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Opiate / Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
What are the symptoms of opiate or opioid withdrawal?
Have you tried to withdraw from opiates or opioids?
If so, you are more than familiar with the sheer brutality of opiate / opioid withdrawal symptoms. You know how they mercilessly attack you physically, mentally and emotionally.
And if you are one of the very few who made it all the way through, you learned how strong you have to be to withstand the round-the-clock sleepless days and nights of physical and emotional misery, followed by weeks and even months of continuing battle against the old cravings.
For everyone else, there are countless lists of side effects to be found on the internet. A simple web search for “opioid withdrawal symptoms” turns up dozens of pages that list all sorts of unpleasant aches, pains, sensations and mood changes. But they don’t come even close to the actual thing.
Symptoms of withdrawal from opioids include, but are not limited to:
- Altered perception of temperature (hot/cold flashes, hot/cold sweats)
- Agitation, irritability
- Low energy
- Muscle aches
- Mental fog/confusion/lack of motivation
- Increased tearing
- Restless legs
- Runny nose
- Change in libido (abnormally high or low)
- Abdominal cramps
- Dilated pupils
- Goose bumps
What these lists don’t tell you is how devastating these symptoms are, day in and day out, without any letup. They don’t reveal the truly immense, non-stop suffering and agony. But they do hint at the reasons so few people manage to endure opiate or opioid withdrawal to a successful conclusion.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a frequently unexpected and surprising condition that can follow successful withdrawal from drugs and alcohol. And it occurs most frequently among people with long-term opioid use.
PAWS is actually an assortment of mental, emotional and physical symptoms that are different for each person, and depend to some degree on the length of time and the size (the daily drug consumption) of their addiction.
PAWS can last for weeks and even months, and is the prime reason that the recovery success is directly related to the length of time in rehab, as well as the individual’s dedication to succeed.
Opiates vs opioids
Let’s get our terminology straight:
Opiates is an older term for the drugs like morphine, codeine, thebaine and heroin that are derived directly from the opium poppy. Opioids was the word coined more recently to cover drugs that are partially or fully synthetic versions of opiates. These include dozens of prescription painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and fentanyl and almost all the brand names you can think of.
Today, the word “opioids” is broadly used to cover both the derived and synthetic drugs.
Physical dependence vs addiction
A physical dependence on opioids is not addiction. But opioid addiction definitely includes physical dependence.
Dependence is what happens when the body adapts to the presence of any substance that can cause dependence – in our case, opioids. The body now relies on that substance being there at a certain level, so it can function “normally.”
For example, someone who has been taking prescription narcotic painkillers for some time can “accustom” their body to the presence of the opioids. If the presence of that substance falls below that level, for whatever reason, the body can generate various side effects. They may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop taking the drug, or even just take a little less of it each day.
People can become physically dependent when they take opioid painkillers for an extended period of time. These people don’t need to go to rehab for further treatment because they aren’t addicted. They need treatment only to deal with the body’s dependence.
Opioid addiction usually follows a period of physical dependence, whether short or long. Addicts are compelled to continue consuming narcotics because of the way the drug makes them feel, not just because they fear the pain of withdrawal.
Also, by definition, addiction is marked by risky behavior. It includes the overwhelming psychological compulsion to obtain the drug in spite of unhealthy outcomes. This includes reckless danger to oneself and often to others, criminal behavior, and surrendering to the perceived inevitability of the loss of one’s former life – one’s possessions, relationships and career, one’s hopes and dreams, one’s entire future.
Opioid-addicted people almost always need a thorough rehab program after their medical detox. The phenomenon called PAWS (see above) and all sorts of psychological and life-related aspects have to be dealt with. Without such treatment, studies show that some 95 percent of them will soon be back on the opioids.
How Novus controls opioid withdrawal symptoms
At Novus Medical Detox Center, patients are carefully brought through their opioid detox with a minimum of aches, pains, anxiety and distress.
In fact, most Novus patients are amazed at how much easier their opioid detox was than they thought it would be.
We accomplish the miracle of greatly reducing the symptoms of opioid withdrawal by using our scientifically developed and proprietary medical detox protocols. (Protocols are the official procedures for doing something.)
Our medical opioid detox protocols include close attention to:
- Everyone has a unique metabolism and metabolic needs. Novus precisely tailors every detox program to match these needs for each patient. At Novus, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” opioid detox program.
- Dehydration is a common danger associated with drug and alcohol dependencies, and especially during opioid withdrawal. Novus’ medical detox protocols make sure that every patient is properly hydrated throughout their program.
- Another common problem of dependence and addiction is malnourishment. Novus makes sure that each patient’s nutritional needs are met, so they feel stronger and healthier and more able to deal with any stress associated with their withdrawal.
Use of Buprenorphine
- Novus has developed unique opioid detox protocols centered around their advanced understanding of the drug buprenorphine. These protocols stabilize the opioid withdrawal process and eliminate most or all of the cravings and discomfort.
The Novus difference
At Novus, we specialize in medically-managed opioid withdrawal,
- in a quiet, restful, spa-like setting,
- where patients are treated confidentially with dignity and respect,
- are physically stabilized and drug-free,
- so they can pursue a Sustainable Sobriety™.
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- Assessment: Do I Need Detox or Rehab?
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- How Long Will It Take?
- What Will It Cost?
- Symptoms of Withdrawal
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