The Best Vitamins and Supplements to Treat Opioid Withdrawal

Vitamin C on wooden table.

Opioid withdrawal can be excruciating. Depending on the specific type of opioid, withdrawal can last between four days and three weeks. In fact, the symptoms can be so severe and painful that the prospect of withdrawal keeps people from stopping their opioid use. If they do attempt a detox, the harsh reality of withdrawal can cause them to turn back to the drug. The problem is made worse as the person begins to feel like they lack the power to stop using opioids.

Traditional detox options range from attempting to quit cold turkey to seeking hospitalization or taking specific medications to lessen the withdrawal symptoms. However, people who are struggling to break their addiction may be searching for a way to lessen the intensity of their withdrawal symptoms.

Alternative options such as vitamins and supplements may help mitigate opioid withdrawal symptoms. However, it is necessary to consider that, whenever recovering from an addiction, new addictions can form. Some people attempt to stop using opiate only to become addicted to a substance that is meant to lessen the withdrawal symptoms.

The safest and most effective method of withdrawal treatment is medically supervised detox or a similar medical program. Use of any alternative substance to treat opioid withdrawal is taken at your own risk and should occur after research, careful consideration ad a consultation with your doctor. Some research has been conducted concerning supplements and vitamins for opioid withdrawal. However, the research is ongoing and new medical advances are continually made.

Consultation with medical professionals is always advisable. It is essential to check with your doctor when considering alternative treatment options in light of your specific situation and medical history.

This group of vitamins may help with stress relief and provide a balancing effect on the nervous system. This can be desirable for the agitation caused by opioid withdrawal.
These vitamins interact with the central nervous system, and because of this, they can help relieve anxiety. Additionally, they can serve to relieve muscle tension.
Kava can improve mood and may help to relieve some symptoms of depression. Additionally, it can increase mental clarity. Some have concluded that it aids in lessening neurotic anxiety. However, it can potentially result in liver and other issues.
Passion flower is another alternative treatment method for opioid withdrawal, with some research supporting its effectiveness. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics indicates that it can potentially be effective in the management of mental symptoms and act as an adjuvant agent to clonidine-based therapies.
For those experiencing insomnia as a withdrawal symptom, melatonin can be effective. Although the person taking the substance must be cautious about dosage, it can help with sleep difficulties.
Although not strictly related to one vitamin or supplement for decreased symptoms, a healthy, balanced diet can aid in the overall well-being of the person trying to end their addiction and could even help to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Since the person struggling with addiction is trying to change one habit already, adding another major life change may be difficult. The following diet changes can be helpful during withdrawal:

  • Following a low-saturated fat plan
  • Eating complex carbohydrates
  • Regularly eating fiber

Additionally, the feeling of hunger can often be confused with a craving for opioids. It can be helpful to remember that, when this feeling comes, it may be an indication of hunger. Eating can help supply the body with the nutrients it needs to not only sustain recovery but to also help prevent relapse in the long run. Clinician and author Beth Reardon suggests specific dietary elements that target the liver in her book, The Mindful Diet:

  • Spices and herbs such as parsley and cilantro
  • Vegetables such as artichokes, broccoli and kale
  • Fish such as sardines and salmon
  • Beverages including white and green tea and water

Facing opiate withdrawal symptoms can be challenging, but alternative treatments can potentially lessen the severity of the situation. Considering vitamins and supplements and improved diet as alternative treatments can make a positive impact.

Akhondzadeh S, et. al. “Passionflower in the treatment of opiates withdrawal: a double-blind randomized controlled trial.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2001. Accessed February 2019.

Bourne RS, Mills GH, Minelli C. “Melatonin therapy to improve nocturnal sleep in critically ill patients: encouraging results from a small randomised controlled trial.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2008. Accessed February 2019.

Gastpar M, Klimm HD. “Treatment of anxiety, tension and restlessness states with Kava special extract WS 1490 in general practice: a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind multicenter trial.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2003. Accessed February 2019.

Simon & Schuster. “Beth Reardon MS, RD, LDN.” (n.d.) Accessed February 2019.

Van der Watt G, Laugharne J, Janca A. “Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of anxiety and depression.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2008. Accessed February 2019.

The Best Vitamins and Supplements to Treat Opiate Withdrawal
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