Recovery Blog

Opiate Withdrawal Shouldn’t Concern You As Much As Opiate Overdose

21 Jul

An Opiate Overdose Outweighs Even The Worst Opiate Withdrawal

Overcoming addiction is not easy. Not only are there mental and emotional barriers, but there are physical aspects that may be difficult to face, specifically in the process of withdrawal and especially opiate withdrawal. It might seem easy to just keep feeding an addiction than to face the certainty of detoxing from opiates. We’ve covered a few of the nasty side effects of detoxing, most of which can be mitigated in a licensed detox facility. Still, many choose to procrastinate on their treatment.

Despite the unpleasantness, withdrawal is a necessary and temporary part of the recovery process that could end up saving your life. Nothing about opiate withdrawal is nearly as unpleasant as the risk of an opiate overdose.

How Licensed Detox Centers Help With Opiate Withdrawal

In a JCAO-certified facility, a client’s comfortable detox is the top priority, and their medical professionals can offer support that will make the act of withdrawal easier to experience. These licensed facilities provide therapy, psychological support and pharmaceutical treatments to decrease the symptoms and side effects of withdrawal. They supervise patients during the process in a safe and comfortable setting, and monitor vital signs like blood pressure, respiration levels, temperature and heart rate to regulate brain and body functions.

Pharmaceutical treatments, when administered by a professional, can make the withdrawal process more comfortable. These include anti-convulsants and antidepressants. They also understand that gradual withdrawal will help to make the symptoms less severe. Therefore, in cases where there is an addiction to a short acting opiate like heroin, a longer acting opiate like suboxone is used to replace it. Unlike heroin, however, suboxone is not easy to abuse and is only administered by medical staff.

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Tapering Off Using Suboxone

What makes these opiates different? They contain opioid antagonists. These interfere with the physiological action of the addictive drug. Buprenorphine is a partial antagonist, which means it stays in the system longer, requires a lower dosage, and doesn’t produce as strong of a high as opioids do. They stop being effective after a while, reducing the chance of addiction.

Naloxone and naltrexone are other types of opioid antagonists. They bind to the opioid receptors in the nervous system and block other opioids by filling them. Attempts to use an opioid while the antagonists are in the system will result in a rapid and intense onset of withdrawal symptoms which will prevent an individual from abusing the opioids during detox.

The Very Real Risks of Opiate Overdose

If you’re still skeptical about detoxing, consider the rising opiate overdose rates in the United States alone. Overdose doesn’t just happen to those who are foolish or reckless, either. Take this case, for example, of a woman taking a typical dose and almost immediately passing out. Many dealers are substituting the powerful opioid Fentanyl in their heroin, and the incidents of overdose have been skyrocketing. People who thought they had their addiction under control, taking normal amounts, suddenly overdose after one batch. Opiate overdose is now not just a risk, it’s a consequence.

There isn’t a way to take street opiates safely – unless it’s being carefully administered by a medical professional, and it’s coming straight from a pharmaceutical company, there is always that chance that it’s attached to a microgram of Fentanyl, which is enough to overdose three times.

Don’t Let Opiate Withdrawal Be The Reason You Didn’t Find Help

Withdrawal is not easy, no matter how you look at it, but when you compare the symptoms of opiate withdrawal against the symptoms of opiate overdose, there is no contest. Many who struggle with addiction think it is unnecessary, that they have it under control, and even point to other obligations when in reality the fear of going through the painful process of recovery is what is keeping them from seeking detox.

But once they go through recovery, many of those with addictions realize how bad the drugs they were addicted to, actually made them feel. It’s worth it to go through what could be as little as one week of withdrawal for a lifetime of good health, improved mental clarity and better social relationships. And when you consider how much easier a medical professional can make this transition, there’s really no reason to put off your recovery any longer.

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