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Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction symptoms are both physical and psychological. The psychological symptoms of opiate addiction can be subtle and hard to spot, even by those experiencing them. The physical symptoms of opiate addiction often don’t begin to appear until after an individual has either stopped taking the opiate altogether or has started taking less of the drug.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 21 percent of people admitted for drug treatment in 2009 were suffering from opiate addiction. These patients were treated for addiction to both legal and illegal opiate drugs, including heroin, codeine, methadone, and prescription drugs.

Symptoms, Treatment and Recovery

The psychological symptoms of opiate addiction can be hard to detect, especially if no one is looking for them. A person who is addicted to an opiate will begin to crave the drug more often, with less time passing between the time when he had his last dose and the time when the cravings begin again. Someone addicted to a prescription opiate will often end up taking the drug much more often than prescribed by his doctor. Many will also begin to increase the dosage of a prescribed opiate, taking more than instructed. Those addicted to opiates may also become preoccupied with making sure they have an adequate supply of the drug and will sometimes develop an irrational fear of running out.

Soon after an individual either discontinues or decreases his use of an opiate, he will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. The severity of physical opiate addiction signs and symptoms can depend on the amount of time a person has been using the drug and how much of the drug he has taken. Someone who has been using an opiate for a short period of time will probably experience very mild withdrawal symptoms. Heavier users will often experience more severe opiate withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms might include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Bone pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Addicts keep taking the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms. In most cases, addiction treatment is required in order to keep an individual from relapsing when the physical symptoms of withdrawal become too severe. Call to learn more about the possible, physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal.


  • It is estimated that 9 percent of the population has used opiates improperly at some point in their lives.
  • Nearly 2 million people in the United States alone suffer from opiate dependency.
  • Many people experience opiate addiction and withdrawal without even realizing it. A patient might be given an opiate during a hospital stay. After he is sent home and is no longer being given the drug, he might experience mild opiate addiction symptoms. Many mistake these withdrawal symptoms for the flu.

Detox From Opiates

Successful opiate addiction treatment usually begins with detox. The patient must stop using the opiate he is addicted to. This is best done in a clinical setting, like a drug rehab center. Those who try to detox without professional help often experience such severe withdrawal symptoms that they begin using the drug again to make the symptoms stop.

In a clinical setting, medications are often used to suppress and minimize a patient’s withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine, perhaps the most popular medication used to treat opiate addiction symptoms, helps to reduce anxiety, muscle aches, abdominal cramping, and other symptoms.

is another popular medication used to treat opiate withdrawal. Not only does it help reduce the symptoms, but it can also cut down on the amount of time those symptoms last.

Recovery From Opiate Addiction

Long-term counseling is a major component of successful opiate addiction recovery. Many will still crave the opiate after treatment, and counseling can help the patient recognize and resist those cravings. Self-help groups, like Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery, can also help an individual avoid a relapse by offering ongoing support.

Opiate withdrawal symptoms can range from painful to debilitating. Those who receive the proper care and treatment during withdrawal, and who follow a long-term recovery plan, have a much better chance of overcoming opiate addiction. If you are recovering from opiate withdrawal and need help, call .

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