Mind & Body

Taking Back Control: Your Complete Guide to Opioid Addiction, Withdrawal Symptoms, and Recovery

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Many people have heard about the Opioid epidemic, but don’t know what Opioids are exactly. They may think it is a street drug, like marijuana, cocaine, or meth; however, this is a type of drug found in prescriptions only.

Most of the Opioids are an adjusting element of the natural drug Opium. Opioids are used to treat severe pain, like that after surgery, sometimes after a fall. It is widely used and is originally derived from the poppy plant.

Heroin, morphine, and codeine are all under the umbrella of Opioid drugs. Fentanyl and Oxycontin are the strongest of these prescription drugs. Narcotics are the name these mind-altering drugs used to be named under. Many of them with euphoric highs and sleep, almost coma-type, lows.   

These are highly addictive drugs and even though they are prescribed by a doctor, they should be taken as directed and with great care. An Oxycodone detoxification center is a rehabilitation facility that will help someone take back their control over addictions to Opioids and other serious drugs.

Below is your complete guide to Opioid addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and recovery.

  •         Opioids can be found under a variety of names:
  •         Hydrocodone, Hycodan, Vicodin
  •         Codeine
  •         Oxycodone, Percoset, Oxycontin
  •         Morphine, Kadian, MS Contin
  •         Fentanyl, Duragesic

What is an Opioid Addiction?

You may not realize you have an Opioid addiction. Here are several questions to ask yourself, and answer honestly, to help you determine if you should seek help.

  •         Have you been using Opioids longer than prescribed?
  •         Do you use Opioids more often than prescribed?
  •         If you attempt to stop, do you experience withdrawals?
  •         Is your Opioid use causing you negative consequences?
  •         Are you obsessively thinking about Opioids and how to obtain them?
  •         Have you tried unsuccessfully to stop your Opioid use?

If you can honestly answer yes to more than three of the above questions, then you have an Opioid addiction. You may not know what that means, so read further and then seek help.

Opioid Addiction

Some people, yet not all, can have an addictive personality and/or trait in their DNA. This means they should not be prescribed Opioids. In these individuals, taking an Opioid gives them an overwhelming feeling of euphoria or well-being, they can’t obtain from any other substance or act.  

When an Opioid is prescribed for pain relief, it works well, however, many build up a tolerance for it. This means they need a stronger and stronger dose to feel better. Those people who return to the doctor for stronger and stronger medications have become obsessed with the “high” they get from the drug, not the “pain-free, I’m getting better” feeling.

What many don’t realize is a large dose of Opioids can kill you from respiratory arrest or a cardiac event. Overdoses are the most common reason someone dies from an Opioid. They simply take too much, and their body cannot handle it, causing an increase in blood pressure to the point of death.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Although it may feel as if you are dying, Opioid withdrawal symptoms are only uncomfortable, they will not kill you. Now, if you are trying to kick several different drug and alcohol addictions at one time, you should be under a hospital’s supervision as a combination of drug withdrawals can be dangerous.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms from Opioids include:

  •         Abdominal cramps
  •         Vomiting
  •         Nausea
  •         Diarrhea
  •         Irritability, agitation
  •         Low energy
  •         Insomnia
  •         Cold and hot feelings with Goose Bumps
  •         Overall aches and pains, muscle cramps
  •         Teary eyes, runny nose

Not everyone who stops abusing Opioids will have all of these withdrawal symptoms. Most have many of them in one combination or another. They are uncomfortable but worth going through to live a clean and sober life.

The Stages of Opioid Withdrawal

There are two phases of Opioid withdrawal one can expect to go through. The acute phase is typically more physical symptoms, and the second stage, the post-acute stage, is more emotional and mental symptoms. This second stage is normally less severe than the first stage but lasts much longer.

The acute withdrawal is the first phase and it starts about 12 hours after stopping the Opioid drug use. This will peak about four days later and last between one and four weeks depending on the severity and length of an individual’s use.

The second phase of Opioid withdrawal is post-acute withdrawal. This phase could last up to two years. Individuals will experience low enthusiasm, disturbed sleep, varied energy levels, varied levels of concentration, anxiety, and mood swings.


There are many different recovery and treatment plans that will help break the cycle of Opioid abuse. Not every plan or treatment schedule will work for every person wanting to stop abusing this powerful drug. It is best to speak to a certified drug counselor before embarking on an individual plan.

Some helpful tips to remember when entering recovery:

Participate in a Group Recovery Program – Doing a program with other individuals who are going through the same thing is helpful and will motivate you to stick with it.

There are 12-step programs that are specific to Opioid abuse and recovery. Attending these types of groups will help to break the cycle of shame and guilt and help you stay in recovery.

Avoid High-Risk Situations – Do not put yourself in a position to be using drugs again. Avoid dangerous situations so you will not end up hurt and back on strong pain pills.

Ask for Help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And accept help when it is freely offered. Recovery is not a loner activity. There are sponsors in the 12-step programs for this reason, to be of help and support from someone who has been through what you are going through.

Learn and Accept Relapses Happen – Know there will be times when the overwhelming urges to do drugs wins. But also know that there are strategies you can implement to help prevent or change the outcome of relapse.

And remember to take each day as it comes, one at a time.


Rebecca Berman is an on-camera lifestyle reporter, video producer and blogger based in the NYC metropolitan area. Her improvisational skills shine through via her many talents. After graduating from American University with a BA in Communications, Rebecca worked as a production assistant with numerous celebrities and movie producers on such projects as Cocktail, Arthur on the Rocks and Masquerade, to name just a few. Berman spent most of this period working at broadcast giants MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon, where she produced elaborate events such as the VMAs, movie awards parties, VH1 Awards post-parties. She also worked behind the scenes planning launch parties for both MTV Asia and the first EMA show held in Berlin, Germany. After seven years in the entertainment business, Rebecca decided to take a pause and raise her family. She began a second career as a Real Estate agent, enabling her to stay at home and nurture her three children while working. Her temporary hiatus did not last long. As her kids grew older, she realized she wanted to follow her true passion; promoting things in life she loves. Utilizing her creative personality and production skills, Rebecca landed a job as a lifestyle reporter on the local weekly news show “The Local Live.” Her reporting covers a wide range of diverse topics, from local restaurants and bars to waste management and Veterans Affairs (in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity of Westchester). Rebecca is happily married, living with her husband and three children in Westchester, NY. Her ambition has driven her to construct some incredible projects that will surely continue to motivate and entertain many people of all ages.

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