Flexeril for Opiate Withdrawal
Opiates and opioids comprise a drug class that includes naturally-derived substances like morphine, as well as synthetic pain relievers like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Heroin is also a semi-synthetic opioid. Prescription opioids are given to patients for pain relief, while heroin is an illicit street drug with no accepted medical uses in the U.S. Opiates and opioids do well in treating pain, but they have severe, adverse side effects.
In addition to causing nausea, vomiting and constipation, opiates and opioids also cause addiction and physical dependence. When someone uses opiates, even as prescribed, those opiates activate certain receptors in the person’s brain. As a result, the substance triggers a euphoric high, particularly when the drugs are taken at high doses. The brain’s reward system is activated as well, which can lead to the development of an addiction. Physical dependence is different from addiction. Dependence can occur regardless of whether or not someone is addicted to opiates or opioids.
Someone who is dependent on opiates or opioids will have physical symptoms if they try to stop using those drugs. The body may feel like it is going into shock; this is withdrawal. The longer or more heavily someone uses opiates, the more severe and long-lasting withdrawal is likely to be. Withdrawal from opiates and opioids isn’t usually deadly, but it is highly uncomfortable and difficult for most people who are physically dependent on these drugs. Opiate withdrawal occurs as someone’s body tries to readjust to operating without these substances in the system. There are varying degrees of opiate withdrawal ranging from mild to severe. Some of the symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, sweating, yawning and gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
There are different routes people can take as they go through opiate withdrawal. One option is to stop using opioids or opiates cold turkey. This tends to be the most difficult approach and also the least successful because most people who go this route relapse. There is also the option to do an at-home detox, but this frequently leads to relapse as well. The best course of action for opiate withdrawal is a medically-supervised detox at a professional facility. In this instance, certain medications can reduce or alleviate withdrawal symptoms. These medications can also lower the risk of relapse.
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