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Can You Die from Opiate Withdrawal?

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Opiate addiction is a serious problem in the United States. Over two million people in the U.S. suffer from addiction to prescription painkillers. Opiates are derived from opium, which comes from the poppy plant. Opiates and closely related opioids include drugs like heroin, Vicodin, OxyContin, and codeine. These drugs are extremely addictive and can lead to debilitating withdrawal symptoms. But can you die from opiate withdrawal symptoms?

At California Centers for Recovery, we understand the challenges that come with addiction to opiates and other drugs. We offer treatment programs specifically tailored to individuals struggling with opiate addiction. Our evidence-based, comprehensive opiate detox program combines detox, counseling, and support services to help clients build a strong foundation for lasting recovery. Get started today by calling 877.328.5682 or contacting us online.

What Are Opiate Withdrawals?

Opiates bind to receptors in the brain and spinal cord to relieve pain. When someone takes opiates regularly, they become dependent on the drug and need it to feel normal. If they stop taking opiates suddenly, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Insomnia

The Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal symptoms usually start soon after the last dose is taken.

  • Within six to twelve hours – Symptoms typically start gradually, including restlessness, agitation, and an inability to sleep.
  • Within 24 hours – Symptoms peak and become more intense. Nausea, vomiting, cramping, and muscle aches may occur.
  • 36-72 hours – Symptoms start to subside but can still be quite uncomfortable.
  • Beyond 72 hours – Withdrawal symptoms gradually decrease in intensity and usually resolve within five to seven days, though some individuals may experience lingering symptoms for weeks or even months.

Long-term opiate withdrawal symptoms can be detrimental to recovery as they can cause relapse. Treatment at an opiate detox center provides clients with the skills and support they need to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce their risk of relapse. With support during treatment, people can begin to rebuild a foundation for lasting recovery.

Can You Die from Opiate Withdrawal?

Being in withdrawal itself is not fatal, but some of the symptoms can be. For example, dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea can lead to severe electrolyte imbalances that can be deadly. Additionally, some people may turn to alcohol or other drugs to self-medicate their withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to overdose and death.

It’s important to seek professional help when detoxing from opiates because medical staff can monitor you for complications and provide support during difficult times. Without proper medical care, the risks associated with opiate withdrawal can be significantly higher.

What to Expect in an Opiate Abuse Detox Program

If you decide to seek professional help for your addiction, you will likely go through a medically assisted detox program. Detox is the first step in recovery and involves cleansing your body of all traces of opiates. During detox, you will be monitored around the clock by medical staff who will keep you safe and comfortable as your body goes through withdrawal.

After you have completed detox, you will be ready to begin treatment for your addiction. Treatment typically includes individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and holistic therapies designed to help you heal your mind, body, and spirit. After completing treatment, you will have the tools you need to live a sober life.  

Find Help at California Centers for Recovery  

Now that you know the answer to “can you die from opiate withdrawal symptoms?” it is time to get help. At California Centers for Recovery, we offer individualized treatment programs designed to meet your unique needs.

We understand how difficult it is to overcome addiction, and we are here to support you every step of the way. Get started today by contacting us at 877.328.5682.