Is The Thomas Recipe, An ‘At-Home” Heroin And Opioid Detox, Safe?

The Thomas Recipe, an “at-home opioid detox”, was created by an individual (most likely named Thomas) to help ease the symptoms of heroin and prescription opioid withdrawal at home. This “do-it-yourself” opiate detox has the potential to be dangerous. A supervised medical detoxification is almost always recommended to individuals struggling with an opioid addiction.

Is The Thomas Recipe Safe?

The Thomas Recipe is an at-home detoxification method which uses a variety of over-the-counter medications and supplements in combination with a benzodiazepine drug in an attempt to treat symptoms of withdrawal. Using the Thomas Recipe can endanger a person’s health, life, and their chance of a successful recovery.

This method is not based on scientifically-grounded research, nor is it approved or recommended by medical professionals.

If you’re serious about building a drug-free life and want to give your body and brain the best opportunity to heal from an opioid addiction you should strongly consider a medically-supervised detoxification offered by a comprehensive treatment program.

What Is The Thomas Recipe?

The Thomas Recipe directs an individual to use a benzodiazepine drug and certain over-the-counter medications and supplements to reduce withdrawal symptoms. But what it fails to do is offer ample protection, a safe environment, and the appropriate evidenced-based care for any physical and mental health effects which arise during withdrawal.

If you search online for the Thomas Recipe you’ll see results which promise a successful “opiate withdrawal home remedy” or “do-it-yourself at-home detox.” While at first glance these may seem like appealing promises, keep in mind what you’re bargaining with: your health, life, and sobriety.

Without a professional intervention, self-detoxing can go awry, exposing an individual to unforeseen complications, greater-than-expected withdrawal symptoms, and debilitating cravings, all of which can jeopardize a person’s health and recovery.

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The Thomas recipe calls for a benzodiazepine drug, namely Valium, though it’s noted that other benzos may be used. Imodium is suggested as a remedy for diarrhea, while certain nutritional supplements like L-Tyrosine, a multi-mineral supplement, and Vitamin B6 are also recommended. Even foods, like bananas, are recommended as a remedy for achy muscles. Beyond this, hot baths, showers, or a Jacuzzi are encouraged, as is light exercise.

A person’s physical and mental health needs cannot be adequately addressed without the supervision and medical oversight of a detoxification program. Detoxification requires far more than a handful of medicine and supplements, a banana, and a hot shower; ignoring this fact can seriously put you in harm’s way.

Side Effects, Risks, And Dangers Of Opiate Withdrawal

In order to fully understand the risks associated with the Thomas Recipe and the imperative for seeking professionally-guided detoxification services, it’s important to know the side effects and dangers of opioid withdrawal.

Opioids include opiate drugs like heroin and the following prescription opioid painkillers:

  • codeine
  • fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze)
  • hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, and Lorcet)
  • hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • meperidine (Demerol)
  • methadone (Dolophine and Methadose)
  • morphine (Duramorph)
  • oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, and Percocet)
  • oxymorphone (Opana)

Some people think withdrawal is merely uncomfortable, but what they fail to realize is that withdrawal, if not properly treated, can become so intense that a person relapses to avoid further pain and discomfort. Withdrawal symptoms can also become so extreme that some individuals even consider, or succeed in, suicide.

Withdrawal happens when a person physically dependent on an opioid drug suddenly stops, or significantly reduces, their drug intake. Symptoms include:

  • achy muscles
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • goosebumps
  • insomnia
  • runny nose
  • stomachache
  • sweating
  • teary eyes
  • yawning

Withdrawal can also create severe gastrointestinal distress which causes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Should a person vomit and breathe it in they could get a severe lung infection (aspiration pneumonia) or choke on the vomit and suffocate, both of which may be deadly in the most extreme circumstances.

In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, withdrawal can create intense cravings. Relapsing to reduce these and other withdrawal symptoms exposes a person to the opportunity for overdose. It also increases the risk that they’ll develop adverse physical and mental health effects associated with continued opioid abuse.

