There is a great deal of stigma surrounding drug addiction in today’s society. Treatment options are far better than they once were, yet many addicts still feel unable to seek out the help that they need because they fear being judged for their behavior. The reality, however, is that, particularly in the context of the broader opioid crisis which is currently gripping the United States, opioid addiction is beginning to affect people from all backgrounds and walks of life.
Many of those who find themselves in the jaws of addiction began their opioid use with painkillers prescribed by their physician. Sometimes, it is not until they try to reduce their dosage or stop their use entirely that they experience withdrawal symptoms and realize they are addicted. Those who are considering applying for hospital jobs will benefit from knowing this information, as it is now very common to see opioid addicts in hospitals. This isn’t just because of problems arising from their drug use; the problem is now so widespread that it is statistically very likely.
Overcoming opioid addiction is along and difficult process, there is no easy way around it. To make it through the withdrawal process and begin to live a full life, free of addiction, addicts will need all the help that they can get. It is highly recommended that anyone who is about to go through opioid withdrawal seeks out the supervision of a qualified medical professional. Withdrawing from opioids is not usually dangerous, but it is very unpleasant.
Anything that the withdrawing individual can do to minimize their discomfort will help to increase their chances of success. There are both physical and psychological components to the withdrawal process. To break free from their addiction, addicts need to be able to overcome both of these aspects of their condition.
While there are pharmaceutical options for treating opioid addiction and withdrawal, such as opioid replacement/maintenance therapy, many people would like to use their push for a drug-free existence as an opportunity to embrace a healthier lifestyle overall. The following herbal supplements can all help to reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms and give patients the best possible outcome.
There are several different vitamins in the B family, each of which provides a slightly different biological function. A B-Complex vitamin will contain multiple types of B vitamins, in some cases, they contain all eight different types of B vitamin. The B vitamins can easily become depleted from the use of alcohol and certain drugs. Because many drug users also drink, vitamin B deficiencies (specifically B-12) are more common in drug users.
Replenishing your levels of B-vitamins will ensure that cell metabolism can proceed efficiently, while also helping to reduce stress. You might think that stress would be the least of your concerns when withdrawing from opioids, however, withdrawal often causes anxiety and, therefore, increases stress. Having adequate levels of B-12 will at least help to minimize the physical and emotional discomfort of any stress that is present.
Calcium and Magnesium
As children, many of us have it hammered into our heads that calcium is an essential component of strong and healthy bones. Without calcium, which we mostly obtain from milk, cheese, and other dairy products, bones become brittle and weak. However, our needs as far as these two substances go are more complex than the above summary suggests.
To be as effective as possible, calcium and magnesium should be administered together. There are two reasons for this. The first is that magnesium enhances the absorption rate of calcium from the blood, allowing your body to do more with less. The second part of this equation is that the effects of each of these substances individually compliment one another. Calcium contracts muscles while magnesium causes the relaxation of muscles and the calming of nerves. Together, these effects support the optimal functioning of the nervous system in a number of ways.
For those who are in the throes of opioid withdrawal, this combination will help to minimize the strain placed on the nervous system by the increased blood pressure that withdrawal causes.
Kava is a substance which has been used as a traditional medicine and recreational intoxicant in many different cultures. It should be noted that every indication we have is that Kava is completely safe in the short term. However, chronic, heavy usage has been associated with liver damage similar to that caused by alcohol.
Kava contains a number of different compounds, known as kavalactones. Of the 18 or so of these compounds that are found in the plant, around six of them account for over 90% of the plant’s pharmacological activity. Kava works to relax the body. It has a complex mechanism, the net result of which is general relaxation and a sense of wellbeing. Many people find the effects of kava helpful when facing withdrawal. Unfortunately, because opioid withdrawal also causes a strong feeling of nausea, it is often hard to keep the resulting brew down, potentially limiting its effectiveness.
Passionflower is another example of a plant which has been used for a long time in a number of different cultures. It is also another plant which is excellent for relaxing the body and reducing anxiety. Those who smoke, particularly using a vaporizer or water pipe, can consume passion flower in this way. If you are struggling to keep liquids down, this provides a viable alternative to brewing a tea or infusion.
Eating when struggling with opioid withdrawal is difficult. Withdrawal creates strong feelings of nausea and leads to frequent vomiting and diarrhea. It is hard to keep food down but doing so will make the entire process much more comfortable. If cannabis is legal in your state, it provides a very effective anti-nausea medication and appetite stimulant rolled into one. If cannabis is not legal where you are, speak to your doctor about medications that can help to achieve this.
If you are struggling to keep food down, try eating fruits, as these are mostly water and contain a range of nutrients and minerals that your body needs, whether you are in withdrawal or not.
Beating the scourge of drug addiction is no easy task. However, there are a number of things that you can do to improve your chances. The above supplements are all natural and will relieve at least some of the discomfort you feel.