Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline

Learn the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline

When many people think of an addiction to drugs, their mind immediately goes to opiate addictions like heroin or Oxycontin. And there are solid reasons why this is the first thing that people think of when the subject of addiction comes up in conversation. Opiates have long dominated the addiction discourse because they are some of the most addictive drugs on the planet. These drugs are easy to become addicted to and very difficult to break an addiction from, meaning recovery can be challenging. Many people who try to overcome an opiate addiction have trouble making it through detox because they do not understand the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline and the stages of opiate withdrawal. It is important to understand opiate withdrawals and the ways that detox works so you can make it through this first step of recovery and continue with addiction treatment and recovery.

What Is Opiate Withdrawal?

Opiate withdrawal is the body's chemical reaction to not receiving a steady influx of the opiate drug it has come to depend on. In other words, if you try to stop using opiates or simply do not consume the drug within the time period that your body has gotten used to, your body will react negatively.

This occurs due to internal biochemical reactions that happen whenever opiates interact with the brain. Opiate addiction throws off the normal internal biochemical balance in the body, making itself an integral part of the regular functions of the brain. Once you quit using opiates, the brain and body will have to relearn how to exist and function without the drug, which takes time and can cause numerous symptoms of withdrawal.

What Is the Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline?

There are certain stages of opiate withdrawal that tend to occur on the same basic schedule for most patients recovering from an opiate addiction. Many people are unaware of the total opiate withdrawal duration let alone the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline.

The first stage of the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline is the initial period of time after a person discontinues opiate use. Generally, this time period is only around 12 hours. Within those first 12 hours after stopping opiate use, symptoms will begin.

Moving along the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline, the worst of the symptoms (also known as the peak) occurs at around three to four days after the process begins. This is the point at which the most symptoms occur and the severity of those symptoms is at its worst.

The last stage of the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline is essentially the tapering-off stage. This is the time in which symptoms fade away or become more manageable. The majority of symptoms will fade away completely within about two weeks after they peak. However, for some people this can take months and some withdrawal symptoms like drug cravings can occur many years later and may never completely go away.

What Are Some of the Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms?

Now that you understand the basics of opiate withdrawal duration, you may be wondering what some of these symptoms of withdrawal are. Opiate withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chills
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Body aches
  • Tremors
  • Profuse sweating and night sweats
  • Seizures
  • Organ failure
  • DTs

Why Is Detox Treatment Important?

When you decide that it is time to overcome your addiction to opiates, you may wonder whether or not you should just try to detox on your own at home. The easy answer is that you should never try to go through opiate detox and handle withdrawals alone. The symptoms of withdrawal from opiates can be severe and often require medical management and treatment. This requires medical supervision and care at a moment's notice, which can only be provided in a detox treatment program. These withdrawal symptoms can also be managed in a medical detox treatment program with opiate addiction medications that can reduce cravings and help with other symptoms as well.

Knowing all of these facts about opiate withdrawals and the timeline in which they occur, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can to make it through the detox process successfully.


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