of opiates that they take. Their brain stops producing vital organic feel good chemicals and emotional regulators; as a result the individual becomes very depressed and loses all hope.

Serotonin and Dopamine are two very important organically produced chemicals that are responsible for feeling pleasure and regulating emotions. The abuse of opioids suppresses their natural production over time and the brain becomes reliant on opiates to stimulate the release of these chemicals into the brain.

Initially, when an individual starts to abuse a drug or an activity that produces a euphoric high, the brain is literally flooded with dopamine and serotonin, their levels are temporarily boosted. They feel invincible and on top of the world as a result. Naturally, they want this feeling again and so will continue to chase it, but never quite achieving the same euphoric hit as the first few times of use.

The individual may resort to larger doses or mixing drugs for a more potent high, but eventually they will find that nothing works anymore. By this time their brain has rewired to actively seek the drug that produces the most intense euphoric effect; but literally all they are achieving is a way of staving off withdrawal symptoms.

This video perfectly depicts addiction, in a way that anyone can understand. Even when the consequences become bigger and the individual knows that they needs to stop, they are still compelled to continue, more often than not against their will and at great expense to their overall well being.

This is why it is so critical to get help sooner rather than later; the more entrenched the addiction is, the more damage is caused to the brain, and the more complex it is to reverse.

Is Opiate Dependence the Same as Opiate Addiction?

Some individuals can develop a tolerance and dependence but not an addiction. Those who do not suffer from addiction, will be able to detox from opiates, not be tempted to abuse them and stay stopped with ease. So no, an opiate dependence does not necessarily mean that there is an opiate addiction present.

Where opiate abuse has been involved, addiction usually follows; this is due to substantial chemical changes taking place in the brain due to repeated exposure to high amounts of opiates and the false euphoria produced as a result.

Addiction always involves abuse of a drug or an activity. In the the case of opiates someone can be physically dependent but not addicted. An opiate addicted individuals usually, but not always, ends up opiate dependent.

Those that suffer from addiction will have a very different attitude towards opiates and compulsively seek out ways to abuse them and get high. Their behaviour around their drug taking, will also be very different from an individual who has developed a tolerance and dependence as a side effect of following an analgesic pain management programme.

An opiate addict will find it extremely difficult to stop taking opiates, and stay stopped, without undergoing intensive addiction treatment.

Whether you have a dependence, addiction or both, it is important to access the correct specialist treatment. Dependence to opiates can cause long term health implications; addiction is a very serious life threatening disease of the brain that ultimately can result in premature death.

Am I addicted to opiates?

You may be unsure of whether you have an addiction to opiates or not. Identifying a dependence is relatively easy; if you get sick when you stop taking a regular dose of opiates and the symptoms are relieved by taking more opiates, then you have a dependence. You will likely need assistance in detoxing from them if you cannot stop yourself.
With addiction, behavioural problems become the main issue. Its these risky and maladaptive behaviours that put the individual’s life at risk on a daily basis.

Identifying with one of more of the following statements indicates that there is a strong possibility you suffer from an addiction to opiates:

  • I take opiates because I enjoy how they make me feel
  • I use different pharmacies or doctors to get more opiate medication without arousing suspicion.
  • I stock up on opiate medication or drugs. I am fearful of running out; or I save them up for a binge and a period of intense intoxication
  • If I run out of opiates I develop withdrawal symptoms and a feel compelled to get more
  • I hide the amount and what I am taking, from family, friends and my doctor.
  • I feel guilt and shame around my drug taking
  • I will lie, cheat, steal or manipulate in order to get more opiates, if necessary
  • I’ve had to increase the dosage over time in order to get the euphoric effects that I crave
  • I seek out the strongest opioids I can get my hands on, through whatever means
  • I want to stop, I have tried to stop, but I cannot stay stopped.
  • I feel trapped by my drug taking and cannot see a way out
  • Friends and family have expressed concern over my drug taking or change in my appearance and character

Addiction to opiates is a life threatening condition that requires immediate intervention and intensive specialist treatment.
Whether you are opiate dependent, addicted or both, we can show you a life free from chemical dependence and help you take the steps to get there. Call us now for free information on how we can help!

What Medications are Used During an Opiate Detox?

There are various approved medications to assist in the detoxification from opiates. Their main benefit is that they help to alleviate opiate withdrawal symptoms. Step By Step Recovery are familiar with all of the approved detox medications, but ultimately it is between you, our consultant psychiatrist, and our medical doctors to agree on what is likely to work best for you.
Some of the common opiate detox medications that we use include:

  • Buprenorphine (Subutex)
  • LAAM
  • Buprenorphine-Naloxone (Suboxone)
  • Methadone
  • Clonidine

Of course it is important to consider many factors when deciding what will work best for you during opiate withdrawal. Your general health is a big factor, as is the strength and the dosage of the opiate you have been taking and how long you have been taking it for.

