dope sick symptoms

If you’ve ever heard this term before, you may be wondering, ‘what is dope sick?’. The term “dope sick” refers to the condition of experiencing withdrawal symptoms due to opiate addiction. The person may initially discover they are addicted to prescription painkillers when they stop taking the pills and begin to feel intense flu-like symptoms. More commonly, those addicted to heroin will refer to this condition as being dope sick, which fuels the need to obtain more of the drug.

When someone experiences these highly unpleasant dope sick symptoms they may eventually become motivated to seek treatment for the opiate addiction. When arriving at this juncture, the idea of going through detox may seem insurmountable, which is why someone considering addiction recovery should first undergo detox in a medical detox program. Without this important support, chances are that the individual will never complete the detox process, therefore never getting addiction treatment.

For individuals considering rehab after experiencing dope sick symptoms as a result of heroin or opioid withdrawal, it helps to have a general understanding of the recovery process. It is important to grasp that detox is insufficient for a sustained recovery to happen; treatment involves several steps, each leading to the next phase of recovery. This information can help one prepare for treatment and improve the opportunity for recovery success.

What Causes Dope Sick Symptoms?

When someone has become addicted or chemically dependent on heroin or prescription opioids, and either runs out of their supply or attempts to cut back or quit, they will experience dope sick symptoms. These symptoms are spurred by the central nervous system attempting to recalibrate and stabilize when the drug is withheld. Over the period of drug use, the brain has made accommodations to the presence of the opiate, culminating in altered brain chemistry. When the drug is not ingested as expected, the central nervous system reacts with the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shaking
  • Mood swings
  • Lethargy
  • Runny nose
  • Tearing eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Drug cravings

Steps of Opiate Addiction Treatment and Recovery

When initiating treatment for an opiate addiction and dope sickness, it must be understood that detoxification is only the first step of the process. It is helpful to understand that addiction recovery is a life-long journey that will involve various steps along the recovery continuum. These steps include:

Medical Detox

Before beginning treatment for changing addiction behaviors and lifestyle habits it is essential that the individual successfully complete detox and withdrawal. In order to better ensure that detox is completed, a medically monitored detox program is recommended. In a medical detox the individual will be watched carefully over the 7-10 day detox process, with vital signs recorded and medical interventions provided to help ease the intensity of the dope sick symptoms, which will peak on days 2-3.

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Addiction Treatment

After detox is completed the individual progresses to the addiction treatment phase of recovery. It is recommended that individuals select an extended inpatient program for an opiate addiction, as these will provide a higher level of care and 24-hour support. In the addiction treatment phase individuals will participate in the following interventions:

  • One-on-one talk therapy
  • Group counseling sessions
  • 12-step program
  • Family counseling
  • Addiction education and guest speakers
  • Relapse prevention strategies
  • Medication management
  • Holistic activities, such as yoga, mindfulness training, art and music therapy, massage therapy
  • Recreation therapy
  • Nutritional counseling

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

FDA approved medications are available for supporting opiate recovery. The drugs, such as methadone, Suboxone, and naltrexone, act as a replacement for the heroin or prescription opioids and help to incrementally stop the cravings for those drugs. These drugs have the potential to be abused, therefore careful monitoring of the MAT is required.

Continuing Care

After completing the inpatient rehab program, the individual continues to maintain sobriety through several continuing care activities. These include participating regularly in a recovery community such as N.A. or A.A., receiving ongoing outpatient individual and group therapy, and possibly residing in sober living housing for a few months following rehab.

Solutions 4 Recovery Offers Top Tier Opiate Addiction Treatment in Orange County

Solutions 4 Recovery is a leading addiction and dual diagnosis treatment provider located in South Orange County, California. With the expertise of highly trained and respected psychotherapists and addiction treatment professionals heading up an integrated program, Solutions 4 Recovery understands the challenges of overcoming opiate addiction.

At Solutions 4 Recovery, recovery success begins with an individualized treatment plan that takes into consideration the nuances of each client’s recovery needs and goals. Using a combination of evidence-based treatment modalities and holistic activities, Solutions 4 Recovery offers the most advanced treatment elements available today. For more information about the program, please contact Solutions 4 Recovery today at (888) 417-1874.