Opiate detox is not a pleasant experience, but what withdrawal symptoms will you or a loved one be facing? Let’s explore the opiate detox process so that you know exactly what to expect. Opiates are a type of narcotic drug that acts as depressants on the central nervous system (CNS). Opiates come from opium, which can be produced naturally from poppy plants or derived from semi-synthetic alkaloids.
Table of Contents
What are Opiates?
There are many opiates, some are semi-synthetic, some fully synthetic, and some occur naturally. Some of the most common opiates that addicts use to get high include:
- Prescription painkillers
Opiates are effective for pain relief, but because they produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they can be misused by taking a larger quantity than prescribed or taken without a doctor’s prescription. Regular use, even as prescribed by a doctor, can lead to dependence and, when misused, can lead to addiction, overdose incidents, and deaths.
The physical dependence on a drug means that a person’s brain structure and brain chemicals have altered to accommodate the drug. When the person stops using opiates, their body has to adapt to not having the drug in the body, which results in withdrawal symptoms.
When a person stops taking opiates, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as pain, body aches, fatigue, and nausea. The symptoms of opiate withdrawal can be very distressing, but they are rarely life-threatening. Withdrawal symptoms can arise hours after the last dose of the drug and may last for a week or more.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending on how dependent the individual is on an opioid drug. Dependency can be tied to the length of time taking a particular drug, dosage amount, which drug was taken, how the drug was taken, underlying medical conditions, the co-occurring presence of a mental health issue, and certain biological and environmental factors, such as family history of addiction, previous trauma, or highly stressful and unsupportive surroundings. Withdrawal from an opioid drug may vary from person to person.
Early Withdrawl Symptoms from Opiates
These usually start within 6-12 hours for short-acting opiates, and they start within 30 hours for longer-acting ones:
- Tearing up
- Muscle aches
- Trouble falling and staying asleep
- Excessive yawning
- Nose running
- Racing heart
Late Withdrawal Symptoms from Opiates
These peak within 72 hours and usually last a week or so:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Drug cravings
Some of the psychological withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioid drugs may continue longer than a week in some cases. Therapy and psychological support provided by a mental health professional as a part of a complete substance abuse treatment program can decrease the symptoms and side effects of withdrawal.
There are several treatments and detox options for the removal of opiates from the body. Medical detox, for instance, includes both medical and psychological treatments while under the close supervision of both medical and mental health specialists in a safe and comforting residential setting, while standard detox may be performed in an outpatient basis. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, and medical detox may provide the safest and smoothest way to detox. Vital signs, such as blood pressure, respiration levels, body temperature, and heart rate, can all be closely monitored in a medical detox center that may utilize medications to regulate brain and body functions. Mental health professionals can also evaluate and stabilize individuals during medical detox. While there is no specific timeline for detox, as each individual will likely experience withdrawal from opiates differently, medical detox usually lasts 5-7 days.
A NIDA study found that once treatment is initiated, both a buprenorphine/naloxone combination and an extended-release naltrexone formulation are similarly effective in treating opioid addiction. However, naltrexone requires full detoxification, so initiating treatment among active users was more difficult. These medications help many people recover from opioid addiction.
Allure Detox is a New Way to Start Your Life Again
Allure Detox can help. We are a comfortable and evidence-based drug and alcohol detox in West Palm Beach, Florida. We can free you or your loved one from the physical symptoms of addiction and start you on the path to recovery. We offer detox from drugs and alcohol on a medical basis so that you can safely resume the life you once lived, the life you thought was lost forever. Addicts emerge from Allure Detox healthy, sane, and prepared for a lifetime of recovery. Please contact us today if you or someone you love is suffering the pain of addiction.