877402 tn?1241569071


Opioid addiction isn't a moral or mental weakness. It's a chronic medical condition that results from changes in the brain in susceptible people. Once narcotic addiction is established, escaping the cycle of detox and relapse is typically a long-term process.

Breaking free of prescription drug abuse takes much more than willpower. Fortunately, medications and counseling can improve the chances of success. New treatments like Suboxone, and traditional therapies like methadone and 12-step programs, are helping thousands of people stay on the road to recovery.

Physical Dependence and Detox
Narcotic addiction leads to real changes in the nerves of the brain. Prescription drug addiction hijacks the circuits that deal with mood and "reward" -- feeling good for helpful behaviors and bad for harmful ones.

In addition, long-term prescription drug abuse affects virtually all the systems in the body. Cutting off the supply abruptly leads to opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:

Craving for drugs
Large pupils
Belly pain
Goose pimples (the origin of the phrase "cold turkey")
Nausea and vomiting
Agitation and severe negative moods
But for someone with an established narcotic addiction, a list of symptoms doesn't capture the agony of opioid withdrawal. The syndrome is intensely unpleasant, and people will do almost anything to avoid it.

Opioid withdrawal lasts from hours to several days, depending on how long and how much a person has used their drug of choice. After the intense initial symptoms subside, some physical discomfort may persist for weeks.

Medications for Opioid Withdrawal
Opioid withdrawal is difficult to endure, and is a major reason for relapse and continued prescription drug abuse. Medications are used to prevent symptoms of opioid withdrawal during detox, easing the person out of physical dependence:

Methadone is a long-acting opioid medicine. It activates the same opioid receptors as narcotics, effectively eliminating withdrawal symptoms. Providing the correct dose of methadone prevents opioid withdrawal symptoms and eases drug craving but it does not provide the euphoria. The dose can be slowly tapered off, freeing the person from physical dependence without withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is the most effective known treatment for narcotic addiction.

Buprenorphine (Suboxone or Subutex) are the newest medicines for detox from prescription drug addiction. Both activate opioid receptors, reducing drug craving and preventing withdrawal. Subutex is given during the first few days of treatment, while Suboxone is used during the maintenance phase of treatment. Like methadone, Suboxone can then be gradually weaned and stopped, eliminating physical dependence on opioids.

Clonidine is a blood pressure medicine that acts on the brain. Clonidine reduces the effects of the "fight or flight" response, which is over-activated during opioid withdrawal. However, clonidine does nothing to reduce drug craving, and is mostly ineffective when used alone.

"Rapid detox" programs claim to accelerate the process of detox and opioid withdrawal by giving large doses of opioid blocking drugs. Some programs place an addict under general anesthesia during the detox process. These programs have not proven to be more effective than traditional methods of detox, and may be more dangerous.

6 Responses
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Avatar universal
I need help...I have been taking pills for four years now and cannot deal with the withdrawls.  I feel very alone because no one knows what I face every time I run out of medication. Is there anyone out there that understands me ?
Helpful - 0
569676 tn?1315641158
You are NOT alone!  

We understand here, as many of us are going through wd RIGHT now, including myself.  Day 7 here, and things dont seem as bad for now anyway. You can and will make it through it, its the only way!

There is no pain free way to wd!  No matter what option you choose, there will be some suffering involved.

But we are here to support and cheer you on!

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
The only way to living clean is through withdrawals!  Sad but true.  It is not as horrible as using as far as I am concerned.  I was so miserable when I used that it wasn't worth it in the end.  I wasn't trying to get high.  I was just trying to not be sick!  Think it over, and go for it!  What are you using?  We all understand, and you will get much support here!!!

Good luck!
Helpful - 0
736475 tn?1281259327
great post. i just got off of methadone. jumped from 40. i wouldn't recommend such a high drop. it has been brutal. i could actually smell it coming out of my skin. coppery aroma. my nose gets very sensitive when i'm not using.my poor pupils which are so used to being pinpoints get crazy big and i have a hard time with zooming my focus in or out. there are so many little things like that that we forget about after long term use, but you hit the high notes! is methadone really the best?hmmm  peace, sway
Helpful - 0
983679 tn?1276833336
no easy way from withdrawels---and in my opition this is a good thing---if it were easy why would you not go back--remembers how bad those w/ds hurt--write it down--force yourself to remember the way you feel during w/ds and that will be one tool you have to help you stay clean
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Yes I do very much feel what you are feeling. Terrible pain when its the day before prescription is being filled
Helpful - 0
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