How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last? (Opiate Detox Timeline)

When someone with opioid addiction tries to quit, they often experience harsh withdrawal symptoms. Usually, these withdrawals cause so much pain that people resume using opioids to ease the symptoms. For most people, it is impossible to stop abusing opioids without the help of an addiction doctor.

  In This Article

How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?

While withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant and painful, they usually begin to improve within seventy-two hours.

Within a week, there should be a significant decrease in the acute symptoms.

Longer-term symptoms are usually more behavioral and emotional, though there can be mild physical symptoms (such as withdrawal insomnia) that may take several weeks to resolve. 

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

Generally: 

  1. Symptoms start sometime between 8 and 24 hours after you last use the drugs.
  2. You feel worst between 48 and 72 hours (2-3 days) after your last use.
  3. Symptoms stop sometime between 4 to 10 days after you last used.
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline

As you might suspect, timing depends on the individual and factors such as:

Withdrawal Symptoms Lasting Longer Than 10 Days

Some people experience lingering symptoms like fatigue or inexplicable chronic pain. The term post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) is used to describe withdrawal symptoms that last longer than 10 days. Learn more about post-acute withdrawal syndrome.

What Are the Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal?

Generally, physical opioid withdrawal symptoms can be mild to severe and can last anywhere from a few days to a month. It comes in two phases.

Initial Phase Withdrawal Symptoms

Most people start to feel these symptoms after not using opioids for around eight hours. 

  • Muscle aches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lethargy and excessive yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme cravings and thoughts of using
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome

Second Phase Withdrawal Symptoms

The second phase, which can be more intense, begins after the first day or so. Symptoms in the second phase include: 

  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Goosebumps
  • Abdominal cramps
  • High blood pressure

What Happens During Withdrawal?

The body produces natural opioids that control pain, anxiety and depression. But, if a person gets a broken leg, for example, the body doesn’t produce enough opioids to treat the pain. External opioids treat the pain.

Over time and prolonged use, opioid receptors in the brain, the spinal cord and gastrointestinal tracts become desensitized. Higher dosages are needed to achieve the same effect. The increased consumption creates a dependency on the receptors, and when the person stops taking the opioid, the body can’t cope with the lack of the drug.

How can I feel better?

There’s no need to feel so terrible. Suboxone clinics use buprenorphine to feel better right away and get through withdrawal while you live a home.

Without medical supervision, withdrawals are uncomfortable, stressful, and too often result in overdose. The physical and mental toll caused by opioid withdrawal can be addressed. 

Symetria Opiate Detox Centers

If you’ve tried to stop, it’s easy to feel like there is no hope of overcoming opioid addiction, but thousands of people are living healthily and happily without feeling high or sick. If you’ve been able to get past the detox phase, joining an IOP program or using medications like Suboxone helps you stay healthy long-term.

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Jay R
Jay R

If you have seen my comment, you are obviously considering quitting. Do NOT allow this strength to dissipate. When you get to the 2nd phase you are 1-3 days from feeling better and is your life not worth at least seeing what reality looks, smells and tastes like again? You can do it!

I am in my 3rd week of being sober from oxy 30 IR’s and was on them 6x’s a day for 7 years! If I can do it, you can too! It is scary, BUT if you gather the courage to do it I give you my word at the end of all this you will be a better person.

Jerry
Jerry
Reply to  Jay R

Well tonight I started my withdrawal I have been on pill form oxycodone and have been taking for years the meds didn’t work and I started taking more than ordered so I am out and about to try and kick please pray for me as this is the first day without meds and I am tired of feeling like this

Jay R
Jay R
Reply to  Jerry

Do not use being out of medication as a excuse to quit, my friend. It never works. This is not cruelty, rather honesty. You need to want this!

Keep yourself occupied and try not to spend too much time alone. I know it’s painful and being around people does not seem like a priority, but the worst place you can be is in your own head.

Nothing but love—YOU got this!

 “Make it happen” – Michael Jordan

Karen
Karen
Reply to  Jerry

I’m in the same boat! Prayers! Day 3 and 4 are the worst. Gets better after that.

Christopher
Christopher
Reply to  Jerry

Hello Jerry, nice to make your acquaintance. I am praying for you. If you have courage to begin the road sobriety, I know you have the strength to finish the journey to be sober.

Karen
Karen
Reply to  Jay R

Keep it up! It’s not easy. I have done this dance with opiates for years. I used street opiates and got clean off those in 2012. Recently, I had surgery and had prescribed opiates for weeks. Even taking them exactly as prescribed, trying to quit them has been hell. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel everyone! It does get better. I have lived some of my best years sober. IDK if you’re doing it alone, but there is no shame in going to treatment. I learned a lot of good tools there to help me cope. If you have the option to taper under a doctor’s supervision, that is the best way to go in my opinion. But there are other options medically like suboxone if needed. I implore everyone if you are ready, pick up the phone and get help. I have been to… Read more »

Ets
Ets
Reply to  Jay R

How do I get help in naples for a senior citizen?

