How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

woman suffering from opiate withdrawal

Opiate withdrawal is tough but symptoms will not last forever.

Opiate withdrawal refers to the very wide range of symptoms that a user will feel when he or she decides to quit using opiates or to dramatically reduce the dosage without tapering the drug off.

Many users who decide to quit using opiates quickly find themselves going through withdrawal symptoms and asking the question, “How long does opiate withdrawal last?”

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to answer this question due simply to the fact that the opiate withdrawal timeline differs depending on the following factors:

  • The severity of the opiate addiction
  • How long opiates were used
  • How much of a drug was used
  • How regularly a drug was used
  • How the drug was used (injected, snorted, smoked, swallowed)
  • Other health factors
  • Whether the user has tried to detox before

Even if you have tried to quit using opiates before and felt minimal opiate withdrawal symptoms, you may find that the next time you try to quit is totally different and that the symptoms that you feel are unexpected.  Each withdrawal phase is different which is why it is so difficult to justify an answer to the question, “How long does opiate withdrawal last?”

Most of the time, opiate withdrawal will last about 7 days.  During the course of these 7 days or so, the user will feel a number of different symptoms that can be challenging to cope with and which may make staying abstinent from the use of opiates a very difficult process.  The most important thing to consider here is that your continued abstinence from the use of opiates will allow the withdrawal symptoms to run their course and to gradually become less invasive and easier to cope with.

Treatment for Opiate Withdrawal

During the course of detoxification from opiates, you may find it necessary to seek professional treatment for the withdrawal symptoms that you are feeling.  It’s always better to seek help than to attempt to recover alone or to risk relapse.  Treatment for opiate withdrawal will most often consist of:

  • Medications such as valium to help ease anxiety
  • Clonodine to help reduce the majority of withdrawal symptoms
  • Clonazepam to reduce irritability and anxiety
  • Buprenorphine
  • Temazepam
  • Naltrexone

If you or someone you love is addicted to opiates and ready to get help, don’t let fear of how long opiate withdrawal will last keep you from getting the help that you need.  In all reality, opiate withdrawal will really only last about ten days from start to finish and then you’ll feel like yourself again!  Psychological symptoms of withdrawal can persist for a few weeks or even months following the last dose but these are mostly easy to manage and do not cause any major problems for the user the way that physical withdrawal symptoms can.