The opioid epidemic has hit every state in the U.S. hard. This means that every one of us has seen the effects of drug abuse of prescription painkillers in one way or another. Maybe you've heard news stories showing local crimes or traveling. You've never dealt with it in your own house. This is a problem that hits close to home for all of us.

It's also something that many people are trying to fight on an outpatient basis. However traveling for inpatient treatment is recommended, but sometimes, it can’t be done. For example, Vermont drug rehab facilities may not be an option for someone trying to stop using opioids in California;.

There's nothing wrong with seeking outpatient treatment in a calm city like Seattle as long as you can stick to a program. Some people can be successful in this way, but it takes a lot of dedication and personal accountability. You must be prepared to tell people you're trying to stop using and be honest with your friends and family.

One of the hardest things you can try and go through alone is detoxification. Most addicts experience severe withdrawal symptoms that can make them sick and highly uncomfortable. Not everyone can go through these without the help of a medical professional. If you plan on trying, you must understand what you're getting into.

How Do I Know if I have Withdrawals?

The way that each person experiences withdrawal symptoms is relative to the length of time that they use drugs and how much they are using. If a person is consuming opioids every few hours, then it will take a long for them to start experiencing withdrawals. It all depends on how dependent you are on the drugs, both physically and mentally.

People will start showing withdrawal signs within 24 hours after their last use. For some, the withdrawal process can take hold in only a few hours.

Some of the symptoms that you need to be prepared for:

  • Extreme nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • A runny nose and sinus issues
  • Alternating between restlessness and extreme fatigue
  • Intermittent insomnia
  • Body-aches
  • Fever
  • Sweating profusely
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Headaches
  • Agitation
  • Potential heart palpitations
  • Possible seizure activity

It's always best to speak to your doctor about what you're doing and to let someone know to check on you throughout the process. This gives you an additional safety net. Most symptoms will disappear within the first week after stopping drug use. Then, you'll need to shift your focus to the signs of mental addiction.

Over the Counter Meds and Sleep

Most people that are going through withdrawals recommend taking some sort of over-the-counter medication to ease the symptoms. It's essential not to make anything that could trigger your drug use and to speak with a medical professional before doing anything like this.

When you’re going through withdrawals, the last thing you want is something that hurts your stomach. Non-prescription painkillers like Tylenol or ibuprofen can help ease muscle aches and to help with headaches or general discomfort. Always look for enteric-coated ibuprofen, as the other kinds can irritate your stomach.

Benadryl can help to regulate your sleep patterns and help you feel less agitated when taken appropriately. If you make it too often, it can increase symptoms like restless leg syndrome and irritability. Always pay attention to the recommended dosage and stay within those limitations.

Try to sleep as much as possible, and consider using antidiarrheals if your stomach disrupts your rest. Any addict can tell you that it's almost impossible to participate in therapeutic activities if you suffer severe withdrawal. This isn't fun, but you can start the treatment process once you've overcome the tricky part.


Most of us don't want to participate in cardio even when feeling tremendous, so this may seem somewhat unconventional. In truth, vigorous exercise can release endorphins and boost your metabolism. The more endorphins you publish, the better your brain can counteract withdrawal.

Just ensure that any exercise you try is safe for your current condition. If you're suffering from dizzy spells or tremors, it may be impossible to do this safely. Boosting your metabolism, even a little bit, can help to rid the drugs from your system faster. It will still take a long time for your brain chemistry to rebalance, but some relief is better than none.

Sweating it Out

Some people swear that turning up the heat, dressing in layers, and getting in a sauna can help to get the drugs out of their system faster. Unfortunately, this also leads to severe dehydration, which can land you in the hospital. Withdrawals will make you nauseous and cause you to lose water, so sweating it out isn't the best method.


As opposed to "sweating it out," this is an excellent method. Drink plenty of water and stock up on sports drinks that can help to balance your electrolytes. It can also help to purchase a healthy supply of fruit juices with low acidic content. These won't upset your stomach and help your blood sugar stay up if you struggle to keep food down. If you're not dealing with nausea, try eating sugary foods. This can also release endorphins that can help bypass some of the symptoms. It may not do much, but some relief is better than none.

When to Seek Medical Help

Make sure you run your plans by your doctor and have someone checking on you periodically. Keep a phone nearby, and call for emergency services if you lose consciousness, experience tremors that you can't control, have a severe migraine, or simply feel like you can't handle the symptoms.