Seeing young people struggle with opiate use is hard. Even when they try to stop, the symptoms from opiate withdrawal are painful and make it really tough. Understanding the process and treatment options available can help people recovering from opiate use.
What Is Opiate Withdrawal?
Opiates are prescription drugs that doctors typically give for pain. Some examples of opiates are Dilaudid, morphine, Oxycontin and Vicodin. These drugs can relieve various levels of pain. However, they are addictive and can cause physical dependency.
People who take opiates for a couple of weeks are at a higher risk of becoming addicted. The risk rises when the doses are high. At the same time, the drugs are changing the chemical balance in the brain, which affects the function of other bodily systems. When users stop taking the drugs, they are likely to feel withdrawal symptoms because their bodies are trying to adjust to not having the drugs.
Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
The symptoms that people struggling with opiate withdrawal go through can be mild to severe. The level of severity depends on the person, including pre-existing health problems, the dosage and the length of use.
The symptoms can start within the first 24 hours of not taking the drugs. Some of these early symptoms include anxiety, eyes tearing, excessive sweating and insomnia. Sufferers might also be restless and have muscle aches.
After the first day of withdrawal, the symptoms usually get worse. Some people experience abdominal cramps, dilated pupils, fast heartbeat, goose bumps and high blood pressure. Others also have nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?
The same factors that affect the opiate withdrawal symptoms also affect how long the process lasts. Stronger opiates also remain in the body for longer than weaker opiates. This can make withdrawal drag out.
Typically, however, the more painful and uncomfortable symptoms wear off within 72 hours. It can take at least a week for the body to feel normal again. Despite this, it could take at least six months of no drugs for the body to recover. Some people may still have withdrawal symptoms, though.
Opiate Withdrawal Treatment Options
There are two main treatment options for withdrawal from opiates: standard detox and medical detox. It’s important to have the support and care that opiate detox provides because withdrawal symptoms can get severe.
Standard detox is often outpatient medical care for people going through withdrawal. Doctors may provide a range of medicines to relieve the symptoms and improve comfort. Some of these drugs might include anticonvulsants and antidepressants to control severe symptoms. The doctors also monitor vital signs such as body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate.
Medical detox often treats the body and mind. During this more comprehensive approach, mental health experts assess the effects that opiates have on brain function. They also work with patients on behavioral changes and may prescribe medicines that help control symptoms.
Detox at First Step® Detox
People who get help with opiate dependence can improve their overall health. With the right treatment, they can also reduce their risk of overdose, complications and relapse.
At First Step® Detox, we understand the discomfort that opiate withdrawal can cause. Our medical staff uses a 12-step philosophy to treat patients, but we tailor the program to each patient’s needs. With two locations in Broward County, Florida, we focus on improving health on three levels:
Don’t let opiate dependence take control of you. You can beat the dependency and power through the withdrawal by taking the first step – detox. Call First Step® Detox at ––so that we can help you begin the journey to recovery.