Breaking Down Signs of Opiate Withdrawal

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One of the most challenging parts of treatment for opiate addiction is going through the withdrawal period. This occurs at the beginning of the rehabilitation process, but is a difficult first hurdle to overcome. Many people experience withdrawal symptoms, but continue opiate use rather than seeking help. However, with the right treatment plan and support, going through detox is worth it in the end.

Not everyone will have the same detox experience. Opiate withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. Typically, they begin within 12 hours after the last drug use. Symptoms hit their highest intensity in the first few days. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, achiness, loss of appetite, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. The first signs of opiate withdrawal may feel like a strong case of the flu. It may be difficult to hold down any food or fluids and cause you to feel weak. In short, the symptoms are uncomfortable and often, painful. The good news is that they are also temporary.

The first 48 hours are going to be especially challenging, but as each day goes by, symptoms will begin to subside. It’s highly recommended to go through the detox process under the care of a dedicated treatment facility. In addition to the physical symptoms experienced, opiate withdrawal can be hard on your mental wellness as well. A treatment facility provides a safe and monitored place where you have the professional assistance to help you through it.

Treatment center providers may be able to administer medication to help ease the pain or any cravings you may experience. Their purpose is to help you feel as comfortable as possible as you go through the early stages of withdrawal. You will then have a plan for treatment that is customized for exactly what you need to reach and maintain sobriety.

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

The opiate addiction withdrawal timeline lasts an estimated 7-10 days. This varies on a case-by-case basis. There are several factors that affect how fast you will go through the detox period. Age, current health status, and history with opiate use all determine the timeline. For example, a person who has suffered from addiction for several years may have extended symptoms compared to a person who has a stronger immune system and hasn’t been using for as long.

Although that’s not always the case, a person who has suffered from addiction for several years has built up an immunity to the drug. Once a person becomes drug dependent, the body begins to build up a tolerance, which means that more drugs are needed to reach the high. This constant craving can easily lead to an overdose since the body wouldn’t have time to metabolize the drug fast enough.

Opiate addiction means the body has learned to function with opiates in the system, and it will take longer for the body to detox completely. Additionally, addiction changes the makeup of your brain. The way you think, act, and feel are changed.

The withdrawal timeline consists of acute and protracted withdrawal symptoms. The acute stage is when you may feel nauseous and experience vomiting. It’s important to maintain healthy hydration and nutrition levels. That’s another reason why going through detox under supervision is strongly advised.

The second stage of symptoms is when fatigue, anxiety, and/or depression often sets in. Monitoring during this time is also important so you can learn ways to cope. Treatment from a rehab facility also gives you the medical attention you need to stay safe and as healthy as possible. Protracted withdrawal symptoms may last longer than the estimated 7-10 days. For some, they can last weeks, months, or even years.

There’s no one to fully predict how you will react to drug withdrawal. Battling addiction involves a big for the body, your mind, and lifestyle. While all of it is the positive progress of caring for your future health, it can feel overwhelming. Seek the help of those who are prepared to provide what you need to continue on to the next phase.

Receiving Care for Opiate Addiction

Sobriety doesn’t happen automatically, but you can set up a plan to make it happen. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to face your addiction alone. There are several resources to rely on for help. Your doctors and advisors will help map out your care plan based on their assessment of your specific situation. Depending on your progress along the way, the timeline for recovery is determined based on certain goals set for your health and well-being.

After the detoxification phase, it’s time for intensive treatment. There are two options available, inpatient or outpatient care with benefits to both. Inpatient care requires a temporary stay at a treatment facility. Separating yourself from your current environment helps you to focus on your health without a constant disruption from outside influences. Rehab facilities are designed to instill a calm, relaxing space. They are often set in more secluded areas like near lakes or set among the mountains. An environmental shift immediately creates a positive space for you to work on your rehabilitation plan.

One-on-one counseling and group therapy sessions are two big components of both inpatient and outpatient care. Through these treatments, you’ll learn more about your addiction. It will help you find the root of when it started, why it continued, and how to cope with any triggers or temptations you may face in the future. This part of treatment is to help guide you to an understanding of your addiction and find a solution for how to make it part of your past.

Inpatient care also provides relapse prevention services. The program is designed to motivate you and give you the resources you need to keep moving forward. While it’s not uncommon for a person to experience relapse at some stage of the process, it’s better to avoid it if possible. By focusing on your health and using the tools you’re given to cope, you’ll know how to address future temptations.

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How Does Outpatient Care Differ?

Outpatient care follows a similar guideline as inpatient care. You still receive the same counseling benefits and relapse prevention skills. However, this treatment option doesn’t require any overnight stays. You are welcome to stay in your own home or another safe space where you have positive support.

