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What Are the Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal?


If you are someone you love uses opioids, the first sign of dependence is withdrawal from opioids.

Even though a prescription withdrawal from opioids can happen.

This may leave you confused, scared, and unsure of what to do next. Withdrawal from opiates is painful, but it is possible to manage your withdrawal from opioids.

This is typically done by finding an opioid detox center near me.

Opioids affect the brain in different ways, but most are extremely dangerous.

It is essential to learn the signs of a withdrawal from opioids, along with the opioid withdrawal timeline.

If you are addicted to opioids, you have options and you aren’t alone.

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How Withdrawal From Opioids Affects the Brain

When you use opioids you may feel many different effects.

They can push you to feel drowsy and relaxed, but also slow your breathing.

You can also experience a rush of pleasure, known as euphoria. This is why you become addicted.

Opioids attach to opioid receptors in different parts of the brain. This leads to pain relief as well.

The ultimate effect of opioids is the release of Dopamine, a chemical in the brain.

This provides feelings of pleasure. The release of dopamine is associated with repeated drug use which is how you become addicted.

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Is Dopamine Bad?

Dopamine is a natural chemical in the brain.

It helps to reinforce pleasurable activities.

This can include exercising, engaging in hobbies, and spending time with those you love.

Essentially, then dopamine is released as a result of a drug, you are telling your brain to continue that activity.

This is why opioids are addictive, but it does not make dopamine bad.

Are Opioids Dangerous?

When taken as prescribed by a physician, opioids can help you mitigate any pain associated with surgery.

It can also help you to avoid any other form of chronic and intense pain.

The only issue is that taking any type of opioid over a long period of time can lead to tolerance and dependence.

As you build a tolerance to opioids, you will need a larger dose to feel the same feeling as before.

This tolerance is the first sign of withdrawal from opioids and dependence.

Eventually, you will be physically dependent on the drug and experience symptoms of withdrawal.

What is Withdrawal From Opioids?

If you suddenly reduce your dose or stop taking opioids you will experience withdrawal from opioids.

This can cause a vicious cycle of attempting to cut back, suffering from withdrawal from opioids symptoms, and taking the drug again.

Withdrawal from opioids can be deadly or dangerous at a high dose.

This can lead to extreme effects in terms of drowsiness.

Nausea, euphoria, and slowed breathing are also negative and dangerous symptoms of withdrawal from opioids.

Signs of Withdrawal From Opioids

Regardless of the type of opioid you use, the signs of withdrawal from opioids are similar between them. Some of the signs of withdrawal from opioids include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Increased body temperature
  • Racing heart
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • High blood pressure

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Length of Withdrawal From Opioids

Some of the types of opioids can cause withdrawal sooner than others. Additionally, some withdrawal from opioids will last longer than others. This will depend on a few factors:

  • Type of opioid taken
  • Severity of symptoms
  • Time of onset
  • Duration of symptoms
  • Duration of use
  • Dose taken
  • Time between doses

Examples of Different Timelines

Both heroin and short-acting opioids cause withdrawal symptoms.

These can typically be seen within the first 8-12 hours after your last dose.

After one to three days your symptoms should peak. This will continue for up to 7 days.

Short-acting opioids will result in withdrawal symptoms within the first 8-24 hours after the last use, These include morphine and immediate-release formulations of the medications oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.

The withdrawal symptoms for these drugs can continue as long as 10 days.

Long-acting opioids will result in the first withdrawal symptoms appearing up to 36 hours after last use.

These include methadone and extended, also known as controlled, formulations of the medications morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.

These symptoms can continue for up to 14 days or more.

Opioid Detox

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be extremely intense, and even life-threatening.

It is good to note that you will typically go through opioid withdrawal for a few days, but for some, it can take up to several weeks.

Opioid detox is the first step in getting opioids out of your body.

This medically managed withdrawal can help you make it through opioid withdrawal safely and comfortably.



One common option for opioid detox is tapering.

This means that you will gradually reduce your dose until you are taking a small dose, until nothing at all.

There are opportunities to take a very low dose as maintained on an opioid maintenance drug.

These drugs are known as buprenorphine or methadone.

Opioid maintenance plans are usually available when you undergo medical detox.

This should be completed under the supervision of a physician or other medical staff.

Typically inpatient rehab treatment centers offer you the benefit of a medical staff 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. This will also provide you with emotional support from the staff, and other members throughout your treatment.

There are a few other ancillary medications that can also be used to provide relief of symptoms.

This might include Clonidine for anxiety or Loperamide for diarrhea.

Using medication in treatment is known as MAT or medication-assisted treatment.


Medication-assisted treatment is an extremely helpful method of controlling cravings.

Both buprenorphine and methadone can both be used to help avoid symptoms of opioid withdrawal and control cravings.

Buprenorphine is typically used during taper off programs.

Despite this, methadone and buprenorphine may both be prescribed long-term.

This is thought to help keep cravings under control, as well as maintain sobriety from all other illicit or prescription opioids.

Mainly, Buprenorphine and methadone help to reduce the risk of overdose.


Mental Illness and Withdrawal From Opioids

There is much research that indicates people with mental, personality, and substance use disorders are at increased risk of addiction.

Although it is common for those with a mental illness to also suffer from an addiction, each person will also need a different treatment plan.

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Getting Help

It’s important to note that detoxification from opioids is only the first step on the road to recovery.

When you have prescribed a medication to help treat opioid use disorder it does not mean you will be cured.

You will need medication, counseling, and therapy to help assist in the process.

These are other essential elements to effective treatment of an opioid use disorder.

Opioid withdrawal is often extremely uncomfortable but at Resurgence Behavioral Health we can help.

We are a leading substance abuse treatment provider offering a variety of different programs.

We can offer you a caring and knowledgeable staff who will provide you with supervised medical detox, as well as the counseling, therapy, and aftercare needed to support long-term sobriety.

Contact us today to learn about our free insurance verification for treatment.

There is no day but today to achieve your sobriety.

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