One of the most challenging parts of recovering from an opioid use disorder is opioid and opiate withdrawal symptoms. While opioid and opiate withdrawal can be extremely difficult, they can be managed in a medically-supervised opioid detox.

What Is Opioid Withdrawal?

Opioids and opiates are psychologically addictive, but they can also create a physical dependence, even when used as prescribed. Eventually, the body may need opioids to function normally, called dependence. At this point, opioid and opiate withdrawal symptoms will occur if the person suddenly stops taking the drug.

One of the biggest reasons people relapse is because opioid and opiate withdrawal can be difficult to handle, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. However, when completed in a medically-supervised opioid and opiate detox program, detox and the withdrawal symptoms associated with it can be managed in a safe and comfortable environment.

How long does opioid withdrawal last?

This depends on several factors, including the type of opioid used and the frequency and duration that it was taken. The withdrawal for short-acting opioids usually lasts 4–10 days, and for longer-acting opioids, 10–20 days.

What helps with opioid withdrawal?

It is recommended to see your doctor if you need help managing withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting and insomnia. Since the risk of dehydration is high during withdrawal, it is important to stay hydrated throughout the process.

Can I detox from opioids at home?

Yes, it is possible to detox from home. However, completing a detox with medical supervision will make the withdrawal process much more safe and comfortable, with a much lower risk of relapse. People with more severe opioid addictions are highly recommended to complete a medically-supervised detox to manage severe withdrawal symptoms. 

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Common opioid and opiate withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Irritability
  • Body aches
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

Though it varies from person to person, most people experience opioid and opiate withdrawal symptoms in the following timeline:

  • 6–12 hours after the last dose: The first stage of opioid and opiate withdrawal symptoms will begin. This can include aggression and headaches, and it will usually last between days one and three of the withdrawal process. For long-acting opioids, withdrawals may start within 72 hours.
  • Within 48 hours after the last dose: Symptoms may include gastrointestinal problems, aches and pains, sweating and loss of appetite. There also may be psychological effects such as panic attacks and anxiety attacks.
  • Within 3–5 days after the last dose: The opioid and opiate withdrawal symptoms may peak around 48 hours after the last dose, then symptoms can begin to subside at the 3- to 5-day mark. There may still be some symptoms like chills, pains, aches and shivering.

Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms & Length of Detox

The length and severity of withdrawal symptoms will depend on several factors, such as your overall physical health, how long you took opioids and the dosages taken, the presence of co-occurring mental health disorders, your age and more.

There are several opioid withdrawal treatment options available to help mitigate withdrawal symptoms. Some of these can include medications like clonidine, which can treat physical opioid and opiate withdrawal symptoms. 

After withdrawal, medications like naltrexone may also be used to prevent an opioid relapse. Naltrexone should never be taken during withdrawal because it can worsen symptoms.

A physician may also prescribe a medication like buprenorphine, depending on your needs. This drug can help you gradually taper off the opioid you are addicted to, which can reduce the severity of some withdrawal symptoms since the body and brain aren’t presented with a sudden lack of opioids.

Withdrawal symptoms typically last for at least 3–5 days after the most recent opioid use. However, symptoms may last longer in more severe cases of addiction. The timeline is not easy to predict and is different for everyone.

Choosing Where to Detox in Ohio

There are many opioid detox options available in Ohio. We recommend a medically supervised detox program at our Columbus, Ohio rehab facility. We also offer inpatient and outpatient programs, so you can start the right level of care immediately after you’ve completed detox. The Columbus Recovery Center is located 10 miles from downtown Columbus, Ohio with easy access to international airports. Contact us today to be connected with our skilled, compassionate staff.

Erica-Weiman
Editor – Erica Weiman
Erica Weiman graduated from Pace University in 2014 with a master's in Publishing and has been writing and editing ever since. Read more
Conor-Sheehy
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more
Sources

Ohio Department of Health. “2019 Ohio Drug Overdose Data: General Findings.” November 6, 2020. Accessed December 12, 2021.

Zorick, Todd; Nestor, Liam; Miotto, Karen; et al. “Withdrawal symptoms in abstinent methamp[…]-dependent subjects.” Addiction, October 2010. Accessed December 12, 2021.

World Health Organization. “Withdrawal Management.” 2009. Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings, Accessed December 11, 2021.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “Protracted Withdrawal.” Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory: News For the Treatment Field, July 2010. Accessed December 11, 2021.

Karila, Laurent; Weinstein, Aviv; Aubin, Henri-Jean; et al. “Pharmacological approaches to methamphet[…]ce: a focused review.” British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, June 2010. Accessed December 11, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.