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Natural Options to Help With Detox & PAWS
Withdrawal from substances isn’t easy. It’s uncomfortable and in some cases, debilitating and may even lead to death if not treated properly. This is becoming an issue for the prisons as people are going into withdrawal and not having the proper medical treatment and are dying as a result. For anyone who has ever tried to detox from substances, you know how challenging it can be.It’s important to note that no one should try to detox on their own from benzos or alcohol. They should always seek the help of a qualified medical detox program that provides medical supervision.
My personal experience is that while medications can be helpful, they are not always necessary, nor are they the solution for longer-term symptoms, such as PAWS. PAWS stands for post-acute withdrawal syndrome. This happens once a person has stopped using drugs, but unlike detox, it doesn’t just go away after a few days. In fact, PAWS can linger for months even years as some drugs are stored in the adipose tissue. I still, two years into recovery have PAWS symptoms, I have found that they mainly occur with weight loss and around specific times in my sobriety and stress. However, I know that at this point in my sobriety I do have to take medication for depression and anxiety obviously these are non addictive and appropriate. My brain is still healing from the damage that addiction has caused. It will take time and hopefully in the future I will not have to take medication.
I have though taken advantage of natural options for helping with PAWS such as yoga, eating healthy, exercise, acupuncture,and breathing exercises. These have all helped with the symptoms.
First, though, let’s talk about some typical detox and withdrawal symptoms, and how natural remedies and over-the-counter medicine can help.
Symptoms Of Withdrawal
Withdrawal from opiates is not generally dangerous, it is simply uncomfortable. The severity of your symptoms will depend on how much you were using, how long, and individual physiological factors. Severe withdrawal symptoms aren’t easy to deal with. If you are dependent on benzodiazepines or alcohol, you should never attempt to detox on your own. Here are some common symptoms of opiate withdrawal that are commonly experienced:
- Muscles aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and agitation
- Excessive yawning
The physical symptoms of withdrawal are difficult to deal with, but the psychological symptoms are even more challenging. It’s important that if you are going to detox on your own that you are getting plenty of support.
Home Detox And Withdrawal Remedies
The following are some ways you can help ease symptoms without medications. Each person is different, and will respond to withdrawal in their own way. Self-care and support are important.
Vomiting and diarrhea are common symptoms, and they can cause dehydration. This can become serious and require medical attention. Even mild dehydration, though, can make you feel worse. Staying hydrated throughout the process will help. Water alone may be insufficient. Try Pedialyte or a similar drink.
Over The Counter Help
There are a number of over the counter medications that can help ease some of the symptoms, such as Imodium for diarrhea and Dramamine or Bonine for nausea, as well as OTC pain relievers. These won’t make symptoms disappear, but they can help ease them. Another medication that can help is Benadryl. It can help with the watery eyes and itchiness you may experience. While these aren’t necessarily natural remedies, they can be useful in helping with your symptoms.
Supplements That Can Help
Melatonin and L-Theanine are both calming agents that can help you relax and get some rest. L-Theanine in particular is a good supplement that can help ease restlessness and anxiety, as well.
For Muscle Aches And Pains:
A hot shower can be a lifesaver. Soaking in a tub is good, too. Combining heat with an anti-inflammatory can ease the pain of muscle and bone aches that you may experience. Also consider adding Epsom Salts to your bath as this will help with the muscle aches as well.
Your body is likely depleted, and this results in low energy and other symptoms. You want to give your body as much help as possible. Taking a quality multivitamin is a good idea.
Other treatments that may be helpful include acupuncture and massage. Many people swear by acupressure to help ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Massage can help ease aching muscles and aid in relaxation and sleep.
So if you do not want to take medication to help you withdraw and detox from opiates, you don’t have to. While the drugs commonly used to help treat opiate dependence can be helpful and effective, they aren’t for everyone. Getting through those first few days of detox is miserable, there’s no doubt about it, however, you can ease the symptoms with a little help from over the counter medications, supplements and natural remedies.
Natural Help For PAWS
While each person may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome differently (and some not at all) there are some common symptoms associated with it. These symptoms may include but are not limited to:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Alternately, restlessness
- Lack of interest in normally enjoyable activities
- Difficulty focusing, feeling “foggy.”
- Difficulty remembering things, memory loss
- Intense drug cravings
I had many of these symptoms, and they varied from day to day. I couldn’t sleep, then I was exhausted all day, but some days I was restless and fidgety and unable to sit still. I felt stupid because I kept forgetting things, and my anxiety levels were so high I felt like I was in the midst of an ongoing panic attack.
A friend suggested looking into natural ways to help me get through this early part of recovery. Some of the advice was basic stuff, but it really worked. Here are some actions that helped me:
- Eat lots of protein and veggies. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? However, most newly recovering addicts tend to head for the sugar. It’s common, but it doesn’t help. Increasing my protein and vegetable intake helped me feel a bit more energetic, but not jittery. I also noticed it improved my thinking.
- I started taking daily walks and began hiking and doing some simple strength training exercises. This also helped clear my head, boost my energy while at the same time helping me with my restlessness and anxiety.
- Cut back on caffeine. This wasn’t easy, but I made sure to not consume coffee or soda after 2 pm. This helped my insomnia, along with the exercise. I also stopped internet surfing about an hour or two before bed.
- I made sure to take a good supplement with Vitamin D, B vitamins and other important minerals.
- Yoga and meditation were both extremely helpful in balancing my moods, quieting my anxiety and overall improving the way I felt physically and mentally.
Along with the list of detox remedies, these are some good places to start if you are dealing with PAWS. It does get better and you will get through it slowly but surely.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
Visit The Addictions Coach or call 1.800.706.0318 if you need assistance with detoxing or PAWS symptoms. We are here to help.