Tag Archives: Opioid Detox

Precipitated Withdrawal

Withdrawal usually refers to the sensations and symptoms someone experiences when they stop using an addictive substance. Precipitated withdrawal, however, refers to withdrawal caused by a medication.

Substances like Suboxone and Naloxone can be helpful resources for medically-assisted recovery from opioid addiction. Without careful application and monitoring, however, they have the potential to trigger precipitated withdrawal, which can be as life-threatening as withdrawal from illicit drugs.

Precipitated withdrawal most commonly occurs in individuals dealing with opioid dependence.

Unlike typical withdrawals, precipitated withdrawal refers to withdrawal caused by a medication.

Causes of Opioid Withdrawal

People most often experience withdrawal symptoms when they eliminate or significantly decrease the amount of an addictive substance they’ve been taking for a while.

This may occur as a result of an addiction to opioids purchased on the street, or even a developed dependence upon prescription drugs.

During the development of a dependence, an individual’s body becomes accustomed to functioning with the substance present. Thus, taking illegal or prescription drugs over a long period of time conditions the body to expect those effects regularly.

When the substance is removed suddenly, the body goes into a sort of panic mode without the substance it has adapted to. This reaction manifests as uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms that can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

Medically-approved opioids are most often prescribed to relieve pain in some capacity. Their side effects usually produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

The “desirable” effects of a drug are often precisely opposite in nature to the symptoms of its withdrawal.

It’s interesting to note that the “desirable” effects of a drug are often precisely opposite in nature to the symptoms of its withdrawal. For example, as the following list of opioid withdrawal symptoms shows, many symptoms have to do with hyperactivity in the body – the opposite of calm and relaxation:

  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Light sensitivity
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid breathing
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Overheating
  • High blood pressure

Dealing With and Avoiding Precipitated Withdrawal

Precipitated withdrawal most often occurs as a result of prematurely applied medications that combat opioid withdrawal, such as Suboxone or buprenorphine.

Precipitated Withdrawal Causes

Because buprenorphine has a higher binding strength than opioids to the opioid receptor, it “kicks off” the opioid and replaces it. However, buprenorphine activates the receptor to a lesser degree than the opioid, causing the patient to experience withdrawal symptoms due to a net loss of opioid effects.

This substitution can be helpful as part of a steady transition away from opioid addiction. For patients who are dealing with opioid withdrawal, buprenorphine can act as a “stepping stone” between opioid dependence and sobriety.

Buprenorphine administered too early in the detoxification process, however, means a large amount of these opioid receptors are getting “kicked off” at the same time, resulting in rapid onset precipitated withdrawal.

Precipitated Withdrawal Symptoms

Precipitated withdrawal symptoms are not unique or different from those associated with opioid withdrawal. Due to their severity, however, in addition to those listed above, precipitated withdrawal symptoms, may include:

  • Fever
  • Cramping
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Since buprenorphine is an opioid in itself, the danger of precipitated withdrawal comes not from the symptoms themselves, but from the severity of these symptoms, which can quickly become life-threatening.

Precipitated withdrawal symptoms:   Fever  Cramping Insomnia Depression Suicidal thoughts

Avoiding Precipitated Withdrawal

To avoid painful withdrawal symptoms, patients should not be given their first dose of buprenorphine until after they are already in mild to moderate withdrawal – and definitely not while they’re still high on opioids.

The type of opioid a person has been using also plays an important role in determining how much time passes before they can take buprenorphine. Opioids come in both long-acting and short-acting forms. Long-acting opioids such as Oxycontin and methadone will require a longer period of abstinence than short-acting ones that include heroin, crushed Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, oxycodone, and others.

Medical supervision can also be pivotal to help avoid developing an addiction to Suboxone – the very medication meant to help opioid dependence. As an opioid itself, Suboxone has a high potential to trigger its own withdrawals if not taken correctly.

The appropriate withdrawal stage for Suboxone administration should be determined by a trained professional who assesses appropriate timing based on the patient’s last use of all opioids, objective and subjective symptoms, and a COWS (Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale) score calculation.

Safe Opioid Addiction Recovery

Avoiding severe precipitated withdrawal requires a delicate balance of timing and understanding of the body. This is why it should never be attempted at home.

Additionally, experiencing the pain of precipitated withdrawal may motivate some not to seek out treatment for their opioid addiction, further deepening their addiction. While clinically monitored withdrawal is still painful, it is the safest way to go through the necessary detoxification process on the road to recovery.

