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Demerol Withdrawal

Demerol is a prescription opioid that’s used to treat moderate to severe pain symptoms that come as a result of injuries, surgeries, or chronic diseases. Opioids like Demerol are very similar to your body’s natural endorphins, which are responsible for regulating your body’s pain response. When you get an injury, endorphins bind to opioid receptors all over the body in the sight of pain, in the spine, and in the brain. They block pain signals from being sent and received by nerve cells. However, endorphins aren’t always strong enough to stop severe pain. Prescription opioids act in a way that’s similar to endorphins with a much more potent effect. 

Opioids like Demerol are also capable of causing chemical dependence, addiction, and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. As a potent psychoactive drug, your brain can become used to it, which causes it to adapt by altering brain chemistry. This can cause a chemical dependency which leads to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit. 

What Are Demerol Withdrawal Symptoms?

If you become dependent on Demerol, quitting will mean experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, especially if you quit cold turkey. Opioid withdrawal isn’t likely to cause fatal overdose symptoms, but they can be difficult to get through on your own without relapsing. 

Opioid withdrawal is often compared to a particularly bad case of the flu. Symptoms tend to get worse over time until they reach their peak, and then they will start to subside. However, psychological symptoms can last for a long time, especially drug cravings. 

Demerol withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Yawning
  • Body aches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Increase heart rate
  • Hypotension
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Chills
  • Mood swings

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What Are the Stages of Demerol Withdrawal Timeline?

The Demerol withdrawal timeline that you experience will depend on a few factors that are specific to your history with the drug. Things like the length of time you’ve been using the drug, the size of your typical dose, and the size of your last dose. If you were used to a high dose for a long time, you would likely experience significant symptoms more quickly after your last dose. 

However, you are likely to follow a general withdrawal timeline. 

  • Twenty-four hours. You will most likely experience your first symptoms within 24 hours of your last dose. They may start off mildly, causing you to feel like you are coming down with a cold. 
  • Two days. Over the next couple of days, you might start to feel your symptoms getting worse with increased nausea, chills, fever, and body aches.
  • Five days. You will most likely experience your peak symptoms within five days of your last dose. Symptoms can include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. It’s important to drink plenty of water during this phase to avoid dehydration.
  • One week. After about one week to ten days, most of your symptoms will have subsided. After you’re symptoms peak, the worst physical symptoms are usually the first to go. However, psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, and cravings may last longer. 

What if I Quit Cold Turkey?

If you stop using opioids abruptly, you are more likely to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. Though they may not be life-threatening, they might be extremely difficult to get through without treatment. There are several barriers to treatment, and the withdrawal symptoms are a major challenge for many people who are seeking sobriety. 

Quitting cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms that are often described as the worst case of the flu of a person’s lifetime. Plus, addiction is a chronic disease. Like other chronic diseases, including hypertension and diabetes, relapse is common. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapsing back to addiction can occur as often as 60 percent of the time. For that reason, it’s important to seek treatment that will give you the best chance at long-term sobriety. 

Why Should I Detox?

Opioids like Demerol aren’t likely to cause dangerous symptoms during withdrawal like central nervous system depressants might.

However, some withdrawal symptoms can be severe, causing nausea, diarrhea, excessive sweating, and vomiting. These symptoms can also cause you to lose water quickly. If you don’t regularly drink fluids, you can dehydrate, which can lead to serious complications. In rare instances, dehydration from opioid withdrawal can be fatal, especially if you don’t have access to water or the ability to get it. 

Medical detox can help avoid serious complications, and it can also help treat uncomfortable symptoms. It can also help get you through powerful drug cravings that would lead to a relapse if you were on your own. 

Woman taking a pill with water

What is the Next Treatment Step?

Medical detox is an important step in addiction recovery, but it’s not the only level of care you need if you are addicted to an opioid. After detox, you may need to go through inpatient or residential treatment, particularly if you still have high-level medical or psychological needs. If you are able to live on your own, you may go through intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment, to continue addressing underlying issues. Through treatment, you’ll go through a variety of therapies that are designed to get to the root of your substance use problem and to help you create a relapse prevention plan to help safeguard your recovery in the future. 

Why Seek Addiction Treatment Today?

If you are in the early days of a substance use disorder, you might be thinking that you can manage your substance use without it presenting a problem in your life. However, substance use disorders are progressive, which means they can get worse over time, slowly taking over different parts of your life. Before long, addiction can get out of control, affecting your health, relationships, and your ability to find and maintain employment. In many cases, addiction leads to serious long term consequences like diseases, mental health problems, and financial instability. 

Addressing a substance use disorder early can help to avoid some of these consequences before they occur in your life. Addiction treatment can help treat medical problems, address underlying issues like mental health problems, and allow you to develop relapse prevention strategies. Whether you have just realized you may have a problem, or if you’ve been struggling with it for years, there is help available.

Sources

Darke, S., Larney, S., & Farrell, M. (2016, August 11). Yes, people can die from opiate withdrawal. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13512

Meperidine: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682117.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, July). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

Scheve, T. (2018, October 10). What are endorphins? Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/endorphins.htm

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