Abrupt opioid withdrawal

Understanding Abrupt Opioid Withdrawal

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, abrupt opioid withdrawal can occur when someone who was using opioids discontinues their use or reduces their dose. In particular, this kind of withdrawal is associated with people who have been using opioids for a long time and then need to discontinue their use suddenly.

Opioids are medications that are generally prescribed to treat pain. These drugs include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and methadone. Using opioids for a prolonged period of time can create a strong physical dependence. When someone with this dependence stops using the drug abruptly or reduces their dosage, they can experience a range of physical and psychological symptoms as part of the opioid withdrawal process.

Symptoms of Abrupt Opioid Withdrawal

The severity and duration of opioid withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on someone’s individual situation. The most common symptoms can include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Runny nose
  • Goosebumps

These symptoms can be uncomfortable and in some cases may become severe, making it difficult for someone to remain abstinent. In order to ensure the most safe and effective withdrawal process, professional medical and mental health treatment is typically recommended.

Treatment for Abrupt Opioid Withdrawal

When someone attempts to stop taking opioids abruptly, treatment is typically necessary to help them manage the withdrawal symptoms. Depending on individual needs, treatment may include medications to help reduce withdrawal symptoms or psychological support in order to help someone with the psychological aspects of going through opioid withdrawal.

Medications used to treat opioid withdrawal and dependence can include buprenorphine, clonidine, methadone, and naltrexone. These medications are part of medication-assisted treatment and can be used to reduce withdrawal symptoms in order to ensure a successful transition to sobriety.

Therapy can also be beneficial for someone going through an abrupt opioid withdrawal as it can provide psychological support and help someone learn more effective strategies for managing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Different types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, can provide someone with the tools and understanding they need to manage opioid addiction and reduce the risk of relapse.