For someone struggling with opiate abuse, detox withdrawal poses the biggest obstacle to stopping drug use. For some people, withdrawal severity can be so overwhelming that it’s all but impossible to maintain abstinence for very long, while others may be able to tough it out when withdrawal severity is minimal.
Types of withdrawal symptoms commonly experienced include:
- Body aches
- Bouts of anxiety
Having the needed treatment supports in place offers the single best chance of making it through the detox withdrawal stage. If you’re considering withdrawal from opiates, knowing when to seek out professional treatment help can save you much time and frustration in the long run.
Opiate Dependence vs. Opiate Addiction
The degree of withdrawal discomfort a person experiences tends to correspond with the severity of his or her drug problem. While the terms “opiate dependence” and “opiate addiction” are often used interchangeably, they actually represent two different stages of the drug abuse cycle.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opiate dependence occurs when the brain’s chemical system becomes dependent on opiate effects to function normally. When this happens, a person starts to experience episodes of withdrawal from opiates when the brain requires more of the drug.
Opiate addiction develops out of the chemical imbalances that opiate dependence leaves behind. Someone struggling with a full-blown addiction has reached the point where the mind believes it needs the drug’s effects in order to cope with everyday life.
In effect, someone who’s addicted to opiates stands to experience a more severe withdrawal stage than someone who’s dealing with physical dependence, and so will likely require some form of professional treatment help.
Signs to Watch For
When abusing opiates, each successive drug dose impairs the brain’s ability to produce neurotransmitter chemicals on its own while also causing structural damage to chemical-producing cells. With chronic or long-term opiate abuse, widespread damage to cells produces long-term effects in terms of warping the brain’s overall chemical system.
Under these conditions, the severity of withdrawal symptoms becomes too much for a person to handle on his or her own.
If you’re experiencing drug cravings on an ongoing basis, this is a good indication that a full-blown addiction is at work. Drug cravings develop out of damage done to the brain’s reward system, which determines what types of things motivate you, and ultimately directs your emotions and behaviors.
In effect, a person has reached the point where he or she “needs” the drug to cope with daily life responsibilities. Someone in this condition will likely require some form of treatment help as withdrawal from opiates will be extremely difficult to bear.
According to John Hopkins School of Public Health, the brain chemical imbalances left behind by opiate abuse create an environment where mental health problems can easily take root. After so many bouts of depression and anxiety brought on by withdrawal , a person’s emotional health eventual declines in response to the damaging effects of the drug.
If you’re experiencing ongoing feelings of depression and/or anxiety, withdrawal from opiates will only make these symptoms worse, so it’s best to seek out some form of detox treatment help.