Opiate Withdrawal and Detox

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Opiate Withdrawal

Opiate withdrawal can be extremely severe and thwarting. Consequently, the safest and most effective approach to withdrawal from these drugs is medical detox. Read on to see what needs to be done during detoxification and why further treatment is necessary to ensure complete recovery.

What is Opiate Withdrawal?

Opiates or rather “opiate painkillers” comprise a variety of opioid medications, including codeine, Dilaudid, and tramadol. Individuals who consume such drugs at levels higher or quicker than originally recommended are at the risk of establishing physical dependency.

If you are medically reliant on opioid painkillers may feel the urge to continue to use the medications to survive. If you stop taking the drug “cold turkey,” you may encounter numerous adverse effects.

Withdrawal Happens When You Stop Taking the Opiates

Withdrawal happens whenever a person spontaneously stops taking the drug or reduces the amount they were taking dramatically. Symptoms of withdrawal count on several factors such as the form of analgesic being abused, the opioid tolerance for the duration of their use, and whether many drugs have been abused including their medical and mental history. The bulk of the symptoms are usually flu-like, with fever, nausea, and queasiness.

Physical and Psychological Distress

Even though these symptoms are not naturally critical or life-threatening, they could also trigger the affected individual significant physical and psychological distress. Because of the severity of the effects, people who decide to stop using drugs themselves may resort to using it again to avoid the phase of withdrawal.

However, the constant process of halting and resuming the use of the substance will make it even harder to quit later. That is because the cycle can intensify into habits of uncontrollable abuse.

Medical Detox

Medical detox services are structured and safe facilities are intended to support people to navigate the phase of withdrawal. Physicians help patients manage their effects by phasing them out of the toxic drug, so they are emotionally no longer relying on it. In some cases, doctors may have to prescribe medication that decreases the intensity of some symptoms and reduces cravings.

They may be recommended by their treatment team after an individual has undergone a recovery plan to seek additional care at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. This is a crucial step in preserving sobriety in the long run and avoiding relapse. Many recovery programs are located in inpatient rehab centers, and people can move easily to addiction care.

Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal effects range from moderate to severe. Symptoms are more severe in chronically neglected or dependent patients. This is defined by the abuse of a substance in significant doses over a protracted period.

Certain factors may also play a part in what a person will experience due to the type of withdrawal symptoms felt. These would include the individual’s healthiness and well-being, potential psychiatric or behavioral problems if their background had a history of addiction, the length and type of the drug, and whether the drug was prescribed for them.

An individual should usually start feeling all of the following symptoms 24 hours after they had their last dosage:

  • Agitation
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Constricted pupils
  • Tremors
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Stomach aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Fluctuating blood pressure
  • Muscle spasms
  • Runny nose

Late Signs of Opioid Withdrawal

These culminate within the first 72 hours, and they mostly last about a week or even more:

  • Drug cravings
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Goosebumps
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

How long does it take to withdraw from opiates? Opiate withdrawal has four stages: anticipatory, early acute, completely developed acute, and post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Acute withdrawal occurs typically a few hours after their last injection, based on the degree after addiction.

The intense period of withdrawal has flu-like effects consistent with the withdrawal of painkillers. The extended discontinuation period begins upon acute withdrawal; it may last for six months. This is the time when recovery people are most susceptible to triggers, that can lead to relapse.

Opioid Detox Options

There are many options for recovery and detox for expelling drugs from the body, although some can have a more detailed strategy than others. For example, therapeutic detox requires both pharmacological and psychiatric care methodologies under careful observation by both medical and mental health providers in a secure and supportive residential environment.

In contrast, normal detox can be conducted in an outpatient setting. The withdrawal effects are excruciating, and the easiest and smoothest approach to detoxifying could be medical detoxification. In a detox facility that may use drugs to regulate brain and body function, vital signs such as blood pressure, respiration rates, body temperature, and heart rate can also be closely controlled.

Mental Well-Being Services During Detox

Patients can also be treated and stabilized by mental well-being services through therapeutic detoxification. Although there is no definite detoxification period, because patients handle opiate withdrawal differently, medical detox duration typically last 5-7 days.

Treatments like anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and other symptom-specific prescriptions may help treat more complex signs of withdrawal through detoxification.

