Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas
Originally Posted On: https://www.recoveryranchpa.com/addiction-blog/coping-with-opioid-withdrawal/
Opioid addiction rates have continued to increase over the past decade, as fatal overdoses have spiked and resulted in overdoses becoming the most common cause of death among Americans under the age of 50. Opioids can cause physical dependency, which can make coping with opioid withdrawal very difficult without treatment.
Opioid use, and abuse, has reached near epidemic rates in the United States, with up to 6% of people who misuse opioids eventually developing a heroin addiction and nearly 30% of people who receive opioid prescriptions misusing them. While prescription opioids are necessary to treat many chronic pain conditions, they’re highly addictive and prone to misuse and abuse.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are prescription and illicit substances that are synthetic and are meant to simulate the effects of opiate-based substances. Like opiates, opioids are central nervous system depressants that induce pleasurable and relaxing effects and very effectively reduce pain. Opioids force your brain to release more dopamine than it should, which causes you to experience pleasure during intoxication and major neurotransmitter imbalances when intoxication ends.
When your brain associates opioids with pleasure, it changes and alters your brain chemistry. The longer you use opioids, the more difficult it becomes for your brain to properly release neurotransmitters. Eventually, your body relies on opioids in order to feel normal.
During addiction, your tolerance increases, meaning you have to constantly use more in order to feel the same pleasurable effects. This can cause you to resort to unlawful methods in order to acquire opioids, which can have damaging consequences. Another complication of addiction is it can force you to spend money on drugs and alcohol instead of paying your bills, which can lead to evictions, housing problems, and debt.
Coping with Opioid Withdrawal
Since opioids can cause you to develop a physical addiction, coping with opioid withdrawal symptoms is a necessary component of the recovery process. Opioid detox symptoms can make it hard to quit using without help and can cause:
- Exhaustion, fatigue, and insomnia
- Anxiety and depression
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms
- Aches, pains, and restless legs
Coping with opioid withdrawal symptoms is especially difficult if you don’t receive help from a treatment center. Both inpatient and outpatient rehabs can utilize medications and other therapies to greatly reduce your detox symptoms, which makes coping with opioid withdrawal much easier. Symptoms can last for up to one week, with the most severe symptoms typically occurring within the first few days of your last use.
An important part of coping with opioid withdrawal symptoms is ensuring that you set up proper treatment when you decide to quit using your substance of choice.
Connecting with Treatment
Suffering from an opioid addiction can make it difficult to live a normal and healthy life. The longer you wait to reach out for help, the harder it becomes to make a full recovery. Treatment can make coping with opioid withdrawal symptoms more manageable, which improves your ability to recover. To find out more about your treatment options, reach out to us today at 717.969.9126.