Opiate withdrawal symptoms are wide ranging and vary from person to person. Withdrawal symptoms of opiates can set in hours after a person stops taking an opiate abruptly or gradually stops use.
An opioid is a synthetic narcotic that is similar to naturally occurring opiates. These opiate-like substances bind to opiate receptors in the body and are often used in the management of pain. Over time, a person can become tolerant of opiates. Once this happens, the body needs more and more in order to experience the same level of effects. Natural opiates are alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant and examples are morphine, codeine and thebaine. Semi-synthetic opioids are created from natural opiates and include oxycodone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone. Fully synthetic opioids include fentanyl, methadone and tramadol.
People who use opiates for medical reasons can become dependent and may require medical opiate detoxification. These medications can be taken safely over a relatively short period of time, but most people become physically dependent when on long-term therapy. This is what makes pain management so tricky. Opiates are prized for their ability to quell pain, but tolerance, dependence and addiction can set in, even when the drugs are used properly.
Opiate withdrawal can be very difficult to undergo if not properly treated. The fear of going through withdrawal is what keeps many people dependent upon drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin. They don’t want to stop using opiates because they fear a return of pain and withdrawal symptoms that can resemble the worst imaginable flu. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Strong cravings
- Goose bumps
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Dilated pupils.
For many people, these symptoms are not life threatening. But depending on the severity and length of use, opiate withdrawal could cause rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure or other life-threatening complications. Opiate withdrawal can be a long and painful process and very hard to get through. For health compromised patients, untreated and unmonitored withdrawal can lead to unnecessary medical complications. In the past, opiate dependents had no choice but to undergo conventional detoxification procedures; It caused them to suffer a debilitating and sometimes even dangerous withdrawal syndrome.
Many opiate treatment programs rely on “replacement” or “substitution” medications such as methadone, Suboxone or Subutex. These medications are also opioids and may require additional detoxification. People who opt to try these substitution therapies may find this to be a long-term solution. People who desire to be opiate free, have the option to choose a medical detox or a rapid detox. Choosing the appropriate rapid detox center, can be the difference of an effective and safe detox or not.Rapid detox offers promising results if performed properly.
The Waismann Method ® of rapid detoxification , in its exclusive So. California location, has demonstrated tremendous success rates one year after treatment. This program doesn’t use opiate replacements, but rather a pioneering medical procedure performed in a full service accredited hospital.
Opiate dependence does not have to be a life sentence and opiate withdrawal symptoms should not a deterrence from a healthy life.
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