Hi-Tech Treatment of Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant to deal with. Read on to learn about treatment for this issue. 

Table of Contents

What is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is the presence of uncomfortable and adverse symptoms due to the quitting of a substance that the body has become addicted to or dependent on. Opioid withdrawal symptoms will be unique compared to withdrawals from other substances. A person can form either a physical or psychological dependence on a substance.

  • Physical Dependence: Physical dependence can lead to the body experiencing intense adverse physical symptoms when opiate consumption has stopped.
  • Psychological Dependence: Psychological dependence can lead to the person experiencing intense adverse psychological symptoms when opiate consumption has stopped.

What to Expect?

Knowing what to expect during opioid withdrawal can help be prepared for the recovery process. 

Symptoms

Opioid withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to physical symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • High fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Fluctuating temperature

Some psychological symptoms that may arise include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Intense cravings for the substance 

Cravings and Timeline

As mentioned, a person recovering from opioid addiction can expect to feel intense cravings, both physical and psychological, for the substance during the withdrawal period. Moreover, the substance withdrawal timeline varies from person to person. Duration of withdrawal can relate to body size, age, metabolism, substance tolerance, body fat content, liver health, and dosage size. 

Withdrawal Without Medical Help

It is not recommended to endure withdrawal without medical help due to the risks involved. The risks involved in opioid seroquel withdrawal can be dangerous, and at times, fatal. The physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal must be treated by a medical professional for a person to detox from a substance safely. 

What is Brain Reward System?

The brain reward system is the circuit within the brain that causes a person to feel pleasure. When this system is activated by foods, people, experiences, or substances, the body can become attached to these experiences.

Drug Addiction and Brain

Drug addiction occurs when the brain’s reward system becomes accustomed to and dependent on the pleasurable feelings that come with substance use. 

Anti-Reward System

The anti-reward system becomes overactive in a person who is addicted to a substance. This system typically activates and can induce stress in the absence of a reward-inducing substance. 

Impact on Drug Withdrawal

These rewards systems can lead to a person’s body becoming dependent on drugs and other substances, eventually turning into an addiction. When a person addicted to drugs stops taking them, they will experience withdrawals as the anti-reward system becomes overactive, causing adverse reactions and symptoms within the body.

Medications Used to Treat Withdrawal of Common Substances

Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is often used to treat the withdrawal of common substances that tend to be addictive. 

Heroin

  • Methadone: Methadone is a slow-acting opioid agonist used as a form of MAT to help the person detox after ceasing heroin consumption. This medication can weaken the effect of heroin.4
  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that can relieve cravings for heroin without providing the same high. This medication can induce withdrawal effects if taken by someone dependent on heroin.4
  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids. It is non-addictive or sedating but can help prevent opioid relapse.

Alcohol

  • Acamprosate: Acamprosate is a psychological treatment medication that can alleviate adverse symptoms of alcohol withdrawal by working with neurotransmitters in the brain.5
  • Disulfiram: Disulfiram is a medication used to reduce cravings for alcohol during the alcohol withdrawal process. It can cause unpleasant side effects when alcohol is consumed, reducing the risk of relapse.
  • Clonidine: Clonidine is an antihypertensive medication used to decrease the discomfort and adverse symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal by blocking chemicals within the brain that cause adverse feelings. 

Methamphetamine

  • Modafinil: Modafinil is a synthetic stimulant used to treat symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal. It reduces the risk of relapse because it is non-addictive while providing stimulating effects that are less harmful than meth.6
  • Paroxetine: Paroxetine is an antidepressant medication used to relieve unpleasant symptoms during meth withdrawal, primarily focusing on the psychological symptoms and cravings.7
  • Remeron: Remeron is an antidepressant medication used to stop cravings during meth withdrawal and relieve psychological symptoms from withdrawal.

Benzodiazepines

  • Clonazepam: Clonazepam is a minimally addictive benzodiazepine that is used to treat benzo withdrawal by helping someone wean off their dependence rather than stopping suddenly or cold turkey.9
  • Diazepam: Diazepam is a low-dosage benzodiazepine that can help a person stop taking more potent benzos. This medication can be addictive so individuals must be sure to taper off rather than quitting cold turkey.9
  • Zolpidem: Zolpidem is a benzo receptor agonist medication used to relieve psychological symptoms of benzo withdrawal. It is typically used to treat insomnia, but in some cases, it is used to alleviate symptoms from benzo withdrawal.

Therapy Used to Treat Withdrawal

  • CBT: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is frequently used to treat withdrawal and support recovery by changing a person’s underlying thought patterns surrounding their addiction.
  • DBT: Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a therapy used to treat withdrawal by treating personality and mental disorders that may be contributing to substance use disorders.
  • Motivational Interviewing: Motivational interviewing is a therapy that teaches a person to make positive decisions surrounding their life while supporting the person through the decision-making process.  

