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Are there foods that will help with withdrawal symptoms of an opiate addiction?

14 answers | Last updated: Aug 24, 2015
Dennis6969 asked...

I am an opiate addict and am going through severe withdrawals from dilaudid and suboxone. I also have Hepatitis C and liver disease. Are there foods that will better help me through this process and that have restorative qualities for my liver and withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, restlessness, irritability and muscle twitching?


Caring.com User - Beth Reardon
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Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As...
35% helpful
Beth Reardon answered...

I would first like to congratulate you as you take your first steps towards recovery from your opiate addiction. Good nutrition is a powerful ally. The physical healing can begin See also:
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See all 71 questions about Addiction & Alcoholism
by providing your body with nutrients needed to establish a healthy environment as you manage the withdrawal symptoms. The liver is our master detoxifying organ, critical to the proper functioning of the brain and central nervous system. There are a number of nutritional strategies that are supportive during this healing process.

  1. Reduce the load on the liver by minimizing saturated fats and processed foods while eating a well-balanced diet that is high in fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.

  2. Choose organic varieties of produce and animal products whenever possible to further reduce the amount of "toxic load" the liver must process. Work towards eating 9-12 servings per day of fruits and vegetables, and choose more plant proteins from beans, peas, lentils and other legumes in place of animal protein.

Especially helpful foods for the liver include;

  • Artichoke, watercress, cilantro, parsley, green leaf vegetables

  • Crucifers (Cabbages) including broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale.

  • Healthy fats from wild, cold water fish such as salmon, sardines and herring

  • Flaxseed, nuts, seeds and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

  • And finally, drink plenty of filtered water, white and green tea, to help hydrate the body and support the work of the liver and kidney as they work to "flush" toxins from the body.


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27% helpful
colleen2 answered...

I too am an opiate addict and thanks for the question and answer. Dennis, i wish you all the best in your recovery. You're a step above me. I went to rehab once but when I got out, I stopped working the program. Th program did not fail me Good Luck and hopefully one day I will allow myelf to say " I need help."


7% helpful
Sylvie Nalezny answered...

Congratulations Dennis and I wish you the best in your recovery. I recommend taking some nutritional supplements that will help you to rebuild your own production of natural opiates or endorphins. You can read The Mood Cure by Julia Ross for more information. Taking Dl-phenylalanine (DLPA) 500 mg (1-3) early AM, and mid-morning (or d-phenylalanine alone, if needed: 500 mg, 1-3 x day) will help. All my best, Sylvie www.realfoodnutrition.com


susyjohnson answered...

I suggest you take as much B12 as you can which will help with the withdrawals and with the insomnia. Further, you might want to look into taking a nutritional fruit beverage called MonaVie which is a patented blend of 19 fruits from the Amazon which has shown miraculous results for those who drink a couple of ounces each morning and night. The juice is delicious and has helped me and countless others with nutritional and health needs. You can purchase the juice online through www.monavie.com.

Good luck in your continued recovery. My future son-in-law is a recovering opiate addict and I am happy to wholeheartedly endorse him as an excellent choice for my daughter to marry. He has turned from his addicted lifestyle and is now a minister. You too, will find your calling and become all that God has intended for you!


29% helpful
newby1961 answered...

Welcome to your new life. I have a little over 6 years of recovery off of Heroin and Oxy's. I went to treatment 6 or 7 times. I relapsed in and out of the program for lots of years, so I think I know a thing or two about how you feel. I know healthy is the way to go but, in the begining it is essential to do away with the cravings and so I ate a lot of chocolate, and drank a lot of milk shakes with real ice cream in it. Meetings such as NA or AA help even if you do them online. It was and still is important to share with others who get me. My family loves me, but they don't get my insane thoughts or why I do some of the crazy things I do. They tend to judge where as another addict has been there. Look me up if you want and we can write. Good luck


29% helpful
solveig answered...

