During opioid withdrawal, you can experience a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms. But can someone die from opioid withdrawal? While it doesn’t directly cause death, its symptoms can become lethal in rare cases, usually in jails. When a patient decides to begin recovery and gets treatment, they experience only discomfort in the vast majority of cases. How does death from opioid withdrawal happen, and how can we prevent it? Learn the answer to this question and more.
What Happens During Opioid Withdrawal?
As someone becomes dependent on opiates, their brain begins to rely on them for everyday function. During the first few times that a person uses opioids, they feel euphoria because of an excess of brain chemicals. Over time, however, the brain gets used to this amount of chemicals and stops producing its own. As a result, the person needs the compounds in opioids to return to their physical and emotional base state. Without a natural source for these chemicals, it becomes difficult for a person to stop using opioids. And so begins the cycle of opioid misuse.
The Dangers of Opioid Withdrawal
Most cases of opioid withdrawal do not cause much harm but result in extreme discomfort. In the early stages of withdrawal, symptoms can include:
- Runny nose
- Anxiety and agitation
- Excess sweating
- Watery eyes
- Muscle aches
During later stages of withdrawal, someone can also experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Enlarged pupils
With proper symptom management, a patient can stay safe during opioid withdrawal. However, an environment where they can’t manage these symptoms can put them in danger.
How Does Opioid Withdrawal Death Happen?
While opioid withdrawal does not directly cause death, its symptoms can result in death in specific cases. Nausea and diarrhea that happen during the late stages of withdrawal can result in dehydration or heart failure. If the patient doesn’t replace the fluids that they lose from these symptoms over a duration of time, they can potentially die from these complications. This situation tends to occur in places like jails that don’t have the right resources to manage addiction.
How Can a Patient Withdraw From Opioids Safely?
On a broad scale, much of the responsibility for preventing opioid withdrawal death lies on jails. Many jails already follow the right protocols to take care of patients who deal with opioid withdrawal. Prisons that don’t follow these guidelines can put their inmates in danger.
Patients who want the safest and most comfortable withdrawal experience possible can get opioid addiction treatment. Clinics like MedMark Treatment Centers can use medicine to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor will find an amount of medication that makes treatment more comfortable for you. With the effects of withdrawal managed, you can work on recovery strategies that help you prevent relapse. Opioid use disorder clinics also provide support services and therapy to provide additional help.
Learn More About Opioids, Addiction and Recovery
MedMark can assist you in getting more information about opioids or starting treatment. You can visit our blog page to find guides like this one that inform patients and loved ones. Potential patients can contact our team online to schedule an appointment at a MedMark clinic near them.