According to the National Library of Medicine, “Opiate withdrawal refers to the wide range of symptoms that occur after stopping or dramatically reducing opiate drugs after heavy and prolonged use (several weeks or more).” As an opiate that can be found naturally occurring in the poppy plant, opium can also cause withdrawal in those who have been using it for several weeks or longer, and these individuals should seek withdrawal treatment as soon as possible.
What Can This Treatment Help With?
As stated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, “Opium use leads to physical and psychological dependence” in the same way that other opioid drugs do. Therefore, a person may experience any of the normal range of symptoms expected during opioid withdrawal, including:
- Muscle, bone, and joint pain
- Runny nose
- Abdominal cramps
- Hot and cold flashes
The symptoms feel similar to the flu and can be incredibly painful as well as uncomfortable. This can lead a person back to abusing the drug, in order to make these undesirable effects stop, which is one of the main reasons why treatment is extremely necessary.
How Does Treatment Work?
“Treatment involves supportive care and medications” (NLM). The patient is asked about their medical history and previous drug use, and a physical exam is performed so the physician can diagnose the issue and decide on a beneficial rehab program. Sometimes other tests are taken, including urine or blood tests, CBCs, or liver function tests.
After the individual’s condition is known and a treatment plan is put into place, the individual can begin healing from their withdrawal and receiving treatment that will minimize their symptoms. One of three medications may be chosen to treat withdrawal and assist the patient through the process:
- Clonidine, the most widely used medication for opioid withdrawal, which treats symptoms like aches and pains, the condition’s flu-like symptoms, and anxiety. Clonidine is given to patients to reduce their symptoms as they stop taking opioids. The drug does not treat nausea and vomiting, so another medication is often prescribed with it.
- Buprenorphine, a newer, partial opioid agonist medication, that can either be used to minimize withdrawal symptoms as the individual takes lessening doses or to reduce these symptoms as a maintenance drug.
- Methadone, an opioid agonist, that can be used much in the same way as buprenorphine. While these two medications have similar functions, methadone is better for those who have stronger, physical dependencies on opium and experience more severe symptoms of withdrawal.
The person will then usually be asked to begin addiction treatment, as opium is not used medically for any reason today, and dependence on it is often a sign of addiction. Over time, the individual may stay maintained on either buprenorphine or methadone while being treated for addiction or be weaned off the drug treating their withdrawal symptoms.
Do You Need Opium Withdrawal Treatment?
If you are currently experiencing symptoms associated with opium withdrawal, it is important to seek treatment immediately. Many people turn back to the drug because the symptoms of this condition are so intense. Call 800-429-5210 (Who Answers?) to find treatment centers in your area today or to learn more about opium and its side effects.