Other Withdrawal Treatment Methods

Residential

Residential treatment is the most ideal for withdrawal, especially if detox is not complete. In a residential facility, people can receive medical attention if required.

Outpatient

Outpatient treatment can be helpful for people who have already passed the detoxification stage. Typically, outpatient treatment involves therapy and support programs to help sustain a person’s sobriety.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is used in severe cases of withdrawal to help a person wean off the substance they are currently addicted to. 

Technology that Eases Withdrawal Symptoms

Nowadays, high-tech treatment technology is available to help with easing withdrawal symptoms. Here are some options for people seeking further support after detoxification is complete: 

Mobile Health App

Mobile health apps are now available to help people in recovery stay accountable and avoid relapse. 

Wearable Sensors

Recovery technology that provides wearable sensors that track a person’s alcohol or substance levels can help keep a person on a path of sobriety. 

GPS Information

GPS information is sometimes used in severe cases to monitor the location of a person in recovery to ensure they are not going to high-risk places such as bars. 

Ecological Momentary Assessment

Ecological momentary assessment is a repeated assessment of a person’s current experiences as they are occurring. These assessments help gain a further understanding of substance use disorders. 

Machine Learning

Machine learning is used in addiction studies to analyze patterns of addiction to understand ways to treat substance use disorders. 

Biomedical Devices

Biomedical devices and health monitors are used to track a person’s health and progress on their journey to recovery. 

Resources

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Gina Bowman

Executive Assistant

Gina Bowman is the Executive Assistant at Brooks Healing Center. She was born in Florida but resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband, Tyler Bowman, and two daughters Charlotte and Isabella.

Gina is a friendly, loyal, and dedicated individual. She has a heart for helping others and understands the effects of addiction and the toll it can take on families. She is the one that helps make things happen behind the scenes and brings fun ideas to Brooks Healing Center as well as keeping things organized. 

Colleen Bradford, MBA, BA-MHR

Executive Director, Human Resources Director

Colleen Believes servitude towards others provides a solid foundation for personal and professional growth. She is a calm problem solver who juggles multiple situations simultaneously and works confidently and efficiently in even the most challenging, fast-paced environments. She is highly regarded for her consistent ability to apply sound judgment, emotional intelligence, and etiquette to sensitive, confidential, and unpredictable situations. She is an organized, professional, resourceful, and seasoned healthcare professional with diverse skills for boosting organizational productivity and quality of care initiatives.

Colleen has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration with a minor in health care administration from Trevecca Nazarene University. She has been married for 32 years to Doyle Bradford, and they have two sons, Thomas and Allen Bradford, along with two grandchildren, Ben and Faith Bradford. She is excited to have this unique opportunity to serve her community. She is a phenomenal cookie baker and mother figure to those at the Brooks Healing Center. We are honored to have her be a part of our vision. 

Frank Throneberry

Co-Founder and COO

Frank is a lifelong 7th generation native of Middle Tennessee. Frank cares for his local community and keeping Tennessee healthy, knowing that people all over the USA seek out his home state’s friendly and outdoor atmosphere. He is a hardworking and energetic person that is no stranger to going out of his way to help others.

Frank started his recovery from alcohol and substance abuse over seven years ago. He is continually working on a recovery program and became passionate about sharing his story, helping others, and supporting others to find freedom from their addiction. He also formerly owned and managed ‘recovery community’ homes where he walked with and encouraged many individuals in their journey. Frank’s servant attitude is what helps him listen, understand, and put others’ needs first.

Outside of his career, Frank cherishes his time with his wife, Maribeth, and his three children: Jackson, Piper, and Charlie. They enjoy the great outdoors on their family farm in Shelbyville, TN, and boating and fishing with family on Tim’s Ford Lake. He is a dedicated husband and father. 

James “Tyler” Bowman

Founder and CEO

Tyler is the heart of the Brooks Healing Center. His vision is to guide others to find their own recovery and to thrive in life. Tyler was fortunate to have lived through his addiction and now finds fulfillment in serving others. Tyler has worked in the substance abuse field for over five years and felt convicted to build a place where individuals are loved until they can learn to love themselves.  

Tyler has the love and support of his family as he continues to provide care to those who have lost themselves along the way. Tyler is the father of two daughters, Charlotte, his oldest, and Isabella, his youngest. Tyler’s wife, Gina, supports the Brooks Healing Center’s vision, and she shares his passion for helping others as well.  

Tyler has a story to tell and is willing to share his experiences, good or bad, with anyone. Brooks Healing Center is the way he gives back for all he took when he was using. For the past seven years, Tyler has gone beyond to share his recovery and is thriving in life.