One of the most difficult parts about trying to get sober from an addiction to opiates is the symptoms of withdrawal. There are many reasons why people should never try to detox alone, but the primary one is that it puts this individual at a very high risk of relapse. Often, the symptoms of withdrawal are so harsh that individuals will think that it’d just be easier to stay addicted to the opiates. The first thing to understand is how withdrawal happens in both the mind and body.
Building a Psychological and Physical Dependency
Our bodies are extremely complex, and we often don’t give our bodies enough credit for how much they’re doing. So much goes on in our bodies unnoticed that it goes under the radar. One thing our body does is maintain a certain chemical balance, and that balance is thrown off when outside substances are regularly introduced into the body. As a way of regaining balance, the body reacts in different ways, which produces the symptoms of withdrawal once a dependence has been developed. The neurons in the brain have adapted to the use of opiates, and they don’t know what to do when the opiates are no longer present.
The symptoms of withdrawal manifest in a variety of different ways, and the most notable symptoms are typically the physical symptoms. What people often take for granted are the psychological symptoms of withdrawal, and one of them is the intense craving. These intense cravings occur because the brain has laid down very solid signals telling the individual to use opiates to deal with anger, sadness, boredom, excitement, anxiety and many other feelings. Because humans being are reward-based learners, the mind is trying to revert to opiates as a solution because they reward the brain with a feeling of relief.
Identifying the Symptoms of Withdrawal
Whether you were using heroin or prescription medications, the symptoms of withdrawal will be the same. The physical symptoms of withdrawal can be quite agonizing and harsh. Some of these symptoms include cold sweats, aches and pains in the muscles and joints, nausea and cramping. Some people also experience muscle spasms as well as restless legs while going through withdrawal.
Aside from these physical symptoms, there are also many psychological symptoms aside from intense cravings. When an individual first quits using opioids, they can feel high levels of anxiety, which is dangerous because this also raises blood pressure to dangerous levels. This anxiety can lead to irritability, restlessness as well as insomnia. Since the brain is no longer getting dopamine in the same way, individuals may often experience some symptoms of depression.
Going Through a Detox Program
It’s always recommended that those suffering from addiction should go through a high-quality detoxification program to help manage the symptoms of withdrawal during this process. The reason people should always be medically supervised is because the symptoms of withdrawal can be potentially fatal if not monitored correctly. The other benefit to going to a quality detox is that those being treated can have the option of using medications like Suboxone, which helps make the neurons in your brain believe it is still using as it is being weaned off and detoxified. This helps to greatly reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Some facilities will also give non-medicated options to help manage the physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal. The best part about using holistic methods is that they can also help in your long-term sobriety.