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Opioids Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline

Last Updated on November 20, 2023
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Writer: Adam Zagha
Clinical Reviewer: Ariana Gravanis

Opioid withdrawal is perhaps one of the most difficult things a person can endure when it comes to addiction. However, with opioids claiming approximately 80,411 lives alone in 2021, and with this number climbing each year, the need for recovery from opioid abuse is stronger than ever.

With our extensive expertise as a Los Angeles detox and rehab, NUMA Recovery Centers is here to help you understand the ins and outs of opioid detox. This article should equip you with the knowledge of opioid withdrawal symptoms and their timeline, giving you a larger picture of what to expect when detoxing. If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction, please contact us now for further support.

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Quick Points

  • Opioid withdrawal can start within hours of your last dose.

  • Withdrawal type varies in duration based on your dependency level and substance abuse history.

  • Common withdrawal symptoms include physical discomfort like muscle aches and gastrointestinal issues, along with mental and emotional challenges such as anxiety and mood swings.

  • NUMA Recovery Centers specializes in treating opioid dependence, offering personalized support throughout the detox and recovery process.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Opioids?

Opioid detox is a unique process for each person. The duration of opioid detox depends on the severity of substance abuse and the extent of physical dependence.

Having grown accustomed to the drug, your body starts showing physical symptoms as it adjusts to the absence of the substance. This is what we call opiate withdrawal. Typically, the withdrawal period begins within a few hours after your last dose of opioid.

Some might take just a few days to a week to overcome the most intense physical symptoms. For others, especially those who have been involved in long-term substance abuse, it takes a little longer.

A medical detox program can help you manage the withdrawal period more comfortably and safely, reducing the risks associated with sudden cessation of drug use.

Common Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from opioids can be both painful and life-threatening in certain situations. It's important you understand the various symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

If by chance you've become physically dependent due to prolonged drug abuse, be aware of these symptoms:

  • Physical Discomfort: Common physical symptoms include muscle aches and gastrointestinal issues. These are typically experienced by individuals who have used opioids extensively.

  • Mental and Emotional Struggles: Mental health disorders like anxiety and mood swings are often intensified during withdrawal.

  • Sleep Disturbances: Many individuals experience symptoms like insomnia during the first few weeks of withdrawal, which is a challenging yet common part of the detox process.

  • Flu-like Symptoms: Fever, chills, and sweating are common reactions as the body adjusts to the absence of opioids, often mistaken as flu symptoms.

  • Cravings: One of the most significant challenges in the opioid crisis is managing the intense cravings to use again.

Additional symptoms include:

  • Lacrimation or rhinorrhea (runny nose)

  • Piloerection (goosebumps)

  • Myalgia (muscle pain)

  • Diarrhea

  • Chronic pain

  • Pupillary dilation

  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)

  • Autonomic hyperactivity (tachypnea, hyperreflexia, tachycardia, sweating, hypertension, hyperthermia)

Being aware of what to expect can prepare you for what's ahead. It is essential to seek medical help and follow a proper tapering plan to minimize withdrawal symptoms and prevent complications

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

In this section, we've outlined the opioid withdrawal timeline as this is a critical part of any treatment plan. This timeline isn't just a schedule, it's your guide through the varying stages of detox and recovery.

First 24 Hours

The initial 24-hour phase is marked by the onset of acute withdrawal symptoms as the body begins to react to the absence of the substance.

  • Physical Symptoms: Early signs such as runny nose, sweating, and increased blood pressure emerge.

  • Mental Health Impact: Feelings of anxiety and depressive mood may surface, highlighting the need for substance abuse treatment that addresses both opioid use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders.

1 - 3 Days

This period is often when symptoms peak. The intensity of symptoms can vary based on the duration and intensity of opioid use.

  • Severe Withdrawal Symptoms: Include abdominal cramps, nausea, and intense cravings.

  • Mental Health Services: To manage psychological distress during this phase, it's important to have access to mental health support as outlined by the Mental Health Services Administration.

3 - 5 Days

As the detox progresses, the acute symptoms of withdrawal gradually subside. This stage is important in reinforcing your commitment to recovery and the long-term management of substance use disorder.

  • Symptoms Easing: Physical discomfort begins to lessen, although psychological symptoms may persist.

  • Continued Medical Detox: Medical detox programs are vital in providing ongoing support and management of symptoms during this transitional phase.

5 - 10 Days

This period marks the final stretch of the most challenging part of the detox process.

  • Long-Term Recovery Planning: Focus shifts toward long-term strategies for managing opioid use disorder, often involving the National Institute on Drug Abuse's guidelines.

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) Considerations: Mental health disorders in this phase should be evaluated and treated in line with DSM criteria to support your holistic recovery journey.

The severity of signs and symptoms during this process may be assessed using validated withdrawal scales such as the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS). For withdrawal treatment involving potent substances like opioids, you should seek professional guidance. It's a smart move to seek expert help for this journey.

Start Recovery Here.
Call (323) 970-9379

Can NUMA Assist with Opioid Addiction Treatment?

Yes, we are equipped to support you through the opioid withdrawal process here at NUMA Recovery Centers.

Specializing in the treatment of opioid dependence, our approach is tailored to meet your unique needs.

We understand that every recovery journey is different, and our dedicated team is here to guide you every step of the way. With NUMA, you're not just battling addiction - you're transforming your life.

If you're ready to start a new chapter, contact us now.

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adam zagha of numa detox and rehab in los angeles
Adam Zagha
Adam Zagha is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles with over a decade of experience in addiction treatment and recovery. He holds a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and is certified in EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, and ACT. Prior to Numa Recovery Centers, Adam was CFO and the Director of Clinical Outreach at Transcend Recovery Community. Adam is committed to providing top-quality care to individuals seeking treatment for addiction and mental health issues. He also provides trainings and workshops on addiction, mental health, and mindfulness.
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About Numa
Numa Recovery Centers is a leading drug and alcohol detox and rehab company based in Los Angeles, providing evidence-based treatment for substance abuse and addiction. With a team of experienced professionals, Numa offers a comprehensive range of personalized services to help clients overcome addiction and achieve long-term recovery.
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    Numa Recovery Centers is a comprehensive drug and alcohol detox and rehab facility in Los Angeles, California dedicated to helping individuals overcome addiction and achieve lasting recovery. Our team of experienced professionals provides individualized care and support to address the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of those struggling with substance abuse.


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