Painkiller withdrawal symptoms can be a serious medical concern as a result of physical dependency on painkillers. When someone tries to stop taking them, uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms which can impact one’s ability to function occur.
While experiencing these symptoms, the body is going through withdrawal.
It is important to understand some people may experience more pain, anxiety, or restlessness during their withdrawal process than others. Everyone will experience different symptoms of painkiller withdrawal at different lengths of time and levels of intensity.
For some people, it can take several days to weeks before these signs start appearing. For others, who used high doses for a prolonged period, signs might appear within hours.
The most common symptom is withdrawal pain, which can be mild to severe.
Other symptoms include:
While these symptoms are not as common as the other withdrawal symptoms, they may be experienced by individuals undergoing painkiller addiction treatment.
The reasons for withdrawal may vary, but there are some common reasons for painkiller withdrawal. To start, taking painkillers can cause physical dependence.
Taking over time, the body will adapt to the presence of the drug and create a tolerance for it. If an individual takes too high of a dose or abruptly stops taking their medication, they are at risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
If you have taken opioids for more than two months, your body builds up a physical dependency that manifests as withdrawal symptoms that are both psychological and physical.
The severity of these symptoms depends on how long you’ve been using opioids, how much you were using each time, and whether or not you made any attempts to stop or decrease use before quitting.
If you have been taking painkillers under the instructions of a doctor then it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions on how to successfully stop taking painkillers.
The reason behind this is that if you abruptly stop taking painkillers, you might end up facing problems like withdrawal symptoms and even more severe problems such as seizures.
If you feel you might have an addiction, you should not try stopping painkillers use without consulting a doctor for getting desired results because sudden stoppage can lead your body into a serious condition that can be life-threatening.
Sometimes due to excessive use of painkillers damage our brain cells and affect our body badly. Experts say when you are taking painkillers, your brain releases dopamine in the reward circuit to make you feel good. Dopamine is called the pleasure chemical that stimulates feelings of joy and desire needed for survival like eating food or sex.
This pleasurable feeling makes it possible to overcome physical pain and psychological stress. When this chemical stops getting produced in the brain due to the absence of opiates, withdrawal leads to deep depression by triggering mood swings, anxiety, nausea, etc.
Treatment involves reducing the severity of the symptoms without causing too many side effects. People with dependencies on opioids must seek medical assistance if they want to get rid of their dependency safely and quickly within a few weeks or months depending on the severity of the case.
Nausea and vomiting
It is very important that if you are suffering from opioid addiction and want to undergo painkiller withdrawal safely and effectively, you should seek medical assistance. This will allow you to undergo the treatment with professional services and guidance for you not to face extreme hardships when withdrawing from opioids.
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Darke, S., Larney, S., & Farrell, M. (2016). Yes, people can die from Opiate withdrawal. Addiction, 112(2), 199–200.
Shah, M., & Huecker, M. (2022). Opioid withdrawal – statpearls – NCBI bookshelf. Opioid Withdrawal. Retrieved December 20, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526012/
Wakerley, R. B. (2020). Medication-overuse headache: painkillers are not always the answer British Journal of General Practice; 70 (691): 58-59.
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