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Patients who are suffering from moderate to severe pain (especially cancer pain, traumatic pain, and post-surgical pain), may be prescribed with opiates in order to help deal with it. Opiates are painkillers that are prescribed in certain conditions to manage pain.
Some opiates are only legal when used as prescribed by a licensed physician, while some (including heroin) are completely illegal.
But because of the euphoric effects produced by opiates, they are among the most widely abused drugs in the world. Despite their medical benefits, opiates can be quite dangerous and addictive when they are taken recreationally.
On this article we are going to focus on one specific aspect of the opiate addiction experience: withdrawal. What does it feel like? Why does it happen? What causes it?
We are going to take a look at some of the most important things you need to know about opiate withdrawal.
Opiate Abuse and Addiction
Opiates are taken in recreational settings because as they alter the brain’s perception of pain, they also make the user feel good. It induces relaxation, limits the user’s inhibitions, and makes them happy. This is called a high.
This same euphoric feeling is what gets people addicted in the first place. The person slowly becomes tolerant as they take high dosages of opiates. They misuse their prescription, until the drug doesn’t even cause euphoria anymore. At some point they are just going to keep taking it because they are craving for it. This is called addiction.
Opiate abuse may also cause physical dependence. This is the part where your body has adapted to the constant presence of opiates. This means it will no longer function normally if you don’t take more opiates. Your brain will sense a chemical imbalance if you try to quit taking it.
This is what causes withdrawal.
What is Opiate Withdrawal?
Withdrawal is your body’s negative reaction to the abrupt disappearance of opiates (or any other substance) from your system. You won’t easily be able to quit opiates without proper medical care because withdrawal symptoms will manifest.
Withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant health effects that will cause you to relapse. Some users, especially those who have been taking opiates for a long time, may go through severe withdrawal. This is why self-regulation is not recommended.
Withdrawal can be dangerous for certain individuals. These symptoms often come with an intense craving for opiates.
Is withdrawal painful?
Withdrawal is generally considered as a painful, if not extremely uncomfortable, experience. The severity of withdrawal depends on a number of factors such as the patient’s age, gender, weight, health condition, drug habits, and history of substance abuse.
When a person abuses opiates, the body becomes accustomed to its benefits. This lowers their overall tolerance for pain. The absence of opiates may cause muscle and bone pain when they remove the substance from their system.
Common withdrawal symptoms include exhaustion, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Withdrawal also affects a person mentally, making them anxious, restless, irritable, paranoid, or even depressed.
In some of the worst cases, withdrawal can even be fatal. For these reasons, opiate addiction should be treated with the help of medical professionals.
How Does Detox Work?
Detoxification is the proper way of dealing with this problem. It involves lowering the patient’s intake gradually so that their symptoms can be managed. This way, the patient’s health can be restored safely.
This method works best when combined with behavioral therapy. This is all about helping the patient recover emotionally so that they can adjust to the post-addiction life. Through techniques like counseling, therapy, and addiction education, they can learn how to live a sober life.
Look for an addiction treatment facility near you today!
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