Painkiller Withdrawal Symptoms & The Top 20 Things That Can Help


Despite the claims that rapid detox can help you move through withdrawal more easily, a lot of research has come out in recent years showing that there’s not necessarily evidence to support this. There is also the potential for this method to be dangerous for someone who has certain medical conditions. Many of them stated they went through acute opioid withdrawal for a month or longer. Whether an individual is abusing opioids or even taking them as prescribed by a physician, the continued use quickly leads to tolerance.

  1. Withdrawal symptoms do not occur with all substances; for example, stopping hallucinogens or marijuana does not typically lead to withdrawal symptoms.
  2. For most drugs, withdrawal symptoms typically peak within the first few days of stopping use and then start to gradually lessen over time.
  3. Opioids are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed to treat pain.
  4. This can result in death, so it is a medical emergency that requires immediate care.
  5. The main element which determines when your painkiller withdrawal symptoms will start, when they will peak, and when they will finally subside, is the type of painkiller drug you’ve been taking.
  6. Even if you don’t experience vomiting, nausea can be very uncomfortable.

This can happen even if the medication is being administered in a safe, controlled way. With addiction, it’s generally implied that the medication is interfering with an individual’s life in some way. There are several criteria for addiction, including tolerance and taking a substance in larger amounts or for longer than intended. Withdrawal treatment depends on the substance used, the severity of the symptoms, and the needs of the person going through withdrawal.

When you take opioid medication for a long time, your body becomes desensitized to the effects. Over time, your body needs more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect. This can be very dangerous and increases your risk of accidental overdose. Abruptly withdrawing from a more serious drug, such as a depressant or opioid, can be life-threatening.

Who’s at Risk for Painkiller Misuse?

Abrupt cessation of stimulants like cocaine produces a different pattern of withdrawal; it occurs in three distinct phases—crash, withdrawal, and extinction—and is not considered medically dangerous. The crash phase, which starts as the drug high wears off, can last for several days—marked by fatigue, flat mood, increased sleep, increased appetite, restlessness, but reduced cravings. Withdrawal symptoms set in, peak, and then decline over the next week to 10 weeks, and can include anxiety, severe drug cravings, lethargy but erratic sleep, and emotional instability. The extinction phase, of episodic cravings, dysphoria, and poor concentration, can extend to 28 weeks. Withdrawal, like addiction itself, reflects the capacity of the brain to adapt to experience.

Medical Professionals

Be cautious of recipes and anecdotal stories described in online forums. None of them have gone through rigorous testing for safety or efficacy. If you have OUD, it’s a chronic illness so you’ll have it for the rest of your life. But even though the number of tapering off opioids: when and how opioid prescriptions declined significantly from 2012 to 2020, it remains high in some areas. In 3.6% of counties across the country, there were enough opioid prescriptions written in 2020 for every person living in that county to have one, the CDC reports.

As a result of this intense physical exertion, his body naturally produces its own opioid chemicals, known as endorphins and enkephalins, thus reducing pain, and promoting euphoria naturally (“runners high”). Withdrawal happens when a person who has become reliant on a substance discontinues the use of that substance. Many friends and family members of people who use substances want to help but are hesitant for various reasons or do not know where to start. Support is available for friends and family members through organizations such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. It is possible to overdose on heroin, which is when the use of the substance causes a reaction that can be fatal.

But, going through withdrawal is often challenging—and it’s OK if you find the process difficult. Genetics and personal or family history of addiction also factors in. Environmental aspects, like home life and exposure to trauma and stress, can also influence the severity of drug dependence and therefore the significance and duration of the withdrawal syndrome. There is mixed evidence suggesting that abruptly quitting smoking—especially with supportive therapy—is more effective than gradual cessation.

If you think you’re experiencing PAWS and your symptoms are becoming hard to manage, a doctor or healthcare professional might be able to help. However, after stopping antidepressants after using them for a long time, some people do experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms occur when drug use is abruptly stopped or diminished. There are changes in neurotransmitter activity and receptor sensitivity in various brain systems. The resulting symptoms constitute withdrawal, and the effects a person experiences are generally the opposite of those induced by the drug.

What are the symptoms of opioid withdrawal?

These can show up within 12 hours after you take the last dose of the drug. If an individual continues using opioids after a tolerance has been established, they will eventually develop a physiological dependence. The brain comes to rely on the drugs to create these neurotransmitters. A few examples are ice or heat therapy, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, and nerve stimulation.

Nearly 20% of people in the United States have used recreational drugs and over 20 million people over the age of 12 in the United States experience a substance use disorder. Substance withdrawal—a syndrome with physical, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms that happens when a person stops using a substance after regular use—is one reason people struggle with this. How long someone experiences withdrawal symptoms depends on the substance type, the extent of use, and length of their substance-use disorder. If you’ve ever ditched your usual morning cup of coffee or afternoon energy drink only to get a pounding headache several hours later, then you’re familiar with withdrawal.

They may also order urine and blood tests to check for the presence of opioids in your system. Because of this, everyone experiences opioid withdrawal differently. However, there’s typically a timeline for the progression of symptoms. Also, the body never produces opioids in large enough quantities to cause an overdose. Opioid medications and recreational drugs mimic these naturally occurring opioids. The most effective way to prevent withdrawal is by abstaining from any use of substances.

Reach out to a healthcare provider, such as a primary care practitioner, psychologist, or addiction specialist for support. People experiencing addiction and going through substance withdrawal can benefit from the support of friends and family. This support can help with both the physical symptoms of withdrawal and the psychological side of addiction. Despite the dangers and consequences of drug use, many people try substances such as alcohol, marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. While people of any gender experience substance misuse, it is more common among cisgender males. It can be challenging to stop using substances, especially after heavy or long-term use, because of substance withdrawal.

Drug cravings can be fierce, and fear of withdrawal symptoms often drives continued drug use. While most symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are not life-threatening, depression and other mental health concerns that may occur are linked to suicide. Therefore, it is important to seek professional support if any mental health concerns emerge when art therapy for addiction going through nicotine withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms tend to be worse in the first week but can last several weeks after quitting. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can lead to death, so it is important to seek professional support for this substance. This can result in death, so it is a medical emergency that requires immediate care.