Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

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If you're staring down the difficult journey of opioid withdrawal and feel overwhelmed, don't despair. This article serves as your roadmap to understanding the process, while Miracles Asia's rehab program offers you the tangible benefits of a personalized and compassionate recovery experience.
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Opioid withdrawal can be a challenging experience to endure, both physically and mentally. For this reason, it's important to have a sufficient support network, resources, and knowledge to manage opioid withdrawal and minimize the risk of relapsing.

In this comprehensive guide, you will find information about what opioid withdrawal looks like, what its symptoms are, and how you can receive help during that time.

What Is Opioid Withdrawal?

young male suffering with opioid withdrawal symptoms
Opioid withdrawal is a set of symptoms one can experience when discontinuing opioid use. These symptoms can manifest themselves as physical discomfort as well as mental dependency indicators. Adverse effects can vary in their severity, but in the majority of cases, the longer the use, the more acute the withdrawal symptoms.

Still, it's important to note that experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms after stopping the use does not necessarily indicate opioid addiction. Patients who take prescription opioids may go through the same type of withdrawal symptoms as someone who suffers with opioid addiction and abuse when getting off them, regardless of following their medical provider's recommendations.

It's part of the reason why those who administer opioid medications should closely observe their mental and physical state and adhere to the therapy plan proposed by their physician.

It's also important to take necessary precautions when planning to stop the use of opioid analgesics. It's never a good idea to stop taking opioids abruptly without consulting a medical professional first, as patients treated with these drugs as well as those who suffer from opioid dependence, are at risk of experiencing some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which can disrupt their routines, worsen their mental state and even, in some rare cases, cause life-threatening conditions.

Although opioid withdrawal syndrome, which often is characterized as a flu-like illness, is not usually dangerous for one's health and life, it can cause very unpleasant symptoms which can be difficult to endure without opioid withdrawal management medications. Additionally, untreated opioid withdrawal frequently results in a relapse in opioid abuse.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

The most common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:
runny nose and sneezing,
hot and cold flushes,
perfuse sweating,
rapid heart rate,
head, joint, bone, and muscle aches,
increased irritability,
drug cravings,
insomnia and problems with sleep,
mood swings,
The severity of these symptoms will likely depend on factors like the length of time one was taking the drugs and the doses that were being administered. The higher the dose, the easier and quicker it is to develop an opioid addiction.

Opioid use disorder is a serious condition that can disrupt someone's mental and physical health and, in serious cases, lead to severe health complications and even death.

How Long Do Opioids Stay in the System?

Opioid withdrawal can look different depending on what type of opioid medication you are on. If you’re administering fast-acting opioids such as oxycodone, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms quicker but for a shorter time.

However, if you've been taking slow-release opioids like buprenorphine, you're more likely to go through withdrawal sometime after discontinuing taking opioids, but the symptoms may remain for longer.

Still, opioid withdrawal symptoms appear quickly, only hours after taking the last dose. It's because opioid drugs don't stay for long in the system. Usually, they can be detected up to four days from when the last dose was administered. However, their effectiveness decreases after 6 to 24 hours, and that is when many patients will start to experience first withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

There is no one timeline for all patients going through opioid withdrawal, as its severity and duration will depend on individual factors. But, in the majority of cases, the peak of physical withdrawal symptoms is reached around the 72 hours mark.

The timeline of the opioid withdrawal syndrome can look like this:

The First Two Days

During this time, you may start to experience first flu-like symptoms. Your body will hurt, and you can experience nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, sweating, and chills.

Three to Five Days

Most people enter the second phase of opioid analgesics withdrawal after two to three days. During this time, patients experience the most severe pain and other symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Due to the level of discomfort that can be felt during this phase, those who try to go off opioids cold turkey are at high risk of relapsing in order to mitigate some of the symptoms they're experiencing. It's crucial to rely on a strong support system and work with health care providers to avoid relapsing through a well-thought-out opioid withdrawal management plan.

Five to Seven Days

Near the end of the first week, many of the physical symptoms will weaken. However, the emotional and mental toll the withdrawal causes may last for much longer. It's common for patients to experience mood swings, irritability, depression, or anxiety.

