Precipitated withdrawal is a rapid-onset withdrawal. It can cause severe illness and require hospitalization. To understand what is precipitated withdrawal, one must know the properties of opioids and how they affect the brain.

Misuse of drugs in detox, without a doctor or addiction specialist supervising, can result in precipitated withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms are inevitable when detoxing from opioids. The severity of these withdrawal symptoms are unique to the individual. While the withdrawal symptoms are incredibly intense and uncomfortable, they are not generally fatal. However, precipitated withdrawal is worse.

What is Precipitated Withdrawal?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 105,000 drug overdose deaths occurred from 2001 to 2021. It went on to say that many of these deaths involved painkillers. Painkillers include opioids like oxycodone, heroin, and fentanyl. Many of these drugs are prescribed for chronic pain, but end with addiction and, unless one enters a medically supervised detox program, death.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)  can feature heavily in a medically supervised detox. MAT involves experienced medical professionals prescribing drugs to counteract the withdrawal symptoms one might experience during the detox process. When inexperienced or unqualified people administer drugs, precipitated withdrawal—a dangerous development—can follow.

Bad things can happen when a detox takes place without someone qualified to administer drugs. Precipitated withdrawal is a state of withdrawal that occurs when a medication-assisted detox program occurs without first detoxing from opioids. After all, timing is crucial for MAT to be successful. There must be adequate time from the last dose of opioids or heroin before administering medications such as naltrexone or suboxone.

Opioid withdrawals typically transpire over several days to weeks. First, the brain and body must rid themselves fully of the addictive substance. When detox occurs, the brain’s chemistry begin to normalize. In this way, dependence on the drug is reduced. When administered incorrectly, Suboxone or Buprenorphine speeds up this process. This causes precipitated withdrawal.

Symptoms of Precipitated Withdrawal

Precipitated withdrawal is an intense process, especially at the beginning. When administered incorrectly, suboxone can cause symptoms that start just a few hours after the first dose. These symptoms can begin in a few hours and go on for days. What is precipitated withdrawal like when naltrexone induces the intense state? Symptoms begin within minutes and extend over days.

The symptoms of precipitated withdrawal can be incredibly disabling. Also, by inducing withdrawal symptoms to an elevated level from regular opioid withdrawal, a precipitated withdrawal intensifies typical withdrawal symptoms. The most common precipitated withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Intense abdominal pain
  • Nausea and excessive vomiting
  • Excessive diarrhea
  • Intense muscle aches and pains
  • Disorientation and altered perceptions
  • Extreme confusion
  • Fever
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rates
  • Intense headaches
  • Anxiety, agitation, and irritability
  • Sweating and chills

The precipitated withdrawal timeline is different for each individual. Addiction is an individual process, and the same applies to substance withdrawal. Rarely fatal, precipitated withdrawal requires hospitalization. In short, precipitated withdrawal is a recipe for extreme discomfort that could induce relapse.

Can Precipitated Withdrawal Be Medically Stopped?

Research on precipitated withdrawal has indicated micro-dosing with buprenorphine, or Suboxone can sometimes end the severe symptoms. Small gradual, but continuous doses can sometimes override precipitated withdrawal symptoms. However, time is critical in dealing with this painful process. Precipitated withdrawals are another reason people should not try to be in charge of their detox. A professional treatment center is always advisable for opioid withdrawal.

Professional Treatment Options to Relapse

This painful process is why a professional treatment center with a qualified medical team should administer medications during detox. Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is beneficial for lessening the intensity of many opioid withdrawal symptoms. In short, addiction can be overcome but one should not take chances by detoxing with amateurs.

It is dire that, following detox, one follows their treatment protocols to the letter. These protocols will likely include both individual and group therapy. It is crucial one learn new coping mechanisms to replace the negative ones that led to addiction. Patients can learn relapse prevention and positive coping mechanisms through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In other words, seeking a professional detox center like Detox West offers the best chance at living well in the future.

Find Help with Detox in West Tennessee

If you are experiencing an opioid use disorder and wish to receive treatment in Tennessee, Detox West has qualified programs for detox. We only use medically qualified treatment personnel to perform our detox programs, eliminating any possible precipitated withdrawals. Contact us for more information.