Christopher
Christopher
Reply to  Jay R

Hi Jay. I think it is amazing you are able to stop after 7 years of oxygen 30s. That is some powerful stuff. You are definitely an inspiration to me.

Harold
Harold

I’m having the weirdest withdrawals ever I started taking what I thought was Molly but it was definitely cut with other stuff. I’d get different reactions from the same batch of pills. I bumped up to taking 1.5 pills and was fine until the other night. Out of nowhere, my whole world came down on me. Every symptom of withdrawal was happening. I was losing sight of what was going on around me. I was fainting against the walls of my room and shaking extremely bad. My body felt like I was made of an ice block. I literally feared for my life and for sure thought it was over. This went on for 3 days straight. I was unable to sleep. By day 5 I still felt nausea, fatigue, extreme insomnia, nervousness and tremors. I had episodes of severe tremors for 15-20mins at a time and the pains and… Read more »

Mary
Mary
Reply to  Harold

Hi Harold, I don’t know what you took, but it doesn’t sound like Percocets. I don’t think 1.5 would cause the severe symptoms you experienced. If you were buying street drugs, you’re lucky to be alive. You never know what you’re getting off the streets. I know someone who bought what they thought was 10 mgs. Percocet, it looked just like the real thing but it wasn’t. It had fentanyl in it and he died. If I were you l, I’d go to a doctor. Just be honest. They have free clinics if you don’t have insurance.

Harold
Harold
Reply to  Mary

Thanks for the reply! I am doing much much better now. The only thing is anxiety and depression at this point since the comment I made. I am very lucky and grateful to have my life being able to be put back together and a second chance. You are right, there are less fortunate people who made the same mistake I did and didn’t make it out. Likely had been fentanyl being that it causes so many issues so quick off a small dose even though was labeled to be MDMA.

AJ
AJ
Reply to  Harold

I was on fentanyl pills for a year that were masqueraded as percocet 30s. I thank God everyday I was protected and didn’t die. I only cut them in quarters and took them orally but after a year of that maybe 18 months the withdrawal is no joke then the mental work begins to get your life back. God bless you and take it one day at a time.

artyp
artyp
Reply to  AJ

AJ, thanks, that is exactly what i did and also my brother. the little blue pills are fake and just soaked with fentanyl. I would cut them to quarters also. Im on day 10 detox and seems to be be worst with the fatigue. I can move around. I hope it breaks soon.

Ariel Reyes
Ariel Reyes
Reply to  AJ

On day 3 of my detox from the fake blue fetanyl pills I’ve threw up all over myself and have had none stop diarrhea since yesterday I’m glad to hear it gets better after day 4 cause tomorrow is my day 4 I didn’t plan on detoxing like this I am on vacation visiting my boyfriend and he does not know nor do I want him to he’s my entire reason for wanting to be sober I remember the days I wasn’t dependent on pills to feel okay , I am glad-fully feeling better somewhat but this is it for me I want to be sober even tho my mother died last year I want her to be proud that I finally found a reason to want to feel sober and normal again , lord be with me cause my plug lives not even 5 minutes away from me and… Read more »

Christopher
Christopher
Reply to  Ariel Reyes

Hi Ariel, sorry to hear about your mom. You seem like really good people . I am glad you are quitting and doing for the man you love. That is the best reason to kick the habit. So easy to become addicted and so hard quit. I have faith in you. Will be so good to be free of those blue pills.

Julia
Julia
Reply to  Harold

Sounds like benzo wd

adriana
adriana

Tapering down to 2 -5 bags a day after using for about 2 years after surgery. I was using about 15 bags a day on average and stopped injecting months ago. I am hoping to get through this and start feeling better. I know I’m in for hell.

Kathryn
Kathryn
Reply to  adriana

I’m a biochemist. You should taper down. It’s dangerous to go cold turkey. Speak with a physician and get professional help tapering and/or a prescription that will help with withdrawal.

fentyguy88
fentyguy88
Reply to  adriana

yea bud.. but its not that bad. its hell, but ive been it through it 2x already. the 1st time i went to detox and to be honest, coming home and withdrawing off the meds they gave me to help for the drug withdrawals symptoms were WORSE!!! It took me 2 weeks to get over the treatment drugs and they were horrible. The 2nd time? I just quit cold turkey at home. I used xanax, tramadol, and whatever I could to help but i even went to work!! I didnt miss a day and it was tough but I did it!!1 So how hard could it be? You just go one day at a time. By day 5, youre there. But days 1-5 be prepared. Have imodium, have medications that will help you be calm. Even weed.. Whatever. Just get off the junk.

