Opioids are widely-used and hugely concerning substances in today’s day and age. The ever-present problem of drug use causes major debates and discussions across governments and societies throughout the world.
Do we continue to punish people who use drugs, or do we decriminalize these offenses to get more people into treatment? What about safe injection sites? All these questions and more are commonly addressed by healthcare officials and addiction advocates on a global scale.
As opioid use has increased over the years, particularly with heroin, fentanyl and prescription pills, the U.S. has become entangled in an opioid epidemic of terrifying proportions. What was once a rather secretive and forbidden activity is now a major problem that affects every population and all parts of society.
Opioid use has wreaked havoc on so many American families, and advocates and healthcare officials are scrambling for solutions before more lives are lost prematurely.
There have been alarming trends of increased usage, particularly by young Americans, over the past years. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017 2.7 percent of 12th graders in the U.S. admitted to taking OxyContin, a prescription pain reliever, at least once. Then there’s the fact that overdoses of prescription painkillers kill 44 people in the U.S. every day, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With the future looking more and more bleak for all those affected by the opioid crisis, now is the time to familiarize yourself with these substances and their long-term effects, especially the dope sickness timeline.
Dope sickness affects so many Americans using opioids; the presence of these side effects often cause overdoses because users will do anything to avoid these uncomfortable feelings and sensations.
Regardless of your personal preferences and beliefs, it will help you recognize the signs of dope sickness so that you can better approach situations involving drug dependence. You never know when you may be able to help someone or even save a life! Here are some of the most essential things you should know about opioid usage and the accompanying dope sickness.
Opioids and their Make-Up
It’s helpful to understand what exactly opioids are and why a scary number of people become dependent on such substances. Opioids are derived from the juice and dried latex of the opium poppy plant.
Examples of opioids include morphine, codeine, heroin, oxycodone and Vicodin. These drugs are depressants or “downers” that affect the brain’s pleasure sensors and systems while also interfering with the brain’s ability to process pain.
Because of these depressive effects, consistent opioid abuse results in dope sickness, which occurs when someone tries to stop using opioids. Essentially, dope sickness occurs when someone is withdrawing from opioids and they experience withdrawal effects.
Undesirable Side Effects
The Dope Sickness Timeline consists of when symptoms arise and how long they will last for after the last opioid intake. Of course, as with any drug or consumed substance, every single person may have a different reaction depending on a whole variety of factors.
Some people may experience dope sickness when they try to quit cold turkey, or if they dramatically cut back on their dosage amount. Unfortunately, these symptoms can easily cause a relapse or suicidal thoughts, due to the high level of discomfort and pain.
Medical and drug experts say some of the most common side effects associated with dope sickness include severe anxiety, depression, paranoia, mood swings, lethargy, drug cravings, excessive sweating, nausea and vomiting. Opioid users may also experience insomnia and sleep disturbances, watery eyes, runny nose, muscle aches and pains and diarrhea.
These symptoms are no doubt very uncomfortable and lead many people right back into the deadly cycle of drug abuse because they hate going through dope sickness when they try to stop.
The severity and duration of dope sickness symptoms depend on each individual person and their particular history of drug use, including if they have ever received medical attention or gone through the detox process.
Unfortunately, one of the main reasons why opioid overdose deaths are on the rise is because so many users can’t stand the symptoms they experience when they aren’t using, and so they keep using to combat the discomfort. The human body can become so dependent on these substances that not using opioids, even for just a few days, can cause undesirable effects.
Withdrawal symptoms often appear within just a few hours of the last dose, which is why you find so many opioid users injecting or taking pills multiple times a day. Although dope sickness symptoms typically peak within 1-3 days before subsiding over the course of a week, some physical and mental effects can last for weeks before finally tapering off.
In an effort to assist users and get people the medical attention they need, healthcare experts and addiction advocates are promoting medical detox for anyone struggling with opioid withdrawals. This is to hopefully avoid relapse and significant mental health issues. Doctors can monitor vital signs during the detox process and administer non-addictive medications to make symptoms a little less intense.
Many people believe the key to decreasing opioid overdose deaths lies in appropriate and prompt medical treatment and rehabilitation. Because dope sickness is so difficult, most users will fall right back into their old habits and continue using opioids. However, doctors can and should assist these patients in maintaining their health and slowly but surely guide them to a better future away from drugs.
As the opioid epidemic continues to cause worry and heartbreak throughout the country, the healthcare industry and addiction specialists must reach out and extend a helping hand to all those who are struggling along with opioid dependence and the challenging withdrawal process. The hope is that such actions will work toward decreasing opioid use and overdoses.