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Opioid Withdrawal: Kicking the Habit Without Losing Your Mind

a man rubs his temples to get rid of a headache which is an opioid withdrawal symptom

Opioids are highly addictive prescriptions used to treat pain, mental health disorders, and neurological conditions. After a person starts abusing them, it is only a matter of time before they enter the vicious cycle of addiction. Withdrawing from opioids can be dangerous, so the first phase of opioid addiction treatment should be a medically-supervised detox.

“Quitting opioids can be dangerous due to varying withdrawal symptoms. Talk to one of our addiction recovery specialists about our outpatient program today.”

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms of opioid detoxification are sprawling and varied. While many of these effects are not life-threatening, many people consider detoxing from opioids unbearable. One of the leading reasons many people struggle to stop taking opioids is the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.

Here are some opioid withdrawal symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat

The Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

How Bad Is Opioid Withdrawal?

Everyone will experience opioid withdrawals differently. Body size, age, immune health, and length of addiction all contribute to withdrawal symptoms.

Stage One

Within six to 30 hours after the last dose, opioid users usually feel their first acute withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms often last around three days.

Stage Two

After acute withdrawal, the person in recovery will begin long-term withdrawal. This is often described as the peak of withdrawal because it overlaps with the end of the acute withdrawal and brings new symptoms. This stage usually lasts between four and 20 days.

Stage Three

After the physical symptoms of withdrawal subside, many people recovering from opioids continue to feel the mental effects, including:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Desensitized emotions
  • Sleep disturbances

These symptoms are usually made worse by exposure to stress and may last for months or even years. Recovery is a lifelong process, often evident through the long-term mental health symptoms many people experience.

Starting the Opioid Recovery Process

A Quick Disclaimer on Opiate Withdrawal Protocols

Taking the critical first step to recovery is your choice. How you do it, where you do it, and why you do it are all up to you.

Some of your options for recovery include:

  • At-Home recovery
  • Professional treatment
  • Alternative therapies

Opiate Withdrawal Medications

One of the most intimidating parts about beginning the recovery process is knowing withdrawal symptoms are just around the corner. There are a variety of medications that doctors can use to help ease these symptoms. Professional detox centers often use various drugs, such as clonidine, Suboxone, and methadone.

  • Clonidine is a sedative that’s especially instrumental in treating the anxiety, muscle aches, and restlessness that accompany opioid withdrawals.
  • Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Being a partial opioid agonist, the buprenorphine in this medication can help to reduce the uncomfortable effects of opioid withdrawal, and the naloxone keeps it from being abused.
  • Methadone is also a popular treatment option for heavy opiate users and tends to be more powerful than buprenorphine. However, this is still a milder type of opioid that’s not nearly as addictive as substances like heroin, OxyContin, and Hydrocodone.

These medications are part of an approach to addiction treatment called medication-assisted treatment. While using these medicines can significantly reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms, they can spur on entirely new addictions. Buprenorphine and methadone can be used to get high and may eventually cause physical dependence and addiction.

Opioid Rehab Treatment at Northpoint Seattle

Beginning the road to recovery is scary, especially knowing withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur. The best means of successfully kicking your habit for good is checking into an actual rehabilitation center.

After completing a detox program, the next step to a sober future is developing the skills needed to meet your recovery goals.

Our dedicated staff and qualified medical professionals will help make the process more comfortable and ensure you have the strategies you need to help cope with future cravings and avoid relapse. Contact us at 425.414.3530 today to get started.

Ensuring You’re in Good Hands During Opioid Withdrawal


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Full Infographic:

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