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Dope Sick Withdrawal

What Does it Mean to Be Dope Sick?

Learn about the flu-like “dope sick” symptoms of opiate withdrawal

When you hear the term “dope sick” it refers to symptoms of illness that come after the effects of opiates wear off. In fact, feeling these dope sick symptoms may be the first sign that dependence has taken hold. The body has become used to the drug’s effects, and it begins to require the substance more often. The dope sick symptoms are a cue to get the next dose ready.

This is the cycle that keeps people locked in addiction. As the brain adapts to the drug, it will become destabilized when the drug is not available. This causes very unpleasant symptoms to emerge. To avoid feeling a flu-like illness, the person will be inspired to feed the disease with more heroin or pills.

Opiate addiction is a serious national problem. The CDC just released fresh data that revealed the highest ever rate of drug overdoses occurred in 2020, with 93,000 deaths. Of these, about 70,000 deaths were due to opiates, nearly 20,000 more than in 2019.

Learn About Opiate Addiction

Opiates include a class of drugs that are derived from the poppy plants that produce opium. These drugs include morphine, heroin, and codeine. Synthetic opiates include fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and hydromorphone. Fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin, is involved in a very large number of recent drug overdose deaths.

Opiates are powerful drugs with a very high risk of leading to addiction. Back in the 70s, it was found that the brain has receptor sites for opiates. When an opiate binds to these receptors it alters the body’s pain perception.

At the same time, it releases a flood of dopamine, causing euphoria. Heroin and other opiates cause the brain to produce ten times the normal levels of dopamine.

Over time, the brain pathways become altered in response to the presence of the drug. This causes the brain to stop making its own dopamine. The drug ceases to offer the same results as it once did due to increased tolerance.

Signs of Opiate Addiction

Addiction sets in quickly as the body becomes dependent on the chemical reaction in the brain. It becomes harder to function normally. Daily tasks are ignored, jobs are lost, and money problems mount. The sole focus becomes obtaining more of the drug, no matter what. Why? To avoid feeling dope sick.

There are some common warning signs that a loved one may be using opiates. Symptoms of opiate dependence or addiction can include:

  • Slowed breathing.
  • Tiny pupils.
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Nodding out or losing consciousness.
  • Signs of euphoria.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Financial problems.
  • Doctor shopping.
  • Mood swings.
  • Compromised immune system.
  • Legal problems.
  • Skin abscesses or infections due to IV use.
  • Bowel perforation.
  • Breathing distress.
  • Displays withdrawal symptoms.

Opiate Withdrawal

When you or a loved one make the choice to get help for the opiate problem, the first step in recovery will be withdrawal management. Detox services are often part of a treatment program, right there on the same campus. This is the best setting to obtain help for treating opiate addiction.

The rehab program will begin with detox. This is the time during which the body has to adjust to no longer receiving the drug. As the effects of the opiates wear off, the person will begin to feel very ill, or “dope sick.” This is the onset of opiate withdrawal symptoms. These dope sick withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours of the last dose:

  • Muscle aches and pain.
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Shaking
  • Yawning
  • Chills, goosebumps.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Mood swings.
  • Racing heart.
  • Lethargy
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Runny nose.
  • Tearing eyes.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Agitation
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Intense drug cravings.

In some cases, meds can help reduce the pain of withdrawal and cravings. These may be prescribed as part of the aftercare program to help you become stable in recovery.

Opiate Recovery

After the detox is complete, it is time to embark on the next phase of recovery. Treatment is needed because it teaches you how to manage cravings, triggers, and stress. The program will teach new coping skills and guide you in planning a relapse prevention plan. Mostly, this part of your recovery gives you a chance to make changes in your thoughts and actions.

Opiate Addiction Treatment includes:

  • Talk therapy. During these one-on-one sessions, the therapist helps you take a look inside. For most people, there are factors that might have been driving the drug use early on. This might have been to self-medicate a source of pain. These could be a mental health issue, chronic pain, a sad life event, or a past trauma.
  • CBT. CBT shows clients how their thought patterns may have led to the use of opiates. The therapist helps to point out disordered thoughts and poor responses to triggers. You then learn how to replace those distorted thoughts with healthy ones.
  • Group sessions. Group therapy provides the social support so crucial in addiction treatment. Members of the group, under the guidance of a therapist, share their own stories and discuss their feelings, their fears, and their goals. These sessions provide a chance to form lasting bonds with peers in recovery.
  • Adjunct therapies. There are several activities that can enhance the treatment results. These include family-centered therapy or couples therapy, life skills training, and coping skills. Learning how to better communicate, how to manage feelings, or to control anger are all useful in recovery.
  • Holistic. When it comes to breaking the grip of opiate addiction, the focus cannot be solely on the substance use disorder. People are comprised of a body, a mind, and a soul. When one of those is broken, it is not possible to fully heal. Holistic methods, like mindfulness, yoga, art therapy, mediation, music therapy, and deep breathing can help address and heal all aspects of the person.

Bodhi Addiction Recovery Treatment for Heroin and Prescription Pill Addiction

Bodhi Addiction Treatment devotes its efforts to care for the whole person. We apply this focus to treating clients with an opiate use disorder and dope sick withdrawal symptoms, knowing that there are many layers to the addiction. With expert treatment offered through a holistic lens, wellness can be restored. For more detail about the program, please reach out to the team today at (877) 328-1968.