Signs of Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal is one of the more uncomfortable parts of treatment, but it is one of the most important. There are many signs of opioid withdrawal, the length and severity of which can vary from person to person. However, each detox experience almost always includes strong cravings. Symptoms can be mild, such as sweating and yawning, while others can become more serious, like severe anxiety and depression.

Opioid withdrawal can look like a scary experience; one that could deter people from getting the help they need. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be fought alone, and there are resources available to make it as comfortable and painless as possible. The path to sobriety can be helped along with medication-assisted treatment to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms, as well as counseling to help with the psychological effects.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a classification of highly addictive drugs that bind to opioid receptors in the body. Prescription opioids are mostly used to treat chronic pain, such as surgery recovery or a traumatic injury. Non-pharmaceutical opioids are refined from the poppy extract and are used to make opium and heroin.

Some common names of prescription opioids include:

  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Morphine
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Oxycodone
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

Symptoms of opioid withdrawal encompass a wide range of physical, behavioral and psychological discomfort. Two people experiencing opioid withdrawal at the same time may have two completely different experiences, as each person reacts differently to opioid detox. Usually, within the first day, the beginning symptoms will begin and have a typical onset within the first 12 hours.

Examples of withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Unusually large pupils (Dilated pupils)
  • Loose bowel movements and diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweaty and goosebumps skin
  • Rhinoreha (runny nose)
  • Body aches (Muscle aches)
  • Watery eyes
  • Excessive yawning

The continued abuse of opioids can rewire the chemistry and thought patterns of the brain, changing the reward and motivation responses. Addressing this rewiring can help greatly in the path to long term recovery since the brain has become tricked into thinking that opioids are required for survival. Once an individual is able to learn to manage their triggers and begin to overcome the root cause of their addiction, they have a much better chance at long-term recovery.

How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?

The length of time abusing opioids, including the method of use (injecting, oral consumption, or dermal patches), can affect the severity and duration of the opioid withdrawal. It’s common for opioid withdrawal symptoms to last for 5 days on an average. Many of the people who experience this compare it to having a bad flu, but some acute symptoms can last for months after.

There are many ways to make the withdrawal more manageable, such as utilizing the help of trained medical professionals in a treatment facility. Cliffside Malibu offers an on-site addictionologist who can administer medications to alleviate symptoms and therapists to assist in the process psychologically. Medication-assisted detox is often recommended to assist in the mitigation of those initials symptoms, as quitting opioids cold turkey is almost impossible to do successfully.

Managing Opioid Withdrawal with Medication-Assisted Detox

Using medication to treat the effects of withdrawal is common practice in rehabilitation centers. Alleviating the symptoms and making the client comfortable while their body is adjusting helps the treatment process greatly, as the client is able to begin behavioral treatment more quickly during this sensitive time of cravings and discomfort. The path to sobriety and leaving behind the dependence on opioids is the goal, and getting help through these first steps of sobriety can be very beneficial in establishing a clean life.

Complete, sudden abstinence from opioids isn’t realistic for all people. Some may need to be slowly tapered off with medication. Some common detox medications are Buprenorphine and Methadone. Both of these work with the opioid receptors as partial agonists, which lowers the potential for abuse. Compared to other opioids, these drugs have a longer effectiveness time in the body and can be used in smaller doses, which also helps them alleviate the symptoms from withdrawal over a longer period of time.

About Cliffside Malibu

The path to long-term sobriety starts with detox. Going through opioid withdrawal alone can be an extremely uncomfortable experience, especially with the strong drug cravings that come along with it. Even if an individual is able to get through the detox period, they will struggle with cravings for the rest of their lives until they are able to learn how to manage them. Even months later, it can lead to a dangerous relapse that can lead to overdose or death. That is why a full treatment program is essential for long-term recovery, and not just detox alone.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for every client. We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment through a continuum of care model including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program also includes family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are structured to create a supportive environment where healing can begin.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, and meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

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