March 12, 2021

Opioid Detox and Withdrawal: What to Expect When Quitting Opioid Drugs

Symptoms of Detox and Withdrawal from Opioids

If you’ve tried to end an addiction to prescription painkillers like Oxycontin or illegal drugs like heroin or fentanyl, you know it can be physically challenging. Suddenly depriving your body of something it’s been reliant on for so long can only cause it to feel bad. Undergoing opioid withdrawal with expert medical supervision is a safer process that is far more comfortable than trying to detox at home. Combined with a well-planned aftercare plan, it can help you finally leave your addiction behind and enjoy long-term sobriety.

What Is Withdrawal?

When you suddenly stop taking opioids after using them habitually, your body will react with unpleasant and even painful physical, mental, and emotional sensations. This process is what’s known as withdrawal. Opioids are usually prescribed as painkillers, which bind to receptors in your central nervous system to block pain signals to your brain. They also release a chemical called dopamine, which causes intense feelings of pleasure. Over time, your brain will get used to the pleasure and the lack of pain; take those away, and your body will object.

Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

You may start experiencing withdrawal symptoms within 12 hours of stopping the drug. How severely you feel them depends on factors like how long you’ve been using the medicine, your general state of health, and whether you quit “cold turkey” or do a slower, more gradual opioid detox. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Sweating, chills, and fever
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia and anxiety
  • High blood pressure and racing heart rate

How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?

Quitting opioids and then experiencing withdrawal from opioid drug use can last a few days or go on for up to two weeks. The length of time you go through it will depend on the kind of opioid you’ve been taking and for how long. Withdrawal symptoms for heroin and other “short-acting” opioids – those prescribed for short-term pain relief – usually last for about a week to 10 days. Long-acting opioids, such as methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl, can continue for two weeks or more. The longer you’ve used opioids, the longer your symptoms will persist after suddenly taking them away.

The Best Way to Detox from Opioids

Opioid withdrawal isn’t just unpleasant but can also be dangerous when symptoms like rapid heartbeat get out of control. That’s one reason it’s best to undergo opioid detox only under medical supervision. A physician or team of specialists can monitor your symptoms and take action if complications arise. Your opioid withdrawal will also be easier to handle if you detox gradually rather than suddenly stopping drug use. With this cautious, thoughtfully managed opioid detox, your chances of long-term sobriety also will increase.

What Happens After Opioid Detox?

Opioid detox is an essential beginning in the process of overcoming addiction. But it’s important to know that it’s only the beginning. It is the first step in a long-term plan to help you end your dependence and find long-term recovery. After the initial withdrawal, you should expect to undergo comprehensive treatment that includes intensive therapy and calls on supportive friends, family members, and others to help you live a sober lifestyle.

Muse Treatment also offers ongoing group counseling, medical support, and many other helpful resources. At Muse Treatment, the goal after opioid detox is to help you manage life without drugs, especially by confronting the life circumstances that may have led you into addiction. It’s an ongoing, long-term healing process. If you’ve decided it’s time to let go of your opioid addiction and seek lasting recovery, contact Muse Treatment today at 800-426-1818.

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