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What is Precipitated Withdrawal?

The opioid epidemic has continually gotten worse throughout the years and this is partially due to the fear of withdrawal. Withdrawals are an extremely uncomfortable experience when anyone goes through them, and precipitated withdrawals can be worse. There are ways to get through withdrawals with minimal discomfort, thus making recovery more successful.

What is Drug Withdrawal?

When the body has become dependent on the drugs, it requires these substances in order to function. When someone uses drugs, dopamine production is altered in the brain. The feelings produced by the drugs become the new normal state for “normal” functioning. Then, when the drugs are abruptly stopped, the dopamine levels drop back down. The body is shocked by the lack of these drugs it thinks it needs in order to be normal. This is when withdrawal symptoms may be experienced. 

Symptoms of Drug Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms can be different in everyone. They can vary in severity and the symptoms one person feels can be different from what someone else may experience. Not everyone feels the same things when coming off any specific drug, but there are some general symptoms that can be experienced. Some common symptoms of withdrawal can include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Spikes in blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Headaches

The symptoms of withdrawal can begin within 24 hours of last use, and generally begin to subside within three days of onset. The length a person may feel withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on amount of use, the drugs being used, and even how the drugs were being used. The severity and length of time symptoms are felt can also be affected by any underlying health concerns. Having professional and medical help during this time can help someone to feel these symptoms less severely and manage to have a successful beginning to their journey to recovery from drug addiction.

What is Precipitated Withdrawal?

When someone begins to take buprenorphine, or other drugs used in order to counteract withdrawal or overdose symptoms, and not enough time has passed between last use and beginning this medication, it can cause precipitated withdrawal to occur. This means that withdrawal symptoms can be fast-tracked or intensified by the drugs that are used to counteract normal withdrawal symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Precipitated Withdrawal

Precipitated withdrawal can be more uncomfortable than normal, or acute, withdrawal. A person’s pulse or heart rate may increase dramatically with no cause, diarrhea and vomiting can occur more often in a short amount of time, and muscle aches and pains can be more severe. Other symptoms can include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Watery eyes that can interfere with eyesight
  • Dilated pupils
  • Joint aches and pains
  • Goosebumps

These symptoms can be uncomfortable, but there are ways to counteract them and make withdrawal symptoms manageable. Understanding the best options available can help someone to make an informed decision on the next steps to take on their recovery journey.

How to Counteract Precipitated Withdrawal

As unpleasant and uncomfortable as precipitated withdrawal may sound, it can sometimes be the repercussion for saving a life. If someone is actively overdosing, using a drug like naloxone to reverse the overdose symptoms can sometimes cause someone to be thrown into precipitated withdrawals. This can make them almost necessary in order for survival.

The best way to avoid this type of withdrawal is to allow a person to enter into acute withdrawal and feel the symptoms for some time before beginning the drugs usually used in opioid dependency treatment. The beginning stages of withdrawal are when the drugs are being expelled from the body, and once the drugs begin to leave the body medications to counteract withdrawal symptoms can be administered. It is best to have someone who can give these medications safely at your disposal so that they aren’t being taken too early, and precipitated withdrawal symptoms being experienced.

Having medical supervision during withdrawal can help to prevent someone from experiencing precipitated withdrawal as well as counteract the uncomfortable feelings associated with acute withdrawal symptoms. Inpatient treatment allows for round-the-clock medical supervision and immediate addressing of the symptoms that can make withdrawal hard to endure. These symptoms often lead a person back to the drug use that has gotten them into the place where detox is necessary. Being able to have these symptoms managed is the best option for success.

Find Effective Medical Detox in Columbus, OH

Ohio Addiction Recovery Center provides state of the art care for those who come into our care. If you or a loved one are in need of medical detox, we can help. We have professionals on staff trained in helping to alleviate the mental and physical symptoms that come from withdrawal. Don’t hesitate, there is help and you don’t have to go through this pivotal time on your own. Contact us today and we can help you begin your journey of recovery.

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