Syringes to Sobriety

Stories and Advice from a Real Heroin Addict

Medication for Heroin Withdrawal

This article discusses medication for heroin withdrawal, specifically over-the-counter medications. Over-the-counter medication for heroin withdrawal is essential if you are not able to attend an inpatient or outpatient detox program.  The listed medication for heroin withdrawal are also effective for easing withdrawal symptoms from other opiates, such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Fentanyl, and Codeine. (This is a non-exhaustive list.)

I recently posted an article outlining the top natural remedies for opiate (heroin) withdrawal. Natural remedies are wonderful, but you have a higher chance of success pairing the natural remedies with the medication for heroin withdrawal listed below. 

I tried countless products during withdrawal.  Short suboxone, methadone, and other prescription medications, the products listed in Top 15 Natural Remedies for Opiate Withdrawal, and the over-the-counter medications listed below are the best options for easing heroin withdrawal.

Syringes to Sobriety interviewed hundreds of opiate users who successfully eased their opiate withdrawal symptoms with the medication suggestions in this article. 

As a former OxyContin user who progressed to using heroin intravenously, I know firsthand the horrors of withdrawal symptoms.  Although opiate withdrawal is rarely immediately life-threatening, like alcohol or benzodiazepines, once you start withdrawal, you will wish you were dead. (This is not a joke. I have had multiple friends take their lives during withdrawal. Monitoring the mental state of a person in heroin withdrawal is hugely important.  I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.) 

Understand what you are Committing to

If this is your first opiate withdrawal, please read this article: Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline- Slaying the Dragon.

Whatever pain you imagine experiencing during withdrawal, after reading “Slaying the Dragon,” multiply that by 100%.  Then, you MAY start to understand.  I do not say this to scare you. However, managing individual expectations is an important part of picking a successful, individualized, detox plan. 

Although it is not common to have life-threatening complications during withdrawal from opiates, you need to be able to identify the symptoms that may require further medical assessment by a healthcare professional.

A Frightening Statistic

As discussed in Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline, most users do not make it past day three or four in the withdrawal process.  Something along the lines of 90% of users seek out a fix on day three or four of detox. This happens to the strongest of people, as it is chemical.  Sheer willpower rarely competes with the urge felt during this stage of the withdrawal process. It is overwhelming, near impossible to overcome without a carefully crafted detox plan.  If this happens to you, seek out your local methadone clinic immediately.

Most clinics prescribe Suboxone, as well as methadone. They administer Suboxone tapers, which last about a week and greatly reduce withdrawal symptoms.

A Simple Promise, A Backup Plan

Make this promise to yourself before the withdrawal symptoms begin:

If I feel an irresistible urge to use during detox, I will try to reach out to the methadone clinic first.

Have your local methadone clinic’s phone number accessible in your detox kit.  Showing up at the clinic and receiving a suboxone or methadone dose may steer you in a different direction.  At least you will still be headed the right way, forward toward your goal of getting clean.  

NOTE ON A DETOX KIT

Be sure to make yourself a ‘detox kit’ before you start feeling symptoms. This detox kit should consist of as many of the items on the following list as possible, as well as many of the items listed in this article: Top 15 Natural Remedies for Opiate Withdrawal. We compiled the following list for those of you who still want to try getting off of opiates without Medically Assisted Treatments, like Suboxone and Methadone:

Top Over the Counter Medication for Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

  1. Liquid Imodium
  2. Nauzene
  3. Unisom SleepMelts
  4. Benadryl

Medication for Heroin Withdrawal #1: Liquid Imodium (Loperamide)

Personal Experience Using Imodium as a Medication for Heroin Withdrawal

The first inpatient treatment center I attended was St. Jude’s Rehab, located in upstate New York, over 2000 miles away from my home town, Scottsdale, AZ. On the list of prohibited items for patients was Imodium. I had no clue why a diarrhea medicine was prohibited at rehab.  Prohibiting items like heroin, suboxone, methadone, alcohol-based mouthwash/cologne, and syringes made sense, but the Imodium ban perplexed me. At the time, I didn’t inquire any further, as I knew I could live without Imodium for six weeks!

medication_for_heroin_withdrawal
(Yes, this is a picture of cold turkeys, in honor of cold turkey detoxers everywhere! Why? You ask. Why the hell not? I say!)

However, a few months after I was discharged and had moved back home, I relapsed.  The relapse lasted about a week or so before my better judgment got the best of me. Just long enough to develop another physical dependency. This is the first time I willingly, attempted to cold-turkey detox myself.

I say willingly because there had been other times I had cold-turkey detoxed, but only when forced or coerced.

Detox by Force or Coercion

Most users know what I mean by ‘forced detox.’  It happens when your dealers are dry (aka out of dope) and you are on the verge of withdrawal; ergo you are out of options and forced to detox.  ‘Coerced detox’ happens if a user detoxes to avoid a looming threat, usually made by a family member or someone in the court system.  For example, my parents threatened to stop financially supporting my schooling unless I went to rehab.

