If you have a problem with opioids, you should know that the problem is not yours and yours alone. And this is evidenced in a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which revealed more than 3 million people in the U.S. have had or currently have an opioid use disorder (OUD). By the way, opioids are not only a problem here in the U.S.; the same study noted some 16 million people worldwide struggle with the same.
There are two categories when it comes to opioids, prescription-based and the street-level variant, namely heroin. Both are good at blocking pain signals that would ordinarily travel to the brain, but that is where the positive aspects of these powerful drugs end. Prescription and street-level opioids are both highly addictive and known to trigger an array of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when individuals stop taking them.
What Makes Opioids So Addictive?
The very thing that makes opioids effective pain relievers is also what makes them highly addictive. According to an article published by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, opioids work by attaching to opioid receptors found on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, stomach, and elsewhere throughout the body.
This attachment blocks pain signals that would otherwise travel from the body through the spinal cord and ultimately to the brain. While effective, this process simultaneously triggers intense feelings of relaxation, euphoria, or both. And these feelings sometimes drive people to misuse and abuse opioids, often to the point that it negatively affects many aspects of their life. When things finally spiral too far out of control, many of these same people will go to rehab to get help in overcoming their addiction to opioids.
Opioid Cessation and Withdrawal Symptoms: What Users Should Know Before Starting an Addiction Recovery Program
If you’re ready to end your relationship with opioids, you should know that doing so won’t necessarily be easy. And withdrawal symptoms brought on by the abrupt cessation of Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, heroin, and other opioids partly explain why this is the case. Some of these withdrawal symptoms, which often reveal themselves in as little as 24 hours after an individual has consumed their final dose, include the following:
- Abdominal cramps
- Drastic changes in blood pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Nausea and vomiting
- Profuse sweating
- Runny nose
What You Should Know About the Opioid Withdrawal Timeline
It is worth noting that individuals seldom get hit with all opioid withdrawal symptoms at once. Instead, they experience them in stages, and there are four that they will invariably encounter as they go about their detox journey. These stages include the following:
Anticipatory – This stage typically begins 3 to 4 hours after individuals consume their final dose of opioids. It is known to trigger irrational fears about withdrawal symptoms before they occur. And in many cases, these anticipatory, irrational fears will motivate individuals who sincerely want to end their relationship with opioids to start using again. According to addiction experts, this stage is synonymous with intense cravings and drug-seeking behavior.
Early acute – This stage generally kicks off within 8 to 10 hours after individuals consume their final dose of opioids. During this phase of addiction recovery, the irrational fear associated with the anticipatory stage begins to lessen. In its place, however, most people experience nausea, vomiting, sweating, stomach aches, and other flu-like symptoms. Like the anticipatory stage, cravings and drug-seeking behaviors are also part of the early acute stage.
Fully-developed acute – According to most addiction experts, opioid withdrawal symptoms generally peak at this stage and begin 1 to 3 days after individuals take their last opioid dose. At this point, it is not uncommon for many people to experience tremors, muscle spasms, diarrhea, insomnia, hypertension, and other grueling symptoms commonly brought on by abrupt opioid cessation.
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome – Also known as PAWS, post-acute withdrawal syndrome can happen up to 24 months after an individual takes their final opioid dose. During this stage, most people are free of nearly all early and fully-developed acute symptoms; however, many still struggle with mood swings, intense cravings, anxiety, depression, irritability, agitation, insomnia, and poor concentration. While symptoms of PAWS do come and go, they can last for weeks, months, and even years when they do present, according to some studies.
Several withdrawal symptoms can stem from abruptly quitting opioids, and they can all take a physical and psychological toll on someone trying to end their relationship with them. Fortunately, most rehab facilities offer addiction recovery treatments to help ease the severity of these symptoms. To learn about these treatments or to get help finding a rehab facility in your area, consider speaking with one of our associates today at 855-334-6120.