When individuals decide to stop using opioids, they often wonder what the withdrawal symptoms and detox timeline might be. Occasionally, this can be a deciding factor for individuals who are uncertain about taking the next steps.

Other Robert Alexander Center, we are here to support each individual as they begin their recovery journey. Our comprehensive detox program supports clients by offering a safe location to detox and begin the recovery journey.

Get help today at the Robert Alexander Center.

How Do Opioids Impact the Brain?

Opioid use and chronic abuse impact the brain. When individuals use an opioid to relieve their pain or get high, their body reacts in multiple ways. As a depressant, opioids cause the body to slow down, reaction times are extended, and the opioids may impair an individual’s cognitive ability.

Opioids specifically impact the brain by creating an excess of dopamine and other calming hormones that cause the body to relax. This calming high impacts the brain’s reward center, indicating to the body that this is an ideal state. When an individual consistently uses opioids for pain relief or to get high, the body can begin to identify this excess of hormones as its normal state. When this occurs, it indicates that an individual is addicted to the drug.

Do Opioids Cause Withdrawal?

Opioids can cause withdrawal. Once the body identifies the presence of opioids as its natural state, an individual will begin to experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms from lack of use. This is dangerous because cravings for the drug can last for years. In addition, if their medication runs out, individuals who are using prescription opioids may turn to illegal opioids to achieve the same high and pain-free feeling. And individuals who are addicted to illicit opioids may turn to more potent opioids or increase their dose, which can be even more dangerous.

Typical opioid withdrawal symptoms include: “lacrimation or rhinorrhea, piloerection “goose flesh,” myalgia, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, pupillary dilation, photophobia, insomnia, autonomic hyperactivity (tachypnea, hyperreflexia, tachycardia, sweating, hypertension, hyperthermia), and yawning.” These symptoms are often not life-threatening, but they are uncomfortable for the individual. 

Opioid withdrawal depends on the drug used, the amount taken, and the length of use. Typically opioid withdrawal includes flu-like symptoms and cravings. While this does not seem as dangerous as some other drugs, the withdrawal process for opioids can be expensive.

What is the Opioid Detox Timeline?

When it comes to the opioid detox timeline, withdrawal typically begins within the first 8 to 12 hours. The first withdrawal symptoms are often the most familiar to the client and often instigate use, but when going through detox, this can prompt feelings of stress or panic at the thought of further symptoms. 

The next few days will typically see the client feeling under the weather. They may also experience sleep disturbances, restless leg movement, and anxiety attacks. “Short-acting opioids (e.g., heroin): Onset of opioid withdrawal symptoms 8-24 hours after last use; duration 4-10 days. Long-acting opioids (e.g., methadone): Onset of opioid withdrawal symptoms 12-48 hours after last use; duration 10-20 days.”

Individuals who continue the detox process will typically see a resolution to their physical symptoms within a week to 10 days. However, psychological symptoms can last for months, especially if the client is not receiving proper addiction treatment.

How to Detox from Opioids Safely

To detox safely from opioids, an individual should Be under the care of a medical professional. Individuals can expect a safe and more comfortable detox process as medical professionals can give medications to help with some of the more severe withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, support staff can act as support for individuals who feel alone or depressed during the process.

At the Robert Alexander Center, we offer a comprehensive detox process connected with our addiction treatment programs. We believe in providing the most comprehensive and expert care to our clients to achieve lasting recovery. Our opioid detox program transitions sober clients into our inpatient rehab or intensive outpatient treatment programs. We hope to support clients as they achieve stability and their mental, physical, and emotional health through this process.
Contact our experts today if you’d like to learn more about the Robert Alexander Center’s detox and addiction treatment programs.

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