Opioid withdrawal is one of the most unpleasant kinds of withdrawal. The symptoms that most people experience are similar to that of the flu but much worse in severity. Those that are going through withdrawal from opioids experience a great deal if physical, mental and emotional pain. While opioid withdrawal is not usually life-threatening, it can still be dangerous. Many people that go through opiate withdrawal become dehydrated from not being able to keep down fluids in combination with severe sweating. Most of the fatalities that occur during opioid withdrawal are a direct result of this.
Some Common Withdrawal Symptoms
- A severe drop in energy
- Agitation and extreme irritability
- Experiencing hot and cold flashes
- Severe sweating
- Muscle and joint pain
The Stages Associated with Opioid Withdrawal
Two distinct stages are associated with opioid withdrawal. These stages are known as acute withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal. Acute withdrawal is the first stage that occurs when a person stops consuming opioids. This is when people notice most of the symptoms listed above beginning to happen. It starts within a few hours of going without the substance and peaks between days three and five. Most people find that this stage ends entirely within four weeks.
The post-acute withdrawal phase begins once the acute withdrawal phase subsides. The physical symptoms tend to subside once the acute withdrawal phase is over which means that the post-acute withdrawal phase is mostly comprised of mental and emotional symptoms. During this phase, people often report struggling with issues such as anxiety and depression. The post-acute withdrawal phase can last years into a person’s recovery. Having a solid aftercare plan in place can help to lessen the severity of post-acute withdrawal symptoms and make the recovery process less overwhelming.