Regular over-the-counter drugs only temporarily take away the pain. Therefore, in attempts to do whatever it takes, people turn to something stronger, such as prescription painkillers called opioids, which are known to quickly suppress the sensory receptors and nerves responsible for telling our bodies that something isn’t right.
If you suffer from some type of chronic pain, you are not alone. There are 50 million people who struggle with this problem. Oftentimes, people with pain take Tylenol and it dissipates. However, those with chronic pain, that is not the case, because what they feel is intense, persistent, and comes at unwanted times.
For people with chronic pain, the main goal is to make the pain go away as quickly as possible, and some will do anything it takes, despite the consequences. Little do some people know that all of these common opiates that help to numb their pain are extremely addictive.
Before you know it, they become more and more dependent on them for their superpowers, and eventually cannot stop. While it’s easy to start dependending on opioids, it’s much harder to break that addiction.
For most people, symptoms of withdrawal should markedly improve within a few days or weeks, but as everyone is different, this is not always the case. Therefore, if you are going through withdrawal, and your symptoms are lingering or getting worse, do not attempt to self-detox, and get medical help at a rehab facility.
What Are Opioids?
Due to regular medications such as Tylenol or other anti-inflammatories do not do the trick, medical professionals prescribe painkillers known as opioids. Common opioids include Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), and Fentanyl. Heroin, a common illegal street drug is also defined as a kind of opioid.
Just like Tylenol and other over-the-counter medications, opioids do provide longer relief for those suffering from chronic pain, but the numbing doesn’t last. All of these opiates produce a similar effect on the body because they’re chemically similar. Opioids work by blocking pain receptors responsible for allowing a person to feel pain. Even if the point of taking the pills is pain relief, not feeling rewarded, this can teach the brain to seek opioids for rewards instead of non-drug related things. The neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the brain, which is the chemical in the body responsible for making one feel “good” and euphoric.
In other words, the brain rewards the body, giving the loopy feeling that someone gets when they are on these strong drugs, and they feel no more pain as a result. While no more pain is the goal, as mentioned before, these drugs wear off, and this good feeling doesn’t last permanently. But, because of how well they do their job, that is when the addictive and dangerous cycle of these medications come into play.
Opioid Dependence and Addiction
Opioids are extremely powerful drugs, and therefore, the more someone takes opioids, the more one’s brain adapts to taking them. As a result, a person develops a tolerance to the drug, meaning that each time an opioid is taken, the dosage is increased, but the same side effect from the drug is felt every time.
After tolerance, dependence happens simultaneously, which means, with repeated use, the parts of our brain responsible for releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine only functions when opioids are taken, and when it is not, withdrawal symptoms occur. The body still screams to the brain to make the pain stop, and therefore, a person thinks that they can up the dosage because their body is used to it.
Little do they know the science behind drug use. When an individual becomes dependent on opiates, they take them because their body craves them, not necessarily because they need them, which is why people become severely addicted. Simply, the more opioids are taken, the more dependent and addiction one becomes, despite the consequences and negative effects it has on one’s health and overall life.
What is Withdrawal?
When a person wants to stop taking opioids once and for all, it is not that easy. Addiction is a disease and one that has a stronghold over someone’s mind and choices. So, while taking drugs and drinking alcohol is, in fact, someone’s choice, their decision to become addicted is not. Things become out of control, and before you know it, things turn poorly.
The process of helping someone remove these substances from their body when they have chosen to receive help for addiction is known as detox. While detox is a step in the right direction, it does not come without its trials and tribulations. Over time, the body has become used to the opioids being taken, so, when detox occurs, the goal is to rid the body completely from the addictive substance.
Therefore, of course, the body is going to react unconventionally to something being forced out of the body. As a result, during the detox process, users experience severe psychological distress and physical discomfort, known as withdrawal symptoms.
The symptoms depending on the person and the severity of their opioid addiction include:
- Rapid heart rate and hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness and pain
If you notice any of these symptoms, or if your withdrawal symptoms become worse, be sure to inform your healthcare provider immediately. At Crest View Recovery Center, our providers utilize the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) to determine the stage of withdrawal and assess your level of physical dependence on the drug.
Everyone’s severity of addiction is different, and therefore treatment methods will vary. Knowing this important information will help our addiction specialists get a better idea of how to proceed with the detox process, and then from there, they will be able to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, consisting of what treatment services and resources will best suit treating your condition.
At Crest View Recovery Center, our addiction specialists will determine a patient’s stage of withdrawal and assess one’s physical dependence on the drug, in order to administer the right form of treatment for optimal recovery. Here is a closer look at the opioid withdrawal timeline, as well as what to expect once it is complete.
