Everyone who suffers from drug abuse has a different experience. Even if the symptoms are the same or the stories sound similar, no two people go through their battle with addiction or recovery in quite the same way. It’s a deeply personal experience, to say the least.
One of the biggest questions often asked is: How long does it take to withdraw from opiates? Unfortunately, there is no one hard and fast answer to this question. There is a range of time that is typical to most cases of withdrawal symptoms. The timeline is dependent on several different factors.
In rarer cases, opiate withdrawal can last for months. The initial, severe characteristics may not be full blown throughout that whole time, but there are long-lasting effects that changes the body. It alters how a person acts, feels, functions, and behaves. In short, opiate withdrawal isn’t a quick process. It takes time for the body to one, fully rid the drugs from the system and two, begin to heal.
Contributing Factors to Withdrawal
How long is opiate withdrawal? Withdrawal is different for everyone meaning that a number of factors play into this timeline. Characteristics of each person are taken into account, such as age, gender, weight, and age. The amount of opiates ingested and how long you’ve abused drugs also play a part in the overall opiate withdrawal timeline.
Other questions to ask when you are estimating the withdrawal timeline are: Were opiates taken with other drugs? Was this a first-time use or one in a long history of abuse? All of these questions matter and play a part in just how long it will take to go through the withdrawal process. For example, someone who has struggled with addiction for years may have to go through a longer withdrawal period than a younger person who may have been using for a few months.
One reason is due to the overall health of the person’s organs and immune system. As we age, our body’s functioning eventually slows and becomes weaker. When addiction is thrown into the mix, it’s even harder on the body. On the other hand, a younger, healthier person may be able to metabolize the drug faster and rid it from the system at a faster pace.
The frequency with which a you use opiates and the dosage taken is also an important factor of the withdrawal timeline. When you become drug dependent, the body begins to crave the drug. The want changes to a need. The body becomes so adapted to functioning with the drug that it doesn’t know how to function normally without it. At this point, it takes over control of the body.
Also, over time, if you are using opiates you may become immune to potency of the drug. The body is able to build up a tolerance, which requires more of the drug to feel the same high as when the person first started using this can often be a sign of opiate addiction. This will all factor into how long the withdrawal may last and how severe the side effects are.
Signs of Opiate Withdrawal
The side effects of opiate withdrawal are usually most noticeable within the first few days, as these are when they are the most severe. The beginning can often be the most challenging since the body doesn’t feel “normal” without the drugs. When someone becomes drug dependent, the body has adapted to the new norm of addiction. Opiates negatively change the physiology of the body and affects the heart, brain, and other vital organs. As a result, suddenly eliminating opiates from your system without feeding the craving will typically cause an intense reaction. This is why detoxing without medical supervision can be very dangerous as these withdrawal symptoms set in.
This is one of the reasons why relapses are common in those first days of withdrawal. The intensity, pain, and discomfort of the side effects are often too strong to resist alone. These side effects tend to kick in around 12 hours after the last opiate use. The intense withdrawal symptoms are why it is so important to have a positive support system in place, such as a team of medical professionals, to make the difficult times even a little bit easier. A medical team can often help ease withdrawal symptoms by providing medication to ease discomfort and make withdrawal as manageable as possible.
At first, you may feel achy and sore. Diarrhea, profuse sweating, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, and loss of appetite are also common signs of opiate withdrawal as well. Varying from person to person, you can feel one or two of these symptoms or all of them at once. It may feel like a bad case of the flu.
Near the end of the withdrawal period, the pain typically subsides, but it’s not uncommon for it to linger. You may still not have an appetite or be able to sleep through the night for several more days. It’s all part of the body’s way of getting rid of the drugs and resuming to a normalcy without drugs.
Due to the intense nature of opiate withdrawal, it’s best to give full focus on the process in a safe and comfortable environment. Not only will it help prevent relapse, it ensures you have both the medical assistance and counseling support you need.
During this time, the body is working overtime and is likely not at its strongest. Being in a secure place where there is help on call is a valuable asset to have. However, know that when the body feels weak, this is all a natural part of the recovery and detox process. When a person decides to fight their disease, they commit to getting stronger by the day. Something we are committed to helping you work through every day of the week.Speak with a qualified treatment specialist.
How Does Opiate Withdrawal Affect My Health?
Addiction is a disease. And like any illness, there needs to be time for the body to recover and regain strength. During withdrawal, the body needs proper nutrition, hydration, and exercise the most. These are crucial to any healthy lifestyle.
