How Yoga Can Help Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

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Opioid withdrawal symptoms represent a significant hurdle for those in recovery. Fortunately, there are many ways you can overcome withdrawal symptoms and regain your emotional, physical and mental health. The ancient practice of yoga is one way to combat opioid cravings, adopt a more positive outlook and reclaim your life free from addiction.

What Are Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms? 

Everyone experiences opioid withdrawal differently, and the symptoms you endure will depend on your level of withdrawal. Although several factors influence the amount of time you will face withdrawal symptoms, there’s a general timeline for the continuation of symptoms. 

Early symptoms of opioid withdrawal usually occur within the first 24 hours after an individual stops using the drug. Common symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Yawning often
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness.
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Agitation
  • Lacrimation, or teary eyes

Other symptoms that can ensue after the first day — or first few days — are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Blurry vision and dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Vomiting

How Yoga Helps Opioid Withdrawal

Practicing yoga is a powerful way to address insomnia that accompanies opioid withdrawal and strengthen the body, mind and spirit.

Yoga helps many individuals overcome symptoms of opioid withdrawal due to its ability to:

  • Support the immune system
  • Trigger the release of hormones that can recondition tissues and cells
  • Promote a healthy heart and blood vessels
  • Regulate hormones that control hunger and satiety
  • Minimize emotional stress by relaxing the mind and body

Opioid Cravings and Yoga 

Yoga is an ancient discipline that can be traced back thousands of years. As a mind-body activity, yoga involves practicing a variety of breathing exercises and body poses that can improve flexibility, strength, relaxation and balance. The activity offers dozens of practices to try, master or experiment with, such as Anusara, hatha and ashtanga. 

So, how does yoga help with opioid cravings? Yoga maintains healthy connectivity between white matter in the brain. At the same time, it increases the volume of gray matter. While the white matter is crucial for communication between various brain regions, and decreases in gray matter volume have been linked to memory impairment, reduced cognitive functioning and emotional problems. 

With a focus on improving physical health and restoring mental acuity, yoga promotes healing, offering equal benefits to your mental and physical health

Yoga has been shown to be an effective adjunctive intervention for individuals with opioid use disorder while in active medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. As an ancillary approach to MAT for opioid use disorder, yoga works to reduce stress while managing opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. 

Contact BAART Programs To Learn More About Opioid Withdrawal 

If you or a loved one is experiencing opioid withdrawal, know that there’s help available. Yoga can be an excellent tool alongside a personalized, medication-assisted treatment plan.

BAART Programs is a multi-site organization with over four decades of experience providing supportive recovery services and opioid use disorder treatment to patients across the country.

Reach out to us online to learn more about safe and effective treatments for opioid addiction today. 

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