This time was different though.  As mentioned above, I just completed rehab and I did not want to fall back into the hole I so recently clawed my way out of. To make sure I did not get too involved in using again, I came clean to my mum and asked her if she would allow me to detox for a few days at her house.  Uncomfortable admitting defeat, a.k.a. relapse, to my mum, I felt immense relief after opening up to her this time around. 

Preparing for the Worst

medication_for_heroin_withdrawal

I hunkered down in my room, turned off my phone, and waited for the pain to begin. After about 23 hours without a hit, I started scouring the internet for home remedies.  Desperate is too light a word to express how badly I hoped to find something, anything to ease the inevitable, impending hellish experience of withdrawal.

This was in 2014, a time when little information on using Imodium during opiate withdrawal was scant. However, on page 10 of my Google search results, I stumbled across a forum on a site called BlueLight. The topic of the forum, Home Remedies for Opiate Withdrawal and, about halfway down the page, a post titled, ‘Imodium WORKS!’

Remembering the strange Imodium ban at my rehab, my medication_for_heroin_withdrawalcuriosity got the best of me. The writer of ‘Imodium Works,’ a habitual heroin user of five years, explained he had attempted cold-turkey detox many times. He cited a study where heroin-addicted monkeys were given Imodium for withdrawal symptoms. The study concluded Imodium successfully alleviated withdrawal symptoms.

The forum writer said, “since it worked for the monkeys, I decided why the hell not?” He claimed his self-study was a success and the Imodium worked!medication_for_heroin_withdrawal

Before trusting this random guy on the internet, I decided to dig a little deeper.

 

How Imodium Works

This is what I discovered: Opiates like heroin, oxycontin, and morphine, get a user high because they can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. Although Imodium is technically an opiate, it DOES NOT cross the blood-brain barrier, and therefore it is not supposed to produce a euphoric high. Instead, Imodium attaches to opiate receptors in the gut, and, as a result, is very effective for treating diarrhea.

Some think Imodium helps with opiate withdrawal because small amounts do cross the blood-brain barrier, but (at recommended doses) not enough to get the user hooked on the high. Critics believe users who claim Imodium eases withdrawal symptoms are suffering from a placebo effect. Either way, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it. If it gave me the tiniest bit of relief, it would be worth it. What did I have to lose?

After my unofficial research session commenced, I asked my mum to run to the drug store and buy four bottles of liquid Imodium. I took two times the recommended dose, around 30 hours into my withdrawal when I started feeling restless.

Inevitably, during withdrawal, a user finds it extremely hard to stay still,  feeling too crappy to do anything but lay in bed. It’s an awful tug a war.  On one side, the version of you wanting to run aroundmedication_for_heroin_withdrawal screaming your head off, knowing the minute you do you may barf and possibly defecate. (most likely at the same time) Your competitor, a worthy tug a war opponent, the version of you that would sell her soul for a few minutes of sleep to escape the pain. Sorry for the graphic imagery, but it’s honest.

After taking Imodium I stopped feeling twitchy and fidgety, my symptoms became a bit more manageable. Following the dosing schedule on the package, I took the liquid Imodium (two times the recommended dose for diarrhea) for the first four days of withdrawal. It was extremely effective and I now recommend it to anyone searching for relief.

Note: If you are going to try Imodium, start with the recommended dose.  It might be enough to provide relief.

Dangers of Imodium as a Medication for Heroin Withdrawal

Five years later, as I write this article, I cannot locate the study referenced in the 2014 BlueLight post.  I wonder if it has since been taken down.

This BlueLight forum post provided valuable information to help with my withdrawals. However, there are always those who ruin a potentially good thing for everyone else. I bet other readers, with less pure intentions, focused solely on one phrase in the post: Imodium is an opiate.

Since my own experience with Imodium in 2014, reported attempts to get high off Imodium increased. Users report feeling euphoria after taking massive amounts. WAY more than the recommended amount. Some users reported taking up to 100 times the recommended dose, attempting to force the substance to cross the blood-brain barrier.

This innocent forum post undoubtedly encouraged the few readers seeking a cheap, over-the-counter high to take much more than the recommended dose of Imodium.

Red Light, Blue Light, Never Getting Things Quite Right

I believe this uptick in abuse is the reason I cannot locate the study discussed in the 2014 BlueLight forum.  As countless articles citing Imodium abuse were posted online, the original BlueLight post was buried deeper into the web, pushed further down the search results list, and eventually became unworthy of Google.

(Refer to this study for more information citing the evolution of internet posts discussing extra-medical use of Imodium, specifically for opiate withdrawal relief.  Overall, the trend started with posts discussing Imodium as an aide for symptom relief. Not long after, forums discussing how to get high off Imodium emerged, and eventually, search results include what they do today, mass amounts of articles reporting on Imodium overdoses and hospitalizations.)

The Internet of Overreaction

I do not deny that many Imodium abuse attempts have landed users in the hospital with serious heart problems, some resulting in death. As a result, Imodium earned itself the title of “poor man’s methadone.”  However, if taken responsibly, Imodium is a fantastic tool to help a user get clean and this truth has been lost on the internet.

medication_for_heroin_withdrawal

Sometimes the evolution of a topic on the internet can be more harmful than a group of mean girls gossiping about their classmates, distorting the truth until no one knows what to believe anymore!

