Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

2011
04.15

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Naturally, opiate withdrawal symptoms are those symptoms that are present when withdrawal from opiates is taking place. These will be examined, along with possible remedies aimed at dealing with them.

Opiate Addiction

Opiates are drugs like morphine, codeine, and heroin, which can be taken for medical or recreational reasons. Whether prescribed or not, however, these drugs have the potential to cause dependency on them after sustained use. As soon as taking the drugs is stopped, or the amount taken is reduced, withdrawal symptoms will begin.

The symptoms associated with codeine withdrawal can be mild, moderate, or severe. Codeine is an opiate that is derived from the opium poppy plant, and can also be synthesized from morphine. It is usually prescribed as a pain reliever or a cough reducer, but can also be used recreationally. Regular codeine use can cause addiction, which necessitates detoxification, thereby bringing on withdrawal symptoms. Codeine withdrawal symptoms are experienced differently by different users. Some experience relatively mild symptoms, while others have a physically and psychologically traumatic experience. The common symptoms include sweating, severe drug cravings, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cramps, pain in muscles and bones, muscle twitching, and agitation, among others. These symptoms can be very serious for long-term users, misusers, or abusers of the drug. In order to minimize the withdrawal symptoms, usage should be gradually reduced with the assistance of medical personnel or an addiction specialist.

Heroin is a highly potent and very addictive opiate which is not used medically, but profitably thrives on the black market, wreaking havoc on the society, individuals, families, relationships, and the criminal justice system. It is synthesized from morphine, and can be snorted, smoked, or injected. Withdrawal from this substance requires professional medical aid, as fatal complications, like seizures, can occur. Withdrawal can begin 6-24 hours after discontinuation of use, and symptoms include sweating, compulsive itching, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, extreme agitation, insomnia, chills, fever, and sneezing, among others, and the symptoms’ severity may depend on the amount and length of time of drug usag

Even if taken for medical reasons, opiates can cause dependency which requires detoxification. The medications work safely for short periods, but prolonged usage, even with careful and proper use can be problematic. Opiate withdrawal is said to be a long, painful process, which can result in permanent damage to the lungs, heart, and brain, if monitored, and death if not. The symptoms range widely and vary among individuals. Early symptoms include agitation, runny nose, anxiety, muscle aches, and yawning, while late withdrawal symptoms include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dilated pupils, goose bumps, nausea, and vomiting. Because persons are fearful of experiencing withdrawal symptoms which can mimic a terrible flu, they opt instead to continue drug usage.

Despite the dangers associated with unsupervised opiate withdrawal, some home remedies have been suggested. Patients are advised to prepare themselves for a rough experience, including dehydration and seizures, and have a contingency hospital plan. First, the opiate dosage should be reduced gradually, so that success will be achieved and hospitalization will not be necessary. Next, a whole week should be earmarked for the treatment. Time off from work or school should be arranged, along with care of children and other family members for the week. A mindset of being unwell especially during the first three days should be adopted.

Opiate AddictionCertain items should be purchased from the pharmacy. These include diarrhea and nausea medicines, antacids, drinks with electrolytes, and valium, since much sleep is being promoted. For the first three days much sleep is encouraged to buffer the pains and other symptoms. Drinking is also encouraged during that time. Days four to seven are designated for a return to normalcy, so that movements, showers and walks outside, alongside drinking of plenty water to flush the system, are encouraged, along with external after care.

The Waismann Method, which is performed in a hospital, is used to treat opiate withdrawal.  Patients sleep under anesthesia, during which time intravenous medications are used to cleanse their opiate receptors which have been contaminated with opiates. When they awaken, the patients are not consciously aware that withdrawal has taken place during sleep, and within days they are able to resume their normal lives.

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