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How Lengthy Does Opioid Withdrawal Final?

How Lengthy Does Opioid Withdrawal Final?


Young Man Holding His Face Between His Hands

Opioids are extremely addictive medicine, encompassing prescription medicines (like hydrocodone) and unlawful substances (like heroin).1 Individuals can develop a dependence on opioids, even when they’re prescribed them by a physician. In reality, practically 80% of heroin customers say that they began out taking prescription opioids first.2

As soon as somebody is hooked on opioids, getting off them might be difficult. That’s as a result of extreme withdrawal signs can set in when somebody stops taking them. In case you or a beloved one is combating or exhibiting indicators of opioid dependancy, you might be questioning how lengthy does opioid withdrawal final? 

On this article, we’ll break down the opioid withdrawal timeline intimately and clarify what opioid remedy choices appear to be. 

What Are Opioids?

Earlier than diving in, it’s necessary to grasp opioid vs. opiate dependancy. Opiates embrace naturally-derived medicine, similar to opium, morphine, or codeine. Opioids are an artificial drug classification for substances used to assist folks handle reasonable to extreme ache.3 Individuals could also be prescribed opioids after surgical procedure or throughout most cancers remedy, for instance. Typically, opioids are additionally used to deal with intense coughing or persistent diarrhea in medical settings.3

The most typical opioids embrace:4

  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Fentanyl
  • Tapentadol
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Heroin

How Do Opioids Have an effect on the Physique?

Opioids bind to the physique’s pure opiate receptors. These receptors are often reserved for endorphins—the physique’s pure opioids.5 They’re answerable for regulating ache, temper, stress ranges, respiration, and gastrointestinal capabilities.6 Opioids may produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that induces emotions of delight and reward.3 

Even when taken as prescribed, opioids might be addictive. That’s as a result of extended opioid use can desensitize the physique’s opioid receptors, inflicting them to develop a tolerance.1 In flip, somebody could must take increased doses of opioids to realize the identical impact, whether or not they’re in search of ache reduction or a euphoric excessive.

As soon as somebody has a tolerance to opioids, going with out them can shortly induce disagreeable withdrawal signs. These signs might be agonizing, so many individuals could take extra opioids desperately to ease their signs. How lengthy do opioids keep in your system? The reply depends upon how robust the opioid is, particularly if they’re long-acting, short-acting, fast onset, or half-life.

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

Whereas opioid withdrawal might be distressing, there’s excellent news—it doesn’t final ceaselessly. In reality, the worst a part of opioid withdrawal is often over inside per week to 10 days. So, how lengthy does opioid withdrawal final in its entirety?

Right here is a median timeline for opioid withdrawal:7

  • 8 to 24 hours – Opioid withdrawal signs can set in as early as eight hours after somebody’s final dose.
  • 24 to 72 hours – Essentially the most intense withdrawal signs usually happen through the second and third days of opioid withdrawal.
  • 4 to 10 days – After 72 hours, opioid withdrawal signs will seemingly begin to wane. Nevertheless, some delicate withdrawal signs could persist for 10 days or extra.
  • 10 days to a number of months – As soon as the acute withdrawal interval is over, the mind could take a number of months to get better. Signs that happen throughout this era are known as post-acute withdrawal signs (PAWS). PAWS can embrace insomnia, fatigue, persistent ache, nervousness, despair, irritability, and slowed cognition.8 Cravings for opioids can persist throughout this time too. 

Whereas that is an common timeline, it’s necessary to notice that every particular person’s withdrawal timeline could differ relying on their:

  • Length of opioid dependence
  • Frequency of opioid ingestion
  • Common opioid dose
  • Kind of opioid used (short-acting vs. long-acting)
  • Genetics

Widespread Withdrawal Signs

Now that we’ve mentioned the final timeline for opioid withdrawal, you might be questioning about its signs. Opioids are identified for inducing euphoria, drowsiness, ache reduction, constipation, and slowed respiration. Signs of opioid withdrawal are just about the precise reverse of these results. 

Some frequent opioid withdrawal signs embrace:9

  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle and bone ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Elevated coronary heart charge
  • Hypertension
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Intense cravings 

These withdrawal signs could vary from delicate to extreme, relying on the particular person’s diploma of opioid dependence vs. dependancy and well being standing. 

Withdrawal Detox and Remedy

As you may think about, experiencing these signs for a number of days might be excruciating. That’s why so many individuals wrestle to cut back and eradicate opioids on their very own. 

Opioid withdrawal is less complicated when finished throughout a medically-monitored opioid detox. Throughout medical detox, sufferers can obtain medicines, similar to methadone or buprenorphine, to ease their opioid withdrawal signs.7 Some medicines may be prescribed after detox to help with ongoing cravings. By making the withdrawal course of extra tolerable, a medically-assisted detox may help somebody escape from the vicious cycle of opioid dependancy as soon as and for all.

Medical detox is usually simply step one in opioid restoration. After detox, sufferers can take part in inpatient or outpatient remedy applications, attend remedy, and be a part of restoration assist teams. These steps may help them achieve the abilities they should fight their cravings, handle their stress, and keep sober. 

Overcome Your Opioid Dependancy At Elevate Rehab

Opioid dependancy can have an effect on each facet of an individual’s life. Within the worst-case situations, opioid dependancy can finish in a deadly overdose.10 Happily, that doesn’t should be the case for you or the one you love combating opioid dependancy.

At Elevate Rehab, our medical drug and alcohol detox program may help you or the one you love break freed from your opioid dependence safely and comfortably. After that, our holistic rehab and remedy applications may help you or the one you love pave the trail to a satisfying life post-recovery. 

Figuring out how lengthy does opioid withdrawal final and what to anticipate are an necessary first step.

So, for those who’re able to relinquish opioids’ maintain in your life, attain out to the compassionate workforce of dependancy specialists at Elevate Rehab immediately for extra on our opioid dependancy remedy program. 


  1. MayoClinic. How opioid dependancy happens. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372
  2. NIH. Prescription opioid use is a threat issue for heroin use. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-opioids-heroin/prescription-opioid-use-risk-factor-heroin-use
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Opioids. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/well being/articles/21127-opioids
  4. CDC. Prescription Opioids: The Fundamentals. https://www.cdc.gov/rxawareness/data/index.html
  5. Cleveland Clinic. Endorphins. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/well being/physique/23040-endorphins
  6. NIH. Physiology, Opioid Receptor. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546642/
  7. NIH. Withdrawal Administration. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310652/
  8. UCLA. Put up-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS
  9. NIH. Opioid Withdrawal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526012/
  10. NIH. Overdose Loss of life Charges. https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates



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