Breaking Down Narcotic Withdrawal Symptoms

Call Today: (888) 325-1995

Narcotics are addictive drugs that can negatively affect a person’s life forever. Once addicted to narcotics (opioids), it’s not an easy feat to detox from them completely. The rise in narcotics use has swept the nation. It is currently one of the most dangerous epidemics our country faces. However, there are treatment centers and caring people everywhere who want to help people battling addiction. It may not be easy, but sobriety is within reach.

To begin the path to becoming sober, you must first begin a detox program. Narcotic withdrawal symptoms usually start within the first 12-24 hours after the last use, whether you are being treated in a facility or not. They are the most intense during the first few days and eventually, become less severe over time. In less frequent cases, symptoms will last for weeks or even months. It is the severity of these symptoms that causes people to relapse or prevents people from wanting to enter a detox program in the first place. But you don’t have to go through it alone.

Narcotic withdrawal symptoms include muscles aches, profuse sweating, running nose, and anxiety, to name a few. It can feel like you have a bad case of the flu complete with involuntary shakes and nausea. It’s your body’s way of working the toxins out of your system. People also have experienced vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping when going through withdrawal.

These and other similar kinds of symptoms can occur if you’ve stopped the use of heroin, codeine, morphine, or any other drugs that are not taken under a monitored prescription. When addicted, the body eventually adapts to this drug use. Over time, it builds up a tolerance. This means the body requires more and more of the drug to reach the same high as when you first started, a situation which can lead to fatal results. Those who continuously “chase the high” often face accidental overdose.

When your body is addicted to drugs, the physiology of the brain changes. Should you stop feeding the addiction without giving your body a chance to adapt to its “new norm,” it can have painful consequences, too. It’s best to slowly detox rather trying to make it happen all at once. After the withdrawal symptoms become fewer and fewer, you may still experience other side effects as well.

This change can be tough on your body. You may not be eating well during this time or getting adequate exercise. It can feel draining. Once you have gone through detoxification fully, you can then start rebuilding your physical and mental health through the next stages of recovery.

How Are Withdrawal Symptoms Treated?

Treating withdrawal symptoms is not the same as treating the actual addiction. If you experience mild withdrawal symptoms like headaches or light nausea, these can be often be treated with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms are more intense and require stronger medication to help ease the pain.

When under the supervision of a medical professional, clonidine or suboxone can help to alleviate the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, so you feel more comfortable. These are used on a case by case basis depending on how your body is responding to the medicine.

Even in the care of a treatment facility, you will be eased into the detox phase. A rapid detox can shock the body and may result in additional health risks. The body is unpredictable; there’s no way of knowing for sure how you’ll react once you’re in the withdrawal stage. The best thing you can do is turn to the help of others who understand the process and can spring into medical action when called for.

Signs of Narcotic Addiction

As a friend or a family member concerned about a loved one, take note of any and all changes you observe. Symptoms of opiate addiction and withdrawal aren’t always solely physical. There are behavioral changes to look out for as well. These may include lethargy, mood swings, restlessness, irritability, and depression. If the person you care for has experienced these behavioral shifts prior to narcotics use, it may only deepen the feelings and subsequent problems.

If you are suffering from addiction or are witnessing someone who is, you may experience extreme highs and lows, changing abruptly. Addiction causes people to think, feel, and act out of character. This may cause them to lie, steal, and dip to a low level of accountability. Narcotic addiction is damaging to your health, but also to your relationships, your finances, and your job.

Addiction can also get you into trouble with the law and put your life and the lives of others in danger, if you are reckless or not fully aware of how you are being affected. You may become unrecognizable to yourself as a result of your addiction.

Have people approached you concerned about your health? How did you respond? Every person goes through this experience differently and may not show all of the symptoms associated with the disease. However, there are some signs that can’t be ignored or explained away as anything else.

Are you ready to face your addiction head on and get the help you need?

Speak with a treatment specialist today.
(888) 325-1995

How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?

Typically, it takes approximately 7-10 days to go through withdrawal from heroin or any other narcotics. It is this stretch of time, which often prevents people from going through the detox process. In addition the discomfort and pain levels, the addiction itself may make cravings and temptation too strong to overcome. It’s highly advised to go through the detox process under the supervised care of a treatment center.

Through a detox program, you will have medical assistance to help you make it through the withdrawal symptoms as comfortably as possible. It also ensures your health is monitored as your body goes through this stressful change. Plus, it provides much needed support, which you’ll benefit from throughout the entire process. You don’t have to go through anything alone. There is help available if you are ready to start a sober lifestyle and need some guidance along the way.

Keep in mind that after you’ve gone through drug withdrawal of any kind, there may still be traces of the drug in your body. To fully detox may take longer than a week. Blood samples may detect drugs in the system far longer than a urine or hair sample could.

