Categories: Drug Addiction

How long does it take to detox from opiates

Opioids belong to a group of drugs user as a treatment for moderate to severe pain. These drugs are derived from the opium poppy plant. Opioids often referred to as opiates and narcotics.

Codeine, morphine, and heroin sometimes referred to as opiates. Meanwhile, the other drugs including synthetic opiates like Oxycontin are referred to as opioids.

Several of the most commonly used opiates are listed below along with their generic names. The list is in ascending order based on the drug’s potency.

  • Codeine
  • Vicodin and Hycodan (hydrocodone)
  • MS, Contin, and  Kadian (morphine)
  • Oxycontin and Percocet (oxycodone)
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
  • Duragesic (fentanyl)

Within the past few years, the use of opioids prescription is on the rise in the United States. According to the National Institute of Health, more than 16 million American abused opioid prescription in just one year. This abuse behavior towards opioids can eventually lead to dependency and addiction.

Opiate Addiction Treatment Centers in Florida

Long term abuse of opioids can provide detrimental physical and mental side effects.

The drugs can also cause physical dependence which means the user needs to maintain drug intake. Overtime, dependence can lead to tolerance that the body needs more drugs to get the same effect. Drug dependency varies from each individual. One of the biggest challenges the user needs to take it going ‘cold turkey’.  This condition makes it even harder for users to take a stop using the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant but most are not life-threatening. Symptoms usually surface within 12 hours from the last drug intake.

The most common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

Other withdrawal symptoms may occur later in a detox process include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


Opioids Withdrawal Timeline

The duration of the detox process depends on the user’s overall health, the length of abuse and the dosage of the drug intake. 

The majority of users will undergo 3 stages of withdrawal while detoxing from opioids.

First Stage of Withdrawal from Opiates

Within 12 hours from the last drug intake, users may experience severe withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms may peak around day 3 and last for about a total of 5 days. Methadone users may experience the same symptoms 30 hours from the last dose. Withdrawal symptoms during this window include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Second Stage of Withdrawal from Opiates

The second stage of the withdrawal symptoms usually lasts for about 2 weeks. As the body excretes opiates, it also works to put back the endorphin balance levels that were used up during the opiate addiction. The second stage withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Leg cramps
  • Muscle pain


Third Stage of Withdrawal from Opiates

The third stage of opiate detoxification is the longest part. It can go anywhere between 1 week to 2 months but is less painful from the previous stages. Also, as the body excretes the drug, physical symptoms may subside but the psychological symptoms will start to manifest. This may include co-existing mental disorder that may trigger the user to abuse opiates. The psychological symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness

Some users may take months even years to fully recover from opiate addiction. It may seem an impossible journey at first, but is still doable. Many succeeded regaining their lives back from addiction.

Dr. Vikram Tarugu MD

Dr. Vikram Tarugu, is a best-in-class, board certified gastroenterologist in South Florida. Specializing in the diagnosis and treatments of gastrointestinal tract conditions. Dr. Tarugu is currently in private practice and has privileges at Raulerson hospital. He is also the CEO of Detox of South Florida. He is routinely rated as one of the best GI doctors and liver doctors in Florida. Patients through out the US have sought his expertise and seek his help when a second opinion is needed with difficult and chronic Gastro intestinal and liver diseases.

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Dr. Vikram Tarugu MD

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