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Finding Relief from Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
Opiate withdrawals can be most unpleasant and painful, but, if you are dependent on opiates, there are ways to find relief.
How Do Opiates Work?
Primarily, opiate use increases dopamine, the neurotransmitter that activates the "reward center" in the brain and increases relaxation, pleasure, and euphoria. As opiates attach to numerous other opiate receptors it slows breathing and heart rate, reduces pain and cough stimuli, and changes the way other motor and sensory messages occur.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Dependence develops when the neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug." When opiate use is suddenly stopped, withdrawals will ensue.
Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
Opiate withdrawal symptoms vary in intensity and severity by user and dependency levels. They include:
- Muscle Cramps
Chronic or long term use can result in more serious withdrawal symptoms and professional addiction detox treatment may be necessary.
Opiate Detox Treatment
Professionals in a detox treatment center can provide safety, comfort, support, supervision and intervention for complications along with certain medications to reduce or alleviate symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, pain, restlessness, depression, and insomnia. You never know what the withdrawal effects may be and immediate access to resources when needed can be invaluable.
Medically Assisted Detox
Treatment medications such as methadone and Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) are widely used for opiate detox and are effective in relieving cravings and withdrawals while moderating opiate clearance from the brain and helping the person to maintain a steady state of functioning.
Tapering Off Opiates
Tapering off opiates gradually reduces tolerance and dependence and subsequently, the withdrawals, but, the continued use of opiates leaves the person extra vulnerable to relapse and overdose if they resume prior use amounts.
Taking Care of Health
Hydration, rest, and nutrition are crucial elements in fighting these symptoms. Fluids are important and lots of water and juice can be used to prevent dehydration and flush the toxins from the system. Since food will be out of the question for a couple of days, juices can also provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients that help the body recover faster.
Rest is easier said than done. A safe, quiet, place is best with lots of loose fitting clothes to change into when needed. Avoid stressful situations and if psychological symptoms of depression or anxiety worsen, they can be dangerous. Suicidal and harmful ideations require professional help.
Using Over the Counter Medications
Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen for fever and pain, Pepto-Bismol for nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting and Imodium AD for diarrhea are essential. Antihistamines such as Benadryl or Dramamine can help to calm the anxiety and nausea while having a sedating effects to help you sleep, but, these medications should be used with caution.