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Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

young woman seated on couch and looking uncomfortable and in pain as she struggles with opioid withdrawal symptoms

The opioid epidemic is a well-known public health crisis in America. While your body has natural ways of addressing and mitigating pain, the use of prescription pain medicines is all too common. When you have a severe injury or major surgery, your doctor will prescribe pain medication. Often, these are opioids. When opioids are used as prescribed, the chances of addiction and dependency are significantly decreased—they are meant to be a temporary solution to extreme pain. However, the euphoric effects that accompany pain relief can be alluring and comforting for many people and potentially lead to the abuse of prescription opioids and the eventual use of illicit drugs once the prescription runs out. Opioid withdrawal symptoms are one of the surest indicators that pain management has become a problem.

Whether street drugs like heroin or medical-grade opioids such as oxycontin or fentanyl, opioids are dangerous. Because someone can tip over from casual use to addiction without realizing it, you may recognize one day that you or someone you know is showing signs of addiction. One way to know is if losing access to the drug—by running out or being unable to access it—leads to early opioid withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you love is abusing opioids, seek professional opioid addiction treatment by reaching out to Insight Recovery Center in Asheville, NC. Call 828.826.1376 to connect with us today.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioid withdrawal involves the body and mind reacting both physically and psychologically to the absence of the drug. Withdrawal begins quickly after the drug is withheld. Symptoms include:

  • Intense drug cravings
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing complications
  • High blood pressure
  • Profuse sweating
  • Intense tremors
  • Feelings of agitation, anxiety, and panic
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Relapse is very common in the withdrawal phase, so having the support of medical and therapeutic professionals is highly recommended. Managing physical and psychological opioid withdrawal symptoms and discomfort can make the detox process safer and more successful.

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline is not the same for everyone. Most people withdrawing from opioids start to feel symptoms relatively quickly and experience the sequence described below with variations dependent on individual factors such as whether there are other substances involved, age and health of the individual, and addiction history:

  • First symptoms – These occur between six and 24 hours after cessation of the drug. Muscle pain, diarrhea, and brain fog are typical at this point. Drug cravings increase steadily through the most acute phase of withdrawal.
  • Peak symptoms – This stage of withdrawal happens between one and three days after the onset of the first symptoms. Those first symptoms intensify, and new ones appear, such as stomach pain and nausea, exhaustion, and mood swings.
  • Transition – Some of the worst physical opioid withdrawal signs start to wane about a week into the process. When that happens, the acute stage is over, but psychological symptoms remain. These are addressed intensively in psychotherapy post-detox.
  • Lingering symptoms – Beyond one week of withdrawal and up to several months, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other psycho-emotional challenges continue. These need to be taken seriously and continuously addressed in therapy to manage the risks of relapse.

When physical withdrawal is over, recovery begins in earnest.

Call Insight Recovery Center in Asheville, NC

If you notice that you experience opioid withdrawal symptoms when you run out of pills or have begun to seek opioids illicitly, consider that you may have an opioid use disorder. Call Insight Recovery Center in Asheville, NC, for support and guidance on your recovery journey. Our number is 828.826.1376, or you can reach us online. Let’s get started today!