There are medical risks associated with the withdrawal from opiate type drugs up to and including death dependant on a variety of health related circumstances. This is why a medical professional should always play a major role in the sudden withdrawal from opiates, especially when large quantities are used frequently. Opiate withdrawal symptoms will occur if opiate use is abruptly discontinued because opiates are physically addicting. As it happens in any addiction, the body will simply adapt to the presence of the opiate.
Not in itself a treatment for addiction, detoxification is a useful step only when it leads into long-term treatment that is either drug-free (residential or outpatient) or uses medications as part of the treatment. The best documented drug-free treatments are the therapeutic community residential programs lasting 3 to 6 months. No matter how you got addicted, once dependant, you need to endure the pains of opiate detox. Few people have the strength to go it alone, and when the pains get bad and pills can be bought at the nearest pharmacy, it's hard to maintain resolve.
The philosophy behind the detoxification program for opiates is generally to switch the individual from short-acting opioids, which are more highly addictive, to long-acting opioids. It is much easier to slowly taper or cut back on a long-acting opioid than a short-acting opioid, thus leading to fewer withdrawal symptoms. Until recently their has almost always been a healthy stigma attached to opiate addiction. Not only society's general consensus was "Once a heroin addict, always a heroin addict."
Avoiding the severe pain, nausea, agitation, sweats and other symptoms of opiate withdrawal are among the many reasons addicts are motivated to continue taking drugs. Now, researchers have found that disrupting the brain's stress-response mechanism exacerbates behavioral withdrawal symptoms in mice, and that giving the mice the hormone corticosterone alleviates those symptoms. However, because they don't have the psychological attachment to the drug seen in addiction, withdrawal symptoms are often less distressing. Some people are able to complete the withdrawal in less than two weeks but for most people the process takes months or even years.
While individual real-life experiences can be a valuable health resource, they must be viewed in the context of evidence-based data and are not a substitute for medical advice.
You should always consult a qualified health care professional before beginning, changing or stopping a treatment. One of the most widely prescribed medications, Vicodin and its related medications, loricet, loritab percodan, and oxycontin are opioid-based pain medications. Vicodin is a derivative of opium, which also used to manufacture heroin. Although many people use pain pills or pain medication for legitimate use, there are many individuals who wind up addicted to pain pills, narcotic medications and other pain medications.