Opium Withdrawal - Symptoms, Timeline & Treatment
Opium in review – what is it and how is it made?
Opium is a substance that is comprised of several chemicals, including morphine and codeine. Opium is a full opioid agonist created by extracting the sap or ‘latex’ from the opium poppy (Papaver Somniferum) and drying it. Often, it is refined further by boiling and drying again.
Opium is used both clinically, as a derivative for other opioid medications (particularly those that treat pain), and as a psychoactive drug along with other illegal/illicit drugs that are sold on the black market.
Once the opium has been extracted from the plant, it forms a strong-smelling, sticky brown gum. It can be further manufactured into a liquid or powder. Opium may be smoked or consumed orally. Opium is also used to create heroin and is similar to other types of opioids such as buprenorphine, fentanyl, methadone, and oxycodone, which are known to lead to drug abuse. Opiates derived from natural compounds found in plants, such as opium, are called ‘non-synthetic opioids’while those that are replicated in a lab environment to emulate these natural compounds are called ‘synthetic opioids.’
Street names for opium include:
- Aunt Emma
- Big O
- Midnight Oil
The first law to control drugs in the United States was a San Francisco city ordinance passed in 1875 in an attempt to stop the spread of opium dens (hideouts where users would go to acquire and use opium in a closed setting). No other national drug control laws existed in the United States until 1906 with the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act. More controls were put in place in 1914 with the Harrison Narcotics Act. This Act started the modern prescription system and scheduling of chemical substances that still exist today. Opium and cocaine were soon outlawed for non-medical use.
Opium health effects, outcomes, and risk of substance abuse disordersThere is no ‘safe’ level of opium use; opioids always carry some risk—not just for opioid dependence and addiction but also for overdose. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug, especially opioid pain medications. Always follow your doctor’s medical advice regarding dosage amount and frequency to make sure you don’t abuse opioids and develop unwanted withdrawal effects down the road. If you think you may have taken too much opium or see someone experiencing an overdose, call the emergency right away.
Opium affects everyone differently, based on a number of personal factors. However, there are some typical symptoms and effects can be expected in most cases.
Short term effects of opium may include:
- Pain-relief (analgesia)
- Slower, shallower breathing
- Lower heart rate
- Impaired reflexes
- Temporary constipation
- Loss of appetite
Long-term effects of regular use of opium may cause:
- Tolerance (needing to use more to get the same effect)
- Weight gain
- Physical dependence (needing to use more to avoid withdrawal symptoms)
- Loss of sex drive
- Irregular periods and difficulty conceiving (for women)
Opium withdrawal symptoms
Quitting opium after using it for a long time is extremely challenging for most people. As the user develops opioid withdrawal syndrome through opium abuse, the brain naturally creates more receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract that are responsible for feelings of pleasure and euphoria. When opium use is ceased, this excess of receptors are no longer stimulated, and painful opioid withdrawal symptoms ensue as a result. Withdrawing from opium is similar to withdrawing from morphine.
Withdrawal symptoms usually start within 72 hours after the last dose and usually last little more than a week. These symptoms include:
- Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness.
- Depression and inability to feel pleasure.
- Exacerbation of mental disorders.
- Paranoia and hallucinations.
- Difficulty focusing, concentrating, problem-solving, and making decisions.
- Insomnia and inability to sleep.
- Decreased energy level and excessive yawning.
- Flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, headache, and fever.
- Dilated pupils.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Shallow breathing.
- Muscle aches and joint pain.
- Abdominal cramping and abdominal pains.
- Bone pain.
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Hot and cold flashes, sweating, shivering and trembling.
- Drug craving for other opiates, particularly opium.
Management of opioid withdrawal – opioid withdrawal timeline
The withdrawal process is often long and arduous, no matter if a person is trying to do it by quitting ‘cold turkey’, tapering off slowly, or via clinical care under close medical supervision.
Accelerated Neuro-Regulation treatment offers radically different results than any other detox programs or pharmacologic treatments. The entire procedure lasts four to five hours, requiring a patient to stay in a specialized hospital for about 30 hours. There is no danger of relapse since the procedure treats the root causes of addiction on a physical and biological level. Patients typically experience a full recovery in just a few days. This makes treating opioid abuse and addiction a quick and easy process for those who want to live a healthy life without the pain and struggle of withdrawal and relapse.
Withdrawal from opium has a similar timeframe to that of drugs such as morphine and heroin. Here is what a typical phase of opium withdrawal looks like from start to finish:
Those who have just quit opium can expect to feel the first signs and symptoms of withdrawal within 72 hours of their last dose. These uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms include both psychological and physical effects such as anxiety, cravings, high blood pressure, muscle aches, chills, and fever.
The severity of withdrawal symptoms is likely to, particularly physical symptoms. Such physical symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. Despite physical symptoms, psychological symptoms remain prevalent; they include depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and attention deficit.