This may be a more favorable option for someone who can’t leave their home or wants extended treatment beyond the original inpatient stay. Creating the right treatment plan is all based on what’s best for you. Which type of environment will help you succeed the most? How you will benefit from either inpatient or outpatient treatment? What current support system do you have? What kind of current negative influences affect you? All of these questions will be asked and answered to help you determine which treatment choices ia good fit.

Outpatient care is also an option for anyone who has gone through the rehabilitation process before and wants to return for extra care. Whatever stage of addiction you are in, there are people who can help you decide what’s the best option for your health.

Life Transition Following Addiction Treatment

The rehabilitation process also offers guidance for how to handle transitioning back to your everyday life. Just because you’ve completed a detox program and are in recovery doesn’t mean alcohol or drugs will never play a part in your life again. You may still be connected to people from your addiction past or find yourself in situations where drugs and alcohol are around.

While the ideal option is to avoid these situations, there are times they may still arise. You’ll learn in treatment how to replace your old habits with healthy new ones. You’ll carry these with you even after you are finished with your inpatient or outpatient care. There will still be support available to you as well, if you need extra motivation or accountability to help you to through tougher days.

Life after treatment is where healthy coping mechanisms come into play. These may include walking away from a toxic person or environment, going to an AA or NA meeting, or turning to exercise or other healthy activity. Stay accountable by working out with a friend or simply enjoy the quiet time by yourself. Exercising creates natural endorphins that make you feel happier, better rested, and stronger. Make it part of your daily lifestyle by switching it up between sessions at the gym, walks in the park, or other fun ideas where you get the body moving.

During this transition phase, you’ll also be given resources and training on how to update your resume, go on job interviews, balance a budget, and other skills that will help you when you return back to daily life. You may have once had control over these tasks, but may need a refresher to help get you back on track.

If addiction is all you’ve known, it can feel difficult to make these changes. Eventually, though, these new habits will become your new routine. There may be times when you will reflect on your old life before rehab. However, once you’ve seen how far you’ve come, there won’t be any turning back. You’ll be well on your way to sober living. And, it’ll feel good.

Helping a Loved One Seek Treatment

It’s not easy to confront a friend or family member about their addiction. It’s not a topic that anyone wants to raise, but it’s an important one to discuss. If you are someone who wants to know how you can help, there are intervention specialists trained to set you up in the right environment and expectations to guide you through a successful intervention. If you’ve already talked with your friend or family member and nothing has changed, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional.

They can give you tips on how to approach someone who is suffering with addiction, how to prepare for the intervention, and what to possibly expect. At this time, you can also gather information about different treatment options and locations, cost, and timing. All of this preliminary research will help support your plan. The goal is to help your loved one seek treatment by making it easier for them to say yes.

Problems with addiction make emotions run high for everyone involved. Let the person you care about know how important he or she is by confronting the problem and offering solutions. Although it may not be received as you imagine, you are helping by providing options and support. A strong support system is invaluable for anyone who is struggling with addiction. Ultimately, it’s up to the person with the addiction to get the help they need, but you can be there when they do.

Overcoming Addiction

Treatment for opiate addiction is available whenever you are ready to take the first step toward sobriety. It’s a multi-phase process that requires dedication. Each part is equally important. It may seem like change isn’t happening fast enough. You may experience setbacks. But every day you will become stronger and closer to a healthier future. Focus on what will help you most with your sobriety. Addiction doesn’t have to ruin your life. There are people who can help you on your journey.

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. Have you tried rehab before? Have you gone through addiction withdrawal on your own? Even if you’ve tried different methods before, find out how different the experience is when you receive treatment from professional rehab facility. Take the time to invest in your health. Overcoming drug addiction will change your life.

Hesitation often occurs because of fear of withdrawal symptoms, inpatient treatment, or just the uncertainty of it all. However, every step forward gives you the opportunity to change your future for the better. Going through the treatment process will help to improve your relationships, self-esteem, and your overall outlook on life.

We have the information and support you need to find a treatment solution that works for you. You don’t have to suffer alone. We are are ready with a helping hand. Ready to start the path to a more healthier, happier future?

Find hope. Find recovery. Begin a commitment to lifelong recovery today – for yourself, your friend, or for your loved one.
(888) 325-1995


Health Line. Withdrawing from Opiates and Opioids. Revised June 2017, Accessed April 10, 2016.

Health Line. Opiate Withdrawal: What Is It And How To Cope With It. Revised Nov. 2016, Accessed April 11, 2016.

WebMD. Treating Opioid Use Disorder With Medications. Accessed April 10,2016.

Addictions and Recovery. Opioids: Addiction, Withdrawal and Recovery. Accessed April 11, 2016.

WebMD. PainKillers and Opioid Use Disorder. Accessed April 10, 2016.

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