When going through withdrawal, there may be a flip-flop between lack of appetite and vomiting. One minute you may feel like eating only to throw up later. Or, nothing sounds appetizing at all, so you eat nothing. In either case, the body cannot get the nutrients it needs to help restore strength and heal. However, with time, the side effects becomes less severe. Slowly, the appetite returns and the nausea is no longer present. When this happens, it’s important to start out with plain foods first: soup, crackers, and other bland options that won’t irritate the stomach. It’s important for the body to be hydrated during this time as well. Taking care of yourself during this time can have a large impact on your overall recovery. For this reason, many people find a supportive rehab situation to best set them up for success as they can get care from professionals who know how to address these nutritional needs and more.
Unfortunately, when going through withdrawal there is always the possibility of relapsing and starting the process over again. This is why a medically supported recovery with professional support can make such a big difference in streamlining the recovery process. The first days of going without opiate use is highly sensitive because of the vulnerability during this time. It’s not only the body’s physical response that a person must overcome, it’s the emotional and psychological reactions as well.
It’s not an easy feat, but it is one that is can be doable with time. People work through the withdrawal process and go on to thrive. It takes time to work through the body’s reaction and make sure that you set out on a healthy path for the future. It also takes time to uncover the root of what led to the addiction in the first place and what triggers use. It is multi-faceted and at times, complicated, which is why help from a treatment center is recommend. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. And, no one should have to tackle it alone.
Opiate Addiction Treatment
Going through withdrawal is not exactly the same as detox and it definitely does not equal recovery. If you endure the week-long withdrawal phase, this is only the first step of the journey to recovery. The symptoms, side effects, and process all may sound overwhelming, but you have to think of it as a lifestyle change. Because it is.
Those tough times are why many people try to get sober and don’t succeed. If you think it’s too difficult an undertaking, know that many people who achieve sobriety didn’t reach it on the first try. You’re not alone in your experience. And, there is a light at the end of what seems like a grim tunnel: there is support available. Support that doesn’t take time off or give up after any failed attempts. With help, you can create a better future. You deserve to.
Of course, when someone decides they want to rid themselves of their addiction struggles, it doesn’t mean their current environment or the people in it accept that choice. There may be stresses, temptations, pressures that limit the chances of someone going through the process successfully.
By taking advantage of the support available at a treatment center, there is built-in help through all stages of withdrawal. The body can be unpredictable, so there’s no sure way to know exactly how it will respond to detox. Treatment centers provide direct access to medical professionals in a safe and secure environment. Eventually, patients will need the tools to learn how to go through life in a healthy way without drugs, but the first few days of rehab is not the time. The process can’t be hurried and steps can’t be skipped.
Seek Help for Your Addiction
At Above it All, we do not recommend going through opiate withdrawal alone. Self-treatment often does not work well and leaves people back where they started or at a worse point than before. One of the main reasons is the lack of accountability there is when attempting opiate withdrawal on your own.
When there’s no support to move forward when times get challenging or encouragement when things get tough, it can be easier to turn back to old habits. There’s no denying the process can be draining no matter the situation. But with the support, resources, and caring of professionals who know what it takes to help people through their addiction, it can prove powerful.
A treatment center is a safe place that makes accessibility to medical staff and counseling support readily available. Treatment centers are designed to make people feel as calm and comfortable as possible in new surroundings. Here, a patient’s condition can be safely monitored, especially for those who face serious struggles with the pain of opiate withdrawal side effects. Treatment centers offer ways to help lessen the severity of these symptoms, so they can go through the stages without as much discomfort.
Once someone goes through the detox process and the drug is no longer in their system, the next steps are rehabilitations and recovery. This requires inpatient or outpatient care. The benefits of inpatient care is around-the-clock assistance in an environment free of drugs and other outside temptations. Often, people will choose to go through opiate addiction treatment at the same place where they detox. Being separated from the outside world for a temporary period allows ample time to focus fully on their sobriety without interruption.
However, some people may choose outpatient care is as it allows them to maintain some aspects of their day-to-day life and a sense of independence. It also may not be the first time they’ve sought treatment and they require additional support to avoid relapse. Either option requires full commitment.
One of the biggest parts of rehabilitation is identifying addiction triggers. What is it that led to drug use in the first place? What led to the addiction and what is the reason for seeking sobriety? Understanding the cause behind the problem and learning how to address it in a healthy way will help prevent temptation in the future.
Rehabilitation offers individual and/or group counseling sessions. These are helpful to talk through some of these bigger issues and learn from and support others on their own journeys. Educational classes are also often available, which helps those who have become addicted transition back into a world without drugs.
The timeline from opiate withdrawal to recovery takes time, but it’s worth it. Do not go through withdrawal alone. Seek the help of a treatment center that provides the kind of environment, resources, and support you or your loved one needs.
Learn how to get on the path to opiate addiction recovery at Above it All. Call today and get started.