After The First Week

While you may need to navigate the psychological side effects of an opioid use disorder, it's also the time to address some of the underlying issues that might have caused opioid dependence in the first place. It's beneficial for those who have struggled with opioid abuse to receive help from mental health professionals and addiction therapists during this time and going forward, as this offers addicts tools to efficiently navigate their disorder in the future.

Preventing Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

The only safe and reliable strategy to prevent or mitigate some of the withdrawal symptoms caused by opioids is by consulting with your doctor and creating an opioid detoxification plan. This is especially important for those who've been self administering large doses for an extended period and may have being unaware of how to identify the symptoms and signs of an opiate addict, as going completely cold turkey off opioids can be incredibly taxing and potentially risky.

One of the ways to safely stop using opioids and reduce the risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms is through tapering. Tapering is the process of slowly reducing the doses of opioid medication in order to get your body time to adjust and decrease its dependency on the drug.

Usually, your doctor will create a tapering schedule adjusted to your needs, health condition and health history to help you safely reduce the opioid intake. However, it's important to know this may not be a suitable method for everyone.

In some situations, it might be safer for you to be put on a different medication that is frequently used to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment of Opioid Withdrawal

As mentioned above, one of the most common strategies to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduce risks involved with going off drugs is tapering. However, there are other methods and strategies that can be incorporated into and deployed instead of it. One of which is medical withdrawal treatment.

Medical Withdrawal Treatment

When treating opioid withdrawal, you may be put on different medications to ease the discomfort and help you endure the first phases of withdrawal. Some of the more popular drugs used for this purpose include:


A healthcare professional may prescribe you methadone, an opioid agonist which helps mitigate pain and decrease the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms.


Clonidine is classified as Antihypertensive and can help patients feel more comfortable during the withdrawal by alleviating some of the symptoms.


Diazepam is prescribed to address anxiety and irritability. It interferes with the nervous system, calming body and mind.


Metoclopramide can help address nausea or vomiting.

Other Prescription Drugs

There are other medicines, like pain-relief medicines (ibuprofen, aspirin, or paracetamol), that are used to treat withdrawal symptoms and offer pain relief during that time.

Treatment options for mitigating symptoms of opioid withdrawal are available to patients that are in contact with and under the care of medical professionals. That is why it's crucial to consult your health care provider or specialized facility when you want to stop taking opioids.

How Can I Get The Help I Need?

There are a few routes you can take when opioid addiction treatment and correctly handling the withdrawal symptoms. Some patients benefit greatly from outpatient treatment, which allows them to receive help from the medical team and addiction specialists while living at home and continuing their daily routines. This option is valuable for those who have some obligations that make it impossible for them to benefit from inpatient treatment options.

Residential treatment is another highly effective route to treat opioid dependency and withdrawal. In specialized facilities like Miracles Asia, patients receive complex care. From medical assistance during the withdrawal period to physiological support, personalized treatment programs, individual and group therapy, and further counselling to navigate addiction after leaving the treatment, patients receive help at every step of the way to getting better.

Miracles Asia's residential rehab program was created by people with vast experience in treating drug abuse, which means you're in the best hands. We focus on the holistic approach, giving your mind and body everything it needs in this journey.

Our facility is located in beautiful Phuket, Thailand, where, apart from the team of dedicated specialists ready to help you battle the addiction, there are breathtaking beaches, forests and a range of activities awaiting that will allow you to gain back the confidence and put your mind to rest after intensive therapy work.

The Bottom Line

While going through opioid withdrawal might be a difficult experience, there are many ways to manage it and mitigate some of its symptoms. The most crucial fact is that it is taxing on the body and mind to try and quit opioids cold turkey.

You should always consult your doctor before trying to discontinue the use of opioid medication and follow their recommendations.

Most opioids are highly addictive, so their intake should always be supervised by a medical professional. If you see any signs of opioid dependency, reach out to your physician to talk about the next steps.

If you're interested in the residential program at Miracles Asia, feel free to reach out and contact us. We'll be happy to provide you with all the information that's going to give you the best results for your own situation.

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