How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?

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When someone has an opioid addiction and 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 or Suboxone clinic.

Category: Opioid Use Disorder 

Table of Contents

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


  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 Timeline

But, as you might suspect, it can depend on the individual and several other factors, such as:

  • Length of time using the substance
  • The substance itself (ie. the new drug ISO vs. heroin vs. prescriptions like oxycodone or hydrocodone)
  • Method of abuse (ie. snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing)
  • Amount taken each time
  • Family history of addiction and genetic makeup
  • Medical and mental health history

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


What Are the Symptoms of 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
Overcome Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms at Symetria Recovery

The best thing you can do is find a Suboxone clinic. The doctors give patients buprenorphine to feel better right away and get through withdrawal while they live a home.

Without medical supervision, withdrawal can be uncomfortable, stressful, and dangerous. Opioid withdrawals become especially dangerous over time, too often resulting in overdose. The physical and mental toll caused by opioid withdrawal should be addressed in a professional treatment setting with addiction treatment specialists.

Illinois Opiate Detox Centers

Texas 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.

Still Have Questions?

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Symetria has addiction treatment clinics across Illinois and Texas. You can likely get scheduled TODAY — medications or therapy.