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Home Remedies For Opiate Withdrawal | Kicking Painkillers At Home

Updated on April 3, 2016

Professional treatment is usually a better alternative to an at home detox if you can afford it. This method is not perfected, nor is any rehab, the 'thomas recipe', or any other program. Remember that everyone experiences withdrawals differently.


Table Of Contents

1. Preparation Is Key!
2. Informing Family, Friends, and Employers
3. Recommended Supplies
4. Cleaning Up Your Environment
5. Withdrawal Remedies & Helpful Medications

How To Quit Heroin & Painkillers At Home

I spent six valuable years of my life addicted to various opiates and it was a long hard battle. The entire time I was struggling to escape.

I tried various methods, and it always worked.. for a little while. Eventually I would get back on them one way or another. Over time my resources were minimal and I decided it was time for me to grow up.

While I am finding a new way to maintain my sobriety every day, I have developed through trial and error, research, and conversations with industry professionals, a detailed at home opiate detox guide.

A tough battle lies ahead.
A tough battle lies ahead. | Source

Preparation Is Key!

The opiate beast is a tough foe. You are going to need every weapon against it that you can afford. Many people give up after just a couple days. Those that make it through the "acute" stage of withdrawal were most likely prepared or receiving professional help. Chances are if you are reading this, treatment is not an option.

Inform Family, Friends, and Employers

This is a tough one. Nobody wants to be classified as a junkie. Sometimes there are people who just wont understand. Use your best judgement based on your current relationships, lifestyle, and circumstance. You need to tell someone though. This is a very hard task to take on solo.

As far as I know, it is illegal for an employer to fire someone based only on their addiction to drugs. Tell them you need some time off to get things together. Maybe they will understand, maybe they wont. Have any vacation time saved up? Use it. This is some extremely important business.

Tell a family member or friend who you feel can directly support you if you need help. Depending on your tolerance, it can get pretty severe. Someone to get you a drink can make your day when your brain is telling your body it is dying.

Find people who you can call. Sober friends. Support group members. Doctors. Therapists. Anyone. Even just to vent. To stop you from giving in to the monster in your head. These people can save you.

Do NOT underestimate the power of distraction.
Do NOT underestimate the power of distraction. | Source

Recommended Supplies

These items are recommended to make life easier during detox. None of them are absolutely necessary.

  • Small Blanket (To Walk Around With)
  • Heating Pad (You'll Be Cold)
  • Extra Bedsheets (Some People Experience Especially Excessive Sweating During Sleep)
  • Comfortable Clothing (Pajamas, Gym Shorts, etc.)
  • Supplemental Drinks (For Example Gatorade & Ensure)
  • Your Favorite Snacks (Appetite Is Hard To Come By During Detox)
  • A Stockpile Of Entertainment (You Will Mostly Be Bed and/or House Locked For A Few Days. Pick Out A TV Series To Watch, Books To Read, Video Games To Play Or Whatever Entertains You.)

Clean it up while you still feel decent.
Clean it up while you still feel decent. | Source

A Clean Environment Is Very Important

  • Make sure whatever living space you occupy is tidy and fresh. No dirty clothes or sheets, no trash, etc. It really does make a difference.
  • The most important environmental factor is the people around you. Having other users in the house or even in the same neighborhood will make it ten times harder to resist the cravings. Inform the people you use with that you are going to make an attempt to escape it's clutches.
  • Turn your phone off. Delete the phone numbers of people who use. Delete your Facebook account. I could go on and on. If you are serious about this you need to cut the bad fruit off of the tree immediately.
  • If you can gain access to a gym with a sauna and/or hot tub, I would highly recommend it. When you just can't seem to get warm, there is nothing better than a soak in the hot tub. Not to mention it is very relaxing and helps with muscle aches.
  • Finally, purchase a wide range multivitamin, preferably one that contains Potassium and Zinc, as these help with restless legs. Nutritious foods can help supplement this as well.

Any relief from the symptoms is another weapon in your arsenal to use against the monster.
Any relief from the symptoms is another weapon in your arsenal to use against the monster. | Source

Opiate Withdrawal Remedies & Medications

There are many different substances that can relieve the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Some can be purchased OTC (Over The Counter) while others require a prescription from a doctor.