Thankfully, I was not searching for ways to get high when I discovered Imodium was an opiate. I just wanted to ease a few of my symptoms, not figure out how to get high on minty green diarrhea medicine. But hey, to each their own.

Use Your Brain, Abusing Imodium is not Legit

If you stumbled across this article while searching for ways to get high on Imodium, you may as well click the back button now. I do not endorse taking Imodium to get high. Ever. The risks are not worth the reward. Plus, if this is you, you probably are not ready to quit using, and most likely your drug of choice will result in a more satisfying high than any amount of Imodium could.

In 2018, the FDA cracked down on Imodium abuse, changing the packaging so customers could not buy large volume containers.

Better put it in the Gun Safe! (Insert eye roll emoji here!)

It is obvious Imodium has led to health complications, but these users were taking way, way more than the recommended dose. These few extreme cases led to massive attention from the mediaImodium_abused_to_get_high and thousands of articles to scare the public. So much so that anyone who Googled Imodium is frightened into taking precautions; no one blames a parent for locking up their Imodium supply just as tightly as their guns.

I believe most of this information is hype. Your rebellious child is not sneaking Imodium shooters at Prom and most dope fiends are not chasing the green minty giant when their supply gets low.medication_for_heroin_withdrawal_moral_support
Bottom’s Up on the Loose Bottom Medicine!  Uh, Ewww.

Do not believe everything you read on the internet. Sometimes, it is just that, hype. However, as discussed above, use moderation with every substance you put into your body. Taking too much of any over-the-counter medication is risky. 

Summary of Imodium’s Efficacy as a Medication for Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Ultimately, Imodium takes the edge off during the first few days of withdrawal. It is one of the most effective over-the-counter medications available for heroin withdrawal, even though this is not its intended purpose.

Personally, taking two times the recommended dose, every few hours, was just enough to curb my symptoms. This dose is different for everyone, but not to an outrageous degree. If you drink half a bottle of Imodium and still feel like it is not helping, STOP. Try another tip on this list before you end up in the hospital. Click here for overdose information.

Imodium helps to relieve any diarrhea or nausea you may experience as well. However, ingesting excessive amounts will have the opposite effect. If you are not pooping at all, by day 2 or 3, take a stool softener to avoid discomfort when you are finally able to make a bowel movement. You will thank me in a few days.

Where to Buy Imodium

If you are stocking up to attempt at home withdrawal, you can order Imodium online here:

1 Liquid Imodium Bottle:

2 Pack of Liquid Imodium Bottles:

5 Pack of Liquid Imodium Bottles:

Medication for Heroin Withdrawal #2: Nauzene

medication_for_heroin_withdrawalMany experience dry heaving, which can be especially painful when dealing with the myriad of other symptoms associated with withdrawal.  Nausea and throwing up are extremely common during withdrawal.

I am especially prone to this symptom during withdrawal.  Usually, I am too sick to eat so I start throwing up stomach bile. If you are throwing up a yellowish, sometimes brownish, foam-like substance, this is stomach bile.  Stomach bile is acidic, it will sting your throat coming up and taste disgusting in your mouth, making you throw up again.

GET ME OFF THIS PUKE CYCLE

I remember thinking I would finally stop puking once I ran out of stomach bile, but I was sorely mistaken. Once you run out of stomach bile, your stomach may continue to have spasms forcing you to gag, even though there is nothing left for your stomach to get rid of.  This unproductive puking is called dry heaving.

This Puke Fest feels never-ending.  I spent my fair share of time praying for someone to pull me off the puke cycle I was riding during my opiate withdrawals.  Unfortunately, only

medications_for_heroin_withdrawal
Yes, this is Mr. P.U., an esteemed porcelain God.

the porcelain gods were listening to my prayers and we became very close. Literally, for five full days and nights.  Hopefully, you can avoid your own Puke Fest with the following suggestion.

Short of prescription nausea medications, Nauzene is the next best remedy. Nauzene is sold over the counter, marketed as a nausea medication. It is sold in quick-dissolving tablets, mildly flavored for those sensitive to the taste of chalky medicines.  

Another bonus is added electrolytes in Nauzene’s formula. As discussed in Top 15 Natural Remedies for Heroin Withdrawal, it is very important to stay hydrated and replenish your electrolytes during withdrawal.

Tips to Stop Dry Heaving

Try to sit still for a few moments when you feel you can stop throwing up. Take a few deep breaths and run a bath or turn on a hot shower.  After a minute or two of deep breathing, your heart rate should normalize and you should feel calm enough to get into your bathtub.

Nauzene_medication_for_heroin_withdrawal

Once in the bath, take the recommended dose of Nauzene, close your eyes, and try to sit still, continuing to focus on your breath, for twenty minutes or so. This is the best method I have found for keeping down the medication.

In hot water, the body feels a bit of relief from withdrawal symptoms, so you should be able to stop the cycle of heaving, throwing up bile, heaving again, and so on.  If you do not have a bathtub, a hot shower will do the trick.  Remember to get in as soon as the water heats up because most likely you will stay in the shower until the hot water runs out.  Don’t waste the hot water letting it run before you get in the shower!

