The terms ‘opiate’ and ‘opioid’ are often used interchangeably, but they do not necessarily refer to the same compound. An opiate is a natural, mind-altering compound that has medicinal benefits and can be found in opium. The term ‘opiate’ can also refer to any semi-synthetic compounds obtained from the natural elements. An opioid, however, refers to compounds acting on the receptors in the body including the synthetic opiates. The one common aspect of both opiates and opioids is that they are both addictive.
Opiates are addictive because of the way their activity on receptors in the body, primarily the area in the brain associated with pleasure. A body’s natural opiates are attached to receptors in the brain helping to overcome pain and regulate stress. However, if a chemical opiate is used to increase the strength of the receptor, it can have an effect of euphoria by flooding the system. When a person continues to use opiates, the ‘fake’ receptors cause the body to cease natural opiate production and depend entirely on the synthetic compounds.
What Are The Stages Of Opiate Withdrawal?
The withdrawal of synthetic companies typically presents emotional and physical symptoms that can be overwhelming. It is, however, important to remember that the withdrawal period is temporary until the body readjusts itself to producing natural opiates. While there are three separate stages, the timeline for withdrawal is a personal one and depends on individual factors including the drug used, the method of use, how much was used, and how long they had been using the drug. Further considerations to make are co-occurring mental health conditions, biological factors, and if medical care is received during the detoxification period.
Stage #1: The Early Withdrawal Stage
The first of the stages of opiate withdrawal is the early withdrawal stage. Symptoms are commonly noted within 6 to 12 hours after the individual stops using short-acting opiates, and within 30 hours for prescription opiates. People experiencing this first stage of withdrawal will display symptoms such as:
- loss of appetite
- increased perspiration
- increased blood pressure
- joint and bone pain
- muscle aches
- a racing heart
- a runny nose
The symptoms typically worsen within one or two days.
Stage #2: The Peak Period
The peak period phase can be expected approximately three days after entering the detox treatment. It is during this time that a person will experience peak symptoms which can last for at least one week. Many of the symptoms present are similar to those of the flu and can result in a lack of appetite or dehydration. To ensure a person maintains their strength, it is essential they stay hydrated and well-fed. Unfortunately, solid foods and fluids can be difficult to digest among people going through opiate withdrawal. Common symptoms can include:
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach pain
- intense opiate craving
Stage #3: The Late Withdrawal Stage
In the final stage of opiate withdrawal, the majority of physical and severe psychological symptoms will pass. However, the individual is still going through withdrawal and will require medical care during the first few days. In most cases, the chills and muscle pains may have gone but depression and insomnia continue for several days or weeks. The length of time a person experiences lingering symptoms differs according to the patient.