The opioid crisis has caused a gradual decline in our society, and unfortunately, there is no end in sight. Research released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed that nearly 130 people die every day throughout the country, from opioid abuse.
The crisis started because doctors over-prescribed medications like Demerol and other opioids that can cause addiction. Opioid addiction was confined to specific parts of the country for many years, but it has infected the United States like the plague and affects public health as a whole.
Demerol withdrawal occurs in two distinct phases based on the drug’s interaction with opioid receptors located in our body. The initial wave of symptoms will replicate a common cold, while the second phase feels more like the flu. Those going through opioid withdrawal will attest to these symptoms.
Those going through Demerol withdrawal might also experience intense psychological and emotional symptoms. Agitation or anxiety can be a part of the initial phase, while depression will appear in the second.
If you experience depression, it may cause you to have suicidal thoughts, which require professional help to overcome. Clinicians and doctors alike are trained to help you overcome the rough emotional symptoms Demerol withdrawal will cause.
The initial phase of Demerol withdrawal includes:
Once the peak of symptoms begins to take over you, you can expect more uncomfortable symptoms to show up, which include:
You should not expect Demerol withdrawal symptoms to cause seizures or be fatal if you compare it to alcohol or benzodiazepines, but there are risk factors to consider. Overdosing is a possibility if you were to relapse after abstaining from the drug for a few days.
The tolerance your body built up to Demerol will drop considerably, which may cause you to overdose if you take the dose your body was once acclimated to using. Professional treatment will remove you from potential triggers, which is crucial at this point.
Withdrawal symptoms will not be the same for everyone based on various factors, including your unique brain chemistry. Symptoms will range from mild to severe based on your level of chemical dependency, and how long you used Demerol. Cravings are challenging to resist, and it can cause drug-seeking behavior, which may lead to heroin or fentanyl use if you cannot obtain Demerol.
The symptoms that mimic a cold will take hold around the first day and last for a week. At the 72-hour mark, the symptoms will reach their peak and feel like the flu. Once they dissipate, anxiety, depression, and fatigue may persist for months, or in some cases, a year. Speak to a medical professional if these symptoms do not subside.
If you are serious about changing your life and treating your Demerol addiction, you must start with medical detox. Abstaining cold-turkey will cause severe effects on the body and mind, which requires professional help to overcome. Detoxing alone often results in relapse, which in some cases, can cause death.
Depending on the level of your needs, the staff will arrange your level of care tailored to what you need today. While it may change in the future, the team will monitor any changes to focus on what you need in the present. Only a medical professional can determine your next treatment step, but it may include residential or outpatient treatment.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 22). Opioid Overdose Crisis. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
Opiate and opioid withdrawal: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification
Waldhoer, M., Bartlett, S. E., & Whistler, J. L. (2004). Opioid receptors. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15189164
Darke, S., Larney, S., & Farrell, M. (2016, August 11). Yes, people can die from opiate withdrawal – Darke – 2017 – Addiction – Wiley Online Library. from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13512