Where to Buy Nauzene

Medication for Heroin Withdrawal #3: Unisom Sleep Melts

SleepMelts_medication_for_heroin_withdrawal

The less sleep a person in withdrawal gets, the more time they spend suffering. It becomes hard to blame a person who has not slept for four days when they decide to give up and relapse. At this point, it is not so much that the person wants to get high. They are just seeking a bit of relief to get some rest.

To avoid this potential pitfall, stock up on Unisom Sleep Melts.  Short of prescription sleep medications, Unisom is the best sleep aid on the market. You do not need to take more than the recommended dose.  Remember, you are not going to nod off as you did on opiates. Most likely Unisom will not put you to sleep during extreme stages of withdrawal, but it should help you relax a bit. As a result, you may eventually be able to doze off, at least for an hour or two.

Why not Nyquil or Tylenol PM?

Many people still think that Nyquil and Tylenol PM are the only over-the-counter options for sleep.  One of the active ingredients in Nighttime Cold and Flu medicine, doxylamine, promotes sleepiness.  However, these medications contain other active ingredients meant to treat symptoms of the cold or flu, not opiate withdrawal.

For example, nighttime Nyquil contains acetaminophen, for fever, and dextromethorphan, for congestion/cough, in addition to doxylamine for sleep. Sleep aids like Unisom only contain one active ingredient, doxylamine. Choosing a product like Unisom with less, more targeted ingredients, gives your liver a break. Trust me, after using opiates for a while, your liver will welcome the rest.

Where to Buy Unisom

You can buy a 2 pack of Unisom SleepMelts here:

Here is a link to buy a 4-pack of Unisom SleepMelts:

Medication for Heroin Withdrawal #4: Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

medication_for_heroin_withdrawal

Benadryl, marketed as an allergy medicine, blocks the effects of histamine in the body. Benadryl prevents nausea, relieves cough and runny nose, and induces sedation. All of these symptoms are experienced by allergy sufferers and opiate withdrawal sufferers alike. Therefore, one dose of Benadryl has the potential to ease, even prevent, multiple withdrawal symptoms at once.

Although Benadryl is marketed as an allergy medicine, it is FDA-approved for use as a sleeping medication.  At recommended doses, you may be able to get some rest after taking Benadryl.  Its unique ability to counteract multiple symptoms associated with withdrawal makes Benadryl a must-have in your detox kit.

A Note on Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

medication_for_heroin_withdrawal_for_restless_leg_syndrome

Another common symptom of opiate withdrawal is Restless Leg Syndrome. Benadryl is known to increase the severity of leg spasms in people who experience RLS during withdrawal.  If RLS is a concern for you, weigh the pros and cons before taking Benadryl. If you are more desperate to ease your nausea and insomnia, and less concerned about potentially increasing RLS symptoms, give Benadryl a try.

Benadryl Dose for Opiate Withdrawal

Instructions on the Benadryl box list 25-30 mg every 6-8 hours as the recommended dose for allergy relief.  Start with this dose. If you end up increasing, it is important not to exceed 50-100mg within 6-8 hours.

It is not recommended to take Benadryl for more than 3 days, as some have experienced dependency. As opiate addicts, dependency on Benadryl seems silly, because who the hell would want to be addicted to an allergy pill? Especially when its effects are not even close to as powerful as our drugs of choice? Nonetheless, if dependency is possible, we must take all precautions possible.  Stick to three days, and then stop.

Where to Buy Benadryl

Here is a link to buy Benadryl on Amazon:

TAPERING: An Alternative Technique to Using Medication for Heroin Withdrawal.

So there you have it! These are the best medications available for treating symptoms of opiate withdrawal if you do not have access to prescription medications. If you can taper off of opiates, I suggest trying that method first. Many users successfully tapered off heroin on their own. These stories do not make headlines and you will never hear a medical professional giving this type of advice. It takes some willpower, but the experience is much less jarring.

Slowly cutting down on the amount you use over time makes withdrawal much easier. As you taper down, use these medications to ease the side effects of using fewer opiates. If you are a functioning addict, self- taper may help you save your job and prevent the urges, discussed above, that occur around days 4-6 of cold turkey detox. For more information, please read How to get off Drugs-The Power of Imagination.

Do not forget to use the suggestions listed in the Top 15 Natural Remedies for Heroin Withdrawal-All Needles to Au Naturel.  You may find the natural remedy for insomnia, Melatonin, works better for you than Unisom or Benadryl.  Everyone is different, so our bodies respond differently to different substances.  What worked for me may not work for you.  However, most users will find some type of relief from many items recommended on our site.

heroin _wthdrawal_elpWishing you Well…

If you feel like giving up during the first week of withdrawal, try checking out your local methadone clinic before buying another bag of dope. It may save your life!
If you know of any home remedies, or want to suggest an additional medication for heroin withdrawal, please let us know.  We would love to add your suggestions to this list.  Also, if you would like to share your personal experience using these remedies or other medication for heroin withdrawal, please leave a note in the comments.
If you have ANY questions, do not hesitate to ask and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Good luck and stay strong!

