People who have been using opioids for an extended period become addicted. Their bodies adapt to the presence of the drug. Users will develop a tolerance to the drug and require an increasing amount of the drug to experience the same effect.
They become dependent on the drug and will experience an adverse reaction if they stop taking it. This adverse reaction is what happens in an opioid withdrawal timeline.
Opioids and Opiates
Many drugs fall under the category of opiates and opioids. Some of these drugs are prescribed by health care providers for acute or chronic pain. Most of the listed opiates are also acquired illicitly.
Many people who find themselves with a physical dependence on opioid drugs acquire the addiction from legitimate prescriptions. The development of tolerance to these medications creates difficulties in managing chronic or long-term pain.
It does not matter whether a person was prescribed an opioid for legitimate medical conditions and their pain. Extended use of opiates will lead to dependency and subsequent withdrawal symptoms when the users try to stop taking them.
The development of tolerance leads users to require more and more of the drug to get the same effect. Tolerance and increased use can occur whether the opioid is prescribed or not.
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal from opiates can be very painful and challenging.
The following are the most common symptoms experienced by those withdrawing from the substance:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea or incontinence
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Anxiety and possible panic attacks
- Heart palpitations
- Body aches and pain
- Hot and cold sweats
- Shaking and chills
The severe discomfort experienced by people during opioid detox can discourage many from trying. Some who begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using will relapse. The discomfort created by withdrawal is too much for some. Many users stop trying to stop operating in fear of the ultimate suffering associated with withdrawal.
Many symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be mitigated by a thorough evaluation and treatment from a medically supervised detox facility. Withdrawal can be managed effectively with medical assistance.
Opioid Withdrawal Timeline
How long it takes to withdraw from opiates can vary.
Some factors affect how long it takes to withdraw from opiates.
Length of time, opioids have been used
Some users have been using opiates for a relatively short duration. Others may have been taking opiates for several years.
How many opioids have been used
Tolerance to opioids leads users to increase the amount they use. This phenomenon often leads users to take a very large dose. Withdrawal can be more challenging and more prolonged.
What opioids or opiates have been used
Here are a range of examples:
Heroin withdrawal symptoms begin between 8 and 12 hours of last use and last approximately 3 to 5 days.
Methadone withdrawal generally begins within 36 to 48 hours and can last for several weeks.
Those with underlying medical conditions may be at risk for more significant risks when detoxing. They may experience an exacerbation of serious complications such as diabetes, cardiac conditions, and respiratory illness.
Withdrawal symptoms usually begin within a few hours of the last use of an opioid. The effects of withdrawal can last days or even weeks.
Detoxing from Opioid Addiction
Treatment in a medically supervised facility greatly enhances the successful detox and recovery process. A medically supervised detox is recommended to monitor the withdrawal process and help make the process as comfortable as possible.
A medically supervised detox provides:
- Proper hydration and nutrition
- Medication to help with:
- Aches and pains
Can you die from opioid withdrawal?
Under most circumstances, withdrawal from opioids is safe. Many people going through withdrawal report feeling like they will die but come out of the detox phase unharmed. The process of withdrawing from opiates does not usually risk death.
Some people risk death as they go through the withdrawal process. The risks of dying during opioid withdrawal are usually a result of different factors.
These factors usually include:
- Preexisting medical condition
- Asphyxiation from vomiting
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Cardiac impairment
- Accidents including falls
Detoxing from opiates on your own can be life-threatening. It is not only the nature of withdrawal itself that is dangerous. Those withdrawing from opiates often have a condition of general health aggravated by substance abuse. They may not have the physical resilience to manage it on their own.
Why is it so hard to get off opiates?
Opiate addiction is a brain disease. The brain produces natural opiate neurotransmitters, which regulate the body’s natural ability to cope with pain, experience pleasure, and motivation. These include endorphins and dopamine.
Using opiates overwhelms the opiate receptors in the brain, which will shut down to protect themselves. Preventing the person from experiencing the pain relief or pleasure they are seeking.
Therapeutic Treatment at Restore Detox Centers
Restore Detox Centers integrate several programs to enhance and complement opiate withdrawal and successful recovery. These programs are designed to treat the whole person in their recovery. Some of the programs help with co-occurring mental health difficulties. Therapy sessions are provided to help the individual as well as the family of the person in recovery.
Additionally, some programs help the participant to learn ways to utilize the natural processes in the brain. Creating pathways for the individual to experience how to activate the natural release of endorphins and dopamine.
Meditation and yoga – help reduce stress and anxiety while also releasing endorphins.
Physical activity – releases endorphins, often referred to as a “runner’s high,” also activating dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with rewards of pleasure and motivation.
Seek Treatment with Restore Detox Centers
Restore Detox is accredited by The Joint Commission (JCAHO), demonstrating our validated commitment to excellence in caring for all who attend our programs.
Successful detox is greatly improved by seeking treatment in a specialized detox facility like Restore. Recovery from opiate addiction is a process. Detox from opiates is only the first step after deciding that you want to stop using. We use the latest evidence-based treatments in all our detox and treatment programs.
Contact us to explore your options to begin your journey of recovery. Call us at 858-371-5413.