Withdrawal is a normal response to the abrupt absence of a substance to which the body has become accustomed, and opiate withdrawal is no exception. In fact, opiate withdrawal is one of the classic withdrawal syndromes recognized in medical science. Opiate withdrawal is characterized by a defined set of symptoms, some of which can be life threatening.
All human cells have surface receptors to which certain chemicals, like hormones and neurotransmitters can bind to cause changes. Opiates can also bind to these receptors and either increase their activity or prevent them from working. When this happens over a prolonged period of time, the body attempts to restore function by adding more receptors or by taking receptors away. When the opiate that caused the initial reaction is abruptly removed, the body is left with either too many or too few receptors to function correctly and serious side effects, called opiate withdrawal symptoms occur. If the drug is withdrawn slowly, then the body has time to adjust to the changes by altering receptor function or quantity. Call Drug Treatment Centers Metuchen at (732) 226-8908.
Opiates, also referred to as narcotics, are chemicals that are derived from opium. Common examples include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroin, and opium. They have strong analgesic (pain-relieving) effects and are commonly used in medicine to manage acute, severe pain and to suppress severe coughing. Beyond their ability to reduce pain, opiates can also create feelings of euphoria, contentment, stress relief, and relaxation. These drugs can suppress breathing, lead to constipation, and lower blood pressure.
As with most drugs, the withdrawal symptoms of opiates are the opposite of the effects that they produce. Such symptoms include agitation, increased pain perception, insomnia, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and hyperactivity mixed with extreme fatigue. In extreme cases, withdrawal can causes seizures, hypertension, and stroke.
Withdrawal from these drugs does not generally cause symptoms that are life threatening. That said, the depression, anxiety, irritability, and pain associated with withdrawal can cause individuals to hurt themselves. Vomiting itself can also be dangerous if it leads to GI bleeding. Rebound hypertension (high blood pressure) after prolonged opiate abuse is rare, but can lead to stroke or even death. Withdrawal should be carried out slowly, through the administration of drugs like methadone or Suboxone. Medications can also be used to manage hypertension, vomiting, and other symptoms.
Treatment centers can make the process of withdrawal safer and more comfortable by administering medications like methadone, Suboxone, Clonidine, and Naltrexone as necessary. Medical detox with these drugs can counteract the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce the risk of things like hypertensive stroke, irritability, depression, and so forth.
Drugs like Antabuse, Neurontin, Buproprion, and Chantix can help to control cravings both during and after the detox phase. Though not effective on their own, these drugs can provide an edge to help addicts achieve recovery. In many cases, these drugs are only used for moderate lengths of time. Once recovery is in full swing, it is usually possible to stop these medications without adverse side effects or enhanced cravings. In some cases, individuals take these medications for extended periods of time.
Metuchen Drug Treatment Centers provides the kind of psychological and emotional support that is necessary to ensure successful abstinence from opiates. Eliminating physical addiction to opiates is only a part of the addiction process. Psychological addiction is generally more powerful and requires professional intervention to overcome. Psychological addiction also requires lifelong attention to prevent relapse.
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