Doctors prescribe opiates to manage a variety of painful conditions. These drugs can be useful and appropriate treatments, but they also have a high potential for abuse and addiction. For those who have found themselves on the wrong side of opiate use, one of the most challenging obstacles to quitting can be the prospect of going through withdrawal. Many people with opiate withdrawal choose to attend a medical detox program or opiate withdrawal treatment. It can be immensely reassuring and empowering to learn more about what to expect during opiate withdrawal if you or someone you care about has struggled with opiate addiction.
What Are the Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal?
Bear in mind that not everyone will experience every symptom or to the same degree of severity while going through withdrawal. Many factors impact how the course of a person’s withdrawal from opiates will proceed, including their overall state of health, exactly which opiates they have been using, how long they have been using, and in what amounts they have been using.
Some of the more common symptoms of opiate withdrawal are:
- Mood disturbances such as anxiety, irritability, or angry outbursts
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Intense drug cravings
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Difficulty sleeping
How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?
The timeline of opiate withdrawal is slightly different for everyone and depends somewhat on the exact type of opiates that have been used. For short-acting opiates like fentanyl, heroin, or codeine, withdrawal may begin less than 24 hours after the last dose. For longer-acting opiates such as extended-release oxycodone, withdrawal can take up to 48 hours to set in.
The acute phase of withdrawal, in which physical symptoms are the most severe, can peak within 3-5 days, depending on whether a short- or long-acting opiate has been used. During this phase of withdrawal, the patient will most likely feel extremely ill. Suppose the patient participates in a medically-supervised detox program for opiate withdrawal. In that case, care staff will administer appropriate treatments and medications to ease symptoms and ensure that the patient is as comfortable as possible.
What Happens After the Acute Phase of Opiate Withdrawal?
Most of the physical symptoms will subside within one week of onset. However, people who have been through opiate withdrawal can experience a condition called post-acute withdrawal syndrome, also called “PAWS.” During this time, drug cravings, difficulty sleeping, and some psychiatric symptoms can persist for weeks or months. For this reason, it is highly advised that patients who have completed a medically-supervised detox program continue their treatment in a long-term program, whether outpatient or inpatient.
People in recovery from opiate addiction need the right kind of support and care to maintain their sobriety. Studies have shown that receiving professional treatment from a licensed drug treatment program gives patients the best chance at staying healthy and returning to their normal daily life activities. During the early parts of treatment, such as a detox program for opiates, patients will receive counseling and attend group therapy to help them build the skills and support network they will need to succeed in their recovery journey.
What Can Liberty Health Services Do For Me?
If you or someone you love has been struggling with opiate addiction, reach out to us at Liberty Health Services today at 855.959.4521. Located in Derry, New Hampshire, we are committed to guiding our patients and their families on every step of their recovery journey. Contact our kind and compassionate care staff today at 855.959.4521 and let us tell you how we can help. The best time to seek treatment is right now, so don’t hesitate.