For many struggling with addiction, the idea of having to face opiate withdrawal is enough to keep them from ever attempting to end their drug abuse. There’s no sugarcoating withdrawal; it’s an extremely difficult process that’s both physically and emotionally taxing. Yet knowing what to expect and understanding that such symptoms are fleeting may be enough to give those facing it the strength needed to endure.
What to Expect in the Earliest Stages
There are actually two periods of withdrawal that opiate users must typically go through: acute and post-acute. The acute stage is that in which the physical symptoms of withdrawal are manifest. The effects of this stage are felt most strongly during the first 72 hours, as the opiate receptors in the brain struggle to adapt to not having anything to reduce the perception of pain. Initially, one may fell sluggish, irritable, and anxious. Those feelings begin to be compounded by flu-like symptoms, such as watery eyes, a runny nose, and severe body aches. The second and third days bring the most intense physical effects, such as vomiting and diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps, and even a rapid heart rate. The combination of these symptoms can be physically and emotionally exhausting and very difficult to endure.
Enduring Post-Acute Withdrawal
In some cases the acute phase of the opiate withdrawal begins to abate after about one week in other cases where substitute drugs such as Suboxone and/ or Methadone are used it can last weeks. Yet the effects one feels are far from over. Post-acute withdrawal signals the onset of the emotional and psychological challenges one might face. During this time, he or she may experience:
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
- Lack of focus
- Severe anxiety
While some believe that the effects of post-acute withdrawal can linger a very long time, when no additional psychiatric or psychological diagnosis are present, this episode typically only lasts a few days. Knowing how quickly they can come and go helps one build confidence in overcoming them while moving forward.
Opiate withdrawal is an unavoidable challenge that those hoping to overcome their addictions must face. Starting out right can go a long way in determining if one will be able to ride the entire process out. Choosing the best rapid detoxification center can do just that, providing one with the medical resources and appropriate environment needed to get through the earliest, most difficult stages. This decision may set him or her up nicely to help deal with any post-acute affects one might face.