Opioid Withdrawal: Symptoms & Timeline

Legacy Healing Center Blog

Tapering Off Opioids: Symptoms and Medical Detox

Opioids are potent drugs prescribed for the treatment of pain, most often acute but sometimes used longer term.  The most commonly prescribed opioids are hydrocodone, oxycodone-acetaminophen (Percocet), morphine, codeine, and fentanyl.  Due to the high risk of abuse or addiction and accidental overdose, short term use is preferred.  When considering stopping these medications it is imperative to speak to your doctor first.  Your provider can assist in developing a medication withdrawal plan, known as tapering.  You will be instructed to gradually reduce the amount you take, safely, in order to avoid experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms.   For tapering to be successful, it’s important to establish alternative ways to cope with pain prior to starting.

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Symptoms will vary greatly depending on the dose you were prescribed as well as how long you were taking the opioid. Early opioid withdrawal symptoms can begin as soon as 8-12 hours after the last dose and may last up to a week. The goal of tapering is to reduce withdrawal symptoms.  Common symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Muscle cramps, aches, and joint pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating or chills
  • Increase in pain
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose, watery eyes
  • Fever
  • Excessive yawning
  • Cravings for the opioid

Symptoms of opiate withdrawal are often unpleasant, but rarely life threatening.  Depending on how addicted the person is, the symptoms will range from mild to severe.  Presence of underlying mental health conditions may worsen these effects.  Ask your doctor to order a tapering schedule that addressed your specific needs while minimizing risks to you.  During the taper process, you should expect that you doctor will:

  • Prescribe other medications to manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Utilize other forms of pain therapy
  • Speak with your other health care providers to develop a team approach to handling your tapering process
  • Obtain blood and urine samples to monitor the drug levels in your system
  • Frequently check your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature

Following your taper plan closely reduces the discomfort you may experience.  Your body needs time to adjust to decreasing levels and eventually no opioids in your system. It is important that you follow the plan and avoid other medications, street drugs, or alcohol to avoid potentially dangerous interactions.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms do not hesitate to notify your provider.

Medical Detox at Legacy Healing Center

If you are struggling with opioid addiction and are interested in making a change to a better, more fulfilling life, please call one of our addiction specialists to start the process.  Our team is here 24/7 and our helpline is always 100% confidential.  At Legacy Healing Center, medical detox is done in the comfort of our 5 star facility, facilitated by our experienced clinicians. Throughout the entire process, you will be closely monitored for adverse effects and severe symptoms to ensure you are safe during your detox. We utilize a holistic approach to managing your opioid withdrawal symptoms and minimizing your discomfort.

Once you have completed detox, your journey will continue with a treatment plan tailored to your needs in our residential facility.  Here you will learn effective coping skills to assist you on your road to recovery.  Our holistic approach to treatment will include a variety of therapies to help address aspects of your life that may have contributed to your struggles.  You will be offered both group and individual therapies to encourage self-reflection and growth during this difficult time.  Common therapies we employ include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Process Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivation Enhancement Therapy, and Solution-Focused Therapy.

A typical day at our residential programs follow this schedule:

  • Wake up in your room
  • Complete ADLs such as showering, brushing teeth, etc
  • Eat breakfast prepared by experienced chefs with high quality ingredients
  • Attend holistic healing programs and group therapies that align with your treatment plan
  • Eat lunch
  • Attend additional behavioral health programs
  • Eat dinner
  • Free time in your room

Getting Help

If you or a loved ones needs help overcoming an addiction to opioids or any other substance, Legacy Healing Center can help. Our compassionate staff are comprised of the best in the industry and our holistic treatment programs set our patients up for success. Call us today at (888) 534-2295 to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Calls are completely confidential and we can answer any questions you many have about treatment. Click here to learn more about our treatment programs.