Narcotic Withdrawal Timeline: Contributing Factors

No two addiction stories are exactly the same and neither are detox stories. There are several factors that will affect how long it takes your body to adjust. Height, weight, and age all play a role. Your general health and history of addiction also are considered. For example, a middle-aged person who has been battling addiction for years and is in fair health likely will experience detox differently than a person in their 20s, in good health, and has not used narcotics for long. That’s not to say that both aren’t at grave risk from addiction. But the withdrawal timeline and intensity of symptoms may vary quite a bit. It can last anywhere from a week to a month to a lifetime.

Your health is monitored every step of the way when part of a treatment program. Each phase builds upon the other, so you are getting the most out of your recovery. One stage may take longer than the others, but the important thing is to pay attention to how your body is reacting. The changes you’re making in treatment are positive, but in general, extreme changes of any kind always call for extra attention to your health.

How to Prevent Relapse

One of the biggest challenges during the withdrawal period is the chance for relapse. You have a better chance of fighting relapse when you have the support of others. When cared for in a secure environment, you aren’t faced with the daily temptations or cravings you may have if you try to detox on your own. You also have accountability of those who will ensure you are following the right protocol for your health.

Battling relapse can be tough, especially in the beginning. It can be all too easy to try to quit using narcotics for a few days, but remember, addiction changes the way you think, feel, and act. It takes control over the body in a way that makes it feel normal to you. Even if you want to become sober, you need the help from others to achieve it.

The chance for relapse can happen at any stage. It shouldn’t be looked to at as a failure. It’s an opportunity to learn and start again. It may take more than one beginning to reach your desired goal. As part of treatment, our counselors will help you to prevent relapse once you’ve completed treatment as well. This involves helping you identify triggers and learning how to handle them in a positive, healthy way. Returning to the real world post-rehabilitation can be a slow transition. We want to make sure you have all you need to succeed.

Treatment for Narcotic Addiction

Once you’ve gone through withdrawal symptoms and a full detox treatment, your path doesn’t end there. It’s where you begin with a clean slate to start your recovery program. You can choose to receive inpatient or outpatient care. Both are beneficial and have similar steps, but each is unique in its own way.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient care is a choice that allows you to step away from your current situation temporarily to truly focus on your health and sobriety. This means morning, noon, and night you will be part of an intensive treatment program to help you through your healing. Often, inpatient treatment facilities are located in peaceful spots around the country, by lakes, in the forest, or other serene destinations where you can have the stillness surrounding you to help you find your inner calm.

Inpatient care also provides group counseling, as well as individual therapy sessions, to help you find the root of your addiction. Where did it all begin? What triggers you the most? How can these things be avoided or dealt with in the future? You’ll receive tools and coping mechanisms to handle different situations and feel supported if you need extra assistance.

Another important part of inpatient care is preparing you for the next step, once you’re out of rehab. How you will begin to interact in your old world again? What kind of changes will you need to make? You will receive guidance and answers to these questions, in addition to preparation to help you job search, look for a place to live, and reconnect with supportive family and friends.

Outpatient Treatment

Conversely, outpatient care includes everything inpatient care offers, except you do not stay overnight. This alternative works well for those who may feel the right care for them involves being at home. It also is an option for anyone who may not automatically be ready to enter a full-time program. Outpatient care requires even stronger accountability. It is up to you to show up for your sessions every day.

Outpatient care also works as a continuation to inpatient care for anyone who chooses to continue their treatment. We’ll walk you through all options. Whatever path you choose, the ultimate goal is to find the type of treatment program that works for you.

Now Is the Time to Start

Yes, there will be painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. There will be difficult days. But if you follow through with the rehabilitation and recovery, what you get in return is priceless. You will have a chance at living a healthy, sober life. The detox process is where you’ll begin. With every stage, you are making a positive difference for yourself, which will come with its own rewards.

There’s assistance available whenever you’re ready; it’s up to you to begin. We are here to answer your questions and ease your doubts. Let us provide what you need to get sober. You deserve a new beginning for a happier future. There’s no better time to start than now. Ready to get started?

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


WebMD. Treating Opioid Use Disorder With Medications. Accessed April 18, 2016.

WebMD. Painkillers and Opioid Use Disorder. Accessed April 18, 2016.

WebMD. Turning to Kratom For Opioid Withdrawal. Revised Oct. 2017, Accessed April 20, 2016.

WebMD. FDA Approves First Non-Opioid for Withdrawal. Accessed April 19, 2016.

WebMD. Vitamins & Supplements Center. Accessed April 20, 2016.

Men grasping hands to help a climber.
Ready for Help? Call Us Today. Our treatment specialists can guide you through a free, quick and confidential assessment (888) 325-1995