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48 comments on “Medication for Heroin Withdrawal

  1. Hello there , it was really thoughtful of you to share this great article, and I love the fact that it’s based on medication for heroin withdrawal, which is very helpful to people  suffering from heroin addiction. I find this lengthy article quite informative and Highly helpful, I’m really glad I came across this amazing article, I gained quite a lot from it and I will recommend to my friends and family. 

    1. Thanks Jack! Hope the table of contents helped you find the information you needed.  I know it a long article, but it was important to include as much information as possible.  When you are feeling crappy in withdrawal, every little piece of advise that actually helps, is a godsend.  

  2. Hello again Ana! This is another great article, I applaud your effort for coming out with these detailed and helpful articles all the time. Please do not stop, you should know that you’re providing hope for people that comes across your website and seeing that you’re speaking from experience would make them more determined. I can vouch for the efficacy of these Over the counter products during withdrawal. Thanks for your good works. 

  3. With all of these incredible tips, one would be sure to get away out of if you follow them properly after your withdrawal from taking this harmful substance. I have really loved every one of these tips and seen how important sleep is to the body. We all need to see how important sleep is and stop depriving our self of having a good night rest 

  4. This particular article is for addicts who are into drugs and are willing to withdraw from that addict. This treatment for heroin addicts is really very necessary because a lot of youth take drugs to relieve themselves from depression but in the long run they are adding more depression to their lives. It is nice to know that over-the-counter medications are there to help members from withdrawing.

    1. Maureen- you are absolutely correct.  Many, if not most, drug users are using as an attempt to relieve themselves from psychological issues like depression, bipolar, borderline personality, antisocial personality disorder, even schizophrenia.  It is a shame there are not more services to help those in need.  Instead, many users get locked up in jail and then they are let out without a dollar to their name and no family or community support.  Although over the counter medication for heroin withdrawal helps, it still takes a crap ton of willpower to get sober without more drastic measures.  Counseling, treatment, and drugs like suboxone and methadone should always be considered.  Thanks for reading! 

  5. Thwbj you for sharing this here. Seriously, nothing beats going for the proper medications and treatments when it comes to rehab from drugs especially heroin because of thr high rate of relapse. Seeing all that has been reviewed here,I cannot help but say this is really good to see and thank you for sharing with us all. 

  6. What an amazing website, there’s so much information in this lengthy article. You must be congratulated in helping those having difficulty getting off these damaging drugs. I am fortunate that I do not have a problem but know many that are struggling. Some appear to be able to kick drug habits better than others. This is probably something to do with their makeup. Having help and suggestions to improve your chances of getting through this addiction is a life saver. Keep up the good work and I hope many find this site and improve their lives because of it.

    1. Ches, thank you for visiting.  Yes, many respond differently to withdrawal.  It may have to do with their makeup, but most likely it has to do with length of time on the drug, amount used, and what kind of treatment they are receiving during withdrawal. I hope our country can stop looking at withdrawal as a punishment…thinking we should let addicts suffer, aster all, “we did this to ourselves.” that kind of mentality is killing people every day.  We need compassion. If you wanted more information on the subject, How to Help an Addict: You did this to Yourself! might interest you.

  7. Overtime, i discovered more and more benefits of engaging in meditation. the different forms of meditation helps in different ways. and imodium is one great way to help for heroin withdrawal. my cousin should see this. it will help his friend a lot. thank you very much for this. it is helpful

    1. I am so happy we could provide information to help someone.  Meditation is great for many people.  However, it helps to feel physically well before engaging in mediation.  When your body feels healthy, it is much easier to focus and heal mentally.  Thanks for reading!

  8. Hello i must say that i am amazed at this website. there is so much attention to detail and this article that you have created on over the counter medications for heroine withdrawal. some of my friends would really benefit from this article. please may i share? thank you very much

    1. Please do share! My goal is to get this information in front of anyone who may need it.  I write these posts in my spare time so it feels great when I hear they are helping people.  Thank you for reading and for commenting. 

  9. This could not have come at a better time. I was just reading a book, the life story of a teen to her 20’s on her struggles with addiction. She went cold turkey and kept relapsing. I thought to myself, why didn’t she try any OTC medication for her withdrawal symptoms? 

    These seem like they would have helped her a lot. I will be sharing your article with my group. Thanks for your honest opinions. It must help to come from someone who actually tried it. Syringes to sobriety, very real, I like it. 

    One question though, since Benadryl addictive, is it okay for a person struggling with addiction to use it?

    -Crystal

    1. Crystal, thank you so much for your kind words.  Benadryl does have addictive qualities.  However, they are mental, not physical (See Is Benadryl Addictive?)  The potential addiction to Benadryl is associated with a person becoming addicted to Benadryl’s ability to help induce sleepiness.  When withdrawing from opiates it is near impossible to sleep and the physical withdrawal from the opiates is much more extreme than anything someone addicted to Benadryl will ever experience.  In an inpatient setting, drugs like Seroquel and Xanax are given to help induce sleep, which are way riskier for developing physical dependence. 

