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Opiate Withdrawal: What You Need To Know

Opiate Withdrawal: What You Need To Know

What are Opiates?

Opiates are drugs that come from the opium poppy plant. These drugs can activate opioid receptors in nerve cells.  Opium, morphine, heroin, codeine, fentanyl, and oxymorphone are all opiates. Codeine, which is an opiate, is sometimes used as a prescribed pain relief medication. 

Though opiates can be an effective pain killer, when used consistently, it can become addictive. In the case of addiction, brain chemicals and structure will adapt to the opiate use, and when the user stops, the body will experience withdrawal symptoms. If the supply of opiates is cut off, the brain and body will adapt back and become independent again, but usually not without experiencing some trouble first. As the body adapts to life without drugs, it will exhibit both symptoms that can affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. 

Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawals

Withdrawal can affect physical and mental health. Symptoms of withdrawal may vary based on the extent and duration of drug use, family history, environment, overall health, and other medical conditions. The type of opiate and suddenness of detox will also impact the symptoms. Heroin and other short-acting drugs may produce more intense symptoms, but these symptoms will likely last a shorter amount of time.  

Symptoms may change over time as the detox continues. About 30 hours after the last dose, withdrawal symptoms will likely include difficulty sleeping, a runny nose, aching muscles, sweating, fever, anxiety, agitation, increased heart rate, and hypertension. About 72 hours after the last dose, withdrawal symptoms may include cravings, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, depression, and anxiety. 

These symptoms may last up to a week, possibly longer—most opiate detox symptoms under professional supervision last about 5-7 days or less than a week. 

Though these symptoms may not be avoidable, they can be treated. Treatment can make the road to recovery much more manageable. 

Treatment for Opiate Withdrawals

Opiate withdrawals can be very uncomfortable and tough to maneuver through. Both physical and psychological help is available to assist through experiencing these difficulties. In some cases, those going through a detox will benefit from constant medical supervision. A medical professional can monitor things like blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and so on.  

Psychological support is also exceptionally helpfully, as withdrawals often lead to depression and anxiety. Severe symptoms may require antidepressants or anticonvulsants. Several forms of therapy can also be useful tools. 

At Ardu Recovery Center, we provide a pathway to recovery for both physical and mental healing through various forms of therapy. If you or a loved one has struggled with opiate abuse—there is help available. Do not go through the struggles of detox alone. At our facilities, you will work with professional therapists to heal your body and your mind. We will help you to be as comfortable as possible during the detox phase. Contact us to learn more and start down the road to recovery.