Is The Thomas Recipe Really Safe Or Effective?

The Thomas Recipe is not a safe way to treat opioid withdrawal. This method was not designed or even recommended by a doctor.

A comprehensive detox should be founded on evidence-based principles and medications, something that the Thomas Recipe is not. Instead, this method is based on what appears to be trial and error, experiences which do not provide nearly enough information or conclusive results to trust a person’s health, sobriety, or life with.

Without the support of a professional program, a person may experience such extreme withdrawal symptoms and cravings that they relapse. This is why the use of evidenced-based medications for the treatment of opioid use disorders are so important. Further, a medically-supervised detox is professionally monitored and physician led, care which extends 24 hours a day.

Should any complications arise, or symptoms become too intense, trained clinicians are at the ready to administer the appropriate care and medical treatments. Detoxing at home cuts you off from the compassion and support these treatment specialists provide as well. Withdrawal can become emotionally and mentally exhausting, and sometimes having an ear or company can be a welcome distraction.

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The Thomas Recipe calls for the use of a benzodiazepine medication. Specifically, the instructions state “Start with a dose high enough to produce sleep. Before you use any benzo, make sure you’re aware of how often it can be safely taken.” These vague directions place a person in even greater danger.

A medication, especially one as potent as a benzo, should never be taken without a doctor’s guidance. At a person’s own discretion, “a dose high enough to produce sleep,” could easily be confused and reach amounts which lead to overdose or death.

Any time a person is prescribed a medication the exact substance and the manner in which it’s used, including the dosage, is determined by their specific health and medical circumstances, a situation which can only be assessed by a doctor.

Should a person relapse while on this regimen the benzodiazepine drug could cause a very dangerous, and oftentimes fatal, interaction with the opioid drug(s).

Both benzodiazepines and opioids produce respiratory depression, effects which are intensified when these substance are used together. This interaction can be so severe that the FDA has issued their strongest warning, a boxed warning, on the dangers of combining these drug types. The FDA cautions that doing so may cause “extreme sleepiness, respiratory depression, coma and death.”

Should this occur at home, time matters. Without medical support on hand a person could lose their life.

The Importance Of Choosing A Medically-Supervised Opioid Detoxification Program

Medically-supervised detoxification supports a person both mentally and physically as their body cleanses from the abused opioid. The treatments offered at this time help to reduce or alleviate painful and intolerable symptoms of withdrawal so that person is better able to heal and focus on their recovery.

Within a medically-supervised detoxification program a person will be kept under constant observation, care which includes the monitoring of critical vital signs. Should anxiety become too excessive, or any other withdrawal symptoms, medications can be dispensed or adjusted accordingly. Bunavail, Suboxone, Zubsolv, medications which contain buprenorphine, are frequently used during this period.

Opioid drug abuse can deplete a person’s body, causing massive nutritional imbalances. These too are addressed within professional treatment. Nutritional support and IV fluid hydration may be administered, as needed, so that a person’s body can become more balanced and return to a more optimal state of functioning.

Without this treatment, should a person detox at home, they have no support and structure guiding them towards the next step of treatment. Detox alone isn’t enough to build sobriety on.

Should a person refrain from seeking treatment after detoxing, they’re depriving themselves of the opportunity to build the coping, interpersonal, stress-reduction, and relapse prevention skills which are so formative to a successful recovery.

Opioid addictions are some of the most severe. For this reason, many individuals find that inpatient drug rehabilitation quite often offers the most comprehensive care to treat their needs. Many inpatient facilities offer a medically-supervised detoxification program on site, a huge benefit which allows a person to move from one program to the next without an interruption of services.

Disclaimer: does not endorse the Thomas Recipe. To best protect your health, safety, and recovery you should contact a trained treatment specialist for guidance in choosing a medically-supervised detoxification program which best addresses your health and medical needs.

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