How Long Will Withdrawal Symptoms Last From Painkillers
Painkillers are a large group of drugs normally referred to as analgesics, prescribed to manage different types of pain. They can be further classified either as opiates, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or as combination drugs, depending on their chemical composition and function in the body. NSAIDs include common painkillers such as Aspirin and naproxen that are used for regular pain. Opiates are often used to treat serious, chronic pain and include drugs such as methadone, codeine, morphine, and Oxycodone. Vicodin and Percocet are examples of combination drugs that are used to treat pain from multiple sites of action.
Addiction to painkillers is a serious issue affecting the United States and other countries around the globe. In the U.S., there were 2.5 million new cases of painkiller abuse in 2007 alone. Employers and health insurance agencies lose a combined $137 billion every year to abuse of painkillers like opiates.
Biochemistry of Painkiller Addiction and Withdrawals
The debilitating nature of the epidemic is largely because of the highly addictive nature of these drugs. Most of them work by imitating the function of naturally released chemicals called endorphins that are released by the brain to make you feel relaxed and to suppress pain. Opiates, for instance, occupy the nerve receptor sites that ideally receive the endorphins and occupy these spots, producing instant relief to pain. They also make the user feel high and gradually create the need for more drugs to maintain the high. If you are addicted to painkillers, your problem probably started because you were legitimately seeking to treat pain but continued to take your dose even after your pain had died down.
Opiate addiction is one of the worst forms of drug addiction. Dependency and addiction create loss of function, both in society and economically, and contribute directly to high crime rates as addicts take to stealing and petty theft to maintain their habit. Additionally, the media is filled with horror stories about quitting that scares people away from changing their habits. However, with willpower and support from family, friends, or support groups, it is possible to beat the withdrawal symptoms and break the addiction.
Symptoms of Painkiller Withdrawal
Opiate painkillers usually have the worst withdrawal symptoms. The first symptoms of withdrawal typically appear between 12 and 24 hours depending on the drug you are taking, how long you have been taking it, the doses you had grown accustomed to, and your body chemistry. Symptoms include muscle aches and pains, stomach upsets, trouble sleeping, hot and cold sweats, cold chills, fatigue, and uncontrollable yawning. As you go along the withdrawal, you will experience more withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, which happen between 24 and 72 hours after you stop taking the drug.
As you go deeper into the withdrawal period, you will experience a number of mental symptoms that will typically start showing around the 48-hour mark for most people. Mental symptoms vary from one individual to another and depending on the painkiller and individual differences. However, most people will experience agitation, restlessness, anxiety, depression, and restlessness during the withdrawal process. Other people experience delirium and hallucinations, which goes on to show the importance of having someone close when trying to get off an addictive drug.
Duration of Withdrawal Symptoms
The duration of symptoms brought about by withdrawal from painkillers depends on how long you have been on a specific painkiller, your general state of health, and the doses you have been taking prior to starting the withdrawal process. Generally, if you have been on a painkiller for less than 6 months you may start experiencing some relief from some physical symptoms within a few days to a week. For harder drugs such as heroin, it may take you up to several weeks or more than a month to overcome some of the physical symptoms. It is normally advisable to replace some of the harder drugs such as heroin with other drugs that have a shorter duration of withdrawal symptoms.
It is also important to realize that the type of painkiller will also determine the time it takes to for symptoms to wear off. As an illustration, short-acting opiates will typically produce the worst withdrawal symptoms within 7 days. Harder, longer-acting opiates will continue to show for up to 10 ten days.
Mental or psychological symptoms will typically be the hardest to manage because they may linger on months after you have successfully broken your addiction. Some people who have successfully broken their addiction report that they still experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and concentration difficulties months since they last used the drug. Persistence of psychological symptoms post-withdrawal is one of the most important contributing factors for relapse later in life.
Symptom Management and Tips to Reduce Duration of Withdrawal Symptoms
Before beginning the withdrawal process, it is important to prepare yourself mentally and physically. Temptations to fall back into old habits are always rife, especially when withdrawal symptoms get nasty by the minute during a taper. You can manage most of the symptoms by simply eating, drinking, and keeping yourself distracted long enough for the symptoms to pass. When tapering at home, ensure you have at least a fortnight’s supply of healthy food, vegetables, and fluids that will keep you hydrated and help reduce the stomach pains, muscle aches, and other symptoms.
Another great way to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms is by keeping yourself preoccupied. Take time off work and keep yourself entertained with a hobby, TV, video games, or anything that will take your mind off the withdrawal symptoms. Keeping yourself preoccupied will enable you to handle the worst phases of the symptoms and prevent you from giving up midway.
Consult your doctor about treatments to help reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms. Medications like naloxone and clonidine hydrochloride are effective at treating some of the symptoms associated with withdrawal symptoms and help to reduce the duration of the symptoms.
We recommend using CalmSupport when going through detoxification for any addictive painkiller. The CalmSupport withdrawal regimen may help you to manage your symptoms while providing you bio-available nutrients to help stay healthy and clean through the process. The active vitamins and organic herbs contained in CalmSupport may help reduce the duration and severity of the withdrawal symptoms as your body reconstructs itself.
In the end, it is worthwhile to note that it is possible to beat an addiction to any painkiller. With the right kind of support from close friends, family, and a support group, you can go back to your daily routine within a few months and resume full function.