Opiate Withdrawal Remedies
Opiates are some of the most addictive substances in the world. When one stops using them, the withdrawal symptoms can cause both physical and mental anguish. Many people make the decision to go through withdrawal at home, and there are options available to these people to make the withdrawal experience more tolerable.
Please note that severe opiate addictions are best treated in a rehabilitation center under medical and professional supervision.
For everyone else, there are a variety of home remedies including vitamins and herbs, physical activity, and supplements that can ease the common symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
Over-the-Counter Opiate Withdrawal Remedies
These OTC remedies can be used to relieve some of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, but be aware that they are going to provide very mild relief at best.
Sleep Aids – One of the most difficult symptoms of opiate withdrawal to deal with is insomnia. You can find a variety of over-the-counter sleep aids at your local pharmacy, Unisom, for example. Some people find melatonin, which can also be bought over-the-counter, helps with their insomnia, but it is a weaker sleep aid, likely only providing relief for very mild cases of insomnia.
Aspirin or Ibuprofen – These can be taken to deal with some of the pain brought on by withdrawal. The relief will be minimal, but they will dull some of it.
Imodium AD – Diarrhea and abdominal cramping are common symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Imodium AD acts by slowing down the movements of the intestines. Not only does it help to stop diarrhea, but it will give the intestines more time to absorb water, reducing the threat of dehydration.
Pepto-Bismol – Like Imodium AD, this will help with diarrhea, but also provide some relief for vomiting and nausea.
Bengay or IcyHot – There are other topical muscle rubs out there too, but these are the two we recommend. If another option has worked better for you in the past, use that. These muscle rubs can provide some relief for muscle aches and cramping.
Epsom Salt – Taking Epsom salt baths can help reduce inflammation which will help with muscle aches.
L-Tyrosine – L-Tyrosine can help to provide more energy to combat the general feeling of malaise many feel while going through opiate withdrawal. Taking too much can produce a jittery, on-edge feeling, so be careful with the dosage.
Wide-Spectrum Multi-Vitamin – There are a variety of these available. Popular brands are Centrum and One-A-Day. One of these will help to replace some of the important supplements and vitamins your body needs that will likely be lost from the vomiting and diarrhea. One will likely find it difficult to eat enough to replace these effectively, so a multi-vitamin is a good idea.
Exercise and physical activity stimulates your body’s natural production of endorphins. These are your body’s natural pain relievers. Endorphins also produce feelings of euphoria and an overall general improved mood. Sunshine can also boost the production of endorphins.
During withdrawal, you do not want to overdo it with physical activity, but going for a long walk or bike ride during the day can have a very positive effect on your overall mood.
Hot Baths or Showers
A hot bath (or shower) can help to relax you, providing some anxiety relief. Hot baths can also help with muscle aches and restless legs. Use Epsom salt as mentioned above to make them even more effective.
Frequent vomiting and diarrhea bring on an added threat of dehydration, which carries with it a whole set of problems on its own. It may be difficult to drink liquids, especially early on in the acute withdrawal phase when feelings of nausea may be at their worst, but it is important to keep hydrated. Sports drinks like Gatorade that specialize in helping your body stay hydrated are a good idea.
There are a host of supplements available on the market that are designed specifically to counteract the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. None of these will eliminate the withdrawal symptoms entirely, but they can provide some relief for a wider range of symptoms than any of the above remedies will on their own. You can learn more in our guide to opiate withdrawal supplements.