Opiate Withdrawal

Opiate Withdrawal Causes

Opiate withdrawal refers to a wide range of symptoms that can occur once opioid intake is interrupted or reduced. The amount, length and intensity of the symptoms vary from person to person. For some individual it can be an easy process and for others moderate it can be moderate to severe. Opiate withdrawal occurs because it takes time for the body to regulate to no longer having the drug in the system.

An opioid is a synthetic narcotic that is similar to naturally occurring opiates. These opiate-like substances bind to opioid receptor sites in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. Once the opiates attach to these receptor sites, they immediately exert their effects.  The brain manufactures its own opioids which are responsible for a whole host of physical responses including decreasing the effects of pain, lowering respiratory rate, and sometimes even used to control anxiety or depression. However, the body does not produce the quantity of opioids needed to control most levels of pain or in enough numbers to cause an overdose. Taking prescription or illicit opioids mimics the natural physiological occurrence, but with an array of risky side-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, 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 correctly.  Once this happens, the body needs more and more of the drug in order to experience the same effect while increasing the risk for a drug overdose.

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms:

Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be tough to surpass 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. Symptoms can affect the individual both physically and emotionally.

An important fact to keep in mind is that different opioids remain in your system for various lengths of time what can affect the withdrawal syndrome onset. The amount of time your symptoms last depends on a combination of factors including frequency and amount of the use, length of the addiction, as well as individual factors like your health and emotional status.

Opiate withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Strong cravings
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Goose bumps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shakes
  • Irritation
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Insomnia
  • Dilated pupils.

In most cases these symptoms are not life-threatening.  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 such as nausea,  rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, dehydration ( Continuous loss of fluids & electrolytes can cause abnormal heart rate and low potassium levels, which can lead to blood circulation issues or even the risk of a heart attack) and some other risky conditions.

A medically supervised opiate withdrawal in a controlled environment can make the individual more comfortable, safer and provide a greater chance of success. In the past, opiate dependent patients had no choice but to undergo conventional detoxification procedures in nonmedical facilities such as a drug rehab; It caused them to suffer through an unnecessary debilitating and sometimes even dangerous withdrawal syndrome.

 

Opiate Withdrawal Treatment Options

Many opioid treatment programs rely on “replacement” or “substitution” medications such as methadone, Suboxone ( Buprenorphine) or Subutex. These medications are also opioids and may just prolong the length of the opiate addiction and eventually require additional detoxification. People who usually opt to try these substitution therapies or as they call opioid replacement therapy may find this to be a safer option while still needing opioids. In the other hand, people who desire to be opiate free, have the option to choose a medical detox or a rapid detox. Choosing the appropriate medical detox or the best rapid detox center can dictate the quality and efficiency of care one receive.

The Waismann Method ® of rapid detoxification, in its exclusive So. California location has demonstrated tremendous success in getting patients comfortably and safely through opiate withdrawal.  Recognized as the best opiate treatment center, by offering superior medical care and individualized monitoring.

If you or a loved one is planning to stop taking opiates and have a fear of the withdrawal symptoms side effects, gives us a call. Let us tell you how we can help manage your symptoms and  get you through this difficult phase in a private and compassionate manner,

Seeking medical help for an opiate addiction will improve your quality of life, your overall health, reduce the risk of accidental overdose and other related complications. Don’t wait another day, seek help now.


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