How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last

Opioid addiction is a rapidly growing epidemic in the United States and abroad. In the United States alone, there were more than four times as many unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers in 2014 as there were in 1999. In fact, deaths from opioid overdoses now outnumber those from car accidents.

With the seriousness of opioid dependence and addiction becoming familiar to more and more people every day, a question that arises for many afflicted individuals and their families is how to stop it.

Long-term use of any opiate — illegal or prescription — can lead to tolerance, meaning you need to take more of the drug to get the same effects. Over time, your body can also become dependent on it, leading to physical withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. However, you must stop taking the drug if you want to stop the addiction, so having a general understanding of the opiate withdrawal process and how long it lasts is important.

Early Stages of Opiate Withdrawal

The first withdrawal symptoms usually start between 6 and 12 hours after you stop taking the drug (depending on several factors including the type of opioids you were using, the amounts you were taking, your tolerance level, etc.).

During these early stages of withdrawal, people often experience:

  • anxiety or irritability
  • muscle pain
  • runny nose
  • body aches
  • tiredness
  • fever
  • trouble sleeping
  • sweating

Later Stages

Withdrawal symptoms usually peak after about 3 days. During this time, symptoms are typically at their worst. Early symptoms usually persist and actually become more severe, and you may also experience new ones, such as:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • goosebumps
  • chills
  • stomach cramps
  • depressed mood
  • drug cravings

How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

The first week of withdrawal is typically the most uncomfortable, but the physical symptoms typically last up to one month, and some can linger on for several months (but are usually less severe). Some of the symptoms that typically linger after the first week include tiredness, depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping

If you are thinking of stopping your opioid abuse, it is important to understand that there are treatment options available, and some may provide more comprehensive care than others. Medical detoxification, often called “detox,” includes both pharmacological and psychological treatment methodologies under close supervision of medical and mental health specialists in a safe and comforting residential setting. As mentioned above, opioid withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and difficult to tolerate on your own, often causing people to start using the drug again rather than continue feeling bad.

Medical detox, however, can often provide a more comfortable, safe, and smooth way to detox. Vital signs, such as blood pressure, respiration levels, body temperature, and heart rate, can all be closely monitored in a medical detox center that may utilize medications to regulate brain and body functions and make withdrawal symptoms less painful and more manageable. Mental health professionals are also usually available to help stabilize and support individuals during medical detox. While there is no specific timeline for detox, medical detox usually lasts between 5 and7 days

What Comes after Detox?

Detox is just the beginning of recovery. The psychological components of addiction—maladaptive ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that perpetuate substance abuse abuse—far outlast the physical symptoms. Thus, treatment is most effective when comprehensive. Medical detox is relatively short and can provide the foundation for a more stable ongoing recovery, but detox followed by ongoing treatment, such as in a Partial Hospitalization (PHP) or Intensive Outpatient (IOP) program that includes counseling, education, and ongoing support groups can help improve your chances of successfully recovery and long-term abstinence from opioids.

At Get Treatment, we can help you find a top-rated and accredited opioid addiction treatment facility that meets all your needs for recovery. To learn more about how we can help, dial 855-638-9268 and speak to one of our knowledgeable and caring admissions professionals.

Erica Loret de Mola

Erica Loret de Mola is a communications major who has been writing about addiction treatment for approximately three years. As content manager and editor in chief of Get Treatment, she strives to provide the most accurate and current information available to our clients.


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