Understanding Physical Withdrawal From Opiates

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Opiate withdrawal affects the body both physically and mentally. The physical side effects begin within the first 12 hours after the last opiate use. Side effects include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and an overall sore and achy feeling. For some, the physical withdrawal from opiates could be likened to a severe case of the flu.

The side effects are most noticeable in the first few days, or the acute stage, of the withdrawal period. During this time, they opiate withdrawal symptoms are at their most severe. It is the body’s reaction of ridding the body of the toxins. This makes it difficult for people to go through withdrawal on their own. The pain and discomfort, in addition to cravings, prove to be too much for most. Without help, it’s common to return to addiction.

Following the 7-10 days of the acute withdrawal period, the next phase is protracted withdrawal. The physical side effects of this stage often include anxiety, fatigue, inability to focus, and depression. These may last beyond the initial phase of your withdrawal. As you continue through your opiate treatment process, the body continuously is adapting to its new norm of being without opiates. It will take time as well as the help of others for you to reach and maintain your sobriety successfully.

Painful side effects from the physical withdrawal of opiates aren’t the only factors that may weigh negatively on your health. The detox process weakens the immune system, especially if you don’t receive the right nutrition or are constantly dehydrated. Since vomiting and lack of appetite are both side effects of opiate withdrawal, it’s not uncommon to simultaneously experience massive weight loss or anorexia.

The good news is opiate withdrawal symptoms are temporary. After the first few days, the side effects begin to lessen in intensity. The reason symptoms are so severe is because addiction changes your brain’s makeup. Opiate addiction will make you feel like you “need” the drugs to feel normal or be able to function fully.

When in the care of a treatment facility, there is round-the-clock monitoring in a safe and secure space. You will have a health assessment at every stage of treatment. Medication may be administered to help ease your cravings and the painful side effects. You also benefit from encouragement and emotional support as you go through the different withdrawal stages. All of this is valuable as you go through the withdrawal and subsequent treatment process.

The best thing you can do is give yourself the active care you need. Change is challenging, even if the change is for the better and supports your future well-being. Fortunately, we are here to help.

How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

Typically, the initial detox period lasts for 7-10 days, but people can experience opiate withdrawal symptoms for weeks or months beyond the first phase. Each person responds differently. The timeline is based are several factors.

Your weight, age, and current health all affect how long the withdrawal process lasts. Also, the amount of time you’ve experienced addiction and how often you use opiates will also play a role. Remember, the body is physiologically affected by drug addiction. It takes time to create a healthy pathway that changes what the body has become immune to by using opiates. For example, a 25-year-old person with a strong immune system may go through the withdrawal process more quickly than a person who is 50 and has other health issues.

Those who have gone through physical withdrawal from opiates before know all too well how strong the cravings are and how painful and uncomfortable the side effects can be. Experiencing this without help, while also facing temptations, can quickly lead to a relapse.

We are focused on relapse prevention at all stages of recovery. In treatment, we help you identify what triggers the desire to use and teach coping solutions to combat them. We also provide guidance and healthy alternatives you can use after your treatment is complete. Relapse can happen at any time. But if you have the tools to fight it, you can continue your positive progress and keep moving forward.

Relapse is hard on your body, not to mention your spirit, but it is not uncommon. It doesn’t equate failure. It just means you start again. Addiction makes you feel like you don’t have alternatives, which simply isn’t true. Seeking treatment through a detox center helps to prevent relapse from occurring. With dedicated help, you can overcome your addiction. It doesn’t have to define your life.

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

Does Opiate Withdrawal Affect My Mental Health?

Yes. The physical withdrawal from opiates is what is mostly talked about and feared. The pain from these side effects don’t last forever and with time, the intensity and frequency subsides. However, addiction is a disease that strongly affects your mental wellness, too. In many cases, people experience or feel a heightened sense of anxiety or paranoia.

During the withdrawal period, you also may be diagnosed with depression or other mental health issues that may have been concealed by your addiction and left untreated. Rehabilitation not only helps with your addiction, it can also shine light on other necessary medical treatment. This includes medication, counseling, and other resources and care to put you on a healthier path.

Addiction can also affects sleep patterns and the ability to focus. All of these things combined can make you feel like you are powerless. But you don’t have to be. You can fight back against this disease and improve your physical and mental health. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It takes diligence and hard work, but there are people to help you with the heavy lifting. Find the support you need to get sober.

Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Withdrawal occurs first followed by a full detox. The symptoms, side effects, and process are all part of a complete lifestyle transformation. The detox phase is only the first step of the journey to sobriety. When you make the decision to seek help for your addiction, you are taking a giant leap in the right direction. Unfortunately, it doesn’t automatically eliminate all of the stresses, temptations, and pressures you currently experience. This is one of the reasons why inpatient care is the chosen next step.

