Opioid & Opiate Detox

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

An estimated 3 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder (OUD). As more people suffer from chronic pain, the potential of people becoming addicted to opioid use increases too.

The medical experts at NUMA Recovery Centers are aware of this problem and understand the needs of individuals who may suffer from opioid abuse. That is why through constant research and deeper understanding, we have compiled everything you need to know to help you detoxify from this condition. Continue reading to find out more.

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Why is Detoxing from Opioids Important?

Detoxification is the process of weaning your body off of opioids. This can be necessary for people who are addicted to opioids and want to stop using them, or it can be done as a precautionary measure for people who are taking opioid painkillers to avoid becoming addicted.

It's important to remember that detoxification does not guarantee success in recovery—it's only the first step on a long road ahead. Opioid abusers tend to feel scared about the idea of weaning their substance abuse as they've grown physically dependent—especially to the effects of their drug use. But this crucial first step must be done if they want to change their life for the better.

Symptoms to Expect in Opiate Detox

Once you start opioid withdrawal the road ahead toward sobriety may be more challenging than ever. As such, individuals seeking rehabilitation may feel physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that are commonly normal as with anyone under a medical detox program.

When you experience withdrawal symptoms, it may manifest in the following instances.

Physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal can be a major challenge for anyone who is trying to get clean from opioid addiction. The most common physical symptoms are:

  • Diarrhea

  • Dilated pupils

  • Goosebumps and gooseflesh

  • Hot and cold flashes

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • muscle aches

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal

When you're going through opioid detoxing, you may experience several psychological symptoms. These symptoms can be difficult to deal with, but there are ways to manage them.

Some common psychological symptoms include:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Changes in mood and behavior

  • Irritability and anger

If you feel that your withdrawal symptoms peak or you are currently suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms, you must inform your attending physician to help you manage your opioid withdrawal symptoms with much ease.

Timeline to Expect in Opiate Detox

The timeline of opiate detoxing can be incredibly varied. Similar to an individual undergoing alcohol detox, the length of the detox program is dependent on the period you have been using opiates, as well as the severity of your addiction and other factors.

If you do not need medical assistance during detox, then you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms for about two weeks after stopping use. However, this timeline can vary depending on how long you used opiates and how much you used.

It is important to remember that there is no one way to approach your recovery from addiction; every person's journey will be different.

Day 1

The first day of opioid detox is a tough process. To safely and effectively detox, you should expect your first day to be a little bit different than what you're used to.

You'll wake up feeling pretty groggy like you've had a rough night. This is normal—your body will be adjusting to the lack of opioids in your system.

At some point during the day, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal from opioids, which can include:

  • Muscle pain or cramps

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Sweating

  • Fever and chills (in rare cases)

Day 2 to 3

Like your first day, the second and third days will be as tough and unforgiving. You may need all the strength, focus, and willpower to help you get through these crucial days of your recovery.

Here are some things you can expect during the second and third days of your detox:

  • You'll likely feel tired and achy. This is because your body is still working on getting rid of the opioids in your system, so don't worry—you'll start feeling better soon!

  • You might get really cold at night—that's normal!

  • You might have cravings for more opioids or other drugs. This is normal, but try not to give in. It's just opioid withdrawal symptoms acting out and trying to get the best out of you. Nevertheless, you'll start feeling better soon.

Day 3 to 5

Third-Day

During your third day of opioid detoxing, you will likely experience symptoms that are similar to those you felt on the first day. This means that you will have:

  • a difficult time sleeping,

  • may experience some vomiting,

  • and may feel lightheaded or dizzy.

You should expect to have feelings of anxiety or depression as well. Similar to methadone detox, however, these symptoms should be less severe than they were during your first day.

Fourth Day

On the fourth day of opioid detoxing, you should be feeling much better than you did during your third day.

  • You should still feel anxious and depressed, but these feelings will not be as intense as they were during the first two days.

  • You may also experience diarrhea and cramps in your stomach as well as muscle aches throughout your body.

    You must take any medication that has been prescribed to help combat these symptoms so that they do not become overwhelming for you.

Fifth Day

By the fifth day after opioid detoxing, most individuals will have experienced some improvement in their overall mood and energy level.

They may still experience some gastrointestinal problems such as bloating or constipation but these issues should not be too severe if they are being treated properly by medical professionals who specialize in opioid treatment programs.

Day 5 to 7

The fifth day of detoxing from opioids can be a bit challenging. You may be feeling a bit of withdrawal, so it's important to stay hydrated and take your medications as prescribed.

Sixth Day

The sixth day of opioid detoxing can be tricky too. You may feel like you're hitting a wall, but don't worry—you'll get through it. Just take your medications as prescribed, stay hydrated, and remember that this too shall pass!

Seventh Day

The seventh day of opioid detoxing is one of celebration! Congratulations on making it through this tough time—you're almost there! Take your medications as prescribed, eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, drink plenty of water (at least 64 ounces per day), and get plenty of rest. You deserve it!

Post 7 Days

After more than seven days of opioid detoxing, you'll start to see some positive changes in your life.

  • You will feel less pain and anxiety as the withdrawal symptoms fade away.

  • You'll have more energy and be able to get out and enjoy yourself again (with the help of a sponsor, support groups, or a counselor).

  • You'll have more control over your life.

Start Recovery Here.
Call (888)-344-6862

Opioid Detoxing Medication

Medical detox or medication-assisted treatment can sometimes factor in detox settings, especially when treating the following withdrawal symptoms (severe physical and psychological) as part of an individual's addiction treatment.

Here are the common drugs administered in a medical setting to individuals to help them with their opioid withdrawal symptoms.

  • Buprenorphine

  • Methadone

  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol)

How Long Do You Have to Take Opiates to Detox?

The length of time you must use opioids before qualifying for detoxification varies from person to person. Generally, if you have been using it for more than 4 weeks, you are eligible. If you take a high dose of opioids or have been using them for a long time, you may need to wait longer than 4 weeks.

If you have been using opioids for less than 4 weeks and have been taking a low dose, then detoxification may not be necessary. In this case, it might be better to speak with your doctor about other treatment options that do not include opioid withdrawal symptoms.

What Are The Signs To Stop Taking Opioids?

As a person spirals down from drug abuse, they may become more of a harm to themselves and others. Additionally, their physical dependence on opioid drugs may develop a potential to test other substances, such as other opioid analgesics, should they feel that the effects they're hoping for start to weaken.

Before such things happen, an individual needs to have the awareness that there is an opiate addiction problem at hand and that they should receive further treatment. This way they can avoid fatal repercussions of their actions, such as an accidental overdose.

Here are the signs that you should look into signaling you to stop your physical dependence on opioid drugs.

  • Lack of motivation and interest in life

  • High blood pressure

  • Depression

  • Fluctuations in mood, energy level, and personality

  • Increased drug tolerance

  • Increased drug cravings

  • Loss of control over drug usage

Can NUMA Help with Opioid Detox?

Combating debilitating opioid use or opiate addiction might come as a tough challenge for anyone who wants to become sober. But with the right team who has your back, you're able to live the life you want and deserve.

NUMA Recovery Centers allow people to experience safe opioid detox, helping them break free from their opioid use disorder. Our evidence-based therapies and holistic approaches in terms of addiction treatment address withdrawal symptoms and other withdrawal signs that are commonly seen in opioid detox programs.

If you or a loved one are suffering from severe opioid use, don't hesitate to contact us and our specialist will help you through right away.

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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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