“Dope Sick” is a term that describes a pattern of symptoms related to withdrawal from opiates or opioids such as heroin or prescription painkillers. These symptoms occur when a person tries to quit using a drug abruptly or dramatically cut back.
Withdrawal complications from opiates and opioids are rarely fatal, but symptoms are highly uncomfortable and often lead to relapse or suicidal ideations. The severity and duration of symptoms are primarily dependent on individual factors, the intensity and frequency of drug use, and whether or not professional help is sought (medical detox) for the withdrawal process.
Dope sick withdrawal symptoms include, but is not limited to the following:
- Depression and anxiety
- Mood swings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drug cravings
- Excessive sweating
- Insomnia and sleep disturbances
- Muscle aches and pains
- Watery eyes and runny nose
How Long Does Dope Sickness Last?
Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within a few hours of the last use and tend to peak within 1-3 days. Effects begin to subside over the course of a week, but some symptoms may persist longer and take weeks to abate fully.
Treatment for Dope Sickness
Undergoing a medical detox is strongly recommended for anyone suffering from opioid withdrawals to avoid relapse and severe mental health issues. During detox, vital signs can be closely monitored and medications rendered to mitigate symptoms. Medication-assisted treatment usually includes opioid replacement therapy such as buprenorphine or suboxone to manage cravings and the worst effects of withdrawal.
Detox should be following by inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment for a period of not less than 30 days.
Benefits of professional detox following by addiction treatment include the following:
- 24-hour medical supervision
- Medication management for withdrawal symptoms as needed
- Individual and group therapy
- Individual and family counseling
- Nutritional assessment and guidance
- Holistic treatment options such as yoga, meditation, art therapy, and more
There is a wide range of treatment options available to help those who want to get clean, so seek one out and make a huge change in your life today.