Opioids rewire the brain so that the drugs become the only real source of pleasure. The body adjusts itself to accommodate the opioid, and the person’s tolerance grows over time. That means the addict needs more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect. Removing that source of pleasure leaves the mind and body without the natural processes it relied on before the addiction.
Suddenly removing the drug can be very painful with symptom including:
- Body aches
- Severe agitation
- Profuse sweating
- Runny nose and eyes
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramping
- Hallucinations and suicidal thoughts
Because detox is so painful, the experience increases the risk of relapse. Opiate withdrawal is not considered fatal in and of itself; nonetheless, detox in a residential treatment center or qualified detoxification center is highly recommended.