Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
Being addicted to opioids might be difficult to handle on your own, especially when you decide to give up the addiction and you have to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Opioids are prescribed by healthcare providers when treating certain issues such as severe pain. However, consuming opioids as a treatment can be enough to spark a dependence – especially if the user relies on them too much or starts consuming larger amounts.
Opioids change the structure of the brain until the body will crave the substance more and more. As the drugs are being used frequently, an opioid tolerance will slowly build – therefore, the consumer will require higher amounts to reach the desired effects. But this could end up with an overdose and even death in worse scenarios.
Withdrawal symptoms that occur after reducing or stopping the opioid intake can be uncomfortable to deal with. So, it’s important to treat them with the help of a professional.
Opioids are drugs usually prescribed by a doctor when treating chronic pain and other similar issues. The drugs are very useful as painkillers, but when abused, they can become extremely dangerous. According to the CDC, between May 2020 and April 2021 more than 100,000 people lost their life after overdosing on drugs, with 64% of the deaths being the result of synthetic opioids.
There are different types of opioids. Opiates represent one of these categories, including drugs like morphine, heroin, opium, and codeine. Then, there are also synthetic opioids that include methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.
Opioids can be extremely addictive, whether they were prescribed by a physician or obtained illegally. Using larger amounts of these drugs will make someone build tolerance over time, leading to higher amounts being consumed – therefore, the risk of an overdose increases. If an addict stops consuming opioids, withdrawal symptoms will appear.
What Is Opioid Withdrawal?
Opioid withdrawal occurs when you stop consuming opioids after using them for a while. The body has already built a tolerance to certain amounts of opioids – therefore, you’ve become dependent on these drugs. When the body doesn’t get the opioid amounts it expects, uncomfortable symptoms will show up.
These drugs will attach to nerve cell receptors from the spinal cord, brain, and other areas. They work by blocking the pain messages sent to the brain and may also make the brain release a chemical called dopamine. This chemical is responsible for making an individual feel good.
When opioids are no longer used, the body will react negatively as it is used to receiving the substance that ultimately allows the brain to release more dopamine among other things. These withdrawal symptoms can get very intense and require the addict to be monitored and receive proper treatment.
Signs of Opioid WIthdrawal
Opioid withdrawal is different for everyone. Some will have a more intense experience with very uncomfortable symptoms, while others may experience the same symptoms or different ones but less intensely. No matter the case, dealing with withdrawal symptoms alone is very difficult and, in some situations, it is not even possible.
For some, the symptoms may be so bad that it makes them go back to consuming opioids again. Symptoms will vary based on how long it’s been since you stopped using the drugs. During the first 24 hours, the withdrawal will manifest with the following symptoms:
- Muscle pain
- Excessive sweating
- Runny nose
After 24 Hours
After 24 hours, some more intense symptoms may show up, including:
- Dilated pupils
- Blurry vision
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Faster heartbeat
You should bear in mind that some symptoms will be influenced by how long you’ve been consuming opioids, as well as the amounts you’ve been using.
How Long WIll Withdrawals Last?
The experience will vary from one person to another, but most people will deal with opioid withdrawals for over 2 weeks. The first few days are usually the worst, so once several days pass, the symptoms get better.
Withdrawal can also be influenced by the treatment a doctor or paramedic gives to the addict. For instance, some drugs can reverse an opioid overdose. If your doctor gives you such drugs, then the withdrawal symptoms may appear sooner, and they will be more intense.
Furthermore, drugs that reverse opioid overdoses may also cause changes in your body. These include heart rate and blood pressure changes. When this happens, medical attention will be required.
How is Opioid WIthdrawal Diagnosed?
To diagnose opioid withdrawal, a physician will examine your body. On top of that, they will ask you some questions about your medical history and the symptoms you are dealing with. If you’ve used drugs in the past, the doctor will want to know that.
Getting a proper diagnosis will rely on the addict offering honest answers and possibly taking some urine and blood tests. The tests will be able to detect the presence of opioids in the user’s system, whereas the answers will help determine what sparked the addiction and how long it’s been going for.
Treating Opioid Withdrawal
In order to treat opioid withdrawal, an individual will have to receive treatment from a care provider. To increase the effectiveness of the treatment, inpatient treatment may be necessary, especially when withdrawal symptoms are very bad. Certain medications will be offered to the patient, with some of them reversing opioid overdoses.
Hospitalization will be necessary only when the withdrawal symptoms are severe. Medications like clonidine will be given to the patient to help make the symptoms less intense.
Meanwhile, people who only have mild withdrawal symptoms should take some rest, drink a lot of fluids and take medications like acetaminophen, aspirin, and others.
How Real Deal Can Help
Real Deal Therapy & Wellness does more than just help you get off a drug addiction. It will help you improve your mental health and focus on things that may have triggered or encouraged your addiction.
If you join our program, you will be able to return to a happier, stress-free life, without feeling the need to consume opioid drugs.
Get in contact with our care providers if you or someone close to you is dealing with opioid addiction or withdrawal. Getting help soon enough may save a life.