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How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?

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Many people ask, “How long will a person experience opioid withdrawal?” As you might suspect, it can depend on the individual and several other factors, such as:

  • the length of time using the substance
  • the substance itself
  • the method of abuse (e.g., snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing)
  • the amount taken each time
  • family history and genetic makeup
  • medical and mental health history


What happens during withdrawal?

The body produces natural opiates that control pain, anxiety and depression. If a person gets a broken leg, for example, the body doesn’t produce enough opiates to treat the pain. External opiates treat the pain, but over time and prolonged use, the body’s receptors in the brain, the spinal cord and gastrointestinal tracts become desensitized to them and higher dosages are needed to achieve the same effect. The increased consumption creates the dependency on the receptors and when the person stops taking the opiate the body reacts to the lack of the opiate it had been taking.


What are the symptoms?

Generally, physical opiate withdrawal symptoms can be anywhere from mild to severe and can last anywhere from a few days to a month. It comes in two phases. The initial phase can include these symptoms:

  • muscle aches
  • excessive sweating
  • lethargy
  • runny nose
  • anxiety
  • tearing
  • extreme cravings
  • excessive yawning
  • restlessness
  • agitation
  • insomnia and restless leg syndrome


The second phase, which can be more intense, begin after the first day or so. They include: 

  • dilated pupils
  • rapid heartbeat
  • diarrhea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • goosebumps
  • abdominal cramps
  • high blood pressure


While these symptoms are very unpleasant and painful, they usually begin to improve within 72 hours, and within a week there should be a significant decrease in the acute symptoms. Longer term symptoms are usually more behavioral and emotional.


In study after study, physician-supervised use of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is proven to be the most effective method for handling opioid dependency comfortably, when used in conjunction with behavioral therapies and counseling, significantly outperforming traditional forms of treatment that rely on counseling alone or MAT alone.


If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, use or dependency, reach out for help today. 

Reach Out Today

Dale Willenbrink
Get Help Fighting Opioid Addiction Today

If you’ve been worried about a loved one, or if you’re concerned about the way you use your pain medication, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible for help. To take the first step, contact us online or call 855-993-0960  right away.

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