Opioids are very helpful drugs in treating chronic pain. However, they are also highly addictive as proven by the recent opioid epidemic in the United States. If you or someone you love has fallen into the endless cycle of addiction, opioid withdrawal and detox is the pathway to rehab and sobriety.
Opioids are a class of drugs including synthetic opioids with the same pain relieving effects. Many people face addiction to prescription painkillers and synthetic opioids after medical use for an injury or chronic pain. Some transition from those more expensive medications to cheaper, street-available opiates, such as heroin.
If you are physically dependent on opioids and stop or decrease your dose, you will experience opioid withdrawal. This happens because your body and brain have adjusted to having the opioids in your system. They need the drugs to function normally. Withdrawal symptoms are effects on your body and brain as they readjust to not having opioids.
Why Does Opioid Withdrawal Happen?
After taking opioid medication for a long time, you become tolerant of it. This means your body needs more of the drug to feel the same effects. However, by increasing your dose or frequency to feel the effects, you risk overdose.
Over time, opioids also change how your brain’s receptors work. These receptors start depending on the drug for normal daily function. This is known as physical dependency. In physical dependency, stopping your use of opioids leads to symptoms of opioid withdrawal. These symptoms range from ill feelings, like nausea and diarrhea, to psychological symptoms of anxiety and sleeplessness.
Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal
There are many factors determining the severity of your opioid withdrawal symptoms. These are very personal to you, such as how long you’ve been using the opioids, how much you take with each dose, frequency of use, your personal health and whether you have underlying mental illness. Everyone experiences withdrawal differently. But, there are typical symptoms you can expect, as well as a timeline for the withdrawal process.
Your first effects of withdrawal should begin in the first 24 hours after your last dose. These symptoms include muscle aches, restlessness, watery eyes, sweating, anxiety, sleeplessness, runny nose and frequent yawning.
After a day or longer in detox, your withdrawal symptoms include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, goose bumps, nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils, rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. These symptoms are very unpleasant for a few days. Within a week, your opiate withdrawal symptoms decrease dramatically.
Some opioids clear from your system faster than others. This affects when your withdrawal symptoms begin. For example, heroin clears from your system more quickly than methadone. Heroin withdrawal begins within 12 hours of your last use and methadone withdrawal starts after a day or so.
Complications of Withdrawal from Opioids
Going through typical symptoms of withdrawal from opioids is difficult enough. However, one such complication is aspiration of vomit into the lungs. This breathing of fluids into your lungs can cause choking or pneumonia and is sometimes deadly.
Depending on the severity of your withdrawal, you may also face complications such as abnormal heartbeat, blood flow problems and even heart attack. These circulatory problems are due to a loss of fluids and electrolytes. This is why it’s important to take in enough fluids when experiencing diarrhea or vomiting.
With the experience and support of a detox program, you can regain control of your life. Detox professionals help you by providing support, comfort and some medications to lessen effects of withdrawal.
Recovering from Opioids for the Long Term
Recovering from opioid addiction for the long term is an important goal. Without quality addiction treatment services, you are more likely to relapse. Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville, North Carolina provides the substance abuse treatment programs you need for lasting recovery from opioids or other substances.
Crest View Recovery Center uses reality therapy and comprehensive wellness strategies as part of several rehab programs, including:
CVRC provides an intimate setting for your recovery in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Men and women are housed separately, so you can focus on what is important in your recovery. Acupuncture treatment, yoga classes, meditation therapy, nutrition counseling, and recreational therapy are also important facets of treatment at Crest View Recovery Center.