Loss of Muscle Control

Alcoholism and drug addiction harm the body in many different ways. Long-term abuse of various kinds of illicit drugs, as well as withdrawal symptoms, can have a serious impact on the musculoskeletal system, such as loss of muscle control, in which the addict’s muscles can’t move or function normally.

This symptom prevents us from being able to properly use the affected part of the body. Loss of muscle control is a known symptom of opioid withdrawal, which manifests in the form of pain and spasms in the muscles, alongside flu-like symptoms.

Typically, these symptoms begin to appear between 6 – 12 hours after the withdrawal from the opioid, some of which include heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers. Muscle pain and other symptoms usually worsen after three days, and the effect can then last for up to a week or more. This is why most specialists will advise you to seek a treatment centre to detox within a safe and supervised environment.

Other substances that may cause loss of muscle control are MDMA (ecstasy), solvents, aerosols, nitrites, and PCP, which is a synthetic hallucinogen.

The Signs of Muscle Control Loss

The signs that an addict, or recovering addict, may be suffering from loss of muscle control can be physical or behavioural in nature.

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Physical signs

  • Insomnia, waking up at odd hours of the night, and general fatigue
  • Cold, sweaty palms, with tremors or shaking of the hands, feet and head
  • Vomiting, nausea, and excessive sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Excessive hyperactivity and/or extreme talkativeness
  • Poor physical appearance and slow or unsteady movements
  • Reduced or increased appetite, changes in eating habits
  • Runny nose and dry throat
  • Wet and bloodshot eyes, more widened or narrowed pupils
  • Puffy or pale face
  • Regular twisting movement in the jaw
  • Bad smell on the body, clothes, and breath

Behavioural signs

  • Sudden and unexplained change in attitude and personality
  • Absenteeism, tardiness, and poor performance at school or work
  • Decreasing interest in family and family activities
  • Changes in interests and hobbies
  • Occasional resentful, overly sensitive, and aggressive behaviour
  • Problems thinking clearly, concentrating, or remembering anything
  • General lethargy, loss of drive and self-esteem
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Paranoia

Treatment for Loss of Muscle Control

The best time to seek treatment is during the first signs of the symptoms. A specialised healthcare professional will perform a comprehensive medical examination, and recommend the right treatment afterwards. For example, the doctor may recommend Suboxone, a medication that can minimise the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, such as loss of muscle control. However, it must only be used under strict medical supervision.

Other treatment methods that can help reduce the loss of muscle control caused by addiction are:

  • Massages
  • Hot compresses
  • Hot baths or saunas
  • Gentle stretching
  • Staying hydrated
  • Some OTC pain relievers, such as Tylenol or Advil

As treatment progresses, the muscular spasms and pains will start to fade, or even stop completely. If you, or your loved one, is struggling with loss of muscle mass or control over it, and other symptoms of addiction, you may want to contact a health specialist for advice and treatment options.

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