How to Manage Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Clinically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated:


Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

The opioid epidemic is far-reaching and widespread in the United States. With so many people afflicted by this challenging problem, it takes real courage to take the steps necessary to quit. Some people are concerned about quitting opioids because they worry about opioid withdrawal symptoms. Going through the withdrawal phase is part of opioid detox, and it can be challenging without the proper support. However, if you know how to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms, then you can get through to the other side of this phase successfully. In addition, you can look to a new future filled with hope. Let’s look at what you can expect during opioid withdrawal and ways of managing opioid withdrawal.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with opioid use problems, don’t hesitate. Reach out to the addiction specialists at Renaissance Recovery today using our convenient, secure online form or by calling [Direct].

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Once you are addicted, if you were to stop taking opioids suddenly, you would experience a range of symptoms. Every person is different, so the severity of the symptoms will depend on how much you are taking. Here are some of the most common opioid withdrawal symptoms:

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Flu-like aches and pains
  • Stomach cramping
  • Insomnia or restlessness
  • Moodiness or anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Dilated or watery eyes
  • Nausea or vomiting

The danger of attempting to manage these symptoms, which are often intense, is that they are so severe that they result in relapse. Additionally, there are health concerns associated with withdrawal that make supervised detox at a facility like Renaissance Recovery a medical necessity.

Do I Need Opioid Detox?

If you’re not sure if you are addicted to opioids, there are some signals that you have either an addiction to opioids or are dependent upon them. Among these are:

  • You are continuously thinking about using opioids and spend a significant amount of time acquiring, using, and recovery from opioid use.
  • You are spending more money than you would like to on the drug.
  • You are getting opioids in unethical or illegal ways.
  • You are abusing a prescription opioid by using it in the wrong way or overusing it.
  • You are anxious or worried about quitting or feel like you can’t give it up.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these, it is worth reaching out for professional help at a treatment center like Renaissance Recovery.

Strategies for Dealing with Opioid Withdrawal

When you go through opioid detox, the drugs and toxins are eliminated from your body. It is an uncomfortable experience, but managing opioid withdrawal can make the process go more smoothly. Here are some important tips to help get you through this challenging time as you manage your opioid withdrawal symptoms:

  • Have a strong support system in place.
  • Educate yourself about what to expect.
  • Be sure to practice self-care during this stressful time.
  • Remind yourself that if you fail in this attempt, you have only hit a speed bump on the road to recovery; you have not failed.
  • Forgive yourself for past and future issues.
  • Attend an opioid addiction treatment program.

Another important goal you should strive for during your opioid withdrawal journey is to get to the core of any mental health issues that are underpinning and possibly fueling your addiction. You can achieve this by attending mental health treatment programs that are appropriate for your situation. It’s common for people who struggle with opioid addiction also to have co-occurring mental health disorders, and at Renaissance Recovery, our team can help.

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

Symptoms of opioid withdrawal can begin in as early as 5-11 hours after the last dose of the opioid, for longer acting drugs like methadone this can take much longer, nearly up to 30 hours.

The timeline for opioid withdrawal is seperated in three different periods

  • Period of Early Withdrawal
  • Period of Peak Withdrawal
  • Protracted Withdrawal or Late Withdrawal Period

Early Withdrawal Period

On the opioid withdrawal timeline early withdrawal occurs anywhere from 6 to 12 hours after the last dose. Often time those experience early withdrawal will feel discomfort.

Early Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms include

  • fever and sweating
  • anxiousness
  • muscle pain and aches
  • crying
  • runny nose
  • trouble sleeping
  • trouble concentrating
  • hot/cold flashes

Opioid Peak Withdrawal

This is the portion of the withdrawal when opioid symptoms of withdrawal peak and become the least manageable. This usually occurs between 36 to 48 hours after a person’s last dose. Often times without help from a proper detox programs at a rehab facility people will relapse in order to relieve the withdrawal symptoms

Opioid Peak Withdrawal Symptoms

  • stomach cramping
  • liquid stool (diarrhea)
  • large pupils
  • vomiting
  • habitual sadness & depression
  • goosebumps

Opioid Late Withdrawal

This is the period where opioid withdrawal symptoms begin to significantly reduce in severity. But the danger of health complications could still arise, in the late withdrawal period it is best if those in withdrawal are still medically monitored so they can be safe and comfortable during the later stages of withdrawal.

Most often in the period short acting opioids you will see those individuals withdrawal symptoms usually pass within a week. But for some that have been using more heavily or are on methadone, the symptoms can persist for up to three weeks.

Safe Opioid Withdrawal at Renaissance Recovery

At Renaissance Recovery, you can withdraw safely with the aid of compassionate addiction experts and the proper treatment programs. We offer mental health treatment as well as substance abuse programs. Let us design a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment plan that suits your individual needs.

Don’t let the fear of opioid withdrawal symptoms stop you from seeking the help you need. Contact Renaissance Recovery at [Direct] today, and we’ll show you the way to success!

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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