Opiates are a class of drugs that change the brain and body's reactions to pain, emotions, and feelings. Opiates include the illegal drug heroin as well as many prescription painkillers such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and methadone.
Opiate addiction is a serious problem in this country. According to government estimates 1.9 million people may suffer from opiate addiction; what makes it worse is that there are more than twice as many addicts who have not yet been identified by medical authorities. Opiate addiction comes about when enough opiates accumulate in an individual's system to satisfy their cravings over a certain time frame - usually two or three weeks - which is a result of persistent drug use.
Opiate Withdrawal symptoms come about when the opiate user's body has grown tolerant to the presence of these substances in their system, and they begin to feel sick as a result. Opiates are central nervous system depressants; this means that they slow down all physical functions in the body including brain function, heart rate, breathing, and digestion. As long as there are enough opiates present in an individual's system, their body will continue to suppress basic bodily functions to accommodate for the presence of these drugs.
Detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of foreign substances. Opiate addiction changes the way that your brain responds to natural rewards, such as food and sex. Opiates also do not cause a sense of euphoria in people who have developed an addiction. The lack of pleasure prevents you from feeling motivated to quit using opiates, even when it is hurting your health and relationships. Opiate detox can help you overcome this hurdle so that you can start on the path toward sustained recovery.
Many doctors prescribe medications during opiate detox to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Opiate withdrawals are dangerous because they often lead addicts back into drug abuse. Stronger medications may be needed for opiate detoxification if the patient has been using high doses of opiates over a long period of time. Opiate addicts may also have used other drugs or alcohol in addition to heroin, which can make withdrawal more difficult and dangerous. Opiate detox facilities should monitor patients for these conditions and prescribe medications as needed. Opiate detox medication is especially important for people suffering from chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hepatitis.
Opiate Detox success rates vary widely among different clinics, doctors, and patients. Opiates typically enter the body through injection or inhalation (such as smoking a drug). Oral medications are less commonly used to treat opiate addiction because these drugs do not transfer well across the barrier in your stomach into your bloodstream. Opiate detox programs that use methadone may have low success rates if you cannot tolerate taking this drug daily for years at a time. Extended-release naltrexone appears to be effective with patients who relapse after multiple rounds of other treatments.
It is important to mention that Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be as short or as long as a few days, and even up to a couple of weeks. Opiate drugs' half-life (the amount of time the drug remains in your body after use) can vary from between 3-5 hours for heroin, to 12-30 hours for methadone. Though there are some Opiates that have longer half-lives than this, such as Oxycodone at 36 hours. The length of Opiate withdrawal depends on how long you've been taking Opiates, what Opiates you've been taking, how much you took regularly, and whether you were using other substances with the Opiate drug too. This information is vital because it's the Opiates themselves that cause Opiate withdrawal and not other substances taken alongside Opiates, though some drugs will make Opiate withdrawal worse.
Opiate withdrawal can take as little as a few days for some Opiate users, or up to two weeks for others. Opiate drugs generally have half-lives that are less than 24 hours, with the exception of Methadone which has a half-life of between 12 and 30 hours. While it is known that these Opiates usually remain in your body from 3 - 5 days after Opiate use stops, however, this is not always the case and Opiates may actually be detectable in your bloodstream even a month after you stop using them.
Along with physical symptoms, you may also experience some psychological symptoms of opiate withdrawal. You will likely feel emotional and mental discomfort. This is due to the changes in your central nervous system. Opiates affect neurotransmitters in your brain that regulate mood and emotions. As these are broken down by the use of opiates, they begin to regenerate when use is discontinued and cause anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, and insomnia during detox.
Opiate withdrawal produces a range of unpleasant symptoms such as muscle aches, sweating, diarrhea, and nausea which can be alleviated through eating well during detox. Opiate withdrawal is not life-threatening and symptoms are not dangerous unless they are so severe that they make you suicidal or unable to eat or drink.
The Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline Opiates produce their effects by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, GI tract, and other organs throughout the body. Opioid receptors can be found in every major organ system including the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS).
Opiate withdrawal symptoms will depend on which type of opiate was used and the degree to which they were used. Opiates all cause similar side effects when stopping use though slightly different rates of onset for each. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can begin anywhere from six hours after your last dose, up to 10 days later. Opioid withdrawal symptoms usually peak between 24-72 hours and subside within 7-10 days, although some may persist for several months in more chronic cases
In an inpatient treatment program for addiction, addicts can begin learning how to live their lives without getting high on drugs. They can also learn coping skills which they might not have had otherwise if they were trying to go through withdrawal at home. Opiate detox is sought out by those who are addicted to opiates such as heroin, oxycodone, or morphine and who want a relatively quick treatment for getting off of those drugs. Opiate addiction is one of the more difficult drug addictions to overcome, due to the intense withdrawal symptoms associated with it. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, spasms throughout the body, insomnia, and an overall feeling of being sick. Opiate detox treatments allow patients in this situation a chance for recovery from their addictions without going through these symptoms. Opiate detox can be dangerous if it is forced through at home, which is why professional assistance and support is necessary for those who are in need of this type of care. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can also take a long time to go away on their own, some as long as several months or even a year. Opiate detox provides patients with the ability to get off drugs quickly so they can move forward without being stuck in drug-seeking behavior.