Can You Die From Opiate Withdrawal?

Opioids are prescription and over-the-counter medications containing body relaxation and pain-relieving chemicals. Opiates such as hydromorphone, morphine, methadone, heroin, OxyContin, and codeine are often abused because of their pain-relieving and mental relaxation properties. Chronic opiate use leads to potentially devastating dependence. Withdrawing from opiate dependence can lead to potentially appalling symptoms, including death and other fatalities. Opiate withdrawal signs that lead to fatality include when detoxing from several abused substances and severe addictions. So can you die from opiate withdrawal? Let’s find out.

Everything that Takes Place During Opiate Withdrawal

When you take opiates in sizeable doses or for extended periods, your brain gets accustomed to the substances. It develops physical dependence, lowering the natural production of the chemicals by your brain. In other words, as you continually use opiates, you’ll develop a stronger urge and increasing craving to use it because your brain will need the chemicals released by opiates to function correctly. Over time, you’ll find that you can no longer live without opiates, for your brain will have trained to rely on the opiate-induced chemicals to achieve the desired emotional and physical base state. If you attempt quitting opiate intake, you might experience a range of symptoms.

The opiate withdrawal symptoms are often your body’s reaction to the new-normal state where it has to operate without relying on the drugs. In other words, opiate withdrawal happens when you abruptly stop utilizing opiates or lower the amount you’ve been taking. The range and severity of these symptoms are reliant on the opiate drug you abused, your established tolerance to the painkiller throughout addition, and the range of drugs you abused.

The withdrawal symptoms common with most opiate addicts include extreme vomiting and sweating, and fever. Opiate withdrawal symptoms aren’t life-threatening, especially if you detox through professional aid. However, withdrawal can trigger extreme levels of psychological and physical distress, which is why many people who try stopping opiate use on their own find themselves trapped into chronic use again and again. Sadly, if you keep on stopping and resuming the abuse of opiates, it could get more complicated to quit the drugs in later years.

Known Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal

Opiate withdrawal symptoms aren’t equal for everyone. Patients that haven’t abused these painkillers for long and in large amounts will likely experience mild symptoms. Patients who have consumed multiple opiate drugs in large quantities for an extended period will likely experience highly intense symptoms. Opiate symptoms intensity doesn’t entirely rely on the drug abuse but a range of other factors. These are your current state of health, underlying behavioral or mental disorders, severity and length of opiate addiction, and drug administration process. The early days of withdrawing from opiates will trigger symptoms such as:

  • Increased levels of agitation and anxiety
  • Aches of the muscles
  • Frequent yawning and extreme sweating
  • Watery eyes and runny nose

After several weeks of trying to withdraw from opiate, you might witness these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and stomachaches
  • Vomiting and abdominal stiffness
  • Constricted and bigger pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Ever-changing blood pressure

When Does Death Occur During Opiate Withdrawal?

Deaths from stopping opiates are rare happenings in normal living conditions. However, deaths happen, especially when chronic opiate users try withdrawing independently without suitable facilities and supplies. Deaths also occur when opiate users serving their jail terms try to withdraw, mainly because they don’t get the support and supplies they need to have a safe opiate withdrawal experience. Several deaths related to opiate withdrawal have been reported in jails.

As per experts, the leading cause of such deaths is heart failure and dehydration, which were triggered by extreme opiate withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea and nausea. Since most jails don’t offer safe avenues for people recovering from opiates to heal, once they lose fluids and experience extreme nausea, they are likely to succumb to such harsh symptoms.

Another cause of death during opiate withdrawal is when victims try making the process faster than medically recommended. Known as precipitated opiate withdrawal, this hastened way of withdrawing from opiate often leads to myocardial injury and acute lung injury, conditions that could get severe over time and lead to death.

In addition, withdrawal from amphetamine and cocaine often causes sedation and adrenergic blockade-like mental state, leading to death if not treated during the early stages. Opiate withdrawal deaths also happen when you experience persistent vomiting, leading to deadly conditions such as hypernatremia and heart failure. Although deaths during opiate withdrawal don’t always happen, they at times do happen. Therefore, it’s important to keep safe when withdrawing from opiate use. Call our 24/7 high-qualified counselors now at 833-680-0165.