Opium Detox

Opium is a natural substance that comes from the poppy plant. Although it was once used as a medicinal drug—usually in the treatment of pain—it is now no longer used for this purpose. Instead other, synthetic opioids are often used. However, many individuals still get ahold of opium in order to abuse it. This can lead to many different problems, such as tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Opium dependence occurs when the brain and body become dependent on the drug after the individual has taken it consistently for a long period of time. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms if the individual suddenly stops taking the drug. Though opium withdrawal is not as severe are other types of withdrawal syndromes, it can still be dangerous (and even deadly in some cases). As such, opium detox is necessary for the safe treatment of dependence.

Those who become addicted will require treatment in an opium detox center, although this is only the first part of addiction treatment, and rehab will need to follow. You can learn more about your options for local opium detox centers and find a program when you call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) today.

Understanding Opium Detox

Opium is a Schedule II drug that can be found in the poppy plant, also known as papaver somniferum. This plant has been grown and used by humans since as early as 5000 B.C.E. Fluid that leaks from the poppy plant, looking similar to milk, is cultivated and dried out in order to make the drug opium. It can be formed as a liquid, a solid, and a powder and is most often found as the latter, which is usually brownish in color.

Opium was used for centuries to treat all manner of ills, especially pain. Over time, we have come to rely on other natural substances from the poppy plant (called opiates) and synthetic or semi-synthetic substances formed to act like these substances (called opioids) to treat pain instead. Though opium remains a Schedule II drug, it is not normally used as a treatment medication any longer.

Opium, like other opioid-based drugs, can cause dependence if taken regularly for a long period of time. Dependence can lead to opium withdrawal if the individual is suddenly unable to obtain more of the drug. This often occurs in individuals who abuse opium for its ability to cause an intense high. For this, addiction treatment in the form of rehab is often necessary, but the first step is to help the individual begin opium detox in a professional detox program. Without professional help, many opium abusers return to taking the drug or risk other serious effects. For example, according to the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, opium abuse can increase your risk for coronary artery disease.

Opium Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms of opium withdrawal are easy to spot. They look very similar to the flu and are also similar to the withdrawal symptoms caused by many other types of opioid drugs. The symptoms include

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia

People who don’t know how to recognize this syndrome may believe it is simply the flu, but anyone who takes opium is at risk of becoming dependent. The drug is intense and is likely to cause severe effects to those who abuse it. You can call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) today to ensure that you or your loved one is able to get the necessary treatment for this syndrome.

Cause of Opium Withdrawal

Opium withdrawal occurs because the brain and body become dependent on the drug over time, and when the drug is suddenly no longer available, they must adjust. This is why a person can become dependent on a drug without becoming addicted, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, because opium is not usually prescribed to treat pain anymore, most people who become dependent will also be addicted to this drug.

People who abuse opium in order to get high will often become dependent, as those who become addicted are usually dependent as well. Babies born to dependent mothers will also be dependent in most cases and may experience a severe form of opium withdrawal also known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. This particular withdrawal syndrome can be deadly if not treated immediately in a hospital.

No matter what the cause of opium withdrawal, treatment in a detox center is necessary. In most cases, the individual will also be addicted so this program will be the earliest form of addiction treatment the individual receives. This must be followed by rehab, however, because detox cannot treat addiction on its own.

How Long Will Opium Detox Take?

You should expect to begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms around the time when you would have had your next dose (usually around 6 hours or so for hardcore opium users). Opium detox often takes about a week if allowed to run its course. However, some treatment programs may last more or less time, depending on the options they offer.

  • Ultra-rapid detox involves putting the patient to sleep and then inducing withdrawal. It usually lasts only a day or two, as it is focused on getting the patient through their opium detox program as quickly as possible.
  • Rapid detox, which allows for a little more time, will normally take three or four days.
  • Medical detox, which allows the patient to go through opium withdrawal with the treatment of medications, usually lasts about a week or two, although most patients will stay in treatment for about 30 days to fully stabilize.
  • Medication-assisted detox involves allowing the patient to be stabilized on a medication rather than being fully weaned off opioid-based drugs. This process can take a month, 90 days, or as long as a year.

To find out which one of these opium detox programs are right for you, call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) now.

Are There Dangers?

There are many individuals who believe opioid-based withdrawal to be without any serious risks. Because it does not generally cause an intense type of delirium like alcohol withdrawal or a potential for seizures like benzodiazepine withdrawal, it is often believed to be safe to go through opium detox at home. However, this is a risky choice, as opium detox can lead to a number of potentially dangerous side effects.

These can include

Relapse is often one of the most dangerous possible outcomes of going through opium detox at home. If someone relapses during this time, their tolerance has likely diminished but they will usually abuse the same amount of the drug as they always did. This can lead to a severe overdose, potentially even a deadly one. According to the National Library of Medicine, most deadly overdoses from opioid-based drugs occur during or just after detox. This is just one reason why it is so important to seek help for this syndrome.

Contact Detox.com now to avoid the dangers of opium withdrawal in a professional detox center.

Who Answers?

What Treatment Options Are Available for Withdrawal?

