Opioid Signs, Withdrawal Symptoms, and Side Effects

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Opioid addiction is a pressing issue that affects countless individuals across diverse communities. Whether you’re personally grappling with opioid dependency, seeking support for a loved one, or simply looking to expand your knowledge as a concerned reader, this blog is here to provide valuable insights. By exploring the subtle signs of opioid use, shedding light on the challenging withdrawal symptoms, and discussing the potential side effects, we aim to foster understanding and promote informed decision-making. Join us as we navigate the intricacies of this complex topic, empowering ourselves and our community with the resources and knowledge needed to forge a path towards recovery and well-being.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, it’s essential to seek help and support. Guardian Recovery is here for you. Visit our website to explore our range of treatment options and resources tailored to address opioid use disorder. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you, providing individualized care and support throughout your recovery journey. Contact us today to take the first step towards a healthier, opioid-free life. Remember, there is hope, and you don’t have to face this battle alone.

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Physical & Psychological Side Effects of Using Opioids

Using opioids can have both physical and psychological side effects. In the short-term, common physical side effects include drowsiness, constipation, nausea, and slowed breathing. These effects may vary depending on the specific opioid used and the dosage. Additionally, opioids can impact an individual’s mental and emotional well-being, leading to psychological side effects such as euphoria, confusion, mood swings, and impaired judgment.

Short-Term Side Effects

Short-term use of opioids can result in a range of side effects. Along with the aforementioned physical and psychological effects, individuals may experience itchiness, dry mouth, sweating, and decreased libido. It is important to note that even short-term use can carry risks, and these side effects should not be taken lightly. It is crucial to use opioids only as prescribed and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Long-Term Effects

Long-term use of opioids can have more severe consequences on an individual’s health. Chronic opioid use may lead to tolerance, meaning higher doses are needed to achieve the same effect. Prolonged use can also result in physical dependence, where the body becomes reliant on the drug to function normally. Long-term opioid use is associated with increased risks of respiratory depression, overdose, and developing opioid use disorder (OUD).

How Long Do Opioid Side Effects Last?

The duration of opioid side effects can vary depending on factors such as the specific opioid, dosage, duration of use, and individual factors. Short-term side effects typically subside once the drug is eliminated from the body. However, some side effects, such as constipation or hormonal changes, may persist for as long as the opioid use continues. Long-term effects, including dependence and addiction, can persist for months or even years without appropriate intervention and treatment.

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What Is Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)?

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a diagnosable medical condition characterized by the problematic use of opioids, including prescription pain relievers or illicit drugs like heroin. OUD is marked by a pattern of compulsive drug use, despite negative consequences. It encompasses a range of symptoms, including an intense craving for opioids, difficulty controlling use, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to reduce or stop use. OUD is a chronic condition that requires comprehensive treatment and support for successful recovery.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Associated With Dependence & Addiction

When individuals who are physically dependent on opioids abruptly reduce or stop their use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can vary in intensity and may include anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, insomnia, excessive sweating, nausea, and diarrhea. The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can be influenced by factors such as the specific opioid used, dosage, duration of use, and individual characteristics.

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline for opioid withdrawal can vary depending on the individual and the specific opioids used. Generally, withdrawal symptoms may begin within hours after the last dose and peak within 1-3 days. Physical symptoms often subside within a week, while psychological symptoms, such as cravings and mood disturbances, can persist for a more extended period. It is important to note that withdrawal can be an uncomfortable and challenging process, underscoring the importance of seeking professional help and support during this time.

What Symptoms Are Caused by an Overdose From Opioids?

An overdose from opioids can have life-threatening consequences. Common symptoms of an opioid overdose include extreme drowsiness, slowed or shallow breathing, pinpoint pupils, unconsciousness, and potentially death. Overdose can occur from either a high dose of a single opioid or a combination of opioids with other substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. Recognizing the signs of an overdose and taking immediate action can be crucial in saving a person’s life.

What Should You Do if Someone Overdoses on Opioids?

If you suspect that someone has overdosed on opioids, it is essential to act quickly. Call emergency services immediately and provide them with as much information as possible about the situation. If available, administer naloxone, a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, as directed. Stay with the person until medical help arrives and follow any instructions provided by emergency responders. Remember, overdose is a medical emergency, and timely intervention can make a life-saving difference.

Opioid Abuse & Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Opioid abuse often co-occurs with mental health disorders, as individuals may turn to opioids as a means of self-medication or to alleviate emotional pain. Conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder are commonly seen alongside opioid use disorders. Treating both the substance use disorder and the co-occurring mental health disorder simultaneously is essential for comprehensive recovery and improved overall well-being.

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Withdrawal Symptoms & Effects

Treating opioid addiction involves a multifaceted approach. Medically supervised detoxification can help manage withdrawal symptoms safely. Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are commonly used to assist in the recovery process by reducing cravings and managing withdrawal symptoms. Behavioral therapies, counseling, support groups, and lifestyle modifications are also crucial components of comprehensive treatment. Individualized treatment plans tailored to each person’s unique needs and circumstances have shown the most promising outcomes in achieving long-term recovery.

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If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid use, Guardian Recovery is here to help. Our dedicated team of professionals is committed to providing compassionate and evidence-based care to support your journey towards recovery. Whether you need assistance with understanding the signs of opioid use, managing withdrawal symptoms, or finding effective treatment options, we are ready to guide you every step of the way. Reach out to Guardian Recovery today to take the brave step towards a healthier, happier, and opioid-free life. Remember, there is hope, and healing is possible with the right support and resources. Don’t wait any longer; let us be your partner in recovery.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

External Link:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/rxawareness/?s_cid=DOP_RxAwareness_Search_Paid_001&gclid=CjwKCAjwvpCkBhB4EiwAujULMvcF2r3VjjEnJO-aLtWX5n8VZktu4y2W4Ua4o_vPsjKAuHsd31Cz9RoCdVgQAvD_BwE
  2. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-drug-class/opioid-medications
  3. https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/substance-use/overdose.asp?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=search-va-naloxone&utm_term=broad-match&utm_content=opioid%20overdose&gclid=CjwKCAjwvpCkBhB4EiwAujULMtUR3R-ZyvA4zZumNOLJSb3m2XOAhGGJZn3Clf21IcdlYTdOu2vEbxoCIpgQAvD_BwE

Internal Link:

  1. https://www.guardianrecoverynetwork.com/addiction-101/
  2. https://www.guardianrecoverynetwork.com/addiction-101/oxycodone-vs-tapentadol/
  3. https://www.guardianrecoverynetwork.com/drug-and-alcohol-addiction/opiate-opioid-addiction/
  4. https://www.guardianrecoverynetwork.com/addiction-101/prescription-drug-abuse-addiction/
  5. https://www.guardianrecoverynetwork.com/addiction-detox-aftercare-planning/10-tips-for-staying-positive-during-drug-addiction-recovery/

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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