Getting Through the Stages of Opiate Withdrawal

Written by Chloe Nicosia

With the right treatment, getting through the stages of opiate withdrawal can be done safely and without complications.

If you have been struggling with addiction to opioids, you know that it is probably one of the hardest type of drug withdrawal to get through. Whether it’s a strong dependency or an addiction, the stages of opiate withdrawal can be quite uncomfortable, and even difficult to handle if you don’t have the right support.

While not everyone is prepared to or knows how to deal with opiate withdrawals, with the right treatment you can remain safe and relatively comfortable while your body detoxes from the opioid medication.

It is true that every person reacts differently to treatment, and that not all opioids have the same effect on everyone; this is probably why there is not a precise or fixed opiate withdrawal duration.

However, there are three general stages of opiate withdrawal that can summarize the signs and symptoms a person will likely experience when coming off of the medication. These symptoms can and will change, depending on the length of the time the person has been using opioids, the type of drug used and their overall health.

The 3 general stages of opiate withdrawal mentioned above are:

  • Stage 1: Will likely begin 7 – 14 hours after last dose. In this stage a person will experience insomnia, restlessness, mild agitation, heavy sweating and anxiety. For many, this is the hardest stage of the whole process.
  • Stage 2: Will begin 36 – 48 hours after last dose. While this peak is considered the peak of the process, it can either be shorter or longer, depending the case. The person will experience abdominal cramps, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, and high body temperature.
  • Stage 3: This final stage starts 5 – 7 days after last dose. While the person won’t necessarily continue experiencing the physical symptoms, he or she will still have the psychological effects, like insomnia, severe anxiety, confusion, nervousness, changes in mood, etc.

Again, the opiate withdrawal duration will depend on how the person responds to the implemented treatment.

One person may need to use one form of method to wean off the effects of medication – trough tapering – while another may need to go through a complete medical detoxification (in the case of heroin) in order to remove all toxins from their body.

These variety of methods will, naturally, alter the opiate withdrawal duration from person to person.

When figuring out how to deal with opiate withdrawals, the best choice someone can make is rely on the support and guidance of medical professionals to handle the process.

Whether you need to gradually stop consuming the medication, or you need a full rehabilitation treatment for an addiction to the drug, the best and safest way to handle the stages of opiate withdrawal is with the support of medical personnel and counselors than can aide in the process.

The trained medical professionals are able to monitor, evaluate and handle the symptoms – and any change that can occur in the process – ensuring that there are no health complications or risks. A team of counselors and/or therapists can help you understand the psychological effects and reactions you experience when the opioids are no longer in your system.

If you or someone you know needs support to safely withdrawal from opiates, know that there is help and treatment available to guide the process and ensure recovery. We can help you find your facility and treatment match today. Call us now at 1-800-429-7690.