      What I am trying to say is, when a person is coming off of opiates, Benadryl would not provide enough relief for the person to feel like they need it.  Once through the sleeplessness of withdrawal, the majority of people will not have second thoughts about needing more Benadryl.  It sounds terrible, but the effects of heroin or other opiates will always be more appealing than the sleepiness produced by Benadryl.  I would say the sleep an opiate in withdrawal could get using Benadryl significantly outweighs the risk of developing a Benadryl addiction. 

      Disclaimer: I AM NOT A DOCTOR though.  I can only tell you my own experience and those of hundreds of others I have worked with.

      Thank you!

  10. I have a friend who is currently trying to stay sober and the withdrawal symptoms for her are quite intense. She does behave unusually sometimes and that is the reason I came across your blog because I wanted to understand her situation better.

    It is so important to have such blogs that explain things better because otherwise, it is difficult for a normal person to understand someone’s situation. I think I would follow your blog to understand her mood swings better!

    1. Shrey, I am sorry to hear your friend is going through a difficult time.  I am very glad we could provide some insight into her condition for you.  I recommend you read Medication Assisted Treatment -Taking the Edge Off if you would like some more valuable insight into what your friend may be experiencing.  Please refer her to our site if she is interested.  Let me know if there is anything else we can help you or your friend with.  Hugs!

  11. Your content is rich to be honest with great research done on it. I will speak as someone with basic knowledge of hard drugs, i don’t do and will never indulge in hard drugs. I have seen what the intake of heroin can do to someone’s brain, body and health in general and if what you prescribed as a solution can help, this will serve a lot more good to anyone who comes across your article.. Keep it up.

  12. Oh this is very beautiful honesty. You know I just remember that I have a friend that really is a heroin addict. I think I need to speak to him because he needs to want the withdrawal before trying any of this steps. I am happy though that you can testify to the fact that this ways are good. I would first talk to him and then try your first tip. Imodium is really good, I’ll try it out for him and see if it works and like you said, if it doesn’t work, I’ll try another one out. Thanks!

    1.  I’m very sorry to hear that your friend is struggling. It would be a great idea for you to reach out to him. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder that there are people out there that care. And by Care I don’t mean someone who’s going to bug them to stop using or threaten to stop talking to them if they don’t. Being a great friend may save his life one day. We have a few other articles on the site that you may want to recommend to your friend.  For example he may find  How to get off drugs helpful.  We are not going to badger him into getting clean but the articles may help spark something inside of him to make him take the first step. Check out our blog and the article how to help an addict. We wish you and your friend luck. Thanks for reading.

  13. Heroin withdrawal is difficult.  In graphic detail, I have felt your struggle. I appreciate your write up because it is full of honesty, you have spelled out the difference between the 4 recommended remedies for withdrawal symptoms. One is Immodium, isn’t it for a bowel movement? Benadryl is for allergy and itchy cough. The start of a  genuine rehabilitation is to embrace the truth of the situation and face the challenges and fight them head-on with the help of a support system. This one is your mother. You are brave and strong to get rid of this menacing drug. You could be very effective advocacy on the effect of heroin addiction in our brain and body. So I would like to sincerely commend you for a topic that is honest and full of content and insights on how to remedy the pains of withdrawal symptoms.

    1. Thank you! We hope this information is received by people searching for relief from symptoms. The struggle is real and we want people to know they are not alone and there are methods to help with the pain. Another option is to try medically assisted treatment programs, as discussed in our article titled, taking the edge off.  Thank you for reading! 

  14. God bless you for putting this wonderful piece together. So many youth especially are serious addicts and are looking for ways to overcome this heroin addiction which takes the better of time so many times. I have seen people who even go as far as wanting to hurt themselves. Such post should be more on the internet to help these people over come their addictions. I have a young man whom I would suggest these methods to. Thanks for sharing. 

    1. Thank you Chloe. I agree this information should be more abundant on the internet and more readily available to those wishing to recover. Too often people are told inpatient treatment is the only way to get sober. This method is not a possibility for everyone so it is only fair to discuss ulterior avenues. Thanks again and hope your friend finds this information useful! 

  15. One thing I’m thankful of since I have been maneuvering this website is that you are given a lot of hope to the hopeless especially the ones going through this phase of withdrawal. I can personally vouch for the efficiency of the OTC products during this phase and seeing how you have talked about them here too. Also, using your own experience to increase and motivate others is really something of a noble being. I have an uncle who has been battling with withdrawal from heroine, I would definitely share this article with him too and hopefully, it would help motivate him too. Thanks

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Roland!  We wish your uncle luck in his battle and we are here for you and him if you need anything!  

  16. Thank you for the very informative article!! I couldn’t help but try and locate the article for you on BlueLight. I went back to the 2014 forums and maybe this is or is not the one. I hope it is. Also. ..use the Duck Duck Go browser rather than Google for doing searches. Google limits searches and only allows what they want or can’t catch to show up. Duck Duck Go us also private and does not track your internet searches.
    I’m so happy for your success.

    Here is the link to the article on Imodium I found. May not be the one. But. I would be happy to keep searching.

    https://www.bluelight.org/xf/threads/loperamide-imodium-megathread-v-2.717682/

    1. Awesome! Thank you for looking that up. I will definitely go through there to see if I can find the study referenced in the post I read. I have not used Duck Duck Go yet, but I am very excited to try it now. I love that it does not track searches. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  17. Great post, this is a very informative and useful article for those looking to taper off opiates. Very brave of you to share your own experience, i’m sure that by doing that you’ll connect with many others going through the same experience. Honestly I had no idea about taping with these products you’ve mentioned, that can be purchased at the pharmacy. I’ve learned so much reading your post.

