Opiate withdrawal symptoms vary quite a bit from each day. They also will vary quite a bit depending on the dose and type of drug that had been abused. Would you like to learn about the opiate withdrawal symptoms you may experience from day to day?
For example, Tramadol is a highly addictive drug that can definitely cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. By the time day 5 comes around, people are generally feeling a little bit better. Withdrawals are usually triggered by abrupt or immediate cut -off of opiates after a long time of abuse or use. The process is simply a psychological and physical reaction to the detoxification process that usually begins about 15 to 24 hours after you discontinue using opiates.
Under normal circumstances feel good hormones (Serotonin and Dopamine) are produced naturally by the body to help us feel emotionally rewarded or happy. And when you introduce opiates into your system, the production of these feel good hormones usually increases significantly.
As a result opiate users often tend to feel a heightened sense of security and well-being. The ‘hyper’ feeling is one of the major reasons why these drugs are highly addictive.
However when a person stops using opiates, the receptors in his or her brain start shedding and the high levels of serotonin and dopamine that the brain was enjoying reduce significantly. As a result the brain starts rebelling and this is what triggers the opiate withdrawal process. As time passes by and more of your brain receptors are emptied, the body generally becomes agitated. The end result is anguish in the form of withdrawal symptoms.
The symptoms are indications that your body and brain are slowly acclimatizing to an opioid free clean life. Physical symptoms can include sweating, insomnia, joint pain, vomiting, nausea, flu like symptoms and diarrhea. Even though they are not life threatening and are just normal, physical and emotional manifestations of the body trying to adjust to a clean life, these symptoms can be extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable especially in the initial stages of the process.
Timeline for Opiate Withdrawals: Days 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5
What Should I Expect with Opiate Withdrawal Day 1 Symptoms?
At this part of the withdrawal timeline, the body is simply responding to the abrupt scarcity or absence of opiates in your system. It is the phase where you will start experiencing both psychological and physical pain. It is not necessarily the hardest phase and according to research about 60 percent of people who try to withdraw from opiates usually pull through this day successfully though with some difficulty.
Symptoms will start setting in within 10 to 20 hours of the last dose. But this will depend on the half-life of the specific opiate that you were using. If you use fast on and fast off opiates like heroin, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms sooner that those who use prescription opiates. Some of the symptoms that you are likely to experience on this day include: watering of eyes, sweating, runny nose, goosebumps, involuntary twitching and dilated pupils.
Hot and cold flashes are also common at this point. You may also start experiencing insomnia, restlessness, anxiety and agitation. Keep in mind that at this point the symptoms will be mild but will gradually increase in severity with time.
What Should I Expect with Opiate Withdrawal Day 2 Symptoms?
This is where the real journey begins for most opiate users. Your body will start working out most of the pollutants that you have accumulated over the time of your opiate abuse or usage. The symptoms will start manifesting themselves in full swing. The lesser the quantity of opiates you have consumed and the lesser the time you been using opiates, the easier life will be for you on this day.
It is the stage where it becomes very essential for anyone trying to withdraw from opiates to start taking vitamins and supplementing to help you cope. The most noticeable withdrawal symptom at this point will be muscle pain and aches. Your muscles are not used to not being numbed, which can be very painful.
Along with the pain you may also start experience heavy sweating, diarrhea, loss of appetite, insomnia, chills and restless leg syndrome may also set it. You may also experience intense anxiety which may lead to panic attacks if it is not managed. Cold symptoms or a runny nose may also be present but won’t be as profound the other symptoms.
What Should I Expect with Withdrawal Day 3 Symptoms?
As your body acclimatizes to life without opiates, withdrawal symptoms will peak with time. On this day, your body will still be expelling toxins via excessive sweating, diarrhea and vomiting. Excessive shaking and muscles aches may also be present. It is a very tough day and it is where most people who are trying to be clean run into problems.
The psychological withdrawal symptoms on this day tend to be more severe than the physical symptoms, but you will still feel some considerable physical discomfort and pain. The main symptoms here include insomnia, restlessness and anxiety.
You will also have to be very careful, because having pulled through day one and two without opiates, the urge to take them becomes stronger than ever and you risk losing all the steps you have made if you slide back. This is a very critical day and it ascertains whether or not you will completely detox from opiates.
What Should I expect with Opiate Withdrawal Day 4 Symptoms?
At this juncture, the worst of the opiate withdrawal day 4 symptoms should be subsiding, though not significantly. Eating will still be difficult but it is very important that you force yourself to take something so as to stay healthy. Heavy sweating and diarrhea also tend to reduce significantly at this point because there is nothing to pass down in your in your system.
Vomiting, shivers, goosebumps and abdominal cramping will also subside, though not completely gone. It is highly recommended that you keep your body and mind occupied at this time as a way of coping with the withdrawals. Instead of sitting down and feeling useless, go out and do something constructive to take your mind of your predicaments. Doing house chores, jogging or some light exercise can help brighten your overall mood and perception about the situation.
What Should I expect with Opiate Withdrawal Day 5 Symptoms?
Depending on the quantity that you were using and how long you have been using the opiate, the general rule of thumb is that you will start feeling better on day 5.Most physical symptoms will have subsided significantly leaving the psychological symptoms. Although the physical symptoms will still be there they won’t be as intense as they were on day 3 and 4.
You will start to feel better and your motivation levels will also skyrocket. Nonetheless you may still find it hard to sleep well and sometimes you may find yourself breaking down. Whenever this happens just hang in there and remember that it is just part of the detox process.
