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Opioid Withdrawal, Timeline and Risks

As a national epidemic, opioid addiction is claiming the lives of thousands of Americans each year. Many people fear stopping using these dangerous drugs due to the opioid withdrawal timeline and how uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms are. For those struggling with opioid withdrawal, help is available. Getting proper care to get through opioid withdrawal can help to ensure a great start to recovery.

Dangers of Opioid Withdrawal

Withdrawal from opioids can be dangerous. Not only is it an extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant experience, but it can lead to dangerous and life-threatening complications. Due to some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced during the opioid withdrawal timeline, a person who is going through it can experience some complications that could potentially be fatal.

Opioids are a class of drug that is mainly used in the treatment of chronic and severe pain. Mostly used after surgery, opioids are highly addictive and often lead to dependence. The body becomes accustomed to these drugs, and eventually higher doses are required to achieve the effects of pain relief, or in those who use them illicitly, higher doses are required to achieve the high they are looking for. When a person becomes dependent on these dangerous drugs and begins using more and more, they can become addicted, in turn resulting in opioid withdrawal symptoms. Illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl can lead to these symptoms.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms include things like: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Stomach cramps
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea

Symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea lead to dehydration and increased levels of blood sodium which in turn leads to heart failure. This is how opioid withdrawal can lead to fatal results. 

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

For those wondering what the opioid withdrawal timeline is and how long it takes to detox from opioids, there is no one size fits all answer. Everyone’s body is different and there are different factors that go into how long opioid withdrawal will take. Things like age, usage, and overall health and wellness factor into a person’s ability to detox from opioids. 

With that being said, there is a general opioid withdrawal timeline that can give a general overview of how long opioid withdrawal can take, and how the symptoms will present themselves. First, opioid withdrawal symptoms can begin to present themselves within 12-24 hours of the last use of these dangerous drugs. After about a day, the symptoms tend to peak and feel worse. This is when the more severe symptoms can present themselves. When these severe symptoms are at a high, it can be extremely dangerous for the person enduring them and this is why it is highly suggested to receive professional help when attempting to withdraw from opioids. After about 72 hours the symptoms begin to dissipate and after about a week they can be pretty much gone, and a person can begin to feel normal again.

Long after the opioid withdrawal timeline has been completed, a person can begin to feel protracted symptoms, and post acute withdrawal syndrome can occur. Cravings often lead a person back to using the drugs that got them into the predicament of opioid withdrawal to begin with. Proper treatment can help manage the opioid withdrawal timeline symptoms. 

Opioid Withdrawal Risks and Side Effects

A person who attempts to go through opioid withdrawal on their own, or cold turkey, often runs a risk of some severe side effects. As previously stated heart failure can occur as a result of dehydration and increased blood sodium levels. There is also the risk of overdose, both fatal and non-fatal. When a person stops using drugs for any amount of time and then returns to using at the same level they previously were, the body may not be able to process that amount of the drug at a conducive pace, leading to overdose. Being in an environment where the symptoms can be managed helps to prevent this from occurring.

Detox Benefits

The benefits of professional detox are far-reaching. Getting help can make the process of opioid withdrawal and the symptoms of the opioid withdrawal timeline manageable. When the symptoms are managed, a person can begin a life of recovery safely and effectively. Undergoing professional detox also allows someone to learn some essential life skills for combating opioid addiction in the future. Learning these positive coping and life skills can help to create a positive mindset that is crucial to not returning to using these dangerous drugs as a means of coping. Professional help is available and can make a world of difference in the lives of those struggling with opioid addiction.

Safely End Opioid Addiction

Struggling with opioid addiction is a difficult undertaking. Undergoing opioid withdrawal without proper care is extremely dangerous and can lead to fatal results. Getting help as soon as possible can ensure safety and recovery from opioid addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling, reaching out can set you on the path to a healthier lifestyle. Louisville Addiction Center can help. Call us today and begin a life in recovery.