Opioid Withdrawals: What To Know
The opioid abuse and the opioid epidemic is a significant problem today. Opioids are a class of drugs that are often used to treat pain. A few common examples of opioid drugs include morphine, codeine, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Dilaudid. Heroin is also an opioid. Many people who develop an opioid dependency were given these drugs by their doctor to treat pain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2.1 million people in the United States abuse opioids. Worldwide, this number is between 26.4 and 36 million. These statistics are shocking.
Opioids are highly addictive. According to the doctors at Johns Hopkins Medicine, it can take just a couple of weeks to become dependent on opioids. If you take these drugs once or twice, you may not become addicted. However, studies have shown that the first dose can have psychological effects.
One of the reasons that people become addicted to these drugs is the withdrawal symptoms they will experience when they stop using drugs. Over time, the withdrawal symptoms will begin to worsen.
The Early Stages of Withdrawal
You can begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within 6 to 12 hours after using short-acting opiates. For longer-acting ones, like time-release Oxycontin, the early signs can become within 30 hours of your last dose. The early symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Sleep problems
- Runny nose
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Teary eyes
The Later Stages of Withdrawal
The withdrawal symptoms in the later stages are much more severe than those in the early stages. These symptoms often peak with 72 hours of your last dose and can last as long as a week. The symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Intense drug cravings
For many people, the withdrawal symptoms are so intense that they relapse just to get some relief.
Recovering From Opioid Addiction
If you try to quit using opioids on your own can be life-threatening. Quitting cold turkey rarely works, and those who are addicted often end up relapsing. If you are going to be successful in your sobriety, you are going to need professional help.
Medications Used To Treat Opioid Addiction
There are medications on the market today that are designed to treat the cravings and the withdrawal symptoms.
- Methadone: Methadone is one of the most common prescriptions prescribed. It can block the effects of opioids and reduce cravings.
- Buprenorphine: This mediation can reduce the cravings and won’t give you the same high as opioid drugs.
- Naltrexone: Unlike methadone and buprenorphine, naltrexone won’t activate the opioid receptor. Instead, it blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids.
Each of these medications should only be used when prescribed by a doctor and in conjunction with formal treatment.
Your best chance of beating your addiction is inpatient treatment. Each of the services offered in an inpatient facility is essential in overcoming your addiction. These include:
- Detox: During your first few days, you will enter detox, where the doctors in the facility will make the detox process as safe and as comfortable as possible.
- Group therapy: Group therapy is mandatory in a detox facility. It gives you a chance to learn from other people who are in your situation.
- Individual therapy: During your individual therapy sessions, your doctor will help you get to the root of your addiction. When you learn what caused you to become addicted in the first place, you have a better chance for recovery.
- Family counseling: You are going to need a strong support system if your recovery is going to be successful. Addiction often puts a strain on your relationships. During family counseling, you can repair these relationships, so you have a strong support system when you complete your treatment.
- Aftercare services: Before leaving treatment, you will receive aftercare services, which are essential in preventing a withdrawal. Just because you have completed treatment, it doesn’t mean that you are cured. Recovery will be a life-long battle, and you are going to need daily help to get you through it.
If you are struggling with addiction, the professionals at Warner Park Recovery can help. We are a substance abuse program in Woodland Hills, and we also treat your mental health. Many addicts used drugs to self-medicate an underlying problem. At Warner Park Recovery, we will treat your addiction as well as any mental health issues you might have.
We offer a variety of services. If you don’t want to leave your family to enter treatment, we offer a Partial Hospitalized Program. This program provides a level of therapeutic support similar to what you would get during inpatient care, but you can return home at night. We also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program, which provides treatment with a less rigorous schedule. Finally, we offer an Outpatient Program, which is designed to help you transition to the real world without the risk of withdrawal. We can help you start a new, addiction-free life.