When To Call A Doctor
Opiate withdrawal can be a frustrating process with symptoms that, while typically not life threatening, are difficult to manage. Your doctor can help you to manage the symptoms you may experience with personalized recommendations and prescription medications to ease the process. They can also run tests like blood work to evaluate any damage to your system caused by the opiates.
Medications that can be used to treat opiate withdrawal include:
- methadone, which helps to relieve withdrawal symptoms and makes the detoxification period easier
- buprenorphine, which can shorten the time of the detox period and lessen withdrawal symptoms
- clonidine, which can treat symptoms like anxiety, agitation, and muscle aches
If you are worried about your symptoms, or know that you wont be able to make it through withdrawal alone, consult your doctor or find a rehab facility for help.
If you experience nausea or vomiting, you may become dehydrated. Its important to seek medical treatment. Dehydration can be a serious problem leading to abnormal heartbeats, which in rare cases can lead to circulatory and heart problems.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
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How The Us Is Fighting The Opioid Epidemic
- How the US Is Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Its arguably the worst drug crisis in American history. On average,115 Americans are dying from opioid overdosesevery day.
In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and the number of prescription opioids sold to hospitals, doctors offices and pharmaciespractically quadrupledbetween 1999 and 2010.
Widespread use led to widespread misuse, which has fatal consequences. The number of opioid overdose deaths quintupled between 1999 and 2016. As we now know, opioids, including prescription opioids, are highly addictive, but theyre only part of the problem. Prescription opioids pave the way for heroin use, which is cheaper and easier to acquire.
The opioid epidemic was declared a national public health emergency in October 2017.
Treating Heroin And Opioid Use Disorder
Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to substance use disorder. This disease affects each and every Pennsylvanian and threatens entire communities in our commonwealth.
Help is available for Pennsylvanians battling substance use disorder and their loved ones. This guide will connect you to the resources you need to live a long and productive life.
Need treatment? Call the Get Help Now Hotline at to speak with a professional.
In this guide
If somebody has taken drugs and becomes unresponsive, call 911 immediately. These resources are intended for preventive measures only.
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Be A Master Of Management
In some cases, primary care doctors may determine opioid medications are appropriate for a patient. But treatment doesnt end with writing the prescription. Any time a physician decides to prescribe opioids, they should be heavily involved in every step of the treatment plan. Patient education is crucial for avoiding opioid addiction.We talk about the fact that this is going to be a short-term medication, Dr. Sharma says, alluding to the fact that opioids are generally only recommended for acute pain.
“We talk about the fact that this is going to be a short-term medication.”
Doctors also need to make sure patients attend follow-up appointments, recognize side effects, and know where to find information about how to get rid of unused medication. Physicians should also educate patients about the safest way to take opioids.Ill tell them not to take it in a scheduled fashion, Dr. Sharma explains. This strategy helps minimize the chance a patient becomes dependent on their medication. As an example, she says you might take one dose on Monday, two on Tuesday, and none on Wednesday. In the rare case that a physician decides to prescribe opioids to a patient with chronic pain, management is even more critical. The CDC has a pretty specific set of guidelines practitioners would be wise to follow.
Opioid Tolerance Dependence And Withdrawal
From a clinical standpoint, opioid withdrawal is one of the most powerful factors driving opioid dependence and addictive behaviors. Treatment of the patients withdrawal symptoms is based on understanding how withdrawal is related to the brains adjustment to opioids.
Repeated exposure to escalating dosages of opioids alters the brain so that it functions more or less normally when the drugs are present and abnormally when they are not. Two clinically important results of this alteration are opioid tolerance and drug dependence . Withdrawal symptoms occur only in patients who have developed tolerance.
Opioid tolerance occurs because the brain cells that have opioid receptors on them gradually become less responsive to the opioid stimulation. For example, more opioid is needed to stimulate the VTA brain cells of the mesolimbic reward system to release the same amount of DA in the NAc. Therefore, more opioid is needed to produce pleasure comparable to that provided in previous drug-taking episodes.
The Neurobiological Basis of Dependence and Withdrawal
The locus ceruleus is an area of the brain that is critically involved in the production of opioid dependence and withdrawal. The diagrams show how opioid drugs affect processes in the LC that control the release of noradrenaline , a brain chemical that stimulates wakefulness, muscle tone, and respiration, among other functions.
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Find A National Takeback Location
- Additional Locations
Google is working with the National Drug Enforcement Agency to make it easier for people to find permanent drug takeback locations near them using Google Maps. Michigan, along with Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, are part of this Google Maps Integration Pilot.
