Symptoms of opioid withdrawal begin within hours of the last opioid dose depending on the type and potency of the drug, how it was used, individual biological factors, and the tolerance and dependency developments. 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.”
Some people develop an opioid dependence as a result of using opioids to manage pain conditions while others become dependent on them after recreational use for their euphoric effects. Initial exposures mean very little when it comes to the withdrawals that occur as a result of ceasing opioid use and at that point, the physical and psychological adaptations that have taken place is what matters and withdrawals are unavoidable. The following, are 20 symptoms of opioid withdrawal commonly experienced:
- Intense cravings for more opioids
- Dilated pupils
- Uncontrollable yawning
- Runny nose
- Teary eyes
- Abdominal cramps
- Muscle spasms
- Overall body pains
- Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
- Increased respiration
- Restlessness and agitation
- Excessive sweating
- Unexplainable mood swings
Factors That Increase Severity
With every opioid withdrawal occurrence, the symptom logy, severity, and durations may change which makes it difficult to predict what will happen in any of the events. Many factors can be relevant to the intensity of the opioid withdrawals including sex, age, stress and environmental factors, co addictions, and dual diagnosis.
Chronic and long-term opioid users often experience more intense and severe symptoms of opioid withdrawal and will compulsively use the drugs to avoid them. People who abuse opioids tend to suffer more physical, psychological, and social consequences that can add to the complexity of opioid withdrawal making it more difficult for them to achieve and maintain abstinence from the opioids long enough to improve their quality of life.
An opioid abuser may consume high amounts of the opioids, be poly-substance abusers, or use the opioids via rapid delivery methods to intensify the effects. Smoking, snorting, or injecting opioids increases the dependency levels and compromises the abuser’s health in many ways. They are at a higher risk of developing infections or contracting diseases, damaging vital organs, low immunity, dehydration, vitamin deficiencies and nutritional deficits that impact hormonal and bodily systems exacerbating the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.