Both methadone and buprenorphine are used in agonist-assisted detox, this approach aims to prevent / minimise withdrawals and cravings. By temporarily replacing your normal drug with a pharmaceutical-grade opioid, you should gradually be able to reduce your dose until you are no longer taking opioids at all.
If you opt for medical detox you stop taking all substances. Medical Detoxification is a process that systematically and safely withdraws people from addicting drugs, usually under the care of a physician. The detoxification process is designed to treat the immediate bodily effects of stopping drug use and to remove toxins left in the body as a result of the chemicals found in drugs and/or alcohol.
The duration of withdrawal symptoms strongly depends on whether the opioid is long acting or short acting. Heroin is relatively short acting. Withdrawal symptoms will appear within hours after the last dose and may dissipate within a few days, while longer-acting opioid painkillers may not elicit withdrawal symptoms until a few days after the last dose, possibly lasting for weeks.
Detox alone might help you to stop abusing drugs and alcohol in the short term, but without follow-up care and therapy, the risk of relapse into problematic use increases greatly.
Medications (such as buprenorphine and methadone) used to manage opioid dependence can help to alleviate the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids. These two medications – which are partial and full opioid agonists, respectively – are administered to stabilize your condition. Then they’re gradually tapered off so you don’t experience withdrawal symptoms.
Symptomatic medications can help alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms if you wish to avoid taking opioids (not the cause). Although you are likely to still feel cravings, some people find they are easier to deal with when the physical symptoms of withdrawal aren’t so “in your face”.
This severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome requires medical attention immediately. It’s always recommended that someone who has a severe addiction to alcohol receive medically supervised detoxification in order to safely remove the substance from the body.