Following the withdrawal and detox period, most people enter inpatient care. This is also referred to as inpatient care since you stay at the facility of your choosing for a temporary period. Inpatient care allows you to concentrate on yourself and your health without distraction from the outside world and influences.

Many treatment facilities are located within peaceful environments. The quiet and serenity aids treatment and shuts out the noise and chaos that addiction often carries with it. It gives you time to reflect in nature, rebuild your mental and physical strength, and enjoy time away from the chaos of everyday life.

Through inpatient care, you also have a chance to talk through your addiction and listen to others talk about theirs. Group therapy and individual counseling sessions are key parts to any recovery process. Each helps facilitate a deeper understanding about addiction to get to the root of the problem. You’ll learn about why your addiction is triggered and how to handle it once you return back to the “real world.”

There is also time dedicated to establishing a routine. Routine guides new, healthy habits that take place of old, destructive ones. It’s a chance to rediscover all the wonderful things that make you you. What kind of ambitions do you have? What is a hobby that you used to enjoy? What kind of relationships do you want to build? Part of your journey includes planning for your future. When your body and mind are healthy, you can accomplish whatever you desire.

Inpatient care is an intensive process, and the reward is well worth it. You take back control of your life. As each day passes, your strength will start to return, and your mind will become clearer. Many inpatient stays last for at least 30 days, but your time in rehab is based on how you respond to treatment. There is constant monitoring to ensure your health is where it needs to be to advance to the next stage.

Each part of the process is equally important. There is no area that can be skipped over and still reach the same result. Fortunately, your journey is uniquely yours, which means there’s no race to the finish. Each person who goes through treatment wants to achieve the same goal – sobriety. By embracing inpatient care, you will find that you’re within reach sooner than you think.

Outpatient Care and Life Transitions

Outpatient care is an alternative for anyone who does not choose to enter into inpatient treatment. It follows much of the same protocol, but it requires full accountability to check in to daily appointments. It is a favorable option for someone who already has a strong support system at home or who cannot afford to take a leave of absence.
Outpatient care also serves as an extension to inpatient care or a place to schedule treatment, if you’ve been through the rehab process before. Weigh the benefits of both options. What parts of either inpatient or outpatient care will benefit you most? The most important thing is to find a method that works best for you.

During both types of treatment, you’ll receive the tools, resources, and life skills planning you need to transition back into the real world. Addiction may have put your job or relationships in jeopardy. You may not have the same group of friends as before. You may not have the same home. Big changes can cause stress and stress can lead to triggers. Through treatment, you’ll learn how to handle this transition in a positive way. You’ll also learn how to interview for jobs, improve your resume, look for an apartment, and other day-to-day skills that may have been forgotten or neglected due to addiction.

You’ll work with advisors to create a plan. What will help you feel comfortable as you integrate back into the real world? Do you have a support system in place? What extra resources may we provide to ensure you maintain your sobriety? All of your questions will be assessed and answered. We want you to feel confident and well-equipped before you return to your daily life.

Treatment Is Available

Are you ready to fight back against your addiction? Is it time to take back control of your life? We have treatment solutions available whenever you are ready to take the first step. Let us answer any questions you have about treatment programs, relapse concerns, lifestyle change, or anything else that might be on your mind. Don’t uncertainty hold you back from finding the help you need.

You have options. Each person receives a customized treatment plan that focuses on your specific needs. The kind of treatment that works for someone else may need to be altered to work successfully for you. No two addiction stories are exactly the same and neither are stories of recovery. Each is unique and powerful on its own.

If you are a loved one who seeks more information about helping a friend or family member, we can provide the resources you need. Whether it’s help from an intervention specialist or financial information about treatment facilities, we are here to help. Talk with your loved ones. Let them know there is help available to them and provide as much support as you can. Once you have options ready to present, it can help open the door for conversation.

Dealing with addiction is a scary thing for everyone. No one should have to suffer alone. Our goal is to help people build strong, healthy lives. We want to help you overcome your addiction and maintain a sober lifestyle. The decision is up to you to get started, but we will stand with you every step of the way. Find out what all the positive things the future has in store for you when you don’t have addiction holding you back.

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


WebMD. Painkillers and Opioid Use Disorder. Accessed March 4, 2016.

WebMD. Treating Opioid Use Disorder With Medications. Accessed March 5, 2016.

WebMD. What Is Methadone? Accessed March 5, 2016.

Web MD. What Are Opioids? Accessed March 4, 2016.

WebMD. Vitamins & Supplements Center. Accessed March 4, 2016.

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