Opioid & Opiate Addiction Symptoms and Treatment

Overcoming an opioid or opiate addiction can be very difficult but very possible. Medical treatment is one option but those facing insurmountable anguish will often seek other substances as a way of coping with past traumas or current life stresses. Both opioids and opiates have extensive benefits in this pursuit but can also have serious consequences as the use is prolonged and progressively larger.

Opiates Vs Opioids

Opioid and Opiate Addiction Disorder Symptoms and TreatmentOpiates and opioids have been used in the medical community to effectively address severe pain and suffering. When used outside of the professional medical directions, they can both lead to addiction and dependence both psychologically and physically.

What Are Opiates and Where Do They Come From?

The Opium Poppy which is native to the dry mountainous regions of China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northern India but is now grown internationally on both legal and illegal plantations. Opiates are alkaloids are taken from the plant and form the primary ingredient in a wide variety of drugs including:

  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Opium
  • Opioids — Synthetic Pain Medications

From the laboratories of the medical community came a synthesized version of the opiate derived from natural sources. Opioids operate in the same way as the opiate and some have been significantly stronger as well. Some of the more famous opioids include:

  • Methadone
  • Percocet
  • Duragesic (fentanyl)
  • OxyContin
  • Demerol (pethidine)
  • Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab (hydrocodone)
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)

Opioid Epidemic Statistics in the U.S.

Opioid Epidemic Statistics in the U.S.

Opioid/Opiate Addiction Symptoms

As mentioned, the misuse of these opioid or opiate drugs can have symptoms that invariably lead to addiction as they provide the simulated release from the sufferings felt by the natural human conditions. Addition can develop quickly or take longer and will eventually present itself in many physical, behavioral and emotional symptoms.

Some of these behavioral symptoms include a great shift in moods between giddy and positive, to despondent and withdrawn as well as doctor shopping to find more sources to support their addiction. Dilated pupils, constipation, and sudden drowsiness are some physical symptoms of opiate or opioid dependence.

Signs of Opiate or Opioid Withdrawal

“Opiate or Opioid withdrawal symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending on how dependent the individual is on an opioid drug. Dependency can be directly tied to the length of time taking a particular drug, dosage amount, which drug was taken, how the drug was taken, underlying medical conditions, the co-occurring presence of a mental health issue, and certain biological and environmental factors, such as family history of addiction, previous trauma, or highly stressful and unsupportive surroundings. Withdrawal from an opioid drug may roughly adhere to the following timeline, although it can vary from person to person.” Source

“These usually start within 6-12 hours for short-acting opiates, and they start within 30 hours for longer-acting ones:

  • Tearing up
  • Muscle aches
  • Agitation
  • Trouble falling and staying asleep
  • Excessive yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Nose running
  • Sweats
  • Racing heart
  • Hypertension
  • Fever”


“These peak within 72 hours and usually last a week or so:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings

Some of the psychological withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioid drugs may continue longer than a week in some cases. Therapy and psychological support provided by a mental health professional as a part of a complete substance abuse treatment program can decrease the symptoms and side effects of withdrawal.” Source

Opiate and Opioid Addiction Recovery Treatment

Despite the intimidating prospect of detox and/or a 30-day residential treatment stay, all those who have recovered from their opiate and opioid addiction have been better for it and value their decision to be free. This process can be harsher or milder depending on how long the addiction has gone on and other factors.

There are various types of treatment available to the recovering addict. Contacting a representative here at https://addictionresources.org can help you or a loved one to take the first step towards customized recovery program.

It is important to remember that detox and treatment facilities will have the medical, psychological and medicinal resources to make this transition to recovery a smooth and less stressful time and one that you will cherish as perhaps your largest exercise in willpower and determination. Your recovery program will be with your every step of the way to provide the support you need during this time.
Recovery programs are generally 30-90 days. Individual therapy, group therapy and other sessions will be devoted to addressing the psychological withdrawals from this addiction.

After detox and/or a 30 day residential program it is recommended the recovering addict attend an out-patient program to ensure a firm foundation during the 1st year of sobriety.

“There are several treatment and detox options for the removal of opioids from the body, and some may provide a more comprehensive model than others. Medical detox, for instance, encompasses both pharmacological and psychological treatment methodologies while under close supervision of both medical and mental health specialists in a safe and comforting residential setting, while standard detox may be performed in an outpatient basis.Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, and medical detox may provide the safest and smoothest way to detox. Vital signs, such as blood pressure, respiration levels, body temperature, and heart rate, can all be closely monitored in a medical detox center that may utilize medications to regulate brain and body functions.

Mental health professionals can also evaluate and stabilize individuals during medical detox. While there is no specific timeline for detox, as each individual will likely experience withdrawal from opiates differently, medical detox usually lasts 5-7 days.” Source

“Opioid drugs should not be stopped suddenly, without physical and emotional support and supervision, as the side effects of withdrawal may be powerful and even have dangerous complications.

Medications, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and other symptom-specific pharmaceuticals, may be useful during medical detox to control the more difficult withdrawal symptoms.

Medical professionals may help an individual wean off opioid drugs by slowly lowering, or tapering, the dosage during medical detox. This keeps the opioid receptors filled and prevents the onset of severe withdrawal symptoms. Drug cravings and withdrawal as a whole may be managed by replacing a short-acting opioid like heroin with a longer-acting one such as methadone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist often used during opioid detox and dependency treatment as well, as it remains active in the body for longer than most opioids and requires a lower dosage amount. Partial agonists also do not usually create the same “high” as full agonists do, therefore making them less likely to be abused. Buprenorphine even stops being effective after a certain point, further acting as an abuse deterrent.

Naloxone and naltrexone are opioid antagonists that bind to opioid receptor sites along the central nervous system and “block” other opioids from filling them. This means that even if someone tries to take a drug like heroin while on an antagonist, the drug will not produce the desired effects and instead may cause a precipitated withdrawal syndrome to start. Precipitated withdrawal is the sudden and rapid onset of withdrawal symptoms, which can be intense and can serve to keep someone on an antagonist from attempting to abuse an opioid agonist at the same time.
Naloxone is added to buprenorphine as an inactive relapse-prevention agent in drugs like Suboxone and Zubsolv unless the drugs are altered and then abused via injection. Naltrexone products like ReVia, Depade, and Vivitrol are used more commonly to help prevent relapse after detox is completed and opioid drugs are fully removed from the brain and body. The intention of detox is to stabilize an individual dependent on opioids both emotionally and physically, and detox may use both pharmacological and psychological therapy methods to accomplish this.” Source

Finding more Information on Opioid/Opiate Addiction Symptoms & Treatment

If you or someone you care about is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above and you believe opioids or opiate addiction could lie at the heart of this condition, don’t hesitate!

Click for more information on what Types of Opioid and/or Opiate Addiction Treatments that are Available or Call 866-777-6118.