As a result of a serious accident my son was addicted to Oxycontin for many years (8) and Heroine for over a year. He refused to go to rehab or A.A. He always said: I will do it myself when I am ready. He always needed and probably will always need someone else to manage his meds (me, while I am alive). So get someone to help you with that. If you have any meds that you are tempted to over use, get someone you trust to hold them for you. When he was ready he would say: let's go down 10 mg. He was sick for a week and then o.k. for 3 weeks. It took a long year and needed help with Coladopin and Xanax, but he did it. By doing it slowly, he never went through severe symptoms -just flu-like, and Ibuprofen helped-and cranky, which staying away helped ME :-) During those early days he ate a lot of sugary cereal and milk. Now he will not touch cereal! :-) So I agree with Newby1961 -- chocolate or whatever makes you happy. If you can, sleep a lot and watch comedy central.... those two things seemed to help my kid. :-) It is tough, but you can do it.


honeyall answered...

I am going through milk withdrawals and discovering, milk acts as an opiate! Every time I have tried to kick milk, I get upset, nervous, my stomach goes in knots and I cry easily. So far this is the 3rd day and am supplementing organic almond milk with no sugar. THis is real! But I do want to get off milk...


psychofiend26 answered...

My husband and I have been in a relationship going on 10 years. He is an opiate addict. When we first met, I worked as hard as I could to help him kick the horse. He has never done well with NA or AA, as we are not religious and he can't get past the religious agenda. I know that works for some people and not talking bad about it, just doesn't work for him. He went through a 5 year period of going to a clinic and taking methadone treatment. He slowly decided to ween himself off the medication and had a some what clean living for about 2 years. He ended up joining a band and touring and that was the start of him getting back on pills, meth, heroine, anything he could get his hands on. When he got back he was more broken then ever. On top of his addictions he suffers from schitzo-effective disorder, has 3 fractures in his back, and a slew of other medical problems. He started slowly taking pills just to help with his terrible back pain that he got off the street as no doctor here in town will take him seriously about his pain because he's an addict. It ended up out of control and started back on heroine and meth from time to time. I finally said enough is enough and he's back in methadone treatment. I don't like that he has to go there, but there's nothing here that will help him other than that, and that we can afford. He is disabled and I am the only source of income. He is growing tired of going there because he sleeps most of the day from the methadone, eats terribly. We are trying to eat healthier. I think he wants to eventually get off the methadone, but I am afraid of him relapsing again. Is there anything that I can do to help him with juicing and things like that that have actually helped anyone? He has been an addict for 16 years. It breaks my heart seeing him like this and just want to help. Any feedback would be awesome. I will never understand how he feels or what he's going through, but I am hoping to find something that will help him for good. Thank you all for listening and any help.


60% helpful
skunksdesigns answered...

I have been an addict for about 18 years and I am only 32. I was fortunate to not ever need pain meds for injury but it didnt stop me from getting addicted. Im sure my family was horrified to see the direction I was going, but they still supported me and at time it was the only reassurance I had. After using Oxycodone and Oxycontin for 4 or 5 years if found my self not getting high anymore even though I was using 200-300 mg a day and I wasnt ready to stop so I began using intravenously. This only made my addiction much worse. I worked only to support my habbit any most days would shoot up in the bathroom during my shift as a waiter. I started shooting 160 mg in one shot. I continued for about 3 years and found myself having to stop because I nolonger had a surface vein in either arm or hand, I stil dont today 4 years later. But that was what got me into a methadone clinic. It took some time but I was able to conquer the physical addictions of shooting and snorting and was even able to stop using all other drugs. But without leaving my old lifestyle behind and with the money I saved I began dealing drugs as a way to make an easy living and after a couple years was arrested for aggravated trafficking. That was a huge eye opener for me, that I hadnt changed that much. The only way to stay out of prison was participating in something called Drug Court. And after being forced to go to AA and NA meetings for a while. I saw that they were just a group of addicts who were carring and honest who never judged one another. And they believed in a Higher Power of your understanding. It didnt have to be God it could even be another person. And I was welcome no matter what I had done in my past. Six years ago I would have never been where I am today. And I made mistakes over and over again before I learned anything. So everyone goes at there own pace, but thats not to say they wont make it. And dealing with withdrawels or pain management is one of the scarriest things an addict has to go through. Its finding that level of pain management that improves the quality of life. But an addict like me cant control my addiction so I cant be trusted with things like pain medication so I need someone I trust to monitor it. Currently aftef 4 years in the clinic Ive tapered down from 160 mg all the way to 2 mg. I will be done with the clinic for good in 5 days. I havent used any other drugs in 8 months. I had some motivation from the courts but I did it all by myself! I just didnt know I had it in me from the beginning. Now I am so much happier then Ive been in the last 18 years. So if I can overcome my addictions im sure anybody can. I wish you all the best. It does take an enormous ammout of patience to wat h an addict relapse repeatedly, but with out some external motivater I may not have reached my full potential, because without motivation from another person or consequence its so hard for an addict to even entertain quitting. So stay strong and dont let yourself be brought down as well. Sometimes the fear of losing something can be enough for them to really consider changing their ways. For me it was my freedom but it can be anything. Good luck Things always get worse before they get better


