Individuals dependent on opiates can suffer from uncomfortable and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms once they stop their use. While stopping the use of opiates is a significant first step on the road to recovery, it is essential to get the right medical treatment to ensure a safe recovery process.
Dealing with opiate withdrawal alone is not wise, as it could result in severe symptoms that may become life-threatening. Understanding what happens during an opiate withdrawal and knowing how to get the right help is important for your healing journey.
What is Opiate Withdrawal?
Opiate includes a range of prescription medications, including Tramadol, Dilaudid, and Codeine. People taking this medication in higher dosages for an extended amount of time than prescribed by the doctor are at risk of developing opiate dependency.
When an individual decides to suddenly stop using the substance after being dependent on it for a long time, it results in multiple mild to severe symptoms since the body begins to struggle to adjust. These withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on multiple factors, including the drug being consumed, the established tolerance of the individual to the drug, the length of time they have been abusing the drug, the other drugs being used with it, and the medical and mental history of the individual.
It is crucial to undergo an opiate detoxification process under the supervision of an experienced medical team. Since the severity and duration of the symptoms vary, it is integral to ensure a medical team is monitoring the progress to provide the appropriate treatment as needed.
Depending on the individual case, this process might take a few days to months. It is also essential to get the right treatment to find the root cause of the problem and work on the solutions.
Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal
The opiate symptoms could vary based on multiple factors and might be mild to severe. Individuals with extensive opiate addiction or abuse might experience the most intense symptoms. Some early symptoms of withdrawal from opiates might include:
- Increased tearing
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
There might also be some symptoms that occur late. These might include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Dilated pupils
While these symptoms can be highly uncomfortable, they aren’t life-threatening. However, the symptoms can escalate or worsen depending on multiple factors.
In many cases, the individual might also experience severe symptoms that could prove life-threatening, including:
- Numbness to extremities
- Sensory sensitivity
It is vital to get proper medical attention to help with opiate withdrawal.
How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?
Withdrawal from opiate includes four stages:
- Early Acute
- Fully-Developed Acute
- Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
The opiate withdrawal might start within three to four hours from the last dose, based on the type and amount of substance taken. The withdrawal can last for almost six months or even more, depending on the individual case.
Treatment for Opiate Withdrawal
The symptoms of opiate withdrawal are intense and uncomfortable and, in many cases, could lead to life-threatening complications. The symptoms can vary depending on multiple factors, including the substance used, the amount of substance, the duration of substance use, along with the individual’s overall health.
It is essential to get treatment for opiate withdrawal under the supervision of medical professionals to make it as comfortable and safe as possible. It usually includes a combination of treatments based on the individual. These include:
Multiple opiate withdrawal and addiction centers and facilities offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment options. These usually start with the detoxification process, where the symptoms of withdrawal are safely monitored and treated. The therapy also includes counseling sessions and support, along with multiple activities for long-term recovery.
Multiple medications are also given to the individual based on their symptoms and condition. The common medication for opiate withdrawal include:
- Methadone: This medicine aids in detox and withdrawal symptoms management. It is prescribed for long-term management to individuals with high opioid dependency. The dose is gradually decreased to decrease the withdrawal symptoms intensity.
- Buprenorphine: This medication helps in shortening the detox duration and can be utilized for long-term management.
- Clonidine: This medication is given to decrease the risk of cramping, sweating, muscle aches, agitation, and anxiety.
- Naltrexone: This medication is used to decrease the risk of relapse.
Other medicines might also be given to help manage other symptoms, like diarrhea, vomiting, and sleeping difficulties.
Support Groups and Counseling
Many individuals often require long-term opiate addiction treatment after recovering from opiate withdrawal. These treatments can include:
- Support groups and self-help groups
- Inpatient treatment
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Outpatient counseling
What Happens After? The Road to Recovery
Withdrawal from opiates is the key to recovery from opiate addiction and abuse. Getting the withdrawal treated under the supervision of a medical professional can aid the recovery process and ensure you safely heal.
After this treatment, it is integral to consider long-term opiate addiction treatment options. There are multiple programs available that provide personalized treatment plans to enhance the recovery process. The many treatment methods used may include:
- 12-step recovery program
- Art therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Group counseling
- Holistic approaches
- Individual counseling
- Music therapy
- Relapse prevention training
- Trauma therapy
Inpatient rehabs have experienced medical professionals and therapists, along with the resources to help you or your loved one find and treat the root cause of the problem. The extensive care and support allow individuals to stay motivated and focused on their treatment and recovery.
If you or a loved one is experiencing opiate withdrawal or dealing with opiate addiction, it is essential to get the right help immediately. This escalates the recovery process and ensures a long-lasting drug-free life.