February 13, 2009, Newsletter Issue #222: Detoxification

Tip of the Week

Detox from OxyContin, Vicodin, or other opiate-related painkillers is similar to that from heroin or morphine, often manifesting unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, fever, weakness, and nausea. Many people who try to stop using these drugs on their own find the symptoms so troublesome that they return to drug use.

Because these addictions often occur among people who have stable, supportive families, it is sometimes possible to detox from painkillers at home, without having to spend time in a hospital. In all cases, this process should be supervised by a physician, who may be able to prescribe medication to ease the withdrawal symptoms.

"Rapid detox" programs treat the patient in one or two days under anesthesia. These are not covered by insurance, and can pose risks to some patients. In addition, when they do work, they do not treat the addiction itself, leaving the patient to experience the same thought patterns and emotional needs that led to addiction in the first place.

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