Kadian Withdrawal

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Morphine


The average American knows withdrawal is a variety of symptoms that occur after a person stops taking drugs. Rehabilitation specialists define opioid withdrawal as the normal and predictable consequence of a sudden drop in the level of opioids in the body of a person who is physically dependent on opioids such as Kadian. Withdrawal manifests itself in a variety of overpowering physical symptoms that can last five or more days; psychological symptoms of withdrawal may last many more weeks or even years.


The human body adapts to the presence of certain substances in the body, including opioids such as Kadian. The body becomes tolerant of certain chemicals, which means it takes an ever-increasing amount of Kadian to relieve pain or get high. Using Kadian continually may cause the body to become dependent on morphine; this means the individual must maintain a certain level of morphine for the body to feel normal. If the level of morphine drops quickly, the body struggles to maintain chemical balance; this struggle manifests itself through withdrawal symptoms.


Kadian is a long-acting formula of morphine, usually taken every 12 or 24 hours. Physicians prescribe Kadian to control pain around the clock to patients who will need powerful pain control longer than a few days; Kadian is not to be taken "as needed" to control pain.

Only patients who are already tolerant to opioids should take Kadian.


Withdrawal from Kadian causes physical symptoms similar to the flu, but opioid withdrawal also causes psychological symptoms whose demoralizing affects can be just as overpowering as the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms, physical or psychological, may force those attempting to quit back to drug abuse.


Symptoms of physical withdrawal from Kadian can last five or more days, with the fourth day typically being the most unpleasant. Some individuals try to overcome physical withdrawal without the expert help of rehabilitation professionals. Physical symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever, Runny Nose or Sneezing
  • Goose Bumps and Abnormal Skin Sensations
  • Hot Sweats and Cold Sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Low Energy Level
  • Muscle Aches or Pains
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Rigid Muscles
  • Runny Nose
  • Shivering, Tremors
  • Teary Eyes
  • Yawning


Psychological symptoms typically outlast physical manifestations of withdrawal. Kadian withdrawal can be demoralizing, reducing the individual's will to continue battling the physical manifestations of withdrawal.

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Social isolation

Possible Complications

Complications of Kadian withdrawal include aspiration, which is vomiting and then breathing the stomach contents into the lungs. Aspiration may result in fluid in the lungs or infection. Extreme vomiting and diarrhea can cause dangerous dehydration.

The greatest complication associated with withdrawal is returning to Kadian abuse. An individual who has recently gone through detoxification stands a greater chance of overdose if he starts using Kadian again; a person who has just completed detox can overdose on a much smaller dose than they usually take.

Treatment options

Abuse and physical dependence to opioids such as Kadian is a growing epidemic in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 23 million Americans over the age of 12-years needed treatment for alcohol or substance abuse in 2010; of these, only about 11 percent received treatment at a rehabilitation facility. Specialized treatment facilities help people overcome physical dependence to opioids such as Kadian.

Many individuals try to quit Kadian alone, without the help of medicine to reduce withdrawal symptoms in a process called self-detoxification, or "going cold turkey." Cold turkey refers to the cold, clammy, pale and bumpy appearance the skin takes on during the withdrawal process. People who try self-detoxification suffer uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, cold sweats and muscle pain for one to two weeks.

Without proper medical assistance, an individual attempting self-detoxification from Kadian may face complications. He may aspirate, which means to inhale stomach contents after vomiting. He also faces dangerous dehydration caused by excessive vomiting and diarrhea. Complications and overpowering symptoms of withdrawal cause many people who attempt self-detox to go back to opioid abuse.

Other people reduce the withdrawal symptoms associated with Kadian by using a variety of products. Once such remedy is The Thomas Recipe, in which a person takes Xanax or some other medication that helps calm nerves, drugs to stop diarrhea along with vitamins and supplements to ease muscle aches and fatigue.

