Are Any Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Dangerous?
No matter how long a person takes or misuses opioids, there are changes caused to their body. Opioids help dull pain, both physical and mental. It also changes the way a person feels and thinks as they develop an opioid use disorder. When a person becomes dependent on the drug after regular use, they need more of it to get the same effects. If they don’t use at least their typical baseline dose of the drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. For some people, these are severe, especially if they try to quit getting high “cold turkey.” This is especially true when it comes to opioid addiction.
Understanding Withdrawal Symptoms
What are withdrawal symptoms? Some of these symptoms are mild, while others can also be dangerous. People experience more withdrawal symptoms when they usually use high doses of their drug of choice. Some of these withdrawal symptoms will start happening right away if a person misses their typical dose. Others can last for days. Another form of withdrawal, called post-acute withdrawal, can also last for months.
When a person’s body is denied the drugs, it is used to having, it will suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Some people will have worse withdrawal symptoms than others. People who use larger amounts of opioids will have more intense symptoms.
Common opioid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Tremors, shivering, shaky hands, and anxiety.
- Leg cramps or weakness.
- Diarrhea and vomiting.
- Sleepiness and yawning a lot.
- Easily angered or jumpy.
- Irritable, “brain fog,” and an inability to concentrate.
Some more dangerous withdrawal symptoms people - typically quite rare - are hallucinations, fever, and even seizures. Some of these may be because of underlying conditions. This is why it’s essential to have the plan to get help with withdrawal, whether that means detox or assistance with MAT.
Clinical withdrawal may be required if a person has underlying medical conditions or a mental health disorder. A patient and their treatment team best make all these decisions. People who are withdrawing from multiple substances may experience a plethora of symptoms.
Understanding your addiction is important when you get sober. People who get sober need to understand the mental and physical changes their body may take them through in the weeks and months ahead.
MAT and Opioid Withdrawal
Many programs offer medication-assisted treatment, including long-lasting opioids like buprenorphine or methadone. MAT helps keep the right chemicals in supply, similar to other opioids such as heroin. This helps reduce cravings as well as withdrawal symptoms. But it cannot get the user high.
A treatment team can help people decide what they want to do regarding MAT and their treatment programs. While the medication can help a person stop physically craving a drug, much exploration still needs to be done to understand how to manage their opioid use disorder.
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you love struggles with opioid use disorder, we’re here to help. People across North Carolina can get access to safe and evidence-based treatment. Learn more about our programs and how we can help by calling us at 910-295-7646.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.