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For most substances of abuse, there is a class-specific, predictable withdrawal pattern unique to each substance. This is the case for the class of substances known as opioids, which include heroin and narcotic pain medications. The characteristics of a withdrawal pattern can be divided into two clinical categories: one category being the subjective symptoms experienced by the individual and the other being the objective signs manifested as part of the syndrome. In general, the signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal will be the opposite of what is seen during the intoxication phase. For instance, intoxication with opioids produces pinpoint pupils, whereas withdrawal results in enlarged pupils.

Opioid withdrawal can occur gradually over time, such as when the individual has difficulty obtaining the drug, or it ...

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