Does Opiate Withdrawal Cause Symptoms of Insomnia?

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Opiate withdrawal episodes can develop during the course of a developing addiction as well as throughout the early stages of addiction recovery. In either case, the likelihood of experiencing more than a few sleepless nights is high.

Ongoing opiate use in any form causes adverse effects within the brain’s chemical system. The longer drug use continues the more severe opiate withdrawal effects become.

Understanding how opiates alter the brain and body’s systems can help you take the necessary steps to take back control of your life from opiate abuse.

Call our toll-free helpline at 800-584-3274 for information on opiate addiction treatment program options.

Opiate Withdrawal Effects

Opiate Withdrawal

Waking up too early is a symptom of opiate withdrawal-induced insomnia.

Opiate withdrawal develops out of ongoing changes within the brain’s chemical system. According to Penn State, during the early stages of opiate abuse, the brain readjusts its own neurotransmitter production rates to make way for opiate effects.

With ongoing use, this readjustment evolves into a full-blown physical dependence as the brain loses the ability to regulate the body’s processes on its own. It’s at this point where opiate withdrawal effects take shape with insomnia being one of the more problematic effects.

In cases where a person has stopped using opiates, insomnia-type aftereffects can persist for months into the recovery process due to the overall state of chemical imbalance left behind by opiate abuse.

Symptoms of Insomnia

Insomnia can take different forms for different people, though the overall result still produces a poor quality of sleep. Likewise, insomnia symptoms brought on by opiate withdrawal can also vary from person to person.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, symptoms of insomnia can manifest in the following ways:

  • Waking up multiple times during the course of the night
  • Problems getting to sleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Waking up too early

Effects of Insomnia

Health Problems

Insomnia caused by opiate withdrawal tends to have a ripple effect, affecting a person’s physical health and ultimately driving continued drug use for people who actively abuse opiates as well as for people currently in recovery. Insomnia’s effects also makes other symptoms of opiate withdrawal more uncomfortable, some of which include:

As opiate withdrawal effects can quickly drive a person to seek relief through continued opiate abuse, long-term insomnia conditions can cause real problems over time.

Tips for Coping with Insomnia from Opiate Withdrawal

Mental Health Problems

Anyone who’s lived with insomnia for long periods of time well knows how poor sleep quality can affect one’s emotional stability. According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, when left untreated, opiate-related insomnia problems leave a person wide open for developing full-blown psychological disorders.

In effect, the temptation to turn to opiates as a way to get a good night’s sleep can quickly become overwhelming, especially when emotional problems start to develop.

Treatment Considerations

When all is said and done, insomnia can greatly diminish a person’s quality of life regardless of whether an opiate abuse problem is to cause. With continued drug use, symptoms of insomnia only grow worse over time. For someone in recovery, ongoing sleep problems can pose a very real threat to his or her recovery efforts.

For these reasons, it’s important to seek out needed treatment help when opiate-related sleep problems persist over long periods of time. If you need help finding a treatment program, feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-584-3274 to speak with one of our addiction counselors.


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