In this article, I’m going to provide you with a Master List of all the common and uncommon opiate withdrawal symptoms that ensue from the abrupt cessation of opioid drugs.
Additionally, I’ll be helping you out a great deal, because along with listing off all of the opiate withdrawal symptoms, I’m also going to provide you with the best remedies for minimizing or even eliminating each and every symptom.
After six years of studying and perfecting the “Art of Opiate Recovery,” I’ve come to realize that there are well over 70 opiate withdrawal remedies that can assist you to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.
I’ll be providing the cream of the crop in this piece, so sit tight…because help is on the way!
Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be broken down into the following categories:
- Common Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
- Uncommon Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
- Physical Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
- Mental Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
- Emotional Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
Now that you’ve been educated on the framework of this article, let us start the learning process and dive right in…beginning with an overview on opiates, tolerance, dependence, withdrawal, symptoms of opiate withdrawal, and the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline.
How Opiates Work in the Body
Opiates are drugs that are derived from the opium poppy plant. Opioids are synthetic or natural drugs that do not originate from the opium poppy plant, however, they still bind to the same opioid receptors in the brain and body that opiates bind to, resulting in the same types of effects.
Despite all of the associated negative aspects (addiction, overdose, crime, etc.), prescription opiates still have a positive intent. They are commonly prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.
These drugs, along with heroin, attach to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are located on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, GI tract, and other organs.
Once these drugs attach to the opioid receptors, their effects come on, which include, but are not limited to:
- Pain Relief
As human beings, we already have an endogenous painkilling system that is capable of producing pain relief, sedation, and euphoria.
For example, imagine a man who has just run five miles along the beach.
As a result of this intense physical exertion, his body naturally produces its own opioid chemicals, known as endorphins and enkephalins, thus reducing pain, and promoting euphoria naturally (“runners high”).
Tolerance and Dependence
We already produce natural opioid chemicals (endorphins/enkephalins) in the precise amounts our bodies were designed to handle. The problem arises when an individual has been using an opioid drug for a period of time.
After prolonged use of opioid drugs, the production of endogenous opioids is inhibited, which accounts in part for the withdrawal syndrome that results from the immediate cessation of the drug.
The continuous use of opioids overrides our natural ability to produce endorphins and enkephalins.
The brain comes to rely on the drugs to create these neurotransmitters.
When a person stops using the opioid drug, the brain doesn’t start creating these endogenous opioids right away. It short-circuits, leading to withdrawal symptoms, and deteriorating psychological function.
Whether an individual is abusing opioids or even taking them as prescribed by a physician, the continued use quickly leads to tolerance. Tolerance is a state of adaptation in which exposure to a drug induces changes that result in a decrease of the drug’s effects over time.
If an individual continues using opioids after a tolerance has been established, they will eventually develop a physiological dependence.
Dependence develops when the neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug.
Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome
When a dependent individual abruptly stops taking opioids (leading opioid-blood concentration to fall below the required level), the now opioid-tolerant central nervous system (CNS) goes haywire. With no inhibitive stimulation to satisfy receptors, the pathways of the CNS fire signals strenuously, performing at a level much higher than pre-dependence levels.
Now the locus coeruleus responds by triggering the autonomic fight or flight response. What results is known as the opioid withdrawal syndrome, and it’s one of the most horrific experiences an individual could even go through.
Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
Now that you have a good overview of how the whole process starts, we can now review the physical, mental, and emotional opiate withdrawal symptoms that result from the abrupt cessation of opioid drugs.
Please note that these opiate withdrawal symptoms can also result from lowering your dosage too quickly on an opiate taper. Tapering is lowering your dosage systemically over a predetermined time frame, which significantly reduces the shock to your body that a cold-turkey detox creates.
Physical opiate withdrawal symptoms include:
Mental/Emotional opiate withdrawal symptoms include:
- Panic Attacks
- Social Anxiety
- Anhedonia (Inability to Feel Pleasure)
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Inability to Relax
- Lack of Motivation
As you can see, there are plenty of unpleasant opiate withdrawal symptoms that can afflict you while lowering your dosage too fast, or coming off opioids cold-turkey. The really awful aspect of opiate withdrawal is that you get hit with a ton of different physical and psychological opiate withdrawal symptoms.
If it were just one or the other, it wouldn’t be near as horrific of an experience.
But alas this isn’t the case.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms are both physical and psychological, and most of the time these symptoms are very severe.
Now let’s move on to the next section, where you’ll learn about the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline.
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline – Short-Acting Opioids
How long do opiate withdrawal symptoms last? That depends on a number of factors. The main element which determines when your opiate withdrawal symptoms will start, when they will peak, and when they will finally subside, is the type of opioid drug you’ve been taking.
For instance, if you’ve been using short-acting opiates like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, heroin, or other short-acting opiates, the opiate withdrawal symptoms typically begin around the 12-hour mark.
So 12 hours after your last dose of a short-acting opiate, the mild opiate withdrawal symptoms will begin to arise.
Here is a brief overview of the opiate withdrawal symptoms timeline after stopping the use of short-acting opiates:
- Day 1 – Unpleasant opiate withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to get through the day.
- Day 2 – A significant increase in the severity of opiate withdrawal symptoms.
