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

Clinical Reviewer

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 Do Withdrawals 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


How Long Opioiod Withdrawal Lasts
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.  

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: 

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 at home.  Though there are more side effects of methadone, it is also an option that provides immediate relief.

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 or methadone helps you stay healthy long-term.

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.

Srivastava, A. B., Mariani, J. J., & Levin, F. R. (2020). New directions in the treatment of opioid withdrawal. The Lancet395(10241), 1938–1948.

All content is for informational purposes only. No material on this site, whether from our doctors or the community, is a substitute for seeking personalized professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard advice from a qualified healthcare professional or delay seeking advice because of something you read on this website.

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  • 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?

    1. It’s common to experience abdominal cramping and insomnia when going through opioid withdrawal. While it is not over the counter, prescription Dicyclomine can help significantly with abdominal cramping. For insomnia, taking over-the-counter Benadryl / Diphenhydramine 50-100mg every 6 hours as needed for restlessness can be very helpful. If the sleep difficulties or abdominal cramps persist longer than 2 weeks from when you stopped taking opioids, then I’d recommend talking to your primary care physician for further medical evaluation.

  • Been on Oxyneo (type of Oxy) for 13 years and started the tapering process 6 months ago. I had no dr or rx so I quit cold-turkey, and ever since I’ve had severe withdrawals. Most concerning is constant diarrhea! Still for 4 months.

    A new dr wants me to go on suboxone because the amount of loperamide (Immodium) I take is too much and not working. I’m extremely fatigued and can’t rest at all because of frequent washroom visits.

    I wish I had an idea of how much longer this can actually go on for!!

    Also, I’m on 6mg of Ativan a day but </span>about to stop. May as well go off my antidepressants too cause I really don’t want to do through this again. Ever!

    Please help. Thank you in advance ☹️

    1. It’s not normal to have diarrhea months after stopping opioids!! Have you looked into GI issues? You could have something else going on. There can be some diarrhea that lingers as a component of post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), but it is usually not as severe as you described. Loperamide should not be used heavily for long periods of time so there is some validity in trying something different.

      Also, Ativan is a benzodiazepine (“benzo”). It can be fatal to stop cold turkey, especially at higher doses. Please taper that down with your new doctor!

    1. No. Narcan (Naloxone) will make the opioid withdrawal symptoms worse. Narcan is designed to reverse an opioid overdose because it binds stronger to the opioid receptor than any other opioids, and while it is bound to the receptor it shuts down the activity instead of increasing it. In short, using Narcan to try to reduce opioid use will make it more difficult for you to get off opioids.

    1. There are many variables, but in general the methadone withdrawal symptoms usually peak in intensity around 3 days after you begin to feel opioid withdrawal, then decrease over the following 3-7 days until they resolve completely.

  • Hey so I have been doing 30s and I I stop but the withdrawals are bad I have restless leg syndrome how long for it to go away I have been doing it for a minute

    1. The duration of opioid withdrawal symptoms in fentanyl users varies widely from person to person, and is very difficult to pre-determine. The duration of physical withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from 3 days to 21 days. Following the acute withdrawal period, post acute withdrawal symptoms (i.e. anxiety, mood changes, sleep disruption) can last months, or sometimes even years.

    2. Highlands restless leg syndrome pm will help you. Get them at Walmart. It’s all natural and I swear by it.

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