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15 Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain. While pain medicine now offers minimally invasive interventional treatments to manage and treat pain effectively, many pain sufferers become dependent on Opioids.


Opioids are a class of drugs typically prescribed to manage moderate to extreme pain symptoms.

Examples of opioid drugs are –

  • Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen)
  • Oxycontin (Oxycodone)
  • Fentanyl
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
  • Morphine
  • Heroin

Opioid Withdrawal

With time, the body becomes tolerant to the pain-killing effects of opioids. This creates the need for larger doses of the drug to achieve the same effect. This can lead to overdose, even death. Gradually, your brain thinks it cannot function without the drug. Those dependent on the drug may not even realize it, mistaking withdrawal symptoms for something like the flu.

Even if you or a loved one is taking opioids as prescribed, it is possible to build tolerance to them.

Opioids flood the brain with dopamine, the happy hormone. This overstimulation produces euphoric effects. People who misuse drugs seek this euphoria repeatedly and become addicted. The absence of the drug creates a dopamine deficiency in the brain, forcing the person to seek the drug again. Alternatively, if the opioid or prescription pain med use is stopped abruptly, the person would experience drug withdrawal.

Common Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms include –

Early Withdrawal Symptoms (start within 6-12 hours)

  • muscle aches
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • lacrimation (eyes tearing up)
  • runny nose
  • excessive sweating
  • sleeplessness
  • frequent yawning

Later Withdrawal Symptoms (start after the first day)

  • diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal cramping
  • goose bumps on the skin
  • dilated pupils and possibly blurry vision
  • rapid heartbeat
  • high blood pressure

To safely come out of withdrawal, recover from the addiction and any other co-occurring disorders and have your pain treated without using prescription medication, seek help at a drug detox and pain management center, such as Pacific Bay Recovery in San Diego.

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