What Happens During Opioid Withdrawal?

What Happens During Opioid Withdrawal

The nation’s opioid problem has gained much attention over the past few years as more people become addicted, leading to fatal consequences. Statistics from the CDC show that two out of three drug overdoses in 2018 were opioid-related. [1] Getting help for opioid abuse is vital to reverse these statistics and end the nation’s opioid epidemic. But, when someone tries to stop taking the drug independently, the side effects of opioid withdrawal can be difficult to deal with. This is why seeking professional treatment is so important.

We’re going to take a closer look at what happens to the body when someone stops taking opioids. When you seek help from a professional treatment center, it can help make this process more manageable.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that can relieve pain and produce a variety of effects on the brain. While some opioids can be prescribed, others are found on the street, such as heroin.

Common prescription opioids include oxycontin, Vicodin, morphine, and methadone. Fentanyl is another opioid that is found in a synthetic form.

While prescribed opioids are used to help block pain signals between the brain and body, they can also make people feel so feel relaxed that they get on a high. This is when the drugs become addictive. The body wants to maintain that feeling, so people take more and more of the drug to achieve it.

What Happens to the Body During Opioid Withdrawal?

Since any opioid can cause physical dependence and addiction, the body needs time to adjust and recover when someone stops taking them. If the drugs are taken over a long period, a person may have been taking them in larger doses, which means the body will need even more time to adjust.

Since everyone’s body will react differently, withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some common opioid withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Muscle Aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Nausea and Vomiting

Some dangers come along with some of these symptoms. When someone vomits and breathes in stomach contents into the lungs, aspiration can occur. This can lead to choking or a lung infection. Meanwhile, dehydration can occur as a result of vomiting and diarrhea.

Treating Opioid Withdrawal

When someone can’t handle the withdrawal symptoms and stops taking opioids independently, they may be tempted to relapse. When this happens, a person’s tolerance for the drug is lower, so the chance of overdose rises.

This is why it’s important to seek help for opioid withdrawal from a professional treatment center that can offer a medically supervised detox. During a medically supervised detox, a trained professional will monitor the symptoms to see if a patient is in danger. At times, medications can be given to lessen the effects of withdrawal and help the patient cope. The medication level can be steadily decreased as the symptoms subside.

During a medically supervised detox, patients may be less tempted to use opioids again because their symptoms are more controlled. Also, the drug’s availability is no longer there as it might be if someone was trying to do it on their own. Anyone going through opioid withdrawal may be checked for depression and other mental health issues. When you assess the whole individual and not just the addiction, you can lessen the chance of relapse.

These things are the benefits of going through a medically supervised detox rather than trying to do it on your own. The goal is to rid your body of the substance that has overtaken it and learn how to live without depending on it.

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What happens during opioid overdose?

Contact Us for Opioid Rehab Costa Mesa

At Clear Life Recovery, we offer medically supervised detox for opioid abuse and other drugs. During the withdrawal period, our staff closely monitors patients for withdrawal symptoms and treats them accordingly.

Once the detox process has been safely completed, other treatments can begin so that a patient can truly start healing. This can include a variety of therapy options in both individual and group settings. This may also include treating mental health issues that may have contributed to the addiction. The goal is to treat the addiction and uncover the reasons that lead up to it. Patients also learn how to live without being substance-dependent.

If you or a loved one is ready to start on your path to sobriety, contact us online. We can offer a tailored treatment plan that includes safely detoxing from opioids and other drugs.



[1] Data Overview | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center, https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/index.html