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Opioid Detox - A Safety Guide
Opioids are dangerous and highly addictive, which is why it is very important to know when it is time to ask for help dealing with Opioid addiction symptoms. In the following article, we will share all the information that you need to recognize an existing opioid addiction, what a safe Opioid detox taper looks like, and know where and when to ask for help when needed. Opioid addiction is a manageable disease, and at Bridges to Life, our aim is to help you understand how to safely detox from Opioids as well as all other drug and alcohol addictions.
Why are Opioids Addictive and Dangerous?
Opioids, also commonly referred to as narcotics, are a type of prescription drugs used to treat persistent or severe pain. They are often used by patients struggling with chronic back pain or headaches, pain after surgery, pain associated with the end stages of cancer, etc.
Once introduced in the body, opioids attach to the so-called opioid receptors. By doing so, they can block the pain messages that are sent from the body to the brain. And while they can quite efficiently reduce the present pain, over the years, many health risks have been revealed linked to the use of opioids, including addiction. The risk of addiction is considered noticeable high whenever the opioids are being used for a long period, such as when used against chronic pain.
The reason why opioids are so dangerous and addictive is the fact that they can make your brain believe that you need the drug to survive, much like you need water and food. Over time, patients report experiencing that the prescribed dose is no longer able to soothe their pain, and so, they are in need of even a bigger dose. From there on, addiction quickly happens. Unfortunately, addiction can develop quite quickly – as quickly as two weeks after the treatment with the prescribed opioid has begun, especially if the patient has been prescribed a high dose.
According to the 2015 study, nearly 21 to 29 percent of the patients who have been prescribed opioids to treat their chronic pain misuse them. Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid addiction, and an estimated 4 to 6 percent end up transitioning from prescription opioids to using heroin.
Common Types of Opioids
There are several different types of opioids avaailable today. Mainly, all opioids can be divided into three groups:
- Natural opioids, which are naturally occurring alkaloids that occur in the opium poppy. In this group, the following opioids are found – Morphine, Codeine, and Thebaine.
- Semi-synthetic/manmade opioids, which are created by humans in laboratories, using natural opioids. In this group, you will find Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone, and Oxycontin. Heroin is a popular illegal semi-synthetic opioid made by using morphine.
- Fully-synthetic/manmade opioids, which as the term applies, are completely manmade. In this group, the following opioids are found – Methadone, Tramadol, Fentanyl, and others.
Opioid Addiction Signs
Opioid addiction includes physical, psychological, and behavioral signs and symptoms. A clear sign of opioid addiction is the inability to stop using the drug. In the following, we will list the common signs and symptoms caused by opioid addiction.
- Mood swings;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Sleep issues;
- Poor concentration and motivation;
- Weight loss;
- Frequent flu-like symptoms;
- Lack of personal hygiene, etc.
Opioid Detox Timeline and Withdrawal Symptoms
Opioid withdrawal syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that develops as a result of an existing opioid dependence. The symptoms develop when the use of the drug is suddenly discontinued. A variety of mild to more severe and potentially even life-threatening symptoms can occur. The severity of the symptoms depends on factors such as type of drug, frequency of use, dosage, overall health, etc. However, Suboxone detoxing with a short taper can assist in reducing the overall discomfort associated with opioid detoxing. The following withdrawal symptoms are expected to happen:
- Muscle aches;
- Restless legs;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Abdominal cramps;
- Rapid heart rate;
- High blood pressure;
- Dilated pupils, etc.
The first withdrawal symptoms are expected to happen anywhere between 6 and 30 hours after the last dose has been taken. They can last for up to 5 to 10 days, mainly depending on the type of opioid that has been used.
Why Opioid Detox Needs Medical Supervision
Quitting opioids is the best decision that you can make for yourself. The process of quitting will not be easy, and it will take a lot of patience and time. That is why you should not go through this process alone. We highly recommended reaching out for long-term recovery support, which is offered in quality recovery centers, such as ours – Bridges to Life Detox & Recovery.
Since the withdrawal period can be quite uncomfortable and even life-threatening, you are in need of proper medical care. Our recovery home is equipped with the needed medical staff, that offers help and support when it comes to both the physical and psychological symptoms caused by opioid dependence. We offer to assist you through the opioid detox process, administrating any medications necessary to ease the withdrawal symptoms, and later provide counseling, group and individual therapy to make sure that relapses do not happen.
We encourage you to ask for help in our recovery home – Bridges to Life Detox & Recovery, which offers help and support from professionals throughout the detox process, as well as treatment for both alcohol and drug dependence cases. You will find us located in Anaheim, CA waiting to provide you with the help and support that you need at times like these.