The severity of withdrawal from opiates depends on several factors.
The frequency of substance use, the quantity of use as well as the length of use could determine the severity and length of withdrawal.
Withdrawal symptoms can begin anywhere from 6 to 12 hours after last use and last several days.
While withdrawal from opiates can be severe and cause acute discomfort, the good news is that it is not dangerous (unless other drugs were abused concurrently), as it does not lead to other complications such as seizures or stroke as in the case of alcohol and benzodiazepines.
Suboxone is used to treat opiate withdrawal, and the medication also has naloxone in it which helps prevent overdose. The generic name for Suboxone is buprenorphine.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, chills shivers, shakes, nausea, etc. Suboxone not only helps provides relief from these symptoms, but it also addresses cravings. Once the patient has been fully detoxed off of opiates suboxone can be used for longer-term maintenance, but naltrexone, commonly known as Vivitrol is also an option.
The better treatment programs combine behavioral therapy along with medication assistance, which is commonly known as medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. Research has suggested that the MAT was integrated into less than half of private treatment programs, and only about 30% of the patients actually participated in MAT treatment.
In order to help patients stay compliant with MAT treatment, newer formulation of buprenorphine are being tried. One is Probuphine, which is an implant that is designed to help provide constant doses of buprenorphine to the patient for an extended period of time (up to 6 months). The most recent one is Sublocade, which is an injection that is time released into the body and is designed to last 28 days.
If you or a loved one is suffering from dependence to opioids (heroin, pain pills) the time to take action to overcome the addiction is now! There are many treatment options and health insurance usually covers the cost of treatment.
It is always advisable to seek outpatient treatment so that skills learned in treatment can be applied in the real world at home and adjusted according to individual needs. If the desire is to keep the cost of treatment low, it is always better to seek treatment at facilities which are in network with your health insurance provider, as deductibles usually do not apply and co-pay is low.
Dr. Cidambi is a leader in addiction treatment and innovator of safe and effective ambulatory (outpatient) detoxification level of care for alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, and suboxone. Prior to founding the Center for Network Therapy, she completed her residency in Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and an Addiction Medicine Fellowship at NYU/Bellevue Hospital in New York. Due to the successful detoxification program, Dr. Cidambi was featured frequently by media outlets, including NPR, CBS, NY Times, and Wall Street Journal.