Kizzym answered...

I do understand what I'm about to comment has nothing to do with food. However 14 days clean..... VIVITROL once a month shot for addicts just got mine yesterday (: feeling great!!!! My prayers to all!!!


50% helpful
Free.... answered...

I'm now three weeks clear of my subutex (UK suboxone?) Program and can really recommend the 12 Day lofexidine 'transition'. Done (attempted) raw unmedicated detoxes before (not good) the difference is huge. Now a couple of years clear of street opiates and beginning to believe I can be a productive, happy human being and more importantly the best father and husband I can be to my three beautiful children and my wife (never was a man so fortunate to have a woman with her strength and grace). Best advice I can give anyone: Remove from your day to day life those influences and relationships that are tangled up with your drug of choice (you know who they are), This one of the most important, yet hardest first steps, non users never understand some of the mutually supportive things addicts get into or the complex webs of obligation(especially if you're dealing) that need to be broken. Conversely, make your peace with any true old freinds and family you have inevitably blown off or fucked over along the way, they wont believe you at first obviously, you may have deals/promises to make, but having people in your corner was the biggest help for me, especially those for who 'doing it for yourself' doesnt YET feel like a good enough reason, show them you deserve their trust and support (dont expect it to be easy). Be lucky. Is it all worth it? A thousand times yes. Oh and eat lots of good greens (been shovelling kale, spinach and blanched or steamed root vegetables down) your digestive system will be dodgy for a while dont give it too much to deal with, light meals often is the key.


newt420 answered...

Water kefir, double~fermented with various fruits n veggies mentioned would be really good, too. Tons of various issues are being alleviated with this, in fact {I'm helping my epilepsy and I've never responded to ANY medication for more than a handful of doses, and that was on the rare occasion that one would even work}


slothaz answered...

Ice cream, Orange Juice, Sugary Cereal and Milk, Supplement drinks (meal replaces/vitamin shakes) and add Imodium, Potassium supplements, strong wide spec vitamin supplements (at least 100% RDA f Zinc, Phosphorus, Copper, Magnesium) ask in Pharmacy or health food shops, they should be able to advise on specific ones. And try L-Tyrosine for anxiety (all this is available over the counter) Currently helping my boyfriend detox from heroin right now and this is the survival kit I've prepared. As much as you can try too prepare your body, getting in a positive state of mind is the most powerful weapon. Be around positive people, go outside and enjoy the fresh air, try to laugh at things you could before, FORCE a smile if you have to. Make a list of your hopes and dreams and what you want out of life, then kick yourself up the arse and do it. You have to give yourself a little tough love to.


Downnolonger answered...

Juicing all kinda of fruits and vegetables.. I am on my third day without methadone, morphine, hydromorphe...and kind of down. And I'm having an easy time. Well I take a couple Tylenol 3s. But I took my last one so I am hoping all the veggies, fruit and water is carry me through from here on out. So far it's been smooth, which I am surprised.