Physicians prescribe opioid drugs for a number of reasons primarily relating to the treatment of acute pain and the alleviation of chronic, severe or disabling pain that degenerative conditions or cancers can cause. Unfortunately, patients and physicians must use opioid medications with care and caution because they possess a severe potential for dependency. Opioid abuse is common, meaning that the patient is using the medication in a manner that goes against how it was prescribed. The withdrawal symptoms after stopping the opioid medication can be troubling, uncomfortable and even quite serious when someone has been abusing the medication for some time.
Opioid Abuse Withdrawal Symptoms
There are two categories of withdrawal symptoms regarding opioid drug abuse. The physical symptoms are those that impact the body or threaten the health and well-being of the body. The emotional or psychological symptoms are those that impact the mind or the brain specifically. There are both symptoms of withdrawal that are simply irritating or difficult to deal with, and there are some which are serious and potentially life threatening. It is important to know what to expect when withdrawing from opioid substance abuse and it is important to have the right assistance during this process which will mean seeking out professional help from a drug abuse rehab center and the trained and experienced individuals who can walk you through the process.
Physical Opioid Abuse Withdrawal Symptoms
Opioid abuse withdrawal symptoms that impact the patient physically run the entire spectrum from annoying to downright life threatening. These symptoms can include tremors or shakiness in the muscles, cramps and pain in the muscles or bones. Withdrawal may also cause chills, itchiness, excessive perspiration or sensitivity to temperature changes. Withdrawal can cause serious conditions such as tachycardia or a rapid heartbeat, priapism or a painful, lasting erection and restless legs syndrome.
Opioid abuse withdrawal may also cause akathisia, a profoundly uncomfortable state of restlessness as well as weakness, symptoms similar to the flu and rhinitis which is a runny and inflamed nose. Excessive yawning or sneezing, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting are also common symptoms during a withdrawal after opioid abuse.
Opioid drug abuse withdrawal may also cause attempts at suicide, dehydration, stroke, seizures and severe cardiac arrhythmia where the heart is beating abnormally. All of these side effects of withdrawal can be life threatening when not treated properly.
Psychological Opioid Abuse Withdrawal Symptoms
While psychological withdrawal symptoms are not inherently life threatening, they can pose serious threats to the well-being of the patient. These symptoms of withdrawal may include:
Malaise describes a general unwell feeling, which can deter a patient from continuing on their path toward recovery. Dysphoria describes a state of feeling mentally or emotionally uncomfortable, sometimes presenting with complete indifference and depression. The depression that withdrawal causes can lead a patient to suicidal idealization and attempted suicide.
The biggest problem with withdrawal symptoms is that so many of them can steer the patient back to their addiction. The withdrawal symptoms are a way for the body to say that it wants more of the opioid drug, and many patients do end up relapsing because they cannot handle the withdrawal symptoms. This is why it is so absolutely essential to have the right assistance during this process. Relapses do happen, but they do not have to.
Getting Assistance During Withdrawal – The best way to overcome these serious and potentially harmful side effects of withdrawal is to be surrounded by the right assistance during the process. A drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility is staffed with professionals both on the physical and psychological side of things. You will have assistance from medical professionals including doctors and nurses, psychologists and therapists who can help you deal with any withdrawal symptoms that appear. They will be able to administer treatments for serious physical side effects and to make you more comfortable both emotionally and physically along the way. Getting the opioid drug out of your system is essential on the path to recovery, and the best way to ensure a smooth transition into sobriety is to surround yourself with experienced, knowledgeable staff members of a drug rehabilitation program in your area.
It is very difficult to go through rehabilitation alone, and the withdrawal process can be a tricky obstacle to overcome without support. Seek out the right professional help and support during this time and you can find the end of the road to recovery.