The opioid epidemic currently affects millions of people in the U.S., including people who abuse prescription opioids, people struggling with heroin addiction, and the families and loved ones of people who struggle with opioids and opiates. Opiates are highly addictive. They change the chemistry of the brain, and their use becomes compulsive and out of control. In addition to the chronic disease of addiction, opiates also cause physical dependence.

Physical dependence on opioids means that a person’s body depends on the drug’s presence to maintain a sense of normalcy. The chemistry of the brain and body have changed to the point that opioids are normal, and not having them sends the system into a type of shock. Opioid withdrawal can be a tremendous obstacle to treatment and recovery. Withdrawal from opiates is uncomfortable and painful, both physically and psychologically. Some of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, depression, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle aches and pains.

Article at a Glance:

  • Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by opioids, which are highly addictive and cause severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • At-home remedies for opiate withdrawal are vitamins, herbal supplements, diet changes and exercise.
  • However, at-home opiate withdrawal is not recommended due to low effectiveness and high likelihood of relapse.
  • There is very little scientific evidence that natural opiate withdrawal remedies work.
  • The Recovery Village creates individualized detox and opioid addiction treatment plans to help you overcome opioid addiction.

Natural Remedies for Opiate Withdrawal

Due to the difficulty of making it through opiate withdrawal cold turkey, people will often search for at-home remedies for opiate withdrawal. At-home remedies for opiate withdrawal can include certain vitamins and herbal supplements as well as changes in diet and exercise. It’s important to realize that at-home remedies for opiate withdrawal are not the best option. It’s extremely difficult to self-regulate a drug tapering schedule. Many people who attempt to use at-home remedies for opiate withdrawal end up relapsing. There are also possible complications such as dehydration, which can ultimately require hospitalization.

There is very little scientific or clinical evidence to indicate that natural remedies for opiate withdrawal are effective. There are herbs that some people believe do help, such as ginseng or various blends that could help restore regular brain chemistry.

Acupuncture is also often explored in terms of natural remedies for opiate withdrawal. Certain vitamins and minerals such as B-vitamins and magnesium are often depleted in opioid-dependent people, so people may include these as part of at-home remedies for opioid withdrawal. These options are best used as a supplement to professional medical care. However, it’s important for people to tell their health care providers about any natural remedies, vitamins or minerals, or supplements that they are taking.

Exercise for Opiate Withdrawal

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, some people find exercise helpful for opiate withdrawal. It should be light exercise, however, because the body is already going through stress. Some good exercise options for opiate withdrawal can include going outside for a walk or something gentle and restorative like yoga. Anything beyond that can become too strenuous and may make the withdrawal process harder or more dangerous.

Foods for Opiate Withdrawal

There are no magic cure-all at-home remedies for opiate withdrawal. The best foods for opiate withdrawal are options that restore nutrients and help the digestive system. Opiates can wreak havoc on the digestive system, so a high-fiber diet can be helpful. High-fiber foods include leafy green vegetables, whole grains and beans. It’s also important to ensure that a person going through opiate withdrawal has proper hydration and electrolytes. This is especially critical if vomiting or diarrhea occur.

Opiate withdrawal is a complex process. It includes both psychological and physical symptoms that have to be addressed. The symptoms of opiate withdrawal are often best managed with specific prescription medications. Similar to home remedies for alcohol withdrawal, the chances of being successful doing an at-home opiate detox are low. Most people who attempt to do this aren’t successful, and they often relapse. Relapsing can increase the chances of an overdose and other complications. The best option is to consult a medical professional or attend a medical detox facility. A detox center has both the medical resources and the supportive, alternative therapies that can be used in conjunction with one another. Then, following a medical detox, the patient can move directly into treatment. The patient is already comfortable with the facility, and the groundwork for long-term treatment has already begun during detox.

Do you struggle with opiates? Do you have a loved one who does? Please contact The Recovery Village. We offer a range of specialized treatment options including medical detox. Our team develops individualized detox and treatment plans to maximize the chances of a successful recovery and a substance-free life.

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Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.