Therapeutic Detox

During therapeutic detoxification, health care professionals may help the patient taper off opioid drugs by gradually reducing or minimizing the dosage. This maintains the opioid receptors active, which avoids severe symptoms of withdrawal from arising. Substance hankering and depression may be handled by combining a short-acting opioid such as heroin with opioid-like methadone that is more stable.

Buprenorphine is a selective opioid agonist typically used in substance detoxification and dependency treatment because it is active for longer than other narcotics and allows a lower dose. Minor stimulants also do not cause the same “pressure” as complete inhibitors, and they are less likely to be misused. Buprenorphine also ceases to be effective after a certain level, thus serving as a barrier to misuse.

Drugs used in Opiate Detox

Doctors sometimes administer medications while detoxing. These treatments tend to alleviate opiate withdrawal-related long-term symptoms, such as heroin cravings. The doctor should slowly reduce the dosage of these substances overtime before the client improves from its effects of immediate withdrawal. Medicines can continue to be administered as the individual in an inpatient recovery facility continues to undergo care.

The following are the most common medications used during opiate detox:

  • Clonidine

Clonidine is the most often recommended medication for withdrawal syndrome and hypertension treatment. It is particularly helpful in reducing fear and tension symptoms. It comes as an oral tablet or patch worn on the skin. The euphoric sensations typically connected with prescription painkillers are not triggered by clonidine. The medication also has no risk of abuse and dependency. It encourages discontinuing opioid usage until signs of withdrawal subside.

  • Methadone

In recovery centers, methadone was once commonly used as a drug but was replaced mainly by buprenorphine. Usually, it is prescribed to help people get off the medication they were initially addicted to. As a long-acting prescription, methadone is particularly successful with severe drug withdrawal as a long-term recovery tool.

  • Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine, however, still referred to as Suboxone and Subutex, is typically used to diagnose depression, and it is also said to be a particularly efficient opiate withdrawal therapy. Buprenorphine, being a potent inhibitor, doesn’t mimic the actual effects of higher opiates like hydrocodone. The medication helps lower withdrawal effects and drug cravings, which also helps individuals stay motivated in recovery.

Other Factors Involved in Detoxification

In addition to the psychological condition that opioids induce, the physical dependence on opiates may even be compounded by these factors:

  • Tolerance to Opium

Opiate substances can cause quick tolerance in heavy users, as revealed by the Drug Enforcement Association (DEA). When tolerance increases, frequent abusers need higher and larger dosages to experience the substance’s usual physiological euphoria.

  • Using Polydrugs

Opiates have also been used together with some other drugs — particularly antidepressants like amphetamines and cocaine to counteract their impact because of their stimulating, soothing effects. Because both drugs pose different health hazards after sustaining usage, which is sometimes followed by distinct – and probably contradictory withdrawal effects, detoxification is necessary for a clinical environment.

  • Ways to Handling Discomfort

Frequently, opiates are used legally to relieve mild or severe and acute pain stemming from serious diseases, trauma, or lingering surgery pain.

  • Co-Occurring Disorders 

Opiate misuse and addiction occurred in some scenarios as a means to self-medicate traumas. Addicts suffering from psychiatric illness, depressive disorders, bipolar disorder correlated with abuse, or personality problems might depend on drugs as a mental or psychological means of escape. This dual diagnosis is common. There is often an underlying condition that leads to the use of drugs.

  • Severe Withdrawal Signs

As well as the pressures of cravings and emotional disruptions, side effects of withdrawal could also occur as the body adapts to a drug-free area.

Getting Help for Opiate Addiction at Resurgence

Detox, on its own will not help free you from opioid dependence. Neither will be learning the answer to the question, “How long does it take to withdraw from opiates?” Once the medical detox program has been completed, further treatment is necessary at our rehab center.

Inpatient therapy is provided with resources that can help you grasp the root cause of your addiction. Other treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy, 12-step programs, one-on-one and group counseling, and artistic development opportunities such as art and music therapy.

The services provided by inpatient recovery, combined with a high degree of around-the-clock care, can help you remain focused and empowered throughout and after treatment. Give us a call so we can plan your treatment program together.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.