    Keep up the wonderful information sharing, you’re doing great work by sharing experiences and suggestions on how to work to overcome addition.

    Great Job

    1. Thank you Tracy! Helping others is one of the most powerful tools in my own recovery. Hope you have a wonderful day and thanks again for reading.

  18. Now I understand the strange grocery list … ! As you know I read and researched a lot while you were using my dear. This is the first time that I understand reasons for each purchase. I am SO proud of you for sharing your painful journey and trying to help others. I hope parents are reading these posts so that they are ready to “support” their loved ones.. To fellow parents….DO NOT give up on them… this attempt to detox may be the one that works! SO many of ANA’s friends died tragic deaths due to this scourge and the politicians don’t get it…every time I hear one of them telling us they are making progress on the opiate crisis I feel like throwing up…. hand me the Nauzene please ANA!
    It will be recovering addicts and parents who understand the devastating effects of the problem who make a difference…so let’s support and keep them alive.. ..head to the grocery store and prepare for the onslaught of pain and agony and the eventual return of your daughter or son… mum of ANA

    1. It is so hard to listen to politicians that have no personal experience with substance abuse, not even the experience of supporting a loved one with a substance abuse problem. Nothing will change until we get users AND recoering users involved.
      Giving users a voice gives them the confidence needed to recover. Thank you for the great advice to parents!
      If any parents are reading this, feel free to email us and I can put you in contact with my mum, the author of this comment. Love you!

  19. Very informative article. I applaud you for your sobriety. I know it was very difficult to go through, but you are providing hope for others with this site. There are a lot of articles about sobriety, but you speak from experience and that gives your comments more weight. Good luck and God bless!

    By the way, I loved the cold turkeys! 🙂

  20. Great post! I can personally vouch for the efficacy of these OTC products during a person’s private hell experience (withdrawal). Your posts are very informative and well written, as always! Thank you for this website and taking time out of your days to share your experiences and knowledge you’ve collected along the way. Please, keep it coming!!!

    1. Awesome article! I had no idea Benadryl of all things could help with withdrawal symptoms. It might be comforting to know the user that decides to detox at home can potentially get through the pain with OTC medications they or the people willing to help them may already have some if not all of the materials in their medicine cabinets.

  21. Wow, this was an eye-opening and informing article on the steps to recovery. I’ve never had any dependencies to the hard stuff, but I really enjoyed this article as an educational experience on what people go through while withdrawing. I can’t imagine what that’s like, but having a withdrawal kit seems like it can be a life saver. Great job with this informative post, keep up the awesome work you’re doing!

    1. Detox kits are so important. Once a user enters withdrawal, it will take all available energy just to make it to the bathroom to throw up. Being prepared will help to avoid misery and lessen the urge to give in and use. Thanks for reading!
      ANA

  22. Wow! Thank you very much for this informative article, I have a cousin who is in the rehabilation centre. Unfortunately, this is her second time there. While I was doing some research of how to help her last year, I did come across people advising against the use of immodium. So, I did not talk to my cousin about this.

    It had never occurred to me that the negative effects arsing from the use of immodium is due to the fact that people might have overdose on this medication with a different agenda. Thank you very much for providing the assurance that taking immodium within recommended dosage is not only safe but helps with the withdrawal symptoms. The best part is, immodium is easily available here.

    After reading your article, I really feel hopeful that there might be other ways to help my cousin other than going to the rehabilation centre again and again.

    I will be visiting my cousin this weekend and can’t wait to tell her about this.

    1. If you are fortunate to be able to afford medical detox or rehab programs, they can be much more comfortable than detoxing at home. Usually, a suboxone taper is given in a detox center. This is far superior to using over the counter medications.
      However, it is important to have these OTC tricks available for reference, in case the user has a future relapse that may not require checking in for a full stay in a detox center.
      Unfortunately, most of us have to go through detox a number of times before sobriety sticks.
      Continue showing your cousin she is loved and not alone. It means the world to her that you are visiting her. Do not give up hope!
      All the best, ANA

  23. This is a very useful post.

    I like the fact that you are speaking from experience, this gives your post even more value. Because, it is easier to get advice from someone who has been in the same situation as you, people are more comfortable discussing the topic.

    I think the best way to really take advantage of the medications for heroin withdrawal will be to have a doctor or a nurse monitor your dosage and how your body is responding to the medication.

    Thanks

    1. Thanks for stopping by!  

      I completely agree with you that it is always best to have a doctor or nurse overseeing the opiate withdrawal process and, as I have posted in my disclaimer page, I am not a doctor and my advice should NEVER be taken as medical advice.  Also, I never suggest taking more than the recommended dose of any medication on this list.  I’m not an advocate of at home detox per se, however, I am an advocate of encouraging users to lessen the amount of or stop using opiates altogether.  It is up to them how they go about it and where. 

