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What is the Opioid Detox Timeline?

What is the Opioid Detox Timeline?

Opioid withdrawals can be life-threatening if not handled with proper medical care. Because of the severity and dangers that opioid withdrawals cause in addicts, they are usually treated in detox with medications that mimic their effects and allow the body to “come down” in a controlled way. Pharmacological drugs such as Methadone and Buprenorphine are used for these methods.

The US is currently undergoing an opioid epidemic that involves drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, codeine, and methadone. It’s estimated that close to 3 million people are battling opioid addiction in the US and nearly 16 million people worldwide.

The timeline of opioid detox commences shortly after the addict has taken the last dose and can last for up to 10 days, or longer in some cases.

Timeline of Opioid Detox

The timeline of opioid detox will be slightly different for each patient, as the length that symptoms will last is dependent on the severity of the addiction, the type of drug, and the way in which the addict consumed it.

Someone who recently picked up an Oxycodone habit will likely have milder withdrawal symptoms than someone who has been consuming heroin intravenously for an extended period.

Typically, addicts can expect to feel mild symptoms of withdrawal anywhere between eight and thirty hours after consuming their last dose progressing as time passes. Symptoms may extend for up to 10 days after the last dose is consumed, milder symptoms may stick around for longer in some cases.

During an opiate detox a patient can expect to:

  • Receive a medical examination
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms
  • Take medication for symptoms
  • Receive around-the-clock support 

24 Hours After the Last Dose

For short-acting opioids such as heroin and codeine, the discomfort will begin as early as eight to twenty-four hours after the last dose. 

If checking into a detox center, the patient can expect to receive a medical examination right away, along with receiving pharmacological opioid management for their withdrawal. 

Methadone and buprenorphine, being the preferred pharmacological option for opioid treatment, will typically be administered in this scenario to help combat the effects of withdrawal. Patients are commonly treated with small doses throughout the detox process.

The first withdrawal symptoms will be mild and progress as time passes.

Some of the first symptoms experienced include:

  • Headaches
  • Irritation
  • Anxiety and cravings
  • Body pains and aches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite

Two Days After the Last Dose

This period is characterized by the beginning of withdrawal symptoms for patients that consumed long-acting opioids such as oxycodone or hydromorphone. Short-acting opioid patients will experience additional symptoms on the second day such as:

  • Sweating
  • Panic attacks 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

Three to Six Days After the Last Dose

Days three to six will see the withdrawal symptoms peak for both long-acting and short-acting opioid addicts.

Additional symptoms experienced on days three to six include:

  • Cramps
  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged pupils

Seven Days After the Last Dose

Patients will finally begin to see their symptoms recede a week after consuming their last dose of opiates.

While the worst may now be behind them, they will now enter a new stage where fatigue, irritability, insomnia, and depression may remain present for a longer time.

Where to Get Help

If you or a loved one is suffering from opiate addiction then you can’t overestimate the need to get help! 

Signing up for a detox program will shelter the addict from the health risks that come with opioid withdrawals, offering the protection and care of competent medical staff.

Now that you know what the detox timeline of opioids is like, it’s time to take action.

Veritas Detox offers opioid detox programs to help you or your loved ones get sober and stay that way.

Help is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at no cost or obligation. Speak to one of Veritas recovery experts, to seek the help you and your loved ones need. 

Contact Veritas Detox today!

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