oxymorphone (Opana ER)
oxycodone (Oxycontin, Oxecta)
Hydrocodone (Zohydro ER)
Withdrawal symptoms sticker
What are the withdrawal symptoms?
Withdrawal is also known as detoxification or detox. It is when you stop, or reduce the use of alcohol or other drugs. You may have developed a physical or psychological dependence on a drug, or both. Symptoms that appear during withdrawal can be mild or severe, depending on:
How long have you been using
This happens when you’ve been on medication for a while and your body depends on it to feel normal. Your body is now used to working with the drug in your system, so if the drug is not taken, withdrawal symptoms will start to appear.
This is when you think you need the medicine to work. You may think you need it in certain situations, such as being social at a party or relaxing after work, or it may be all the time.
What can I expect?
As your body gets used to working without the medication, you can experience a range of symptoms from mild to serious. In general, withdrawal feels like the opposite of the drug. For example, when you withdraw from a depressive medication such as alcohol, you may feel anxious and agitated, or you may have a tremor.
These symptoms vary between people and between medications.
Cravings (drug withdrawal symptoms)
Drug cravings happen because the brain has learned that the easiest and quickest way to feel satisfied is to use the drug. This becomes a way of dealing with problems and avoiding bad feelings.
Cravings come and go. Sometimes they can be weak, sometimes very strong. Managing cravings is very important in the long run, because you can still sometimes feel them many years after you stop using them. Learning to manage cravings includes distraction and relaxation techniques such as reading, watching a movie, meditating, or exercising. It may help to remind yourself that your brain has learned this pattern of thinking over time, and you can retrain it to follow a new pattern of thinking.
Sometimes, medications may be used to help treat withdrawal symptoms from certain medications. This is called drug therapy.
Withdrawal will generally last from a few days to a few weeks, but some symptoms such as cravings can last longer. Exactly how long depends on factors such as:
How long have you been using it?
If you are using other medicines
Your general health
The setting in which you choose to opt out.
Is Withdrawal Safe? (Withdrawal Symptoms Drugs)
You may need medical supervision for safe withdrawal. Always discuss withdrawal with your doctor or with alcohol and other substance abuse treatment services for the first time, but this is especially important when withdrawing from alcohol, GHB, benzodiazepines or ketamine.
Where can I go?
You need a safe and supportive environment when withdrawing. Have a discussion with your doctor, health practitioner, or drug and alcohol service for advice on which preparation is best for you. One of the following will likely be recommended:
Withdrawal from home (withdrawal symptoms medication)
It is usually provided by a team that includes your doctor, a nurse and a support person such as a friend or family member. If your withdrawal probably isn’t complicated, this could be a good choice.
If you do not need to be accepted into a residential service, this is a good choice. It includes individual consultations with a health professional within a short period of time, as well as ongoing advice and support.
Residential withdrawal (withdrawal symptoms medication)
It usually requires 5 to 10 days in a residential withdrawal unit or hospital, with staff available 24 hours a day. They will help you during withdrawal and afterward to avoid relapse. Some condominiums will not allow you to contact your partners, friends or family for a while. This is to help you focus on your treatment instead of worrying about what’s going on at home. It also keeps you away from people who use drugs, as this can cause cravings.
How can I prepare? (Withdrawal symptoms medication)
It is a good idea at this point to plan for follow-up treatment after withdrawal as well, as this greatly reduces the chance of relapse. Learn more about treatment options.
Help and support for withdrawal
Talk to your doctor, or an alcohol and other drug treatment service
Make sure you have a support person and a supportive environment for your withdrawal.
Supportive person: Try to stay positive with your friend, especially when things get tough and they start to question why they’re doing this. It is very important that you challenge any irrational thoughts your loved one may have.
Write down your personal list of reasons for withdrawal
List the pros and cons of using and giving up the drug. It can help you stay motivated when things seem too difficult and you’re thinking of giving up.
Supportive Person: Review this list with them when they are struggling, or ask if quitting is a really good idea.
Plan what you will do if you use drugs during withdrawal
Sometimes this happens, and it’s a critical stage in your treatment. Try to think of it as a setback and keep going. Withdrawing is really hard, but you can learn from this setback by talking about why it happened, what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do differently next time.
Some people choose to forgo treatment.
Support person: Help them deal with a relapse if they start using the drug again. Remind them that you will love and support them even in the event of a relapse. Watch out for overdose.
Don’t forget that when you use it regularly, your body gets used to the medicine
…so you need a higher dose to get the effects. When you stop taking it, even for just a few days, your tolerance can drop dramatically. If you use substances, you are at a real and very serious risk of an overdose. Protect yourself and reduce your dose.
Support person: Going back to their old dose puts them at a very real and serious risk of overdose. You may want to prepare yourself by knowing what to do if someone takes an overdose
Stay busy so you don’t have time to think about how you feel
You probably won’t be able to focus for long and your memory may not work well, so consider easy activities like:
Watching TV or Movies
Take short trips.
Practice stress management and distraction techniques
…to help you manage your symptoms, cravings, and difficult moments. Cravings come and go, sometimes triggered by certain circumstances or reminders. Sometimes they may feel overwhelmed. Learning to manage food cravings is very important, and it will help you now and in the future as you may still experience them from time to time. Consider trying:
Watching a movie or TV show
Reading or listening to music
Full concentration of the mind
Talk to your support person.
Be aware of the rules
Hospitals or withdrawal units have different rules and restrictions on visiting, contacting the person and items that can be brought into the unit.
Try to eat healthy food, even if you crave fast food. A balanced diet can help reduce some withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings. Stay hydrated by drinking 1 to 2 liters of water per day, but don’t have more than 3 liters. You may need a multivitamin supplement if you feel sick and cannot eat much.