      As stated, I always recommend visiting a local methadone (suboxone) clinic before deciding to withdrawal at home as many do not make it past day 2 or 3 without giving in and using. The clinic’s medical staff can administer short tapers which make the experience 100 times more bearable.  

      However, there are many users who do not have the luxury of attending an inpatient detox center or methadone clinic, whether they lack funds, are too far from a facility, or need to detox without taking time off of work.  Also, many users have been to detox more than a few times and their insurance won’t cover another visit. 

      Whatever the reason for attempting at home detox, information on how to ease the process should be readily available.  The more comfortable the experience, the greater the probability the user will successfully complete detox. 

      Also, many of these medications are given to users when they check into an inpatient rehab center.  Even though they are over the counter, they are given out alongside prescription medications, because they work.  Hopefully, this article sheds some light on why these medications work.  It can be scary to blindly trust a nurse handing you ten different pills in a cup.  Rest assured some of those pills may be listed above, or at least very similar to the medications listed above. 

      Sharing my own experiences may be valuable to others and may save ultimately save a life.  At home detox, although not the most pleasant experience, is better than no attempt at detox at all.  It is important users have all the information available to make the experience as comfortable as possible.  

      Have a wonderful day!

      ANA

  24. Going through withdrawal is really challenging. I have friends who shared few stories of their battle. After detailing what you went through in your article, there’s one thing that came up to my mind: Dehydration. With all the vomiting, you have probably lost a lot of water in your body. Did you also drink electrolyte solution to avoid dehydration or would it trigger more vomiting episodes? Which of the medicines worked well for you during the process? This is a good read with tons of information I would have not known can aid withdrawal. Thanks for sharing necessary details and precautions. 

    1. YES YES YES!  Thank you MissusB.  This article is actually a supplemental article to the Top 15 Natural Remedies for Heroin Withdrawal -All Needles to Au Naturel  There is an entire section dedicated to hydration, as it is one of the most important and efficient remedies for anyone in opiate withdrawal.  If you have a chance to check it out, I have included a recipe for a wonderful electrolyte drink that is easy to stomach when nauseous.  

      Just to reiterate for other readers, this OTC medication remedy list is to be used in conjunction with the top 15 natural remedies listed in the article above.  

      Also, it is very important for a user attempting self-detox to familiarize themselves with the symptoms they will experience.  Dehydration is one of the most dangerous symptoms of opiate withdrawal and can quickly lead to death.  

      Please refer to Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline- Slaying the Dragon for a detailed examination of the symptoms one can expect during withdrawal and whether or not a specific symptom requires a trip to the emergency room. 

      Thank you for the comment!

      ANA

  25. I have a friend that is trying to kick the bad habits she has one of which is heroin. She is an addict, a narcissist, is somewhat toxic and can be hard to deal with at times. She does have a good heart and so much potential if she can work through her personal problems. 

    It will be a battle to get her addiction behind her, but I do want to support her 100% in her efforts. This is why I wanted to get an education on over the counter medications she may be able to use to beat this. I have made a bunch of notes and also sent her the link to this article.

    One issue with my support is that she is on the East Coast of the USA and I am in Dubai. Because of the distance, the best I can do is provide her this information and be there as she may need. Immodium, Nauzene, Unisom Sleep Melts, and Benedryl all are available to her.

    I do hope that she reads this and takes action. There is so much that she has to offer the world, and the pain of getting through this will never fade away, but it can help her grow as a person and help others, as you are doing with this post, I wish you continued success with your freedom from opiates and thanks for sharing your experience and advice. You likely have saved lives with this post. 

    1. I am sorry to hear about your friend.  I wish no one had to go through the experience of having a loved one who struggles to kick a substance abuse habit.  Also, narcissism is commonly misdiagnosed while a person is abusing drugs, especially by those who care about them the most.  I believe it is because loved ones see the user as selfish.  After all, if it hurts her family every time she uses, why wouldn’t she just quit? 

      However, speaking from personal experience, there is a lot more to it. I am sure your friend is hurting inside, and the more she hurts those around her, the worse her addiction gets.  She is stuck in an awful. cycle, and has lost all hope.  

      Please pass on Top 15 Natural Remedies for Heroin Withdrawal -All Needles to Au Naturel and How to get off Drugs- The Power of Imagination to your friend.  She may find something useful in one of the articles.  If not, she may at least start to understand she is not alone and it is possible to recover.  

      It puts a huge smile on my face when I see people with hearts as big as yours.  The fact that you live on the other side of the world right now and are still helping your friend, who probably has only given you reasons to stop helping her, speaks to who you are as a friend and your wonderful character.  She is lucky to have you.

      Sometimes the best and/or only thing we can do is show compassion, no matter what.  Stay connected with her, tell her that you love her and support her efforts to get clean, no matter how many times she fails.  You will save her life and she will thank you for it one day.  

      As a reminder to everyone.  Tell those closest to you how much you love them as often as possible.  You never know who may be struggling with addiction.  Some of the most creative, big-hearted, talented, and smartest people I have ever known are substance abusers.  Many of them are now dead.  

      I know this is cheesy, but I LOVE YOU ALL. 

      ANA

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