What to Expect: An Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

By the time some people realize that they have to stop using opiates and drugs altogether, its clear to them that withdrawal is going to be excruciating because they’ve already experienced the pain of going a day or two without their pills.

The idea of stopping opiate use can be completely daunting, but it all starts with the first step: detoxification. When entering a medically-monitored withdrawal from opiates, it is helpful to have a timeline in mind so that you can understand what that entails.

opiate withdrawal timeline

Most addicts experience 3 phases of withdrawal while detoxing from opiates.

During Phase 1, also known as acute withdrawal, symptoms begin about 12 hours after your last opiate use (or within 30 hours of the last methadone dose), peak around the 3-day mark, and last for approximately 5 days total.

The symptoms of Phase 1 are:

  •  Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps

Phase 2 of opiate withdrawal lasts about 2 weeks. As the body works to get all substances out, it also works to rebalance endorphin levels that were depleted during opiate addiction.

The symptoms of Phase 2 are:

  •  Goosebumps
  • Chills
  •  Dilated pupils
  •  Leg cramps

Phase 3 of detox from opiates is the longest phase, lasting anywhere from 1 week to 2 months, but it is the least severe.

The symptoms of Phase 3 are more psychological than physical, and they include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia

The treatment team that helps you during opiate detox and withdrawal may suggest that you exercise (walk for 30-60 minutes each day, yoga, etc.), eat healthy, sleep as much as you can, and drink lots of water.

While it is extremely difficult to go through opiate withdrawal, your life of using drugs is actually even more uncomfortable and painful. You can make it though the hardest part and have a reason to stay clean and sober: not having to go through detox from opiates ever again!

Find out how you can stop the opiate addiction that has taken over your life or the life of someone you love.

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