In this article, I’m going to teach you about the opiate withdrawal timeline. But first, let me tell you a story about my initial opiate withdrawal timeline. The first time I went through opiate withdrawal was a nightmare. I was scared because I had no idea how long the opiate withdrawal timeline would last. The physical symptoms were bad, but the psychological terror I was experiencing was almost unbearable. Furthermore, the symptoms seemed to be getting more intense as time went on!
Since then I have gone through opiate withdrawal several times, learning more and more about how to ease symptoms along the way. I finally got clean a few years ago, and I’ve since made it my life’s purpose and mission to help people recover from opiate addiction. The first step to take on the road to recovery is to survive opiate withdrawal without caving in and using.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with a detailed description of the opiate withdrawal timeline.
I will cover in detail the various symptoms you will likely experience, how long they could last, and how severe they could be. Towards the end, I will teach you specific actions you can take that can either ease your symptoms or completely stop withdrawal.
Table of Contents
Opiate Withdrawal Timeline: My First Experience
It seemed harmless and innocent when I started taking prescription painkillers for recreational use. For years I was able to get high a few times per month, and I never became addicted or suffered any negative consequences. Then one day I found myself completely out of pills after I had been using every day for a few months.
I woke up in the morning, walked to work and had a cup of coffee, and then it started…I was on the first day of the opiate withdrawal timeline and I didn’t even know it. Right after I got to work I puked up my coffee. After that, I had a panic attack that was so intense my boss took one look at me and told me I could go home!
I had never even heard of opiate withdrawal, so of course, I didn’t know that’s what was happening to me. I literally just thought it was a massive panic attack. The next few days kept getting worse, not better, so I was really scared and didn’t know what to do. I ended up staying home from work for the next four days because I was too sick and terrified to leave my house.
Finally, my dealer told me I was going through opiate withdrawal, so I went online and learned everything I could about it.
That was five years ago, and I’ve now been clean for three years. During that time I became a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, a Strategic Intervention Coach, and an Opiate Addiction Recovery Expert. I specialize in educating people about natural remedies for opiate withdrawal and personal growth for recovery.
The first part of getting through withdrawal is knowing what you’re up against. I hope the following description of the opiate withdrawal timeline will mentally prepare you for the incredible obstacle ahead of you…
What to Expect
The duration and magnitude of your opiate withdrawal timeline of symptoms depend on the following criteria:
- The length of time you’ve been using opiates.
- The type of opiates you’ve been taking.
- How much you’ve been using on a regular basis.
- The route of administration used: inhalation, oral, intravenous (IV), insufflation (snorting).
- Whether or not you have tapered, and if so, for how long.
- Your age and overall level of health and fitness.
- Your unique biochemistry.
Note: Everyone’s situation is unique, so it’s hard to determine exactly what your opiate withdrawal experience will be like. The following outline of the opiate withdrawal timeline is based on the most common experience people have. Your withdrawal may be shorter or longer, more severe or less severe, depending on your unique situation.
If you’ve been using opiates that have a short half-life, your opiate withdrawal timeline should start approximately twelve hours after your last dose. Some examples of opiates that have a short half-life are heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. The opiate withdrawal timeline will start approximately 30-48 hours after your last dose if you’ve been using methadone, Suboxone or Subutex.
This is because these drugs stay in your bloodstream for a much longer time. The first day of opiate withdrawal is usually the easiest. Some common symptoms people experience are anxiety, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, insomnia, runny nose, sweating, and nausea.
The symptoms usually start to get worse on day two. The anxiety is amplified, and it’s usually impossible to get any sleep whatsoever at this point. You can experience hot and cold flashes, sweating, extreme diarrhea, and a level of fatigue so extreme that you feel like you’re completely out of batteries.
These two days are typically the worst. The opiate withdrawal symptoms are peaking, and most people would do just about anything to make it all go away. Five minutes seems like an hour, and it’s truly a living hell. I wouldn’t wish opiate withdrawal on my worst enemy.
Day 5 and Beyond
The opiate withdrawal timeline is nearing its end, and the symptoms have decreased considerably. Unfortunately, most individuals still experience mild to moderate symptoms for weeks to months after they stop using opiates.
How to Prevent Opiate Withdrawal
Stopping the use of opiates abruptly after a dependence has been established usually results in severe opiate withdrawal symptoms. It’s a major shock to your system, but luckily there is a trick called tapering that can prevent this from happening.
Tapering is systematically decreasing the daily amount of opiates you use over an extended period of time. The general rule is that a slower taper decreases the withdrawal symptoms the best. Going slow is easier on your body and does not shock your system like a rapid taper does.
Note: Though you can taper with any opiate drug, the ones with a longer half-life are best. Furthermore, taking the drug orally works best as opposed to the other routes of administration because it lasts longer in your system. This is why so many people dependent upon opiates choose to be placed on Suboxone or Subutex. These medications have a very long half-life, making them ideal for tapering.
How to Stop Opiate Withdrawal
If you haven’t tapered then you’re going to need some tips on how to decrease symptoms during the opiate withdrawal timeline. There are tons of natural withdrawal remedies and medications that can help you decrease or completely eliminate your symptoms.
- Gabapentin – A prescription medication for nerve pain.
- DXM – An over-the-counter cough medication.
- Benzodiazepines – Medications such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan can reduce anxiety and help you sleep.
- Clonidine – Blood pressure medication that can calm you down and take the edge off.
- Loperamide HCL – Over-the-counter medication that completely stops opiate withdrawal diarrhea.
- Hot Bath – Reduces muscle aches, calms nerves, helps you fall asleep.
- Dark Chocolate – Increases endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in the brain.
- Heating Pad – Reduces muscle aches.
- Peppermint Tea – Eases stomach discomfort.
- Ginger Ale – Eases stomach discomfort.
- Gatorade – Hydrating and replenishes electrolytes.
- Water – Hydrating.
- Vitamin C – Has been shown in studies to reduce opiate withdrawal symptoms when used in high doses.
- Cool/Dark/Quite room to sleep in – Helps you sleep better.
- L-Tyrosine – Amino acid that increases dopamine, gives you energy and helps the body respond to stress.
- DLPA – Amino acid that increases dopamine and endorphins.
- Passion Flower – Herb that reduces anxiety and insomnia.
- Valerian Root – Herb that reduces anxiety and insomnia.
- Ginseng – Root that counteracts fatigue and helps the body respond to stress.
- Melatonin – Chemical produced in the pineal gland of the brain that helps you sleep (comes in supplement form).
- GABA – Chemical in the brain that calms anxiety and treats insomnia (comes in supplement form).
- Protein Shakes – The amino acids in the protein create feel-good chemicals in the brain.
- Funny Movies – Takes your mind off the withdrawal and laughing produces endorphins.
- Relaxing Music – Calms anxiety.
- Exercise – Stimulates the production of endorphins, calms anxiety, promotes sleep.
- If you can afford it, I also highly recommend taking this awesome supplement, because the benefits are just too good to pass up.
Opiate Withdrawal Supplement:
- Opiate Withdrawal Formula – A natural supplement specifically formulated to help people reduce opiate withdrawal timeline symptoms.
Click here now to view my best home detox program. If you have any questions on the opiate withdrawal timeline, please feel free to post them in the comment box below.