I am dope sick. Help! How long will the withdrawal last?

What does it mean to be dope sick when you use heroin?

Dope sick simply means that you are going into withdrawal after you run out of heroin, or whatever opiate or opioid you are using. For people whom have never been addicted to heroin or have had a painkiller addiction, it seems like the solution is easy. Just get through it! It will soon be over and you will be free of this dependence. If you are now or have ever been dependent on an opioid, I apologize for even writing the last three sentences. Opioid withdrawal is so unpleasant, that it is offensive to hear people tell you that you can just wait it out until it is over.

Full-blown withdrawal is nearly impossible to get through without help.

While full heroin withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable, even mild to moderate withdrawal is something that many people with an opioid addiction will want to avoid. One way to make moderate opiate withdrawal more tolerable for a short time is the assurance that medication will relieve the symptoms quickly and it will be over. This is what makes medical detox such a difficult process. No one wants to feel dope sick if it can be avoided. Long before heroin has left your system, you will start feeling withdrawal symptoms.

Does big pharma want to keep people on medications permanently?

This is a difficult question to answer. There has always been the theory that it is more profitable to treat a chronic illness for life rather than to cure it. On the other hand, curing a disease is a rare occurrence. While we like to point out diseases that have been ended and illnesses with medical cures, these are few and far between. The fact is that curing addiction, like curing many other chronic, long-term illnesses, is something that may not happen for many years. In the meantime, fortunately, we do have effective medical treatments for opioid dependence and addiction. We just need to accept that for best results, long-term treatment may be needed. This is not a conspiracy, it is just the nature of medical science. Hopefully, new and better treatments will emerge and, eventually, a cure for addiction.

How is it possible for a heroin addict to be dopesick and test negative for heroin?

Usually, when a patient sees a doctor for addiction treatment and they are dopesick from just quitting heroin or a prescription painkiller, the urine drug screen should test positive for heroin, or whatever drug they were using. These days, the urine drug screen results are negative for all drugs. How is this possible? How can a person use heroin and then test negative for heroin? This is because much of the heroin on the streets is now being replaced with fentanyl. Most heroin users do not even know that their drug of choice was switched out. When they find out, it is a sobering discovery. Most addicted people are aware of the fact that fentanyl is a far deadlier drug than heroin.

If you are dopesick right now, you don’t care about the opioid crisis.

Dope sickness is a terrible thing. Cold sweats, muscle aches, runny nose, sneezing, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, muscle cramps and more. It might not even sound that bad if you have never suffered through dope sickness. Yet, it is that bad. It is worse than you can imagine. When a person is dopesick, they just want to feel better, no matter what the cost or risk. Even knowing that the opioid crisis is claiming many lives daily, they don’t care. If you are dopesick and you use heroin, you are probably going to call the heroin dealer. But, you do have another choice.

Can a prescription relieve dope sickness?

This is a good question. There are several medications that can make heroin withdrawal more tolerable. These include clonidine, lucemyra, gabapentin and others. For people who cannot tolerate going through withdrawal at all, they may be good candidates for methadone maintenance. Most people with an opioid addiction will do well with Suboxone or naltrexone. So, yes, there are effective medical treatments for opioid addiction. Medications prescribed and monitored by a doctor, in combination with appropriate therapy can effectively treat opiate addiction.

If dope sickness is so bad, will I be able to stay clean from heroin by just remembering the suffering?

Unfortunately, we have a way of forgetting the pain of difficult experiences, no matter how painful. This is also true of opioid addiction. Even after many weeks, and even months of suffering through withdrawal, for people who choose to not get medical treatment, there is no guarantee that these people will stay clean. I have seen multiple cases of patients who have suffered through long periods of withdrawal and come out on the other side where they finally feel back to normal. Then, they relapse and end up back where they started. Often, the relapse starts with something small. It could be a single pain pill, or it could be herbal kradom. A small slip can trigger serious opioid cravings.

What are my treatment options if I am dopesick?

If you are dopesick right now and reading this, think of your current situation as an opportunity. You have a chance now to turn everything around and start recovering from this disease of opioid addiction. You don’t have to obsess over drugs anymore. When you start medical treatment, the sickness goes away and your head clears up. You can feel as if you never had a drug problem during the time you are on treatment. It can really work that well. Find a Suboxone doctor in your area with an online tool such as SAMHSA physician locator or Treatment Match. If you are in the Fort Lauderdale, FL area, you can contact us here. Now is the best time to start. Enjoy your recovery!

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