Check The Patients Prescriptions
Lets say youve been seeing your primary care physician to address some sort of pain. Youve already been through an initial evaluation and have tried some alternative treatment options, but they arent helping. Obtaining an opioid prescription might seem like the next step, but good physicians know theres one final thing they must do. Dr. Sharma recommends every primary care doctor check their states Prescription Drug Monitoring Program . Each database collects data on controlled substances dispensed throughout the state. Physicians are granted access to these registries, which allows them to monitor patients.You can check online and see what opioid medications a patients been using, Dr. Sharma says. She adds that providers in New York are actually required to check the PDMP before prescribing any type of opioid medication. This helps ensure a patient isnt obtaining medication from multiple doctors.
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Overcome Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms At Symetria Recovery
Opioid addiction becomes especially dangerous over time, as this type of addiction can easily result in an overdose or death. The physical and mental toll caused by opioid withdrawal needs to be addressed in a professional treatment setting with addiction treatment specialists.
At Symetria Recovery, our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive addiction treatment that helps people being their recovery journeys. Learn more about how we can help you or a loved one heal from the physical and mental effects of opioid addiction by calling or completing our convenient online form. It may seem as though there is no hope of overcoming opioid addiction, but the truth is that our Symetria Recovery team has the knowledge and experience to help. Reach out to us today and begin the addiction treatment process immediately.
On A Mission For The Governor
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy unveils opioid crisis plan during a press conference at Yale School of Medicine.
During the press conference, Gov. Malloy said, Connecticut spends over $65 million a year on treatment for opioid dependency. This plan will help ensure that those dollars are spent on the best and most effective ways possible. The CORE teams plan proposes six strategies for addressing the opioid epidemic, including increasing access to high-quality treatment with methadone and buprenorphine and increasing access to naloxone.
Gov. Malloy reached out to Dr. Fiellin last spring, asking him to study treatment and policy options and make recommendations that could help shape Connecticuts response to the opioid epidemic. Fiellin recruited Dr. DOnofrio, Yale School of Medicine faculty member William C. Becker, MD, and Yale School of Public Health faculty member Robert Heimer. The team raced to prepare a report within 90 days, jumping on weekly conference calls with commissioners, state agencies, and the governors office and traveling all over the state to meet with representatives of local organizations working on the crisis.
While Dr. Fiellin is emerging as one of the leading advocates globally for the use of medicine-based treatments for prescription opioid addiction, another Yale School of Medicine faculty member aims to dramatically reduce the use of opioids as painkillershelping individuals to avoid becoming addicted.
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What Are Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms And How Can You Alleviate Them
Opioid withdrawal symptoms can but wonât necessarily include some of the following:
- Drug cravings
- Feeling cold
Opioid withdrawal symptoms generally last between three and five days, although they can last up to 10 days, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine .
Withdrawal from opioids can be difficult and even dangerous. Trying to quit âcold turkeyâ is not recommended, ASAM advises, because it can lead to stronger cravings and continued use. The safest way to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms is through medically supervised treatment that generally includes medicines, counseling, and support. Some medications used to relieve withdrawal symptoms are methadone and buprenorphine . These medications can also be used as long-term maintenance medicine for opioid dependence. In addition, a medication called clonidine can be used during withdrawal to help reduce anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and cramping. It does not help reduce cravings. The addiction medicine physician may also prescribe medication to treat vomiting and diarrhea and help with insomnia.
Using Mindfulness To Fight Opioid Addiction
How often do you perform a task without thinking about what youre doing? Everyone reverts to autopilot at some point in their day. They drive to work, eat their lunch or check their email, all while being distracted by a constant flow of random thoughts.
Distraction takes a toll on all of us. When we arent fully aware of what were doing or why were doing it, we open ourselves to unproductive days and destructive impulses. People with substance use disorders are particularly susceptible to thoughts and emotions that affect their self-control. Thats why addiction professionals have increasingly seen the value in using mindfulness to fight opioid addiction.
For those who have never practiced mindfulness, it can sound like a trite solution to a serious problem. However, the simplicity of mindfulness is perhaps its greatest strength. By being aware of how you feel and what youre doing, you gain more control over your actions and open yourself up to a richer, more engaged life.
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Dangers Of Opioid Misuse
Even when used as directed, opioids are associated with physiological tolerance and dependencethough the likelihood of developing both effects may be increased in instances of misuse. Both tolerance and dependence can fuel the cycle of addiction. Opioid misuse can also increase the potential for an opioid overdose.4
Opioids are associated with certain adverse side effects, the likelihood of which may increase when these drugs are misused. Short-term side effects can include:4
- Over-sedation or sleepiness.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Slowed breathing. In overdose situations, respiratory arrest or completely stopped breathing may result. This can result in hypoxia, a dangerous condition that can cause brain damage, coma, or death due to a lack of oxygen.
Long-term effects of opioid use can include:14
- An increased risk of addiction.
- A cumulatively increased risk of overdose.
- An increased likelihood of significant dependence and increasingly severe opioid withdrawal.
- Risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome if pregnant.
The Drug Enforcement Agency Pays Me A Visit
Of course I felt that I had good reasons for drinking so much alcohol. You see, a month before my drinking really got out of control I had been visited by the Drug Enforcement Agency . I knew the gig was up, and quite frankly, I was relieved. The lifestyle that used to be so fun and seemingly innocent had turned into a living hell.