Acute Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Acute Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms May Include:

  • Physical & Psychological Cravings
  • Nausea & Stomach Pain
  • Cold Sweats
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation/Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Joint & Muscle Tension/Aches
  • Shaking/Quivering
  • Insomnia
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Bone Aches
  • Restlessness
  • Restless Legs/Limbs
  • Runny Nose
  • Watery Eyes
  • Depression
  • Frequent Yawning
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Tremors
  • Flu-Like Symptoms

Over The Counter Medications/Remedies

These can make a huge difference in helping make things more bearable. If you have some already or the resources to purchase some then definitely do so.

Bismuth Subsalicylate (a.k.a. Pepto Bismol):

This was the absolute most valuable one to me. Stomach/Digestion issues are extremely consistent & persistent, and this stuff can help with many symptoms.

Uses, Warnings, Etc.

Stool Softener:

A symptom of opiate withdrawal is diarrhea, so be careful with this stuff. The thing is, a side effect of opiate use is constipation. This can linger on after you quit and make things very uncomfortable. A laxative can be too much and can even hurt you if used incorrectly. Stool Softeners are a safer alternative that wont backfire too badly if constipation switches to diarrhea.

Diphenhydramine (a.k.a. Benadryl, zZzQuil, etc.):

The stuff that they put into NyQuil to make you sleepy. An antihistamine with a drowsy side effect, a bottle of generic "Allergy Relief" costs about 3 bucks for 100 pills.

WARNING: These should not be used during the initial or "acute" withdrawal phase, as they are known to aggravate Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms. This can make for a terrible situation so be careful. These can make you very uncomfortable so if you have an alternative sleep medication use that.

Uses, Warnings, Etc.

Loperamide (a.k.a. Imodium):

Used to treat diarrhea, I believe it is actually a weak opiate.

Uses, Warnings, Etc.

Melatonin & Valerian Root:

Very mild sleeping aids. These will not really help during the beginning of the withdrawal, but can help regulate clean sleep hygiene later on in recovery.


For general pain, swelling, aches, etc.


Have you ever suffered from opiate addiction? How did you handle it?

See results

Prescription Only Medications

These drugs help much more but are much stronger and can be addicting as well. For example, "Benzo's" are invaluable when it comes to the extent of relief they bring to someone suffering from Opiate withdrawal. They are also very addicting and can easily become a replacement habit after quitting opiates.

Talk to your Physician about things that can help you get through the more severe withdrawal.

After admitting to being a drug addict, they are more than likely not going to give you any narcotics, and if they do it will be a small amount. That's fine, Clonidine is an extremely helpful medication and a Physician shouldn't have any problems sending you home with some of these. Anything else is just gravy, although a small amount of Benzos will help immensely.


Uses, Warnings, Etc.

How Clonidine helps with opiate addiction from "":

  • "It combats the sympathetic nervous system response to heroin withdrawal thus making things easier for the individual."
  • "It helps to prevent restless leg syndrome."
  • "It is also common for people who are going through withdrawals to complain of a pounding heart. This unpleasant sensation can also be eradicated by Clonidine."
  • "It can help people relax and sleep better at nighttime."

Zolpidem (a.k.a. Ambien):

A very strong sleep medication.

Uses, Warnings, Etc.

"Benzos" (Benzodiazepines such as Vailum, Xanax, Ativan, Etc.):

Benzodiazepines can be the most effective form of relief to someone facing opiate withdrawals. They can also be a common replacement drug, and if you are just replacing opiates with benzos then you may as well just stop now. Benzo withdrawal can kill you and some say it is even more severe than opiate sickness. If you have the option to use these for the first week, I would recommend doing so.

Quetiapine (a.k.a. Seroquel):

A medication prescribed for Anxiety and Insomnia to drug addicts due to it being labeled as "non addictive." It also helps to create an appetite.

Uses, Warnings, Etc.

Muscle Relaxants (Such as Soma, Flexeril, Etc.):

Helps relieve muscle aches and can make one feel less tense during withdrawals.

You got this! Don't give up!
You got this! Don't give up! | Source

Thank you for reading!

I hope that you or your loved one can use this information to make life better!

Please leave feedback below!


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    • Sharp Points profile image

      Sharp Points 2 years ago from Big Bear Lake, California

      Thank you for reading liladybugz26 I am glad that my article was of some help!

    • liladybugz26 profile image

      Rachael M Ryhn 2 years ago from Cambridge, MN

      Thank you for this article Sharp. It included a couple of ideas I hadn't already known, and will likely be a tremendous help! Voted up.

    • Sharp Points profile image

      Sharp Points 2 years ago from Big Bear Lake, California

      Thank you for reading Larry!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very important general information here. A wonderful and informative read.