What is the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale?

The Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) is a tool used to assess the severity of opiate withdrawal symptoms in individuals who are trying to stop using opiates or are in the process of detoxification. The COWS is used by healthcare providers to help determine the appropriate level of care and treatment for individuals experiencing opiate withdrawal.

The COWS consists of 11 physical and psychological symptoms, including sweating, muscle aches, runny nose, nausea, anxiety, and insomnia. The severity of each symptom is rated on a scale of 0-4, with higher scores indicating greater severity of withdrawal symptoms.

The Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale provides a standardized, objective method of assessing opiate withdrawal symptoms, allowing healthcare providers to monitor progress and adjust treatment plans as needed. The use of the COWS also helps to minimize the subjective biases that may be present in evaluating withdrawal symptoms.

COWS are typically used in combination with other tools and assessments to determine the most appropriate level of care for individuals experiencing opiate withdrawal, including inpatient or outpatient treatment, medication-assisted treatment, or other forms of support. The goal of using the COWS is to help individuals safely and effectively manage their opiate withdrawal symptoms and achieve long-term recovery from addiction.

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