Opium withdrawal is a condition experienced by people who become dependent on opium. Dependence occurs when a person either uses or abuses a drug for a specific amount of time, usually at least a few months. When people become dependent on opium, they feel as if they cannot function normally without it. Opium withdrawal then occurs when those individuals stop taking the drug. It is characterized by both psychological and physical symptoms.
Unintentional Opium Withdrawal
As a Schedule II drug that does not have very many medicinal uses, opium usually causes withdrawal in those who abuse it. However, there are some other reasons why someone may experience opium withdrawal. According to the DOJ, opium “was grown in the Mediterranean region as early as 5,000 B.C.” and has been used since then as a medicinal drug.
Even though opium is no longer commonly used in the United States as a pain killer or medicinal drug, there are other places where it is still used as this type of remedy, as it has been for a very long time. Someone could potentially become dependent on opium without realizing it, just as they could when taking narcotics which are derived from opium and other opioid-based medicines. According to the NLM, the people who experience this kind of issue often “think they have the flu, and because they don’t know that opiates would fix the problem, they don’t crave the drugs.”
Opium Abuse Withdrawal
Generally, most opium withdraw cases occur because of opium abuse. The drug “can be smoked, intravenously injected, or taken in pill form” and is often abused with other drugs as well (DOJ). Many users smoke marijuana and opium together or other combinations of drugs. If done regularly, this can lead to other types of withdrawal in addition to opium withdrawal.
Those who abuse the drug chronically are likely to become dependent on it and experience withdrawal. Many opium users will take prescription pain killers like oxycodone, morphine, or hydrocodone if they cannot get opium. They do this to stave off the withdrawal symptoms as these types of prescription drugs are either:
- Natural opiates which come from the poppy plant like opium does
- Synthetic opioids which are created in a lab
- Semi-synthetic opioids which are a hybrid of natural opiates and synthetic products
Will I Experience Opium Withdrawal?
If you are concerned that you could possibly be in danger of experiencing opium withdrawal, consider the questions below. If you answer mostly yes to these questions, there is a chance that you are likely to experience opium withdrawal.
- Do you smoke, inject, or take opium every day?
- Have you taken it for a long time (at least a few months to several years)?
- Do you not feel normal when you can’t take opium?
- Have you ever felt anxious, nervous, or upset when you couldn’t take opium?
- Have you ever felt sweaty, nauseous, or fluish when you couldn’t take opium?
- Do you only feel like yourself when you are smoking opium?
- Do you smoke or take opium even when you’re alone?