OPIOID WITHDRAWAL: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Opioids are drug substances that act upon the opioid receptors in the body to produce relaxation effects. They are used as medicines for pain relief and anesthesia. They include drugs such as fentanyl, codeine, heroin, pain relievers available through prescription, etc. However, many people misuse these drugs and end up with addictions. Many people addicted to opioids are hesitant to stop taking them because of the withdrawal symptoms associated with them.
The signs of addiction withdrawal are similar for all types of opioids and include:
• Muscle and body pain.
• Fever and sweating.
• Body tremors.
• Suicidal thoughts etc
As you can see, opioids such as fentanyl withdrawal symptoms range from mild to life-threatening. These usually begin 6-12hours for short-acting opiates and within 30hours for longer acting ones. Unassisted withdrawal from opioids can be fatal and uncomfortable, which is why professional addiction treatment is recommended. Otherwise, the chances of a relapse are high.
How do opioids impact the brain?
When someone takes an opioid, it causes several effects such as relaxation, drowsiness, and slowed breathing. Many people use opioids because they feel a rush of pleasure known as euphoria that many people find intensely rewarding. Opioids function by attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain, which stops andy pain and induces pleasure.
When the reward receptors in the brain are triggered, it releases a chemical known as dopamine associated with pleasurable feelings such as spending some with loved ones and friends, engaging in fun hobbies, and exercising. When dopamine is released due to opioids use, the brain wants to continue behaving in the same way. That causes many people to use the drugs, often leading to an addiction.
Causes of opioid dependence and withdrawal
Opioids can significantly reduce intense pain associated with surgery or other conditions such as cancer when prescribed medically. But using opioids over a long period causes dependence and tolerance. When you build a tolerance to opioids, you need larger doses to get the same sensations, which lead to taking more than before.
Eventually, one becomes physically dependant on the drugs. Someone dependent on opioids experiences withdrawal symptoms should they reduce the intake or suddenly stop using them, which results in a vicious cycle. You stop using them, but upon experiencing the withdrawal symptoms, you are back at using them again to relieve the symptoms.
How long do opioid withdrawal symptoms last?
Some opioid drugs cause withdrawal symptoms sooner than others. Short-acting opioid withdrawal symptoms such as heroin can occur within 8-12hours after the last use and can go up to 7days, with the 1-3rd day being the peak. More extended-acting opioids such as morphine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and oxycodone result in withdrawal symptoms in the first 8-24hours after the last use and can last up to 14days or more.
Detox and withdrawal treatment
Withdrawal symptoms of opioids are incredibly uncomfortable and can even be life-threatening. However, a medically managed detox program and withdrawal management can help you recover safely and quickly. Many treatment centers provide opioid withdrawal treatments to help addicted people recover and avoid relapses. Every person who requires opioid detox and treatment requires a treatment plan that aligns with their needs.