- Days 3-4 – Opiate withdrawal symptoms peak and are the most severe during these final two days.
- Day 5 – The acute withdrawal phase is technically over, and the opiate withdrawal symptoms become much less severe, though you still feel them a lot.
Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline – Long-Acting Opioids
If you’ve been taking long-acting opiates such as Morphine Extended-Release, or long-acting opioids such as methadone, Suboxone, Subutex, Probuphine, or Zubsolv, the acute withdrawal starts much later than the 12-hour mark.
Due to the long-acting and long half-life effect of these drugs, you’ll typically start to experience acute opiate withdrawal symptoms around 30 hours after your last dose. If you haven’t tapered off these drugs, but are going through a cold-turkey detox, the acute withdrawal phase might last a lot longer than 4 days.
The acute opiate withdrawal symptoms might last up to 7 days or even longer.
I’ve had several clients at the methadone clinic I used to work at tell me they went to jail and had to come off methadone cold-turkey with no medicine to help.
Many of them stated they went through acute opioid withdrawal for a month or longer.
Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline – PAWS Overview
Many opiate users have successfully managed to get past the acute opiate withdrawal symptoms phase, only to realize that the struggle was far from being over. Though the symptoms, duration, and severity vary, an estimated 90% of all opiate abusers experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) to some degree after the acute withdrawal is over.
To accurately and simply define PAWS, let’s break down the meaning of each individual word:
- Post – “After”
- Acute – “Very serious or dangerous; requiring serious attention or action”
- Withdrawal – “The discontinuance of administration or use of a drug”
- Syndrome – “A group of symptoms”
Simply put, PAWS is a group of symptoms that occur after an individual has gone through the serious withdrawal phase induced by the discontinuation of drugs.
In his popular book, Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention, Terence Gorski states the following:
Post-acute withdrawal is a group of symptoms of addictive disease that occur as a result of abstinence from addictive chemicals. In the alcoholic/addict these symptoms appear seven to fourteen days into abstinence, after stabilization from the acute withdrawal. Post-acute withdrawal is a bio/psycho/social syndrome. It results from a combination of damage to the nervous system caused by alcohol or drugs and the psychosocial stress of coping with life without drugs or alcohol.”
PAWS Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
PAWS can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years. In fact, there is even a possibility that opiate PAWS can continue for the rest of an individual’s life after quitting opiates. Unfortunately, there is really no way to determine how long it will last.
Luckily, things like supplementation, nutrition, and exercise can help you reduce the severity and timeline of PAWS opiate withdrawal symptoms. Click here to check out my holistic PAWS treatment plan that will help you get better FAST.
PAWS Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms List
There is a wide range of symptoms an individual might experience from PAWS. Post-acute opiate withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person. Post-acute opiate withdrawal symptoms will also vary in severity from person to person.
Some common post-acute opiate withdrawal symptoms include:
- Inability to think clearly
- Memory problems
- Emotional overreactions or numbness
- Physical coordination problems
- Stress sensitivity
- Increased susceptibility to emotional and physical pain
- Gastrointestinal (GI) issues
- Intense cravings to use opiates
- Drug dreams
- Inability to experience pleasure (“pleasure deafness”)
I strongly believe that the last two symptoms (“pleasure deafness” and fatigue) are the #1 reason why most individuals going through PAWS relapse within the first 90 days of getting sober.
Going weeks to months without feeling any pleasure in life, and on top of that having no energy or motivation, is in my opinion more detrimental to recovery than any of the other post-acute opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms – Top 20 Things That Can Help
Since you’ve made it this far in the article, I know you’re serious about using the best remedies for reducing the severity of your opiate withdrawal symptoms. I aim to deliver on my promise.
Thus, without further ado, here are the Top 20 things that can help, with clickable links so you can learn more by checking out articles entirely dedicated to each opiate withdrawal symptoms remedy.
In order from the most helpful first, here are the Top 20 remedies for reducing opiate withdrawal symptoms:
- Mega-Dose Vitamin C
Along with these, no matter which remedies for opiate withdrawal symptoms you end up using, make sure you also take this Opiate Recovery Supplement.
You’ll need the nutrients in this formula to help your brain begin restoring healthy levels of dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, and GABA, which are the most important neurotransmitters for mood and behavior.
This supplement can lead to the following benefits:
- Restores Healthy Neurotransmission
- Enhances Mood
- Eases Stomach Discomfort
- Increases Natural energy
- Calms Anxiety
- Reverses Depression
- Reverses Insomnia
- Reduces Opiate Cravings
Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms – Conclusion
I hope you’ve gained tremendous insight and value from this blog post on opiate withdrawal symptoms and the Top 20 Things That Can Help.
I didn’t provide overviews on the Top 20 remedies for opiate withdrawal symptoms because this article is over 2,000 words long (which is long enough!), and I’ve already written separate articles for each remedy, which have detailed information, including how to use each remedy for opiate withdrawal.
Now you have everything you need to know about opiate withdrawal symptoms, opiate withdrawal timelines, and the most effective remedies that can help you reduce or even eliminate your opiate withdrawal symptoms.
If you liked this article, then you’ll absolutely love The Ultimate Opiate Recovery System, which goes much deeper into opiate withdrawal and recovery methods.
Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms Comments?
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