Depression, anxiety and desire to take the drug may also show up at this time but don’t be discouraged as this is normal. As your body and brain gets rid of the remaining toxins, you will feel yourself growing stronger and stronger as days go on.
What Are Some Possible Opiate Withdrawal Complications?
Aspiration: This is where a person breathes and vomits his or her stomach contents into his or her lungs. It is very dangerous and can cause lung infection. Diarrhea and vomiting can also cause dehydration, body mineral and chemical imbalances which can be life threatening.
Another dangerous complication is returning to opiate use. As mentioned earlier the urge to go back and take the drug increases within the first 5 days of withdrawal and because the urge is too intense you can easily overdose yourself. In fact most drug overdose deaths tend to occur in people who are trying to withdraw. In addition detoxification reduces tolerance levels to opiate, so it is very easy for people who are trying to detox to overdose on a smaller dose than what they are used to.
What Are Some Opiate Withdrawal Treatment Help Options?
Because opiate withdrawal symptoms are usually very unpleasant and uncomfortable, most opiate users choose to continue using the drugs so as to avoid the symptoms. Nonetheless, detoxification in a conducive and controlled facility can make you feel comfortable and lead to a higher chance of success.
A supervised withdrawal can help alleviate many health issues as the physicians will track your temperature, heart rate, fluid levels and breathing rate to make sure you are okay. The physicians will also help you with the right medications according your needs and make plans for long term medication if necessary. If you have other health issues it is also important to seek medical help. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can easily complicate issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Physicians will help prevent such issues. Seeking treatment help in a supervised facility will also help you access other treatment options like behavioral therapy which increase your chances of recovering successfully.
Opiate Treatment Options
Mild withdrawal symptoms can be combated with aspirin, acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. Other drugs like Loperamide can help with diarrhea while hydroxyzine can help with nausea. More severe symptoms may require stronger medications or hospitalization.
One drug that is used in in patient settings is clonidine. It helps minimize withdrawal symptoms by about 75 percent. It is also very effective in countering: anxiety, cramping, muscle aches, sweating, restlessness, tears and runny nose.
Subxone (opiate blocker) another medication can help ease constipation. It is also used to treat other symptoms of withdrawal and can significantly reduce the length and intensity of detoxification. Methadone on the other hand can be used for long term maintenance therapy cases. It is one of the most powerful opiates, but it can be used in a controlled and reduced way and is less likely to cause intense withdrawal symptoms.
What Are Some Opiate Remedies?
There are also other alternative options like yoga, exercise and joining support groups that can help in combating opiate withdrawal symptoms. For instance joining a support group will provide you with the morale boost to help you stay on the right path and not slip from the goal of cleaning your body. Other remedies include:
Nutritious and balanced meals: Using opiates sometimes depletes the vitamins and minerals that your body needs for optimum functionality. Eating healthy meals can help you repair the damage done when you were using opiates.
- Exercising: Exercising regularly will help you enhance the levels of the ‘feel good’ hormones in your body which are very vital in the detoxification process.
- Consider therapy methods: Meditation and yoga can help you enhance connections between your body and mind hence helps enhance your overall concentration.
- Have patience: The symptoms will end. Just hang in there. They might take several days to disappear completely but one thing is for sure: They will end.
- Commitment: A survey conducted recently shows that over 20 million people worldwide successfully overcome substance abuse problems yearly. You are not different from the 20 million. If you stay committed to the detoxification plan you will definitely overcome the misery you are in right now.
- Support groups: Attending and making contributions in support group meetings will not only boost your morale but help also you recover faster. Maintaining positive and healthy relationships fosters long term recovery and significantly reduces the duration and severity of symptoms as well as cases of relapse.
- Seek help: As mentioned earlier, if things get out of hand or you are just not sure of what will happen, do not hesitate to ask for help from your doctor, relatives or even friends.
Why is Going Through Opiate Withdrawals Cold Turkey a Terrible Idea?
Many people who do opiates will eventually come to a breaking point and decide that they are giving up the drug for good. Having a determination to change your life and give up the drug is a great place to be. However, if a user tries quitting opiates cold turkey, they are setting themselves up for failure right from the get-go.
While quitting cold turkey is admirable, it isn’t practical. Sure, there are some people who have quite opiates cold turkey but many many more people have failed and eventually give up and go back to abusing opiates.
When a person quits opiates cold turkey, they will inevitably experience much more severe withdrawal side effects. Fortunately there is a much better option that reduces withdrawal symptoms as well as increase your chances of success dramatically. The process is called Tapering. Tapering consists of systematically reducing the amount as well as the frequency of opiates that are consumed over a period of time. Obviously symptoms will be reduced further if tapering is carried out over months rather than weeks.
Withdrawal symptoms of opiates involve both emotional and physical changes. You are typically looking at anywhere between 1 and 2 weeks for all the physical withdrawal symptoms to fade and anywhere between 3 weeks and 2 months for the psychological and emotional symptoms to fade completely.
The timeline will depend mainly on how long you have been using the opiate, your age, general health and the amount that you have been taking. Most opiate users continue using them because they are not sure what will happen if they try to withdraw. But with healthier habits and the right attitude, it is very easy to leave an opiate free life and with time you will not need the drugs again.
In conclusion, if you are using opiates and you are confused or afraid about stopping, try to talk to your health care provider about it. Even though possession of illegal opiates is not legal, admitting that you are an addict is not. Unless you publicly expose the drugs, you won’t face any consequences from consulting your doctor. The doctor will help you choose a good rehab facility that will help you or prescribe medications that will help you pull through the detox process easily.