In some cases a reduction regime of the opiate you are already taking is the best detox management. Whatever is decided, we are here to support you 100 percent through the entire process, both medically and therapeutically.

What Happens If The Detox Medication Does Not Agree With Me?

We believe in listening to our clients needs; some rehabs will prescribe one medication and refuse to change it, even if the person is suffering very badly. We do not operate like that here at The Lighthouse.

If you feel the medication you have been prescribed is not managing your withdrawal symptoms adequately, our doctor will review your detox and discuss possible adjustments with you in order to make you more comfortable.

Is Detoxing From Opiates Dangerous?

Detoxing from opiates where there is a dependence is uncomfortable but not usually dangerous, unless carried out incorrectly. How the detox is conducted, will dictate the severity of the withdrawal symptoms that manifest, and if any symptoms are likely to become life threatening or dangerous.

Electing to go “cold turkey” (stopping all opiates suddenly and completely) on your own, can be very dangerous and result in life threatening developments such as:

  • Lung infections from inhalation of your own vomit
  • Choking on your own vomit
  • Becoming severely dehydrated and developing imbalances in essential electrolytes
  • Severe malnutrition
  • Suffering from hallucinations and psychosis
  • Severe depression, leading to thoughts of self harm or suicidal ideation

All of these symptoms can be avoided completely or managed by admitting to our residential Lighthouse clinic for a full medical detox. Here, you will be continually monitored and medical care is on hand 24/7, should you require it.

The Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal

There are many symptoms indicative of opiate withdrawal, symptoms hit peak severity around 72 hours after the last dose. The longer you have been using and the higher the dose, the symptoms will be more severe and likely to be longer lasting. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can last anything from 7 to 10 days, up to a year in some cases of protracted withdrawal.

A medically managed inpatient detox will reduce the severity and the time frame of the symptoms you experience. Opiate withdrawal symptoms include:

Is Detoxing From Opiates Painful?

Step by Step Recovery aim to detox you from opiates with the least amount of discomfort and pain as possible. We achieve this through the assistance of approved medications and 24/7 medical care and therapeutic support; all conducted within the safety of our fully residential rehab clinic.

Many individuals addicted to or dependent on opiates will avoid detoxing as they fear the withdrawal symptoms. We understand this, as opiate withdrawal can be very brutal if not managed correctly. However, in the supportive environment of our clinic and with careful medical management, this does not have to be your experience.

Many relapse whilst trying to detox from opiates as they attempt to do it without the correct support or intervention. The Lighthouse is equipped with everything you need to make your stay very comfortable and our staff are highly trained and qualified in dealing with all manner of detoxes including opiates. You can be assured of our 100 percent commit to your welfare at all times.

What are the Risks of an Opiate Relapse?

The main risk of relapsing on opiates is overdose, which ultimately can lead to death. Once detoxed and abstinent for a period of time your tolerance to opiates will have dropped dramatically. Exposing yourself to the similar amounts that you were once use to, is likely to send you over. Relapsing on opiates is very high risk and results in many deaths. This is why you need to do all you can to safeguard your recovery and not become complacent.

Opiate rehabilitation will show you the recovery tools required to help prevent relapse and keep your recovery safe. If you would like more information on our opiate rehabilitation programme, please call us for further information..

What happens after an opiate detox?

Once you are completely free from opiates and detox medications, you are then in a position to undergo intensive rehabilitation to help prevent you from relapsing. We don’t just remove the drug; as the disease of addiction resides in the brain and not in the drug or drugs that are the focus of the addiction.

Ideally after detox, you should undergo a full rehabilitation programme with us and then attend our outpatient aftercare programme. This will give our clinical team time to unearth and treat the root causes of your addiction and also give you more time to adapt to life without opiates.

Some individuals require extended treatment; we are able to accommodate this in our secondary care programme and tertiary supported living accommodation.

Those who do not undergo rehabilitation for addiction are at extremely high risk of relapse.

This is why we advocate our rehab drug rehabilitation so strongly; we want you to stay free from opiates permanently and never have to return to using again.

Opiate free life

Step by Step recovery can help you to become and stay opiate free. Opiate addiction has a very high mortality rate; please don’t waste another day wondering “what if I could stop?” Call us today and let us help you make it happen!