Can You Get Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms from Opium
Opium and opioid drugs derived from opium like heroin, morphine, and oxycodone are central nervous system depressants that induce euphoria, sedation, pain relief, and a calming effect for other unwanted stimuli as they work their magic on opioid receptors and the “reward center” of the brain.
From the occasional and limited use of opium emerges a chronic drug-dependent state where the impulsivity to use opium becomes compulsive and the pleasing, positively reinforcing effects of the drug are maintained by the negatively reinforcing relief from withdrawals.
Because opium has the ability to alter brain regulations and central nervous system functions, it causes a number of physiological changes that may be long-lasting or permanent including post acute withdrawal symptoms. The more progressive the opium dependency becomes, the greater the degree of a neuronal adaptations that are allowed to take place, and hence, the probability that you will get post acute withdrawal symptoms from opium for months even years after you stop using it.
What Causes Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms from Opium?
According to the Institute of Medicine (US), “drugs can interact at many different functional levels including the molecular, cellular, and systems levels.” The opium molecules found in its morphine, codeine, and thebaine contents are psychoactive chemicals that closely interact with the “reward center” of the brain to influence natural processes we use to feel well, but, to abnormally higher degrees. The “reward center” has a natural function to compute the importance of reward-based behaviors like opium use and orchestrates a number of neurobiological responses that motivate the person towards repeating the opium use.
When you become dependent on opium, your brain and your body is in a continuous state of having to adjust to the frequent intoxications and withdrawals. According to the research studyby theCommittee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, The Scripps Research Institute, ” the deviation from normal brain emotional regulation (i.e., the allostatic state) is fueled by numerous neurobiological changes, including decreased function of reward circuits, loss of executive control, facilitation of stimulus–response associations, and notably recruitment of the brain stress systems.”
In simpler terms, the brain is our control center for everything we think, feel, or do and as it is conditioning itself during dependency, it is also changing a great deal of other systems and functions within the body. As a result, just because you are able to stop use of the opium doesn’t mean that things will immediately, if ever, go back to where they were before you began.
What Are Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms from Opium?
Post acute withdrawal symptoms from opium are those adverse and anxiety-like symptoms a person feels for weeks, months, or even years after discontinuing opium use. According to theNational Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “Growing evidence suggests that neuroadaptive changes outlast physical withdrawal and detoxification.” The person may continue to excessively crave the opium and even after taking the appropriate steps to minimize those cravings, conditioned responses can flare up cravings without any conscious desire to use the drug.
Depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, low energy levels, insomnia, and increased sensitivity to stress are post acute withdrawal symptoms that can be significant “triggers’ to relapse as stress regulating systems become disrupted and dysfunctional over the course of opium use. Along with decreased functioning of the “reward circuits”, these psychological indicators can make it difficult for the person to enjoy the fruits of their recovery efforts for a long time compounding the emotional stress, exacerbating, and prolonging the symptoms they experience.
According to the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, The Scripps Research Institute, “the withdrawal/negative affect stage, most likely involve decreases in function of the extended amygdala reward system but also recruitment of brain stress neurocircuitry.” Neurotransmission of dopamine and norepinephrine are gravely affected during opium use. Dopamine acts as the reward chemical while norepinephrine helps to control emotional stress. Between the two, nearly every system of the brain and body become affected or disrupted.
Environmental or contextual influences such as consequential physical impairments, arrests, damaged relationships, or employment, housing, and financial losses can take a drastic toll on the person’s ability to recover, therefore also extending the post acute withdrawal symptoms of opium they may experience.
What Helps to Alleviate Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms from Opium?
You must make significant lifestyle changes to eliminate the impact of stress, to avoid “triggers” to use, and to improve your overall health and social functioning. This is easier said than done for most individuals and they often end up relapsing and causing a higher degree of problematic neuroadaptations to occur. The next withdrawal is usually worse than the last and the post acute withdrawal symptoms of opium are prolonged.
Many people go through several detox and relapse phases before they are able to maintain any long-term abstinence period to accomplish the things they set out for in recovery, but, don’t let this get you down and out. Help is available in increasingly compassionate and humane ways and because opium dependency has become well known for its effects as a brain disease, treatment providers are able to treat you with the dignity and respect that you deserve.
Like any other disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure, the opium dependency is not a disease that can be cured, but, it can be managed with appropriate interventions and diligent controls. Medications like methadone and buprenorphine may be used to alleviate post acute withdrawal symptoms in detox strategies or in maintenance therapies for those who continue to struggle after the detox period is terminated. In these treatments, the primary goals are to alleviate cravings and withdrawals, block the effects of opium once a cross tolerance is achieved, and improve your health by correcting internal forces; while giving you the support, counseling, and access to psychosocial services you need to minimize or eliminate the external ones.