How Long Does It Take to Detox From Opioids?

how long does it take to detox from opioids

Opioids are potent, highly addictive drugs. Many people develop an addiction to opioids after taking prescription painkillers or using opioids recreationally. When people stop using opioids after developing a physical dependence on them, they are likely to experience a range of uncomfortable side effects that reduce their chance of complete detox and recovery.

To prevent relapse during opioid detox, people must seek treatment in a medically-supported detox program. Knowing what to expect during opioid detox can help people stay motivated during the process, even when it feels challenging.

This article will detail how long it takes to detox from opioids, opioid withdrawal symptoms, and what kind of treatment you will receive in an opioid detox program. Reach out to the supportive team at Flourishing Foundations Recovery now to learn about our effective, comprehensive addiction treatment programs or to find support during any stage of your recovery journey.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that includes prescription painkillers like Oxycodone and illicit drugs like heroin. Anyone who uses opioids–even with a prescription–may develop a dependence on them because they are highly addictive.

Some commonly prescribed opioids include:

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin or Percocet)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Morphine
  • Oxymorphone (Opana)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze)
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Tapentadol (Nucynta)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)

Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in areas of the brain related to pleasure and reward. They cause the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Because of the way the drugs work in the brain, people who take opioids experience pain relief, relaxation, and euphoria. These pleasurable effects can make people want to take larger or more frequent doses of these drugs.

Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal occurs when people with opioid dependence reduce their use or stop taking these drugs altogether. Opioid withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Increased body temperature
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • High blood pressure

Opioid withdrawal symptoms may begin at different times and vary in severity, depending on the amount and type of opioids a person uses, their mental and physical health, and other personal factors.

How Long Does Opioid Detox Last?

The length of opioid detox depends on several factors, including:

  • The extent of use – People who use opioids in higher doses or for longer periods of time may have more severe, longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms.
  • Type of opioid used – Some opioids stay in your system longer than others. Short-acting opioids like oxycodone may have shorter withdrawal timelines than long-acting opioids like methadone.
  • Overall health – People with certain health conditions may metabolize opioids at a slower rate, resulting in longer withdrawal timelines.

However, for most people, symptoms tend to follow a timeline once they begin.

Here is a breakdown of the opioid withdrawal timeline.

8-36 hours

Opioid withdrawal symptoms typically develop within 8 to 24 hours of your last dose, depending on the type of opioid you use. Some long-acting opioids, such as methadone, may cause a delayed onset of withdrawal symptoms. People may not feel symptoms for up to 36 hours after their last dose.

1-3 days

Opioid withdrawal symptoms typically peak in the first three days of detox. People generally are very uncomfortable and may require continuous support and treatment to avoid relapse during this phase.

3-7 days

Withdrawal symptoms typically begin to lessen after the third day of detox–although people who have developed dependence on long-acting opioids may experience a delayed onset and peak symptoms.

8-14 days

Physical symptoms have likely gotten much more manageable, but many people continue to struggle with cravings for opioids. Ongoing support and treatment are critical as people navigate the early days of sobriety.

People who combine opioids and other substances may have longer or more complex detox periods. It’s essential to go through withdrawal in a medically-supported detox program to reduce the risk of complications and relapse.

What Happens in an Opioid Detox Program?

Opioid detox can make people very uncomfortable and can sometimes cause life-threatening complications. Receiving treatment in a medically-supported detox program can help people manage their withdrawal symptoms, letting them stay more comfortable throughout detox. Being more comfortable during the process increases the odds they’ll finish the program and move on to a comprehensive treatment program.

Treatment in an opioid detox program typically consists of:

  • Medications to reduce discomfort and ensure safety during detox
  • Emotional support, including individual counseling when appropriate
  • Round-the-clock supervision and support
  • Holistic therapies, such as nutrition support, massage, and yoga

In some cases, a person’s treatment team may determine that tapering someone off opioids slowly is the best course of action. In that case, a doctor may prescribe methadone, Suboxone, or buprenorphine to limit cravings and reduce the risk of relapse and overdose.

A medically supported detox program allows people to get the compassionate care and effective treatment they need to overcome the physical aspect of their opioid addiction. After completing detox, people must continue treatment in a comprehensive program that will address the emotional, physical, and behavioral aspects of substance abuse.

Find an Opioid Detox Program Today

If you or someone in your life struggles with opioid addiction and requires the support of a detox program, you are not alone. The care you need is available at Flourishing Foundations Recovery. Reach out to our intake specialists now to explore our effective treatment programs, set up an intake assessment, or find information at any stage of your recovery journey.