While The Thomas Recipe may reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with Kadian, the individual still faces dangerous complications. In addition, self-detoxification addresses only the physical dependency of opioid abuse. Patients who participate in self-detox do not address the behavioral aspects of opioid addiction, which increases the risk that he will return to Kadian abuse.

Relapse is the largest complication associated with quitting opioids such as Kadian. An individual who has recently gone through detoxification is at a greater risk for overdose, as detoxification lowers the body's tolerance to opioids. He can accidently overdose on a lower dose than he used to take before he went through the detoxification process.

Overdose of Kadian or other opioids requires emergency, sometimes lifesaving treatment. Emergency room doctors administer naloxone and other medications to reduce opioids to safe levels and stabilize the patient quickly. Once the patient has completed the withdrawal process, he may participate in behavioral therapy as an inpatient or outpatient to learn how to live without Kadian.

Drug replacement therapy, or DRT, is a treatment plan where physicians prescribe drugs such as methadone, Suboxone or buprenorphine to reduce withdrawal symptoms. These drugs bind to the same opioid receptors within the body as opioids do to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

The replacement drugs are longer lasting than opioids and do not get the patient high. This allows the patient to learn how to live without Kadian in an outpatient setting. After the individual changes the behaviors associated with addiction with the help of counselors, he weans himself from the replacement drug. Supporters of DRT recognize the flexibility of outpatient treatment while opponents say it is merely trading one addiction for another.

Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, refers to any substance abuse treatment plan that includes pharmacological intervention to reduce the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMSA, this medical intervention:

  • Improves Survival
  • Increase Retention in Treatment
  • Decreases Illicit Opiate Use
  • Decreases The Risk for Hepatitis and HIV
  • Decreases Criminal Activities
  • Increases Employment
  • Improves Birth Outcomes for Pregnant Women Battling Addiction

Inpatient MAT programs focus on using medicine to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms and facilitate Kadian detoxification. During detoxification, physicians administer some medications to decrease the level of opioids and other drugs to address the resulting symptoms of withdrawal. Nurses observe the patient for dangerous complications, such as dehydration or aspiration, and respond appropriately. While detox eases the physical aspects of addiction, individuals must still endure the demoralizing process of detoxification.

Rapid detox is the most humane method of detoxification. During rapid detox, board-certified anesthesiologists administer standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal medications alongside anesthesia and sedatives so that the patient rests in a comfortable "twilight sleep." When the patient awakens, he will have no recollection of the grueling and demoralizing detoxification and withdrawal period and can move onto the rehabilitation process.


Although medical treatment and behavioral modification are independently useful in the treatment of opioid withdrawal, addressing both the physical and behavioral aspects of physical dependence to opioids offer the best hope for recovery.

Behavioral therapy may take place at an inpatient or outpatient facility. To offer the best chance of success, it is important to match the type of facility to the individual's personal needs. Both pharmacological and behavioral treatments work to restore normalcy to those brain function and behavior related to Kadian and morphine withdrawal and dependence. These treatments also aim at improving employment rates, reducing relapse and lessening side effects associated with physical dependence to Kadian.

After successful detoxification or drug replacement therapy, patients may participate in drug rehabilitation treatments offering behavior modification techniques designed to change the behaviors that caused the physical dependence or improve the environmental factors that led to the initial dependence on drugs and reduce the risk for relapse. An individual may participate in inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation may be inpatient or outpatient. Programs can be as short as 28 days or as long as 6 months or a year.

New behavioral therapies, including contingency management therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, show particular promise in the treatment of opioid addiction. Contingency management therapy is a voucher system; patients earn points for negative drug tests and positive behavior. He can then redeem these points for items that enhance a healthy lifestyle. Cognitive-behavioral interventions change a patient's expectations and behaviors as they relate to Kadian addiction. This type of therapy offers the patient new tools to deal with stresses that may cause relapse.

Long-term recovery from dependence on Kadian relies on success during both the detoxification and rehabilitation phases. Many people relapse back to opioid use, especially those individuals who engage in self-detoxification over medical assistance, or do not participate in rehabilitation and behavioral modification.