When Does Energy Come Back After Opioid (Pain Medication) Withdrawal?

When Does Energy Come Back After Opioid (Pain Medication) Withdrawal?

I recently had a conversation with Lisa, a 56-year-old female who confided in me, “I am so sick and tired of being dependent on pain meds, I could tear my hair out.” She tried many times to stop taking oxycodone. She could get so far in her recovery before the withdrawal symptoms overpowered her. One of her largest problems is that Lisa kept experiencing low energy levels after stopping. She was desperate for me to answer, “when and how does her energy come back after opiate withdrawal?”

Pain Medication After Surgery

Lisa was first put on medication after having various uterine surgeries. Between surgeries, it was easy at first to stop taking her pain medication. Even though he had bottles of pain medication left over. “The doctors had no issues in prescribing me pain medication, even though I didn’t need a lot.” This all changed after her last surgery. But on the last surgery to repair her abdominal wall, something happened, and Lisa wasn’t able to stop taking her pills.

After surgery, Lisa’s surgeon told her he needed to get her oxycodone from her primary care doctor. They prescribed them for about three years until she turned her over to a pain management doctor.

How Do I Stop Taking Pain Meds?

“No one taught me how to stop. If I missed a dose, I experienced flu-like symptoms. I wasn’t even sure if I was in pain anymore. I wanted answers. So, after some quick googling, I realized I was physically dependent.”

Although Lisa no longer wanted or needed to be on her oxycodone (she was taking between 50-60mg/day), she was terrified to stop. She was nervous that if she talked to her doctor about her dependency that she’d be cut off. Lisa’s heard far too many terrifying stories of patients being dropped from their prescriber and having to resort to “drugs on the street”.

If you find yourself in a situation where your doctor is refusing to prescribe you pain medication, learn what you can do here.

She confided in me that she “ wouldn’t even know where to look for a dealer”, she sighed. “I’m way too nervous that I’d get caught”

I found it ironic that the same doctor who prescribed the medication wasn’t able to offer a solution to get off the oxycodone, judging Lisa when she had the courage to talk about it. She felt out of options.

Pain Medication Dependence

Lisa went back to Google and searched for “how to get off pain medication”, “how to avoid withdrawal from oxycodone”, and “signs and symptoms of oxycodone addiction”. She felt she wasn’t an addict, but she knew she was absolutely physically dependent. One of her searches turned up our site.

The Coleman Institute has been the leader in helping people get off addictive substances for over twenty-five years. Specifically, we help people get off pain medications such as oxycodone, Percocet, Roxicet, Oxycontin, morphine, codeine, Tramadol, Dilaudid, hydrocodone, Vicodin, methadone, and Suboxone. We help people who use street drugs such as fentanyl, heroin, and kratom. We also work with people to safely detox off alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Opioid Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms

Our brains adapt to whatever drug is put into our bodies. Meaning that our bodies create a ‘counter effect’ for every effect a drug has. So, when an addictive drug is stopped, the body’s response is to go into withdrawal, which is the opposite of the drug effect.

JJudith Grisel Ph.D, author of Never Enough, describes the effects of opiates and the partnering withdrawal symptoms:

Opioid Effects

Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Tranquilization
  • Constipation
  • Pupil constriction
  • Euphoria
  • Respiratory depression
  • Decreased core temperature
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Relaxation and sleep
  • Dried secretions
  • Analgesia
  • lushed and warm skin
  • Fearfulness and hostility
  • Diarrhea
  • Pupil dilation
  • Irritability and dysphoria
  • Panting and yawning
  • Increased core temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Tearing and runny nose
  • Pain
  • Chilliness and goosebumps

  • Lisa no longer experienced euphoria or pain relief from her medication; she would have had to raise the dose regularly because of the tolerance her body had developed. Now, she simply took the medication so he wouldn’t have withdrawal symptoms.

    Pain Medication Detox

    Besides describing how Lisa’s four-day outpatient procedure and detox program would work, I emphasized that he would most likely experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms for a few weeks.

    Low energy levels and insomnia can persist for longer periods as the brain begins to adjust to its ‘new normal’ of no opioids and reach the body’s natural level of endorphins.

    Natural Sleeping Tips

    I recommended to him (or anyone) experiencing issues sleeping after detoxing for opioids or pain medications to try these natural sleeping tips:

    • exercising first thing in the day, if you can’t try to not schedule it too close to bedtime,
    • avoiding alcohol or big meals before going to bed,
    • having a completely darkened room,
    • stopping screen time at bedtime,

    According to the Sleep Foundation, studies show that even the low light from our computers, phones, t.v. ‘s can make the brain think it’s time to wake up, instead of shut-down time.

    Visit the Center for Disease Control’s website to find more natural sleeping tips.

    These natural sleeping tips will help the body regain its Circadian rhythm again, our natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. We are also able to help with short-term sleeping medication if needed.

    Low Energy After Opioid Withdrawal

    Many patients experience low levels of energy following an opioid detox. We have found that those who work with our support groups, counselors, and other reliable resources can help navigate their recovery. During this time patients can be particularly vulnerable to triggers and cravings, which is why working with trained experts in Substance Use Disorders is so important.

    More like this: Are You Suffering From Low Energy After Opioid Withdrawal?

    Naltrexone Use

    This is also why Coleman Network for Addiction Medicine offers long-acting naltrexone at the completion of every accelerated opioid (and alcohol) detox program.

    Naltrexone, as a non-addictive opioid blocker, will occupy the opioid receptors and our long-acting naltrexone implants will effectively block physical cravings for about eight weeks.

    In our experience, by the time we see our patients in a follow-up appointment for their next naltrexone implant, they report their energy levels have returned close to their baseline.

    Paid Medication Addiction

    Unfortunately, for years the medical profession over-prescribed narcotic pain medication, thus initiating many people’s addiction problems. In 2012, Grisel, J. quoted in her book, Never Enough on page 64, “259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which was more than enough to give every American adult his or her own bottle of pills.”

    In situations when pills become too expensive or are no longer available many will turn to “street drugs” in order to continue their pain management.

    Luckily, Lisa was not one of these situations.


    She is an excellent candidate for an Accelerated Opiate Detox and extended-release naltrexone therapy, and I predict great success for her to resume a normal life, free from being opioid-dependent.

    Should you or a loved one like to discuss your own situation with us or learn more about what we do and how our program works, please give us a call at (877) 773-3869.

    Joan Shepherd, FNP

    Recovery Starts With Finding The Right Detox Option For You.

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