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All That You Need To Know About Opiate Withdrawal

The thing about opiates and other such drugs is that they are commonly used in medical practice. Opiates find wide use as pain relievers and as muscle relaxants. Naturally, a large number of drugs found in the market contain opiates in some form or the other. If statistics are anything to go by, at least thirty six million people in the world use opiates in the form of prescription drugs. Yet, it must be remembered that opiates may cause addition with prolonged use and can lead to overdose and abuse.

How do opiates work?

On consumption of opiates, it would be reacting with the pain centre in the brain, essentially numbing it. Opiates would disrupt the way your brain responds to pain stimulus, thus reducing the sensation. The drugs produce a sense of euphoria because they tamper with the pleasure centre in your brain. The central nervous system in your body, which comprises the brain and spinal cord, entails certain receptors designed specifically for opiates. These receptors would receive the opiates; as a result, several emotional and physical effects crop up post consumption. You might encounter relaxation, reduced body temperature and pressure and a sensation of pleasure overwhelming you.

With repeated use, opiates would actually alter the way your brain functions, thus causing you to become dependent on them. As a result, your body would be rendered incapable of working normally without the presence of the drugs. This is when you become addicted and this might further lead to abuse and overdose.

Opiate addiction and withdrawal

Rehab is the only way out for someone addicted to opiates. As has been stated repeatedly, withdrawal is one of the integral aspects of any rehab process. Once you quit the drug you were addicted to, you are bound to experience certain withdrawal symptoms which are your body’s way of expressing the cravings. The extent of the withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe, all depending upon certain factors. These factors would include the frequency of the drug intake, the kind of drug you took, how long you were addicted to it, the time it has been since your last intake and so on. Mental stability, history of drug use, heredity and certain environmental factors may trigger withdrawal symptoms more than you’d think.

Early withdrawal symptoms
These withdrawal symptoms usually crop up about six to twelve hours post consumption. This is a crucial stage and some of the symptoms include:

  • Tearing up
  • Muscle pain
  • Agitation
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Insomnia and sleeplessness
  • Excessive yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Runny nose
  • Sweats
  • Racing heart
  • Hypertension
  • Fever

Late symptoms of withdrawal
Any kind of opiate drug would come with side effects and withdrawal symptoms that are long term and are bound to crop up a week or even a month after your last intake. These might be severe and should be taken care of immediately.
Some of them are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings

The thing about most of these symptoms is that they are largely psychological and last for a longer duration than the physical ones. They are also difficult to diagnose and may require professional help. Usually, adequate support and therapy (along with medication in extreme cases) may be required to help the individual recover and prevent a relapse.

Detox and recovery

The only way out for a patient addicted to opiate is detox and recovery. Now depending upon the severity of the condition, a patient may be prescribed medical or standard detox. Standard detox is where the individual would be treated on an outpatient basis. He or she would be put under medical professional’s care who would be keeping a tab on their recovery with regular visits.

A medical detox is slightly more serious. In this case, the individual is to be treated in patient. He or she would be admitted to a facility which would provide a safe and secured place for the individual to face his addiction head on and recover. Here, the individual would be placed under constant vigilance and medication is usually prescribed to both reduce and prevent certain extreme withdrawal symptoms.

It must be remembered that addiction is a chronic disease. This means, there is always dangers of relapse, no matter how long it’s been since your last drink or since the last time you indulged in opiates. If you are recovering at home, there is always a risk of you running back to your old habits. However, in the case of medical detox, you get to spend the most crucial phase in the care of medical staff, who would be able to tend to your needs better than your family or friends might. Also, it must be kept in mind that withdrawal symptoms are unpredictable and might take a turn for the worse. In some case, they might even prove to be fatal. Thus, professional help and medical detox is always the preferred choice.