According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around 26.4 million to 36 million people abuse opiate drugs worldwide, including prescription pain relievers and illegal drugs. Only in the USA, 100 people die due to its overdose on a daily basis while around 45 are the prescribed users.
Opioids have the ability to change the way the brain responds to pain stimuli. These drugs are also capable of producing a “High” feeling through disruption of reward and pleasure centers in the brain. These are very strong and can produce opioids withdrawal symptoms just hours after the last ingestion.
It shows the high potential of opiates to make individuals addicts and can cause withdrawal symptoms to last for a week or more. Read here for more on the classification of drugs.
Abuse of Opioids is common because they provide:
a) Euphoria: A feeling of well-being.
b) Reduced anxiety.
c) Lessoned aggression.
d) Reduced physical tension.
Opioids or Opiates drugs treat pain and include prescription painkillers and heroin. However, these are one of the widely used legal and illicitly abused substances as well due to its intoxicating effects and are also known as narcotics. Opioids include many substances which come from opiate precursors found in the opium poppy including heroin, morphine, methadone, hydrocodone, and codeine among others.
Prescription opioids treat the followings:
a) To treat pain.
b) To reduce cough.
c) Pre-surgical sedation.
d) To manage diarrhea.
Withdrawal symptoms for opioids arise when a person suddenly reduces the dose or completely stopped. Opioids like other substances such as cocaine, heroin, and alcohol are capable of producing serious withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on how dependent the person was on an opioid substance.
Opioids withdrawal symptoms usually start within 6-12 hours of the last dose for short-acting opioids. For long-acting opioids, symptoms start within 12-30 hours of exposure. However, the late symptoms are usually more severe and peak within 72 hours and usually last a week or more. However, opioids drugs have distinctive half-lives, depending on the drug type, method used and the amount of time the drug was used. It means the amount of time the drug takes to be out of a person’s system. Therefore, opioid withdrawal symptoms start at different times.
There are four stages of Opioids withdrawal symptoms including anticipatory, early acute, fully-developed acute, and post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Anticipatory is the period that starts within a few hours depending on the type of substance addiction. The acute withdrawal phase is recognized by flu-like symptoms, linked with pain relieving medication withdrawal. After the end of the acute withdrawal period, the protracted temperance phase begins. It can last up to six months. In this phase, the individuals are most vulnerable to relapse.
According to medical practitioners, Opioid drugs should not be stopped instantly as they are of an addictive nature. Therefore, physical, emotional support and supervision are essential to avoid the side effects of withdrawal which may be powerful or even dangerous without proper care. However, there are some points that should be considered if you or your loved one is experiencing the withdrawal symptoms.
a) Do not try to fight the symptoms or the tremors because sometimes mentally focusing on resisting and fighting those issues can make the signs more heightened and felt.
b) Keep yourself busy and use distractions such as reading, doing something productive or spending time with friends. The distraction techniques lesson the awareness of withdrawal symptoms.
c) Eat healthily and take several small meals during the day to manage the cravings.
d) Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and avoid fluid loss due to diarrhea.
e) Do not eat foods that are high in fat and greasy substances, as they irritate the stomach lining and increase or induce stomach issues.
1) At home, using medicines and a support system. However, this way is difficult and has the potential to relapse.
2) Using facilities arranged to help people with detox.
3) In a proper hospital, if symptoms are severe.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms may not be life-threatening, but without proper assistance, withdrawal can lead to relapse. Therefore, medications and therapy, available in medical detox, is helpful in making the relapse less likely. Withdrawal from opiates is painful for the body and mind with various risk factors. Thus, medical detox includes both medicinal and psychological treatments under the supervision of medical and mental health specialists in safe environmental settings.
Thus, we provide professional help for you or your loved one to be free of the addiction and lead a positive life. Our services are a single call away.