When a dependent individual abruptly stops taking opioids (leading opioid-blood concentration to fall below the required level), the now opioid-tolerant central nervous system (CNS) goes haywire. With no inhibitive stimulation to satisfy receptors, the pathways of the CNS fire signals strenuously, performing at a level much higher than pre-dependence levels.
Now the locus coeruleus responds by triggering the autonomic fight or flight response. What results is known as the opioid withdrawal syndrome, and it’s one of the most horrific experiences an individual could even go through.
Some of the most common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:
- Achy muscles and limbs
- Teary eyes
- Runny nose
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Hot and cold sweats and chills
- Goose bumps
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)