Opiates are controlled prescription drugs that are derived from the opium poppy’s seeds and plants. Opiates are prescribed to alleviate moderate and severe pain. Opiates are incredibly effective and have a calming effect. This calming effect leads to a high abuse rate for opiates, resulting in addiction. Opiate addiction is often not your fault. You may get a painkiller prescription after an accident to help you manage both psychological and physical pain. However, after taking the medication for a while, you may start experiencing reduced effectiveness.
This feeling of reduced effect is due to increased tolerance for the medications. When you get increased tolerance, you may take doses larger than what was prescribed or what is recommended to achieve the same effects. The increased dose has its downside, where you develop a physical dependence on opiates. Physical dependence involves changes in your brain where you need the medicines in your system to feel normal. Physical dependence may lead to cravings where you get urges for opiates despite the negative consequences associated with the medicines.
Cravings may spiral out of control and compromise your physical and mental (psychological) health. At this point, you may have an opiate addiction. Addiction is a neurological disease that may feel trapping and inescapable for the addict. When you are addicted to opiates, you should reach out for assistance to help you get over the opiates.
What is Opiate Withdrawal?
Once you are addicted to opiates, decreasing or stopping the amounts of opiates that your body is accustomed to causes withdrawal symptoms. Due to the tolerance you may have developed throughout your medication and abuse. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Withdrawal symptoms occur because taking opiates for long alters your body systems, and forcing your body to function without the opiates in place requires an adjustment process.
Opiate withdrawal may be mild, moderate, or severe. You will begin to notice early signs of opiate withdrawal in the first 24-hours of stopping the medication. The symptoms that may occur first include:
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Excessive sweating
- Tearing up of your eyes and a runny nose
- Muscle aches and pain
- An inability to sleep
In the next 24 to 72 hours, symptoms of withdrawal way worsen to include:
- Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
- A rapid heartbeat that may feel like fluttering of the heart
- Raised blood pressure
- Blurry vision due to highly dilated pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
These symptoms will start to improve after 72 hours, and within a week, you should start feeling much better, having overcome the acute symptoms of opiate withdrawal. When you have a baby born to a mother with opiate addiction, the child may also be addicted to the opiates.
What Remedies are Available for Opiate Withdrawal
Sometimes, you may be tempted to resume opiate intake to avoid the unpleasant symptoms of opiate withdrawal. When trying to beat the addiction on your own, managing the withdrawal symptoms can be challenging, and often you may go back to take the opiates. Medication control in a controlled environment is more comfortable for you and has been proven to have better success rates. For mild symptoms, acetaminophen, aspirin, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs efficiently alleviate the symptoms.
Plenty of fluids and rest are also vital in the withdrawal period. You may also decide to get some medication to help you with diarrhea and others for severe nausea that may come along. More intense withdrawal may necessitate hospitalization. You may require drugs to help you with the anxiety and cardiac symptoms. Sometimes, while at a treatment center, you may receive opiate blockers. Opiate blockers help reduce the unwanted side effects of opiates such as constipation and when injected, cause immediate withdrawal. Opiate blockers help shorten the detox period and may be necessary when dealing with dangerous opiates.
Methadone is often used for long-term maintenance therapy. It produces similar effects as opiates but has a lower tendency for tolerance and addiction. It is used for people who are trying to quit opiate abuse. While at home, you can also alleviate withdrawal symptoms using proven home remedies and some over-the-counter drugs. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen can be instrumental when dealing with aches and pains, fever, chills, and sweating.
Loose, comfortable clothing made of absorbent material can help absorb sweat. Layers of clothing may be put on someone experiencing chills to help the person get more comfortable. A cold compress can also be beneficial to lower body temperatures. St. John’s Wort can help you alleviate the shaking associated with opiate withdrawal. The drug can also help deal with diarrhea but should be used cautiously as it interacts with many other prescription drugs. Taking fruits and a lot of fluids are beneficial to help with withdrawal symptoms. Melatonin may help deal with sleeplessness associated with opiate withdrawal. Opiate withdrawal can be a challenging time associated with severe side effects. Seeking help is the first step in opiate cessation. Give us a call today at 833-820-2922.