Many prescription pain meds are addictive. Patients can become dependent on them for pain relief. The drugs cause chemical changes in the brain that can affect different functions of the body. Patients who stop taking the drugs after a long period of use are likely to go through painkiller withdrawal. Patients can start to reclaim their lives by learning about prescription pain meds, the withdrawal symptoms and treatments available.
Prescription pain meds are strong drugs that relieve mild to severe pain from cancers, diseases, injuries and surgeries. Some of these drugs include morphine, Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin, which are narcotics. Doctors wrote more than 200 million scripts for these and other opiate pain meds in 2015. In many cases, they automatically approved refills for patients to take the drugs over long periods.
Health organizations have called on doctors to slow down on these prescriptions because of the consequences. Prescription pain meds attach to the receptors that carry pain signals to the brain. This changes the signals so that the brain doesn’t perceive them as pain.
After taking the drugs for a long time, the body begins to depend on them. With physical dependence on pain meds, patients experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them. This makes the patients want to take more painkillers to make the withdrawal symptoms go away.
Painkiller Withdrawal Symptoms
People who depend on pain meds go through emotional and physical changes when they stop taking the drugs. This causes painkiller withdrawal because the body doesn’t know how to function without the drugs. The symptoms that result create a lot of discomfort and pain. How severe the symptoms are depends on how long and how often the patients took pain meds, as well as the dose.
Some of the symptoms that painkiller withdrawal patients have are anxiety, the feeling of being cold and warm at the same time, nausea, tremors and vomiting. Other physical symptoms include body aches, diarrhea, drug cravings, excessive yawning, large pupils and stomach pain. Patients going through painkiller withdrawal might also become paranoid and may develop mental issues such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The intensity of these symptoms depends on the severity of the dependency. They could begin within 24 hours of patients stopping the use of pain meds. The symptoms might start off mild and become very intense after the first day.
How Long Does Painkiller Withdrawal Last?
How long the symptoms last also depends on the severity of the dependency. The types of pain meds also effect the duration because some drugs stay in the body longer than others.
However, the intensity of the symptoms usually dies down after 72 hours. It can take at least a week for the body to feel normal again. Despite this, some patients might experience persistent discomfort for weeks.
There are two main kinds of detox treatment for people struggling with painkiller withdrawal. They might seek outpatient care that focuses on making the physical symptoms more bearable. Along with dealing with the physical symptoms, inpatient care might address the emotional and mental symptoms of withdrawal. This might involve care from a mental health expert.
Detox at First Step® Detox
Signing up for a painkiller detox program is the first step to recovering from a dependence on pain meds. At First Step® Detox, we understand how important detox is to patient health. Our customized 12-step approach addresses the individual needs of each patient. Along with detox treatment for pain med dependence, we offer programs for dependence on
Painkillers don’t have to control your life. Defeat the dependency and withdrawal by taking the First Step® with detox. Call us now at 800-EZ-DETOX [800-393-3869] for more information about detox treatment at one of our two locations in the Fort Lauderdale area.