I was stressed out all of the time, and my fearful thoughts were ruling my life. So as scary as it was to go to jail for the first time, a big part of me was grateful that I made it out of my drug-dealing career alive, albeit incarcerated.
After I was bailed out, I had a month before I needed to be at court for my felony arraignment. But instead of getting my shit together, I buckled under the extreme stress. The charge filed against me was Possession with intent to distribute.
The DEA had found about three pounds of marijuana in my safe, which were all weighed out into separate bags that weighed quarter pounds and ounces.
Along with this, they also confiscated $4,200, which was neatly divided into stacks of $1,000 with rubber bands. Oh, and lets not forget my notebook that had names of people that owed me money, along with the amounts they were in debt! Yes, the DEA placed that into their pile of evidence as well.
I knew there was a chance of getting off easy with a sentence of probation, but my fears got the best of me.
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If You’re Drowning In Debt There’s A Way Out
“The emergency department is like a door, a really important door patients are walking through for identification of those who might need help,” says Marla Oros, a registered nurse and president of the Mosaic Group, a Maryland-based consulting firm that has worked with more than 50 hospitals nationwide to increase addiction treatment services. “We’re losing so many patients that could be identified and helped,” she says, speaking generally.
A spokesperson for McLeod Regional Medical Center, where Jameson went for care, said the organization would not comment on an individual’s case and also declined to answer a detailed list of questions about the hospital’s ER and financial assistance policies. But in a statement, the hospital’s parent company, McLeod Health, noted that the hospital adheres to federal laws that its ER provide “immediate stabilizing care” for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.
“Our hospitals attempt to manage the acute symptoms, but we do not treat chronic, underlying addiction,” the statement added.
Suzanne says her son needed more than stabilization. He needed immediate help breaking the cycle of addiction.
After he lost his job in February 2020, Jameson tried again to detox at home, Suzanne says. That’s what led to the ER trip.
Origins Of Drug Liking
Many factors, both individual and environmental, influence whether a particular person who experiments with opioid drugs will continue taking them long enough to become dependent or addicted. For individuals who do continue, the opioids ability to provide intense feelings of pleasure is a critical reason.
When heroin, oxycodone, or any other opiate travels through the bloodstream to the brain, the chemicals attach to specialized proteins, called mu opioid receptors, on the surfaces of opiate-sensitive neurons . The linkage of these chemicals with the receptors triggers the same biochemical brain processes that reward people with feelings of pleasure when they engage in activities that promote basic life functions, such as eating and sex. Opioids are prescribed therapeutically to relieve pain, but when opioids activate these reward processes in the absence of significant pain, they can motivate repeated use of the drug simply for pleasure.
The Mesolimbic Reward System
When drugs stimulate mu opioid receptors in the brain, cells in the ventral tegmental area produce dopamine and release it into the nucleus accumbens , giving rise to feelings of pleasure. Feedback from the prefrontal cortex to the VTA helps us overcome drives to obtain pleasure through actions that may be unsafe or unwise, but this feedback appears to be compromised in individuals who become addicted to drugs. The locus ceruleus is an area of the brain that plays an important role in drug dependence.
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Ways To Beat Symptoms Of Opioid Withdrawal
From acupuncture to opiate withdrawal medicationsthere are a lot of alternatives to going “cold turkey.”
Quittinga heroin or prescription opioid addictionis a brave and commendable decision its also incredibly difficult. But you dont have to do it cold turkey. Medicine and medical treatment can help some of the opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Medication can help reduce cravings and some of the other symptoms, like pain, agitation and anxiety. It’s not just opiate withdrawal medicines that can help psychotherapy and even alternative treatments can help, too. To understand why treatment helps, its important to first understand why people experience withdrawal when they stop taking opioids.
Anatomy of opioid withdrawal Molecules of opioid drugs bind to sections of cells called opioid receptors. These receptors influence a variety of body functions like breathing, mood, depression and pain sensitivity. After a period of using drugs, the body develops a tolerance and requires more and more of the drug to feel its effects. Eventually, the body will require the drugs in order for these receptors to function normally. Thats called dependence. When youre dependent on the drug and dont have it, withdrawal symptoms start to show up.
Clonidine.Clonidine is used to manage withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, sweating and runny nose. It doesnt help reduce cravings, and is most likely to be used alongside buprenorphine or methadone.
Talk To Your Friends And Family About Prescription Drugs And Addiction
Do some research into the effects of opioid addiction in your area, and then talk to your loved ones and friends about what is happening. They may be misinformed, believe faulty information, or simply not realize the breadth and depth of this ongoing issue. Try to have conversations with the people in your life so they can research the issue on their own time. Advocacy starts at the personal level, so start conversations in your social circles so more people become aware of the opioid crisis.
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