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Drug addiction is a serious problem that can take over a person’s life and their loved ones. In 2018, about 808,000 people in the United States reported using heroin. During the same year, approximately 11.4 million people used prescription opiates/opioids without a prescription, and about 128 people in the US died from an overdose each day. Opiates are especially addictive, and the withdrawal from opiates is difficult to experience. There is a range of physical and emotional symptoms a person can go through, and it’s essential to know that there is help available.

Opiate withdrawal symptoms can happen as soon as the first time someone uses the drug. Most people are unaware that there is only a brief period between doses that withdrawal symptoms are not present. Opiates include drugs such as heroin and prescription opioid painkillers. The withdrawal symptoms are frequent and intense, and many users continue using to avoid withdrawal.

Medical assistance can assist with detoxing from opiates. Often thought of as safe but challenging, opiate withdrawal can lead cause life threatening symptoms. The safest detox is one that is medically supervised and can be managed in a detox treatment center. Medical and addiction professionals will monitor physical and psychological symptoms to ensure any adverse effects on a person’s safety and comfort are addressed.

The most common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle cramps
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Opiate cravings

Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction, opioid/opiate use disorders are physical and psychological dependence or reliance on opioid substances. The terms opioid and opiate are used interchangeably and comprise both legal and illegal drugs. The primary difference is that opiates are considered “natural,” meaning derived directly from the opium poppy; opioids are chemically similar but considered “synthetic” as they are not directly made from the opium poppy. Regardless of whether it is an opioid or opiate, both are highly addictive. This is due to their effect on the brain because both trigger the release of feel-good chemicals such as endorphins.

As time passes and drug use continues, a person becomes more and more dependent on the drug. The brain becomes less capable of naturally releasing those feel-good chemicals on its own. The same amount of opioids will have a decreased effect, and the body will then start to crave more of the drug to get the same desired effect. This sets up a dangerous cycle of using frequently and in larger amounts. Heroin and pain killer addiction can lead to death in the form of an overdose. When prescribed a painkiller, it is important to take the prescribed dosage and reach out if you believe you are developing a problem.

Treatment for Opiate Withdrawal

Detoxification is vital to stop using opiates and begin ridding the body of the harmful substances linked to opiate addiction. Opiate detox is the first step in the addiction recovery process and lays the foundation to start a healthy, sober life. Going through this process under medical supervision can reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.

There are several medications utilized during the opiate withdrawal process. These medications serve to ease the discomfort linked to detox and help with the overall detox process. Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Clonidine are the most common opiate withdrawal medications. During opiate detox, a doctor may administer these medications to relieve opiate withdrawal discomfort.

Since the opiate detox and withdrawal tend to be physically and psychologically intense, it is highly recommended that a person seeks an inpatient or outpatient drug treatment program following detox. Under careful guidance from addiction professionals, a person with an opiate use disorder will benefit from medical and therapeutic care.

Are you or a loved one struggling with an opiates addiction? You are not alone. We are here for you, and we are here to help.