How to Naturally Ease Anxiety and Depression when Detoxing from Opiates
Opiate withdrawal symptoms are a nasty set of symptoms that normally accompany detox programs for most opiate painkillers. About 2 million Americans suffer from opiate-related conditions, with most people afraid of coming off the drugs largely because of the withdrawal symptoms. As a result, opiate addiction has become one of the most common reasons for socioeconomic breakdown as more addicted people become unable to work or make any positive contribution to the community.
If you are addicted to opiates or opioid-based substances, you have undoubtedly experienced the effects of skipping a dose or two of your daily regimen. Vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, shivering, and nausea are common symptoms during the first few hours after a missed dose. These and other physical symptoms usually fade away within a week or two into the detox.
On the other hand, psychological symptoms normally persist longer than two weeks. Anxiety, stress, agitation, and depression often follow days or weeks after a successful detox. These symptoms are often classified as PAWS, short for Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms, and may last for months on end. These symptoms are often responsible for a large number of relapses after successful opiate detoxes.
What Causes Anxiety and Depression when Detoxing?
Opiates work by mimicking the pain-relieving effects of endogenous opiates, which are the body’s natural way of reducing pain perception. When opiates are absorbed into the bloodstream, their molecular forms occupy strategic positions along nerve cells in the spine. Here, they add on to the natural pool of opiates, resulting in enhanced pain relief.
Apart from the painkilling effects, opiates also induce a sense of happiness, joy, and general euphoria. Individuals often feel relaxed, calm, and at peace even in the face of negative or highly stressful environments.
With time, the body reduces and eventually shuts down the natural process of producing endogenous opiates. This is the body’s way of responding to excessive amounts of opiates in the bloodstream, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the Goldilocks Principle. Once this happens, you become totally dependent on the drug for physical and psychological function.
How to Manage Anxiety and Depression with Natural Remedies
With opiate withdrawals, you probably won’t have to deal with psychological symptoms such as anxiety until later on. For the first few days, you will be fully preoccupied with a barrage of physical symptoms, which could range from mild to extremely painful or uncomfortable. The good news is you can manage all the symptoms of withdrawal with natural remedies from the comfort of your home.
1. Make a Firm Choice to Quit
Detoxes, even the most controlled ones in the hospital, can be difficult. With an unending barrage of cramps, diarrhea, nausea, aches and pains all over your body, and other withdrawal symptoms, it is easy for even the strongest among us to give up midway. A strong mentality not only helps to brave the physical symptoms, but also allows you to overcome the overwhelming nature of anxiety, depression, and other symptoms of PAWS when they eventually show.
2. Practice Yoga and other Meditation Techniques
Practicing relaxation techniques is one of the best ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, even in regular life. When detoxing, practicing meditation techniques such as yoga can help you cultivate positive energy that will help with the healing process. These will also be effective at keeping anxiety and depression at bay long after your physical withdrawal symptoms have disappeared.
3. Discover a Constructive Hobby
You know that garage that you have been meaning to paint or reorganize? How you always wanted to bring down those old drapes in the bedroom and replace them with new ones? This is your chance.
Take this opportunity to do those small tasks that you always wanted to do. They will help to keep your mind off the withdrawals, especially during the early days when anxiety and depression normally creep in. Get your favorite book, video game, or music album and immerse yourself completely for the duration of the detox.
4. Change Scenery
It is easy to get depressed about all those things that bug you about your house or neighborhood, especially during a detox when the withdrawals are tugging at your skin. Additionally, carrying out a detox in the same enabling environment you used to abuse the opiate will only make depression and anxiety worse with time.
If you can, hire out a hotel room or cabin in a campsite (but ensure there is enough network coverage in case you need medical attention). If that is not possible, look for a trusted family member or friend with whom you can stay during the detox. The positive feelings cultivated during this time will undoubtedly be beneficial against depressive thoughts during and long after the detox.
5. Join the Local Chapter of Narcotics Anonymous
Family members and close friends can provide a critical shoulder to lean on during and after the detox. However, confiding in someone who has been there – probably more times than you – is normally a much better way of keeping away stress and depression.
Support groups are important when it comes to beating anxiety and depression related to opiate addiction and detox. PAWS and related psychological symptoms can develop anywhere up to six months. Having someone to confide in and share experiences with can be a real morale booster that drowns out sad, depressed thoughts.
6. Use CalmSupport
CalmSupport is a withdrawal aid that has been used by individuals for years to help with withdrawal symptoms. When detoxing, your body goes through some type of shock as it works to adjust to an opiate-free environment. As such, organs in the digestive system are working below their potential, which is why you may experience nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting during the course of the detox.
CalmSupport contains activated vitamins, minerals, and organic herbs that are absorbed quickly through the gut. In their activated forms, these nutrients are easily absorbed without much energy from the digestive system. This may reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms and help further down the line with stress, depression, anxiety, and other PAWS symptoms.