Severe withdrawal symptoms and physical effects should begin todiminish at this stage significantly. However, psychological symptoms are likely to remain. Mental health issues such as irritability, cravings, mood swings, and sleeping problems can all be expected.
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS)
These uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can extend the opioid withdrawal timeline beyond just or o weeks and enter a phase known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last additional weeks, months, or even years and make it hard for people to keep up with the discontinuation of opium. Those experiencing PAWS must be given the resources they need to deal with these extended opioid withdrawal symptoms.
While this timeline highlights what the typical withdrawal period looks like for most people, opiate withdrawal symptoms and their persistence can be influenced by several factors. Symptoms of opiate withdrawal can be influenced by the following:
- The person’s medical history and if they have any persisting medical conditions such as heart disease.
- Medical detox programs they have (if any).
- Whether the person has experienced withdrawal from opiates before.
- Height, body weight, and overall level of health.
- The level of their opiate addiction.
- Previous drug and alcohol dependency issues
- The opioid dose they had been taking.
- Whether they are attempting to undertake a successful recovery themselves or under the guidance of a medical professional.
Substance use disorders and opioid addiction treatment through Rapid Detox
In the ‘90s, Dr. Waismann radically changed withdrawal treatments and opioid detox by developing the concept of ‘rapid detox’. Thanks to Dr. Waismann’s success, this method was adopted by many opiate detox centers and health care providers. Unfortunately, many treatment centers have been implementing rapid detox without the required information, knowledge, or experience for safe and effective treatment. As a consequence, rapid detox has a history of poor results and even serious health complications. Detox centers that still utilize rapid detox do not understand the crucial distinction Dr. Waismann made between opioid addiction and opioid dependency, consequently not addressing the root cause of opioid dependency.
The ANR treatment is based on advanced scientific research and medical advancements, as well as 30 years of clinical work by D Andre Waismann. It is Dr. Waismann who identified the biological and physical roots of opioid dependency in the ’90s. During his illustrious career, Dr. Waismann has given numerous lectures and educated health professionals all over the world. The success of Dr. Waismann’s ANR treatment is directly related to the ability to evaluate the balance of endorphin receptors in each patient and the ability to bring each individual to his or her optimal chemical balance.
ANR is the only treatment in the world that addresses the root of opioid addiction.
The fundamentals of opium addiction treatment – therapy for management following abstinence
It’s important to note that opioid use disorder is a disease, not a state of mind. Over 2 million people in the United States have some form of opioid use disorder. Never be afraid to ask for help.
To have the highest chance of recovery and the least risk factors, users should undergo a treatment that will target the physiological cause of addiction rather than simply try to overcome or counteract its effects. This is the foundation of ANR treatment. ANR is the new standard of opioid withdrawal treatment—the only treatment that addresses the root of dependency.
These roots of dependency and addiction stem from the fact that the more opioids are introduced into the body, the more endorphin receptors are produced. These additional receptors cause a chemical imbalance in the brain and demand more opioids in a vicious cycle of depression and craving. Once we understand this, we also understand why abstinence from opioids and fighting the addiction is so hard and why the pain of withdrawal is so difficult to bear.
The ANR method brings the central nervous system back into balance using an individualized approach based on each patient’s physical condition and endorphin-receptor balance. Once ANR achieves that balance, the biological causes for the opioid cravings are eliminated, and the person is free of addiction without the danger of relapse. The treatment is carried out under sedation to eliminate the discomfort from the withdrawal symptoms.
Management of opium withdrawal – rehabilitation through ANR
Unlike traditional outpatient and inpatient detox treatments, the ANR method targets the physiologic mechanism behind dependency, attacking the issue at its core. This means patients can return to normal, healthy living without chronic pain or fear of relapse. ANR is the only form of medical treatment that has been shown to re-regulate the critical endorphin-receptor imbalance found in those with opioid use disorder. ANR is much faster than long-term recovery treatments and negates the risk of overdose that can result from medically-assisted treatments like methadone replacement therapy. With patient care at the forefront of what we do, following the completion of treatment, ANR patients can experience full recovery in just a few days without the risk of relapse.
ANR Clinic has health care facilities to provide the medication-assisted detox process in:
- DeSoto Memorial Hospital, Arcadia, Florida
- ANR Europe Thun, Switzerland
- New Vision University Hospital, Tbilisi, Georgia
Opium withdrawal FAQ
Noheroin and opium are both substances, they are not the same. In fact, heroin is derived from opium. Despite their differences, they are still very similar. Heroin withdrawal, for example, is similar in severity to the severity of opium withdrawal.
Many signs help to identify opioid use disorder and addiction to opioids. For additional health information on opioid use disorder and other health topics concerning opioids, visit the ANR website.