If you think a loved one is suffering from an opioid addiction, contact us today. Our caring professionals are ready and willing to help walk addiction sufferers through the detox process and on to a life of sobriety.

Withdrawal Symptoms And Opioid Detox Treatment Programs For Young Men

Opioid addiction has reached epidemic levels across the United States, disregarding social, economic, and racial lines and affecting communities of all sizes in every state. There have been several legislative actions in recent years aimed at curbing the number of overdose deaths and new addiction cases, but opioids continue to be the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States.

Young men struggling with opioid addiction may not know where to turn for help, and there are a wide variety of treatment options available. However, it is essential to find a treatment solution that works for the individual and offers an individualized treatment plan and continuum of care.

Learn The Warning Signs Of Opioid Addiction

Friends and family can identify the warning signs of an opioid addiction with vigilance, but it’s important to remember that the social stigmas surrounding addiction and the shame and isolation drug abuse can create causes many young men to hide their habits, even from the people closest to them.

Top 5 Signs Of Opioid Addiction

There are many warning signs of opioid addiction, but some of the most common include:

  • Needing more pills before a prescription refill is possible. Many people develop opioid addictions because of legitimate medical issues like injuries or surgical procedures that entail opioid painkiller prescriptions. Opioids are powerfully addictive and even a few doses can spur an addiction; it is essential to keep tabs on a family member’s prescription consumption. If he starts running out of pills before a refill is available, this is likely a sign that he has been using too much and may have started abusing his prescription.
  • Switching from pills to street drugs. When prescription refills run out after addiction has taken hold, a young man with a blossoming opioid addiction will likely turn to the black market for more drugs. Prescription opioid pills are extremely expensive on the street, sometimes as much as $20 per pill, and heroin becomes an attractive alternative at this point, considering the average street cost of a single dose is about $5 or less.
  • Doctor shopping. Some people who develop prescription opioid painkiller addictions will start “doctor shopping,” or visiting multiple doctors in rapid succession for the same issue in the hope of securing multiple prescriptions which they fill at various pharmacies. Many states have started cracking down on this practice by implementing prescription drug monitoring systems in state pharmacies and penalizing doctors who negligently prescribe opioids to their patients.
  • Malnourishment. Opioid addiction can cause a person to neglect basic needs like proper diet and hydration. A person suffering from opioid addiction may appear thin, sickly, weak, or generally unwell despite protesting that he or she feels fine. When opioid addiction reaches critical levels, a person will invariably start neglecting basic needs in pursuit of more drugs.
  • Withdrawal symptoms. Opioids can cause powerful withdrawal symptoms that are so excruciatingly painful and unpleasant the person can do nothing but think of obtaining more drugs to stop the discomfort. When a person starts displaying the typical signs of opioid withdrawal it is time to start looking for treatment options.

Dangers Of Opioid Detox

Some people mistakenly believe they can go “cold turkey” and drop an opioid addiction as they would drop cigarettes. Unfortunately, self-detox is not only difficult but also very dangerous, and the danger increases the longer the addiction persists. It may be possible to overcome addictive urges and cravings in the early stages of an addiction, but full-blown opioid addiction demands professional treatment in a safe environment.

Medically Assisted Opioid Detox

A proper opioid detox treatment for young men should include medical assistance and nutritional support during the detox process. As the last dose of drugs leaves a person’s system the withdrawal symptoms can manifest with severe intensity. Some of those symptoms can include high fever, organ failure, rapid heart rate, and hallucinations that can be dangerous without medical assistance.

Reflections Rehab’s Substance Abuse Treatment Program

The Reflections Rehab treatment experience revolves around taking care of the whole person, not just the symptoms of addiction but the underlying causes as well. Our program entails building trust, maintaining a healthy body and mind, and exploring the reasons behind addiction to develop better coping skills for the future.

Any drug treatment program should begin with medically assisted detox, especially for opioid addiction. Without appropriate medical attention, a person suffering from opioid withdrawal symptoms could face life-threatening symptoms or simply start using again to avoid withdrawal.

Our program starts with medically assisted opioid detox, followed by a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses each patient’s individual needs and risk factors. Adventure therapy and exploring the outdoors are at the forefront of our therapeutic offerings; you will not find a typical clinical rehab experience at Reflections Rehab. We believe in building confidence, strengthening the body, and teaching new coping skills for a stronger defense against relapse and the most holistic recovery experience possible for every patient.