Opiate withdrawal can be one of the biggest challenges addicts face in overcoming an addiction problem. The physical aftereffects of opiate abuse bring on considerable discomfort, both physically and emotionally. For people coming off long-term opiate abuse, the actual withdrawal period can extend well past the initial detox stage.
Opiate withdrawal effects account for the high rates of relapse associated with chronic opiate addiction. While getting through the initial detox stage may seem like the end of withdrawal, many face an ongoing battle with residual or protracted effects that pose just as big a risk for relapse as the initial detox period. For these reasons, it’s essential for those in recovery to seek out needed treatment help at each stage of the recovery process. Call 800-584-3274 for help.
Opiate Withdrawal Conditions
During the course of opiate abuse, withdrawal effects play a pivotal role in maintaining ongoing drug use. Once a person stops using altogether, he or she stands to experience the very worst that withdrawal can bring.
According to Harvard Health Publications, opiate withdrawal develops out of the chemical imbalances in the brain left behind by opiate abuse. More specifically, these imbalances affect neurotransmitter levels, the chemicals responsible for regulating brain and body functioning. When a balanced chemical environment exists, the brain experiences an overall breakdown in its ability to regulate the body as normal.
In effect, the greater the state of chemical imbalance the more severe opiate withdrawal will be and the longer it will last. The initial withdrawal period can last for up to two weeks with symptoms taking the form of:
- Abdominal cramping
- Vomiting, nausea
- Changes in mood or emotional state
For people coming off long-term opiate addictions, this initial withdrawal stage is immediately followed by a protracted withdrawal period that can last anywhere from one month to several years depending on addiction severity. Opiate withdrawal symptoms experienced during this time tend to be more so emotional in nature:
- Severe depression
- Anxiety episodes
- Ongoing sleep problems
- Overall lack of emotional affect in terms of not being able to experience emotions at all
- Intense drug cravings
These symptoms can make for a miserable existence, which only works to aggravate drug-using urges. While many people can make it through the initial detox stage on their own, protracted withdrawal poses the greatest risk for relapse to occur.
For information on treatment services, call 800-584-3274.
Opiate Addiction Treatment
Opiate addiction treatment takes place in stages, with each stage addressing the types of challenges addicts face as they progress through recovery. While opiate detox treatment does a good job at helping relieve initial withdrawal discomfort, ongoing treatment is essential to equipping a person with the tools needed to maintain continued abstinence. This is especially true for people dealing with chronic, long-term addiction problems.
According to Albert Einstein School of Medicine, opiate addiction treatment addresses both the physical and psychological issues left behind by chronic opiate abuse. Interventions commonly used include:
- Medication therapies, such as methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone
- Individual psychotherapy
- Drug education and counseling
- Group therapy
- 12 step support groups
Considering how easily opiate withdrawal can overwhelm a person’s will, underestimating the hold opiates have over the body and mind leaves a person wide open for serious problems down the road. Ultimately, getting the level of treatment needed to help you overcome the effects of opiate withdrawal can make all the difference in the world to your recovery success.
If you or someone you know struggles with opiate withdrawal and need help locating treatment programs please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-584-3274 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.