Addiction to opiates—whether due to taking prescribed medications following surgery or injury or due to reckless recreational abuse—leads to misery, regardless. Once opiate dependency has developed, any attempt to stop the drug will result in highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
The opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline can offer some understanding about what to expect during the detox phase of treatment. Whether the detox and withdrawal is conducted at home on an outpatient basis or in an inpatient treatment facility rests entirely on how entrenched the dependency is, what other drugs of abuse may be involved, and the general health, both mental and physical, of the individual.
What is Opiate Withdrawal?
Opiates are a class of drugs often used to treat pain, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphine, and morphine sulfate. Other illegal drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl, are also in the opiate family. Opiates work as pain relievers by attaching to the opiate receptors in the brain and spine, sending messages to the rest of the body. Dependency can form after just a few weeks of using these drugs when the body becomes desensitized to their effects. Tolerance to the drug increases, requiring increasingly higher and more frequent dosing.
When someone who has become addicted to opiates attempts to stop using them, within hours the body begins communicating to the person that it needs a dose in the form of withdrawal symptoms. There is a wide range of physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms, depending on the severity of the opiate dependency. The course of the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline is fairly predictable, however.
The Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
During detox the body will experience a period of suffering, ranging from mild symptoms to severe, based on the length of time of opiate use, the type of opiate involved, and frequency/dosage of use. The timeline of opiate withdrawal symptoms occurs in four distinct stages:
Within 12-24 hours of the last dosing, the onset of stage one symptoms will ensue. Withdrawal symptoms during stage one are the most severe because of the cessation of endorphin production by the brain. Severe flu-like symptoms, including fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps are likely. Depression, hallucinations, and anxiety are also common in stage one. Stage one typically lasts for 3-5 days. It is important to have medical assistance to alleviate many of the symptoms in order to prevent relapsing back to using opiates in an attempt to discontinue the withdrawal symptoms.
After enduring the stage one withdrawal symptoms the body begins to stabilize. At this point the body is beginning to produce some endorphins, helping to manage some of the physical pain involved. Stage two symptoms may include chills, low-grade fever, goosebumps, muscle cramps in the legs, clammy hands. In addition, psychological symptoms such as depression, fear, anxiety, and paranoia may continue. Stage two generally lasts for three days.
In stage three, although most of the physical symptoms have diminished, there may be residual stomach cramps and nausea, as well as drug cravings, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Stage three lasts a few days.
The lingering psychological effects of opiate withdrawal are the protracted withdrawal symptoms. While most of the painful withdrawal symptoms have passed, protracted symptoms may include fatigue, irritability, depression, trouble with concentration, and sleep disturbance.
Ranch Creek Recovery Treats Opiate Addiction
Ranch Creek Recovery offers the highest level of treatment for opiate dependency. Understanding the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline involved, RCR provides fully supervised natural detox using amino acid therapy and over-the-counter medications to mitigate the discomfort. RCR is a luxury rehab located in Temecula, California, offering the natural beauty of the surrounding hillsides to create a serene, relaxing treatment experience. The limited client population allows for an intimate recovery environment where a high degree of attention and care is provided by the expert staff. For more information, contact us today at (877) 997-8931.