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Medically Reviewed

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Strong, LMHC

Written by Tampa Bay Recovery staff
Updated on August 13, 2023


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Opioid addiction makes the news a lot because it has become such a problem in this country. This dangerous category of drugs can quickly go from casual usage to a full-blown addiction. When this happens, people can end up struggling with an opioid use disorder (OUD) for years. In addition, they put themselves at risk of overdosing or even dying. Tampa Bay Recovery Center provides a highly effective program at our opioid rehab that helps people get off this dangerous narcotic and learn to stay sober.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a type of drug that comes from the opium poppy plant. They fall under the heading of Schedule II drugs, which means the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has determined them to have a high potential for abuse. Users are at an elevated risk of developing physical or psychological dependence on this type of drug. In fact, opioid addiction has affected the lives of three million people in the U.S.

Opioids are commonly prescribed to treat pain. When a person takes an opioid drug, it binds itself to receptors in the brain in order to block pain signals. Opioids can also increase the production of dopamine, which causes people to feel positive feelings like joy and pleasure. When the drug is used for too long or abused, it can impede the brain’s ability to naturally produce dopamine. As a result, the person begins to feel a need to continue taking opioids in order to achieve those feelings of happiness and relaxation.

Some people have a legitimate prescription for opioids but go on to become addicted to them. Others obtain them illegally either through friends or family members or by buying them from drug dealers. What may start out as recreational use by these people can easily transition into addiction. Either way, once the person develops an OUD, they will need help from a professional opioid detox center.


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Common Opioid Drugs

Many drugs fall under the umbrella of opioids. Common ones include the following:
  • Vicodin
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Dilaudid
  • Demerol
  • Codeine
  • Tramadol
  • Morphine
  • Dilaudid
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction

When someone develops an addiction to opioids, certain signs will become apparent. Some of the most common ones are physical in nature and include:

  • Sleeping excessively
  • Lethargy
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of interest in personal hygiene
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Moodinness
  • Taking an increased amount of the drug because the person developed a tolerance
  • Trying to quit taking the drug and being unable to do so

In addition, many people experience changes in their behavior. They isolate themselves from family and friends and often spend time alone using opioids. The person often has trouble with work, school, and personal responsibilities. They may have unexplained usage of their money or borrow or steal from others.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

It is expected that someone attending an opioid detox center will experience some withdrawal symptoms. Which ones a person has varied, depending on their bodies and the length and severity of their addiction. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Diarrhea and cramping
  • Body aches and pains
  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Drug cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
Not every person attending an opioid detox center has the exact same timeline for withdrawal. The first withdrawal symptoms can begin anywhere from six to twenty-four hours after taking the last dosage. Most symptoms are at their most difficult during the second to fourth days. Starting around day five, they begin to subside.

Medications Used to Treat Withdrawal Symptoms During Opioid Detox

When someone goes through withdrawal from opioid addiction, clinicians can provide different types of prescription medications to help minimize the symptoms. This is called medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The person will be assessed to see if any of the medications may be right for them. The types of meds that may be used include:

Methadone: This medication helps many people get through the long-term stages that come with heroin withdrawal. Usage decreases the person’s cravings for heroin and tricks the body into thinking it has taken the drug. It does not cause a person to feel high.

Buprenorphine: This medication also helps fool the body into thinking it has taken an opioid, which aids in reducing drug cravings. It can also help reduce other withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone: When someone who is taking this Naltrexone or Vivitrol also takes an opioid drug, it blocks the brain’s opioid receptors. As a result, the person does not feel the high sensation they normally do. They will feel unpleasant symptoms instead, which serves to take away the incentive to use opioids again.

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What Happens After Opioid Detox

Detox is a vital step in becoming sober but it’s only the first one. While a person receives treatment at an opioid detox center, their treatment team will assess their progress. From there, a plan can be devised for the appropriate next step in treatment. Some people go on to live in a residential facility while others receive outpatient care at Tampa Bay Recovery Center. Treatment in either level of care can range from a few weeks to several months. Our treatment programs include the following:

Does Opioid Addiction Cause Mental Illness?

About half of the people who have a substance use disorder such as opioid addiction also deal with at least one diagnosable mental illness. In fact, the two conditions can feed into each other. Someone who has a mental health disorder may begin using or abusing opioids to help ease painful symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or flashbacks. Without meaning to, their attempt at self-medicating turns into an addiction.

Conversely, a person who has an opioid addiction may unknowingly cause either the development or worsening of symptoms of mental illness. This condition is called dual diagnosis: having both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. Due to the prevalence of this situation happening, many treatment programs offer a dual-diagnosis treatment plan. This allows the person to tackle both diagnoses at the same time. This helps them heal faster and save money by treating both conditions simultaneously.

Find Help with Drug Rehab in Tampa Bay

Do you need help getting off opioids but don’t know where to turn or know someone who needs help for their addiction? Tampa Bay Recovery Center is home to world-class opioid addiction treatment programming that helps people overcome their opioid use disorder. Our skilled team of addiction experts knows how to show people the way to become sober and stay that way. Our programs include detox and residential treatment provided by skilled clinicians who provide a variety of addiction-related therapies.  Are you ready to change your life? Visit our admissions page now and see how quickly you can get started on living a healthy life again

Our Philosophy

We believe that getting help for substance use disorders is about much more than just trying to get through another day of not drinking or using drugs. Our mission is to help people reclaim their lives by teaching them how to effectively deal with the stress, trauma, and anxiety that contribute to their addictions. 

Meet Our Team

Our staff has over 60 years of combined experience in treating behavioral health disorders. Our compassionate and empathetic approach has helped hundreds.