Addiction, in any form, operates in much the same way as a disease, changing the brain and body in fundamental ways. Likewise, the end result of opiate addiction creates an opiate-dependent environment throughout the brain and body.
This “disease” aspect of addiction accounts for why standard detox treatment approaches tend to lean towards medication-based treatments. While medication-based treatments can be highly effective at helping you make it through the detox stage, there are a number of opiate withdrawal remedies that don’t come from a pharmacy.
Medication Treatments as Opiate Withdrawal Remedies
Opiate addiction not only takes over the brain’s physical or chemical processes, but also changes how the brain thinks in the areas that most influence your emotions and daily behaviors. According to the Journal of Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology, these effects account for why people in recovery fight an ongoing battle with drug cravings that last long after drug use stops.
Most medication-based treatments, such as methadone and buprenorphine do a good job at helping to restore the brain’s natural chemical balance. In essence, medication-based treatments pick up where the brain leaves off in terms of supporting normal chemical processes.
Types of Drug-Free Opiate Withdrawal Remedies
The tapering approach doesn’t actually treat opiate withdrawal, but rather reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms experienced along the way. Tapering works by gradually reducing opiate dosage amounts over time.
Tapering should be done over a long time period that may run for as long as six months. In effect, a person will still experience a mild degree of discomfort throughout, so it’s important to taper at a slow rate or else the potential for relapse runs high.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM uses natural remedies, such as plants, animals and minerals to treat opiate withdrawal symptoms. As a branch of medicine that’s been around for more than 2000 years, TCM has been used in the addictions’ field for well over 100 years.
Traditional Chinese Medicine centers around the Qi theory, which emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy energy flow throughout the body’s systems. Acupuncture is one of the more well-known TCM treatments.
Neurofeedback, another opiate withdrawal remedy, uses electroencephalography, or EEG sensors to track your brainwave activity. According to the Journal of Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, neurofeedback enables a person to better manage opiate withdrawal discomfort by interacting with a computer display that show brain waves in real time.
Interacting with brain waves may entail using breathing or focusing techniques. In effect, a person can change his or her brain wave frequencies and reduce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms in the process.
Nowadays, many drug detox programs offer alternative treatment methods, so these types of opiate withdrawal remedies are not as hard to find as they used to be. Programs that do offer these methods typically use them alongside standard treatment approaches, such as counseling, support groups and behavioral treatments.
If you’re considering opiate withdrawal remedies that don’t use medication treatments, call our toll-free helpline at 800-405-7172 to ask about available treatment options.