Saturday, December 15th, 2018

What is Dope Sick?

September 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Addiction, Drug Abuse, Heroin, Opiate, Substance Abuse, Uncategorized

What is Dope Sick?

what is dope sick

Dope sick is the slang term for being in withdrawal from opiates such as narcotic painkillers (oxycodone, hydrocodone) and heroin and refers to the symptoms you experience after stopping or drastically reducing opiate drugs after heavy and prolonged use (i.e. several weeks or more).

Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome aka Dope Sick

Basically the worst feeling on earth, being dope sick has been compared to feeling like you have the flu – an extreme case of the flu, that is. Opiate withdrawal syndrome is a set of symptoms that can start within even only a few hours after use, depending on the length of time you have been using and how much your system is used to, also called tolerance. Symptoms of dope sickness include chills, night sweats, body aches, insomnia, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, excessive yawning, runny nose, watering eyes, restless leg (and arms and/or neck), anxiety, and depression. In some cases, people who stop cold turkey also experience seizures, irregular heartbeat, and stroke.

How Do Opiates Work?

Opiates have a chemical structure that is similar to endorphins, which are a class of chemicals present in our brains. In fact, they are called the natural opiates of the body. Endorphins are known as “feel-good chemicals” that are naturally-occurring in the brain and are produced when our body experiences pain or stress.

Endorphins flood the space between nerve cells and usually inhibit neurons from firing, thus creating a painkilling effect. When endorphins kick in, we feel good, “high,” or euphoric, and we get a relief from pain. Therefore, even though they are triggered by stress, endorphins can do more than relieve pain: they actually make us feel good.

What Causes Dope Sick?

Opiates increase the amount of dopamine produced in the brain and therefore the amount of pleasure, or euphoria that is experienced by the user.

Chronic use of alters the naturally occurring chemicals and the mechanisms within the brain that send and receive messages to and from other parts of the brain. In the absence of opiates, this new way of functioning is disrupted and there is an adjustment period for the brain to regulate itself. This is known as neural hyperactivity and, when no opiates are present, the sensation of drug craving begins as well as dope sickness.

Dope Sick and Recovery

When you are dope sick, you experience a number of symptoms that make you regret ever getting caught up in using opiates. Dope sickness causes a sense of desperation that is so strong, you will do just about anything to make it stop. Therefore, it is said that the fear of withdrawal and being dope sick is the number one obstacle for people getting off of opiates.

The good news is that there are detox programs and drug treatment centers that specialize in helping people get off of opiates in a safe manner. These programs administer medications that contain opiates and then taper you off so as to alleviate dope sickness. Treatment programs also support you with providing you tools to lead a sober life without going back to using opiates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/

http://www.pbs.org/

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