Tyson
Tyson
Reply to  fentyguy88

My last dose of Methadone was 34mg because I wanted off of it. I know it’s not the best thing in the World, but, how long should I wait to take 2 5-mg hydrocodone? Im on 50+ hours since methadone.

Ets
Ets
Reply to  fentyguy88

Isn’t tram just as bad?

Molly
Molly

After 16 years, I decided to be free and live with my back and neck pain. I am on day 8 of just stopping my meds. I feel happier knowing I’m strong enough to get through the hard days, but my stomach is still hurting all the time…and I still don’t sleep at all. Has anyone tried anything over the counter to help with these symptoms? I know it’s possible to be off and nonreliant on an opiate to be happy. I appreciate everyone’s posts here. I don’t feel so alone.

Ricky
Ricky
Reply to  Molly

I too went cold turkey to get off Morphine Sulfate (used for 20 years) for chronic back pain. Been 6 months and I still have diarrhea even though I’m taking Dicyclomine to help. I started getting 2-4 hours of sleep per night after about 3 weeks. I ended up in the hospital for 4 days about 8 days into withdrawals and had only one nap that lasted an hour in those 4 days. Don’t give up it does get better!

Kimberly Pugh
Kimberly Pugh
Reply to  Ricky

I quit my oxycodone and I still have withdrawal symptoms six months later. I thought I was crazy until I read your comment. I still have anxiety and diarrhea every day. I have sweats and chills, nausea and vomiting. I started taking CBD with THC. It helps. Still I wonder, will I ever be normal again?!

Jody
Jody
Reply to  Kimberly Pugh

Are any of us really normal? I mean I don’t know what normal is, but I know no one can hold on to normal very long because life happens. I too am stopping using Percocet for chronic pain for the last 11 years! Lots of anxiety and stomach issues. I sleep all the time! I also tried Marijuana for the 1st time and it seems to help, especially with my anxiety. It also helps me forget about the Percocet. I have to figure out what to do about this nerve pain, if I don’t I will have to have some sort of pain management.

Debra
Debra
Reply to  Jody

Gabapentin is good for nerve pain.

fentyguy88
fentyguy88
Reply to  Debra

i know many who swear by gaba but for me, its horrible. they rx you this in detox and it literally gave me restless leg syndrome. it took me 2 weeks just to get off this stuff and that was just as bad if not worse withdrawals then the fenty wd’s.

Steven
Steven
Reply to  Kimberly Pugh

Have been taking buprenorphine 4-8mg/d for the last 20 years, originally as a heroin replacement. For many years without additional consumption. Have reduced the buprenophine during many months and have been clean for about 6 months now. The worst withdrawal symptoms of the first 4-6 weeks are in the past. However, even after 6 months I have not reached a “normal state”. Muscle pain, rare diarrhea, constant lack of energy, sometimes sleeping problems. Will all of this ever go away? A “normality” returns? I don’t know… Maybe already too much reprogrammed in the organism? Do I have to accept that there will no longer be normal well-being for me? I am 58 and have consumed substances containing opiates (including buprenorphine) for a total of approx. 25 years.

Muchello Ray
Muchello Ray
Reply to  Molly

Benadryl and Imodium. Sip pedialyte all day and night. Small sips chugging is a wast because the electrolytes continue to burn so consistent sips work best.
Hot or cold shower to shock the nervous system usually would take the restlessness away long enough to catch a little sleep

Ets
Ets
Reply to  Muchello Ray

Also cough syrup and magnisium

Meisam darzy
Meisam darzy

Hi everybody. I was in a terrible situation
Cuz i went down on a addiction opium and was using it for about 6 years and unfortunately our terrorist regime in iran wants us to be addicted .anywhere u go here u can find drugs cheap and easy to buy drugs.and there is not a real rehab even in my hometown the capital tehran. So i gathered all my effort to save myself
And done it in a schedule step by step in 3 months without any help from outside world and without even smallest amount of symptoms. All you need is will power and hope for a better life. Thank u all
Viva Ukraine . Death to russian invaders

T Vary
T Vary
Reply to  Meisam darzy

Congratulations to you and may more people find the peace you are looking for! I’m so sorry you have been through it. How did you do it after 6 years? How long did withdrawls last before you went back to normal?

Symetria doctors follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and their own expertise with decades in the field.

Kosten, T. R., & Baxter, L. E. (2019). Review article: Effective management of opioid withdrawal symptoms: A gateway to opioid dependence treatment. The American Journal on Addictions28(2), 55–62. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajad.12862

Srivastava, A. B., Mariani, J. J., & Levin, F. R. (2020). New directions in the treatment of opioid withdrawal. The Lancet395(10241), 1938–1948. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(20)30852-7

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