Treatment for opium detox should occur in a professional detox center, of which there are many types. Some of the most common opium detox programs were described above. The treatment options that are most likely to appear in an opioid detox center usually fall under two categories: medications and behavioral therapies.

Medications used to treat opium withdrawal usually minimize the severity of the symptoms so the patient can withdraw safely. However, some individuals go through medication-assisted detox, which involves stabilizing the patient on a drug so they will not experience withdrawal symptoms and will, instead, be on that medication for a specific amount of time until the patient and their doctors feel it is time for professional withdrawal to occur.

The commonly used medications for opium detox include


Methadone is an opioid agonist that is beneficial for treating severe withdrawal symptoms. Patients can either go through medical withdrawal with the help of this drug or be stabilized on it in medication-assisted treatment.


Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that is beneficial for treating less severe withdrawal symptoms. This drug can also either be used in medical withdrawal or to stabilized a patient in medication-assisted treatment.


Clonidine is an antihypertensive agent that can treat certain withdrawal symptoms associated with opium, including muscle pain, flu-like symptoms, and insomnia. This drug cannot treat cravings or nausea, which is why it is often reserved for the treatment of individuals with less severe dependencies (NLM).

According to the NIDA, the use of opioids like methadone or buprenorphine to treat withdrawal—and addiction—is not like replacing one addiction with another but rather an option that allows the patient to utilize opioids safely under a doctor’s care to treat their substance abuse problems. Usually, these drugs are the most effective choices for someone who has become extremely dependent on opium, although some detox centers might utilize clonidine.

If you are unsure which type of medication is right for your opium detox, call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) today. We can answer what questions you may have about medication treatment, as well as help you find detox centers.

Behavioral therapies are another necessary treatment option for most opium detox programs. These facilities must prepare the patient for addiction treatment, which can be done through successful behavioral therapy. In addition, these programs can help patients cope with the psychological symptoms associated with withdrawal.

Some detox centers also offer different types of care, as evidenced below.

  • Holistic detox centers offer holistic treatments in addition to evidence-based options, such as yoga, meditation, massage therapy, etc.
  • Nonmedical detox centers do not provide medication as part of treatment. Many people require medication to safely withdraw from opium, but if you would prefer not to use this option but still be in a controlled environment, this is a beneficial choice for your needs.
  • Spiritual detox centers put a patient’s spiritual needs front and center with their medical needs as they go through detox.

Depending on your situation, a very specific treatment program—like one of the ones mentioned above—could be beneficial to you. Call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) today.

Inpatient or Outpatient Opium Detox

While there are many types of opium detox programs, most of the facilities in which they take place provide either inpatient or outpatient care.

  • Inpatient centers offer 24-hour care. Patients are in a controlled environment where they are supervised and will not return home for the duration of their detox.
  • Outpatient centers provide treatments to the patient on a specific schedule. Patients return home after they receive their treatments and can plan their schedules around work, home life, etc.

The NIDA’s Principles of Effective Treatment state that no one treatment option is appropriate for every individual. However, most people who are going through opium detox (especially for the first time) should consider inpatient care for their safe recovery from opium withdrawal and dependence.

Benefits of Inpatient Opium Detox

Inpatient detox does offer many benefits for an individual dependent on opium. For one, it usually provides more treatment options, both holistic and traditional, than outpatient care. It also helps patients get away from their day-to-day lives for a time, which can be helpful for those who are afraid of relapsing at home and/or those who have stressful lives that could potentially lead to relapse.

Ask yourself the questions below in order to determine if opium detox in an inpatient center is right for your needs.

  • Is this your first time going through opium detox?
  • Did you try to go through withdrawal at home and were unsuccessful?
  • Do you lack a strong support system of friends and family members who can help you through withdrawal?
  • Are you suffering from any comorbid disorders?
  • Are you experiencing (or do you have reason to believe you will experience) severe depression and/or anxiety during withdrawal?
  • Is your home environment unsafe for someone going through withdrawal (i.e. Are drugs highly available)?
  • Is your home environment unsafe in general?
  • Do you feel you need time to get away from the stressors of your daily life in order to properly navigate opium withdrawal?
  • Do you want to find a treatment center that offers more amenities, treatment options, etc.?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, an inpatient opium detox center would likely be the best choice for your safe recovery. Not everyone needs this type of care, but it can be highly effective for those going through opium withdrawal, especially because of the potential for intense and uncomfortable symptoms.

Find a Local Opium Detox Center

The possibility of an opium overdose is always real, according to Columbia University. This is why it is so important to seek safe, professional care for detox. However, facilities where you can do so are not hard to find if you know where to look.

Don’t go it alone. Let us help you find local opium detox centers where you can recover safely. Whether you are looking for yourself or for a loved one, call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration. (2017). Drug Fact Sheet- Opium.
  2. International Journal of Preventative Medicine. (2010). The Relationship of Opium Addiction with Coronary Artery Disease.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2007). The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction-10: Addiction vs Dependence. 
  4. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal. 
  5. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2017). Clonidine.
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Buprenorphine.
  7. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (3rd Edition)- Principles of Effective Treatment.
  8. Columbia University. (n.d.). Go Ask Alice!- Opium.
Get Help Today Phone icon 800-779-4314 Info icon Who Answers?