Opioid Withdrawal Timeline
Imagine the clock for the opioid withdrawal timeline starts with the last use of the drug. From that point on, withdrawal can begin. Moreover, most clients will not notice the effects of withdrawal for several hours. That moment in time, however, marks the very beginning of the detox process, or hour zero.
When the first withdrawal symptoms begin will depend on the kind of opioids being consumed. Those who use heroin, for example, might begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms after just six hours. Those with a long-acting painkiller addiction might not notice withdrawal symptoms for 12 or even 24 hours. Here is an overview of the opioid withdrawal process:
The Stages of Opioid Withdrawal
|WITHDRAWAL STAGES||TIME IT TAKES|
There are two major types of opioid drugs that users may consume. Withdrawal symptoms begin shortly after the first dosage.
First group = short-acting opioids: These are designed to begin working right away, but they don’t last as long in the system.
Second group = Long-acting opioids: Takes longer to work but can metabolize for 24 hours or more.
Roughly three days into withdrawal, clients can expect to hit the peak of withdrawal symptoms. In fact, this is the most challenging part of opiate detox.
Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms at this point include nausea, chills, diarrhea, strong cravings, and dehydration. In rare cases, there are more severe withdrawal symptoms. That’s why it’s key for all clients to be in a medical environment during detox.
After the peak of withdrawal passes, symptoms will begin to taper off. This is a brief process. Clients may complete detox just a week after they begin. However, it’s important to note that everyone is different, and treatment and processes will vary.
The Final Steps of the Opioid Withdrawal Timeline
A medically supervised detox is just the beginning of addiction treatment after taking the first step of asking for help and committing to rehab treatment. However, finding the right facility for treatment can be a daunting task. Look no further than Crest View Recovery Center.
At Crest View Recovery Center rehab facilities we treat all levels of substance abuse, including drug and alcohol addiction. Our clients can expect quality, comprehensive care that addresses their underlying issues and factors leading to opioid addiction. Oftentimes, people have mental disorders that coincide with their substance abuse, called a co-occurring disorder.
Either an individual turns to drinking or using drugs because they have a mental disorder such as anxiety or depression, or they have a genetic predisposition for a mental disorder, and for that reason, they have addiction problems. To achieve long-term sobriety, Crest View’s therapy methods include but are not limited to:
- Pain management therapy
- Group therapy program
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy program (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy program (DBT)
- Holistic approaches to addiction recovery
Treatment for Opioid Addiction:
To stop addiction to opioids, one must find a professional treatment center that specializes in detox. It is of utmost importance that one knows that it’s not best to attempt to self-detox. Or, in this case, it’s best to avoid quitting opioid use cold turkey. Even if you have been using narcotic painkillers for a brief time, you may still be at risk for developing withdrawal symptoms if you do try and quit on your own.
Experiencing the symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be unpleasant and even dangerous. So, professional care can help individuals to recover and achieve long-term sobriety. One of the most common types of treatments for opioid addiction is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
The Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment
MAT is beneficial because those who become dependent and addicted to these strong painkillers need a treatment method that can not only reduce withdrawal symptoms but help to stop the controlling tendencies and addictive properties associated with opioids. Treatment for these prescription drugs needs to be done in a safer way.
At Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville, NC, we use MAT to help our patients with opioid dependence make a better choice when it comes to taking pain medication, educating them to do it in more smartly and safely. MAT combines anti-craving medications and behavioral therapies, such as psychotherapy to help reduce the chance of relapse, overdose, and even death. This type of treatment most importantly assists people with sustaining recovery and long-term sobriety.
In addition to our treatment services, we provide our patients with effective resources. These include such as coping and life skills to aid them while in recovery and especially after. We hope that our treatment methods help our patients going through opioid addiction in the following ways:
- We encourage mindfulness in our clients.
- Our team helps individuals to cope with stress or distress in healthier ways.
- Clients will learn to interact more effectively with others.
- People can learn to identify their emotional triggers. They can also develop specific methods on how to effectively deal with them when they arise.
Committing to Addiction Recovery With Crest View
Opioid withdrawal doesn’t start until the client has decided that it’s time to begin recovery. However, this first step is often the hardest. Once a person decides to stop depending on opioid drugs, the recovery process can begin.
Understanding the timeline for opioid withdrawal can help you better understand the entire recovery process. At Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville, North Carolina, overcoming addiction includes rehab treatment.
Addiction takes control of people’s lives, but our quality opioid addiction treatment center, can help end the cycle of abuse, and take back control of your life. Contact